On This Day, October 20 In Music History


On this day October 20 in 1960 – Roy Orbison topped the UK Singles chart with ‘Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)’.

1962 – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers went to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with ‘Monster Mash’.

1962 – Jazz musicians Kenny Ball, Chris Barber, and Acker Bilk returned to No.1 in the UK on this day October 20 with their compilation album ‘The Best of Ball, Barber & Bilk’.

1969 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their third and final experimental album ‘Wedding Album’ on Apple Records. The album wasn’t well-received and it failed to chart in the UK while in the US it barely made the Billboard 200, peaking at No.178.

1973 – The No.1 single in the US on this day October 20 in music history was ‘Angie’ by The Rolling Stones. The song was a worldwide hit and it reached No.1 in eight other countries as well.

1977 – Tragedy struck Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd when the airplane the band was traveling with ran out of fuel and crashed, killing six people, including frontman Ronnie Van Zant, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines and her brother guitarist Steve Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, and the two pilots.

1979 – With the instrumental ‘Rise’, trumpeter Herb Alpert started a two-week run at number one on the US Singles chart on this day October 20.

1979 – New wave band The Buggles went to number one on the UK Singles chart with ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. The song was an international hit at the time and it topped the charts in Australia, Austria, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland as well.

1980 – Irish rock band U2 released their debut studio album ‘Boy’ on this day October 20 through Island Records.

1983 – American singer-songwriter and guitarist Merle Travis died on this day, aged 65. Best remembered for songs such as ‘Sixteen Tons’, ‘I am a Pilgrim’, and ‘Dark as a Dungeon’ among other.

1984 – Pop duo Wham! scored their second number one single of the year in the UK with ‘Freedom’. They previously topped the chart with ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ back in June.

1990 – R&B singer James Ingram topped the US Billboard Hot 100 with ‘I Don’t Have the Heart’ on this day October 20 in music history.

1990 – With their debut studio album ‘Some Friendly’, rock band The Charlatans went to number one in the UK.

1997 – American guitarist Henry Vestine nicknamed The Sunflower died on this day October 20, aged 52. Best known as a member of the blues and rock band Canned Heat.

2001 – The benefit concert for the victims of the September 11 attacks The Concert for New York City took place on this day at Madison Square Garden. It was organized by Paul McCartney and it featured performances by the likes of David Bowie, Elton John, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Jay-Z, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, etc.

2001 – American rapper Ja Rule topped the US Billboard 200 chart with his third studio album ‘Pain Is Love’ on this day October 20.

2003 – English singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse released her debut studio album ‘Frank’ through Island Records.

2005 – American jazz singer and pianist Shirley Horn died on this day October 20 at the age of 71.

Shirley Horn – Here’s to Life

YouTube player

– With his fifteenth studio album ‘Magic’Bruce Springsteen went to number one in the US on this day October 20. The album also topped the charts in Austria, Canada, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK that year.

2007 – British girl group Sugababes scored their second number one album in the United Kingdom with ‘Change’, their fifth studio release.

2007 – English musician Paul Raven died on this day October 20 in music history, aged 46 of a heart attack. Best remembered as the bassist for the post-punk band Killing Joke.

2012 – The house music supergroup Swedish House Mafia topped the UK Singles chart with ‘Don’t You Worry Child’.

2016 – The number one album in the UK on this day October 16 was Green Day‘s twelfth studio album ‘Revolution Radio’. It also reached No.1 in twelve other countries, including the US and Canada.

2018 – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were at No.1 in the US with ‘A Star Is Born’, a soundtrack album to the film of the same name in which both starred.


1890 – American jazz music pioneer Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe also known as Jelly Roll Morton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on this day October 20 in music history.

1925 – American producer and recording engineer Thomas “Tom” Dowd was born in New York City. Best known for innovating the multitrack recording method which revolutionized the music industry.

1937 – Singer and songwriter Wanda  Jackson nicknamed “The Queen of Rockabilly’ was born on this day October 20 in Maud, Oklahoma.

1940 – British singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer John Nicholas Shakespeare also known by his stage name John Carter was born in Birmingham, England.

1945 – Founding member and drummer of the blues rock band Ten Years AfterRichard “Ric” Lee was born on this day October 20 in Mansfield, England.

1950 – American singer-songwriter, guitarist and leader of Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersThomas “Tom” Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida on this day October 20 in music history.

1951 – American keyboardist Alan “Al” Greenwood was born in New York City. He came to prominence as a founding member of the band Foreigner.

1958 – English musician Mark King was born on this day October 20 in Cowes, Isle of Wight. Best known as the lead singer of the jazz-funk band Level 42.

1965 – Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and founding member of the alt rock band Teenage Fanclub, Norman Blake was born in Bellshill, Scotland.

1971 – American rapper and songwriter Snoop Dogg was born Calvin Cordozar Broadus in Long Beach, California on this day October 20 in music history.

1977 – English musician and songwriter Nicholas “Nick” Hodgson was born on this day in Leeds. Best known as a founding member of the band Kaiser Chiefs.

1978 – Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Paul “Pablo” Wilson was born on this day October 20 in Kinlochleven, Scotland. Best known for playing bass with the rock band Snow Patrol.

1989 – Singer and songwriter Jessica “Jess” Glynne was born in London, England. Best known for her chart-topping singles ‘Hold My Hand’, ‘I’ll Be There’, and ‘Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself’.

<< October 19

October 21 >>