This Week in Music History (February 19th-25th)

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2/19- On this day in 1964, The Beatles’ popularity was cemented when half a ton of Beatles wigs were shipped to the United States, where they were worn by teenage fans of the Fab Four.

2/20- On this day in 2008, a copy of the The Rolling Stones’ 1976 LP Black and Blue sold for £4,000 at auction. Every Stones member, along with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Paul and Linda McCartney and George Harrison, had signed the album.

2/21- On this day in 1967, Pink Floyd began their first recording sessions for their debut album at EMI Studios in London. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was released in August 1967.

2/22- On this day in 1989, a Heavy Metal category was included at the Grammy Awards for the first time. Although Metallica performed at the awards show, the award went to Jethro Tull.

2/23- On this day in 2010, London’s Abbey Road Studios was named a listed building, protecting it from any construction that would radically alter it. The studio was deemed a piece of British heritage in large part because The Beatles used it for 90% of their recordings.

2/24- On this day in 1976, The EaglesGreatest Hits became the first album to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. New certifications represented sales of over one million copies.

2/25- On this day in 2009, President Barack Obama honored his favorite musician, Stevie Wonder, by awarding him the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize at a ceremony at the White House. The president said Wonder’s music had been “the soundtrack to his youth”.

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This Week in Music History (February 12th-18th)

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2/12- On this day in 1964, The Beatles arrived in New York City for two performances at Carnegie Hall. Tickets were in such high demand that show organizers hastily created last-minute seating around the stage.

2/13- On this day in 1960, Frank Sinatra launched his own record label, Reprise Records, in an attempt to gain more artistic freedom for his work. The label earned Sinatra the nickname “Chairman of the Board”, and would later sign acts including Jimi Hendrix and The Beach Boys.

2/14- On this (Valentine’s!) day in 1998, Celine Dion‘s “My Heart Will Go On” set a new record for the highest number of radio plays in the United States after it was played 116 million times in one week.

2/15- On this day in 1962, Ray Charles recorded “I Can’t Stop Loving You” at United Studios in Hollywood, California. The song would go on to top the charts in both the US and the UK and remain there for 14 weeks.

2/16- On this day in 1985, Bruce Springsteen went to No. 1 on the UK album chart with Born to Run, his first UK No. 1 album. The album was the best-selling album of 1985 in the United States and The Boss’s all-time best-selling album.

2/17- On this day in 2005, a 1965 Fender Stratocaster guitar that had belonged to Jimi Hendrix was sold for £100,000 at an auction in London. Other Hendrix memorabilia, including a poem and a signed copy of “Hey Joe”, were auctioned as well.

2/18- On this day in 1990, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury made his final public appearance onstage when he joined his band to accept the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The ceremony was held at the Dominion Theatre in London.

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This Week in Music History (January 29th-February 4th)

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1/29- On this day in 1964, The Beatles spent a day recording at the Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris. They recorded new vocals for “She Loves You”, “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.

1/30- On this day in 1956, Elvis Presley began recording what would be his first album, Elvis Presley. Recorded at RCA Records’ New York studios, the tracks included his version of Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes”.

1/31- On this day in 1969, Led Zeppelin played the first night of the band’s two-night run at the Fillmore East in New York City during their first North American tour. It is said that Zeppelin’s show got such an enthusiastic response that headliners Iron Butterfly refused to follow them!

2/1- On this day in 1986, singer Diana Ross married Norwegian shipping magnate Arne Naess. Stevie Wonder performed at the reception, which took place in Geneva. The couple divorced in 2000.

2/2- On this day in 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper all appeared at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The gig was all three acts’ last before “The Day the Music Died”, or the fatal plane crash that killed all three the next day.

2/3- On this day in 1979, Blondie had their first of five No. 1 singles with “Heart of Glass”, off the band’s third album, Parallel Lines. The song was originally recorded in 1975 under the name “Once I Had a Love”.

2/4- On this day in 1968, while working on “Across the Universe” at Abbey Road Studios, John Lennon and Paul McCartney decided the song needed falsetto harmonies. They invited two female fans, aged 16 and 17, in to sing and provide the harmonies.

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This Week in Music History (January 15th-21st)

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1/15- On this day in 1961, The Supremes signed a recording contract with Motown Records. Originally known as The Primettes, the group became America’s most successful group with 12 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

1/16- On this day in 1996, Jamaican authorities opened fire on Jimmy Buffett’s seaplane, which they mistakenly believed belonged to a drug trafficker. Neither Buffett nor U2 frontman Bono, who was also on the plan, was injured.

1/17- On this day in 1964, The Rolling Stones released their first EP. It included “You Better Move On”, “Bye Bye Johnny”, “Poison Ivy”, and “Money”, and peaked at No. 15 on the UK chart.

1/18- On this day in 1965, The Beatles made their debut on the US charts when their single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” entered the chart at No. 45. It would go on to spend seven weeks on the chart’s top spot.

1/19- On this day in 1980, Pink Floyd’s The Wall began a 15-week run at No. 1 on the US album chart. The album, which went on to sell over 23 million copies in the US alone, is the third largest grossing album of all time in the US.

1/20- On this day in 1982, during an Ozzy Osbourne concert in Des Moines, Iowa, an audience member threw a bat onto the stage. Thinking the bat was fake, Osbourne picked it up and attempted to bite its head off. Only then did Ozzy realize that the bat was living, and he was rushed to the nearest hospital for rabies shots.

1/21- On this day in 1968, Jimi Hendrix recorded his version of Bob Dylan’s famous song “All Along the Watchtower” at Olympic Studios in London, UK. The track was released as a single in the US, peaking at No. 20.

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This Week in Music History (January 1st-7th)

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1/1- On this day in 1960, Johnny Cash played a famous free concert for the inmates of San Quentin Prison in California. The recording of the concert was released as At San Quentin, Cash’s 31st album.

1/2- On this day in 1971, George Harrison’s album All Things Must Pass began a seven-week run at No. 1 on the US album chart. The spot made Harrison the first Beatle to score a No. 1 solo album.

1/3- On this day in 1976, Bob Dylan’s song “Hurricane” peaked at the No. 33 spot on the Billboard singles chart. The song received enough publicity to eventually get Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a former boxer, released from prison. The song was written to promote Carter’s innocence.

1/4- On this day in 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience played the first of what would be over 240 shows of that year. The band’s appearance on January 4th was at the Bromel Club in Bromley, England.

1/5- On this day in 1973, Bruce Springsteen released his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. The album, which was recorded in a single week, only sold about 25,000 copies in its first year.

1/6- On this day in 1975, the mayor of Boston canceled a Led Zeppelin concert after 2,000 fans rioted while trying to buy tickets. The riot caused an estimated $50,000-$75,000 in damage to the venue.

1/7- On this day in 1971, Black Sabbath released Paranoid, their second studio album in the US. The album included songs that would go on to become the band’s signatures, including “Iron Man” and “War Pigs”.

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This Week in Music History (December 19th-25th)

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12/19- On this day in 1957, Elvis Presley was served his draft notice for the United States Army. Presley would go on to join the 32nd Tank Battalion Third Armor Corps, based in Germany.

12/20- On this day in 1967, folk singer Joan Baez was sentenced to 45 days in prison. The singer had been arrested during an anti-war demonstration protesting the Vietnam War.

12/21- On this day in 1985, Bruce Springsteen’s famous Born in the USA passed Michael Jackson’s Thriller, becoming the second longest-lasting LP on the US Billboard Top 10. The Boss’s LP stayed atop the charts for 79 weeks.

12/22- On this day in 1981, at a rock and roll memorabilia auction in London, Beatles memorabilia was auctioned off to fans. A suit John Lennon wore onstage sold for £2,300, a letter from Paul McCartney sold for £2,200 and a sculpture of John and Yoko Ono sold for £4200.

12/23- On this day in 1977, English singer and songwriter Cat Stevens formally changed his name to Yusef Islam. Islam will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

12/24- On this day in 1965, The Beatles had the number one album in the US for the third Christmas season in a row. The Fab Four’s Rubber Soul topped the LP charts in 1965, after Beatles for Sale and With the Beatles the two previous years.

12/25- On this day in 1954, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas” was on the Billboard Pop Chart for the eleventh time. The song has sold over 100 million copies around the world.

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This Week in Music History (December 4th-10th)

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12/4- On this day in 1964, The Beatles released their fourth studio album, Beatles for Sale. The album, which featured tracks like “Eight Days a Week” and “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby”, spent 11 weeks at the top of the UK charts.

12/5- On this day in 1968, the Rolling Stones hosted a party in London to celebrate the release of their new album Beggar’s Banquet. Although Keith Richards was sick and unable to attend, the rest of the band and their guests participated in a custard pie food fight that became the highlight of the event.

12/6- On this day in 1969, Led Zeppelin made their debut on the US singles chart. The single, “Whole Lotta Love”, went on to become the first of six Top 40 singles for the band in the United States.

12/7- On this day in 1967, Otis Redding went in to the studio to record “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay”. The track went on to be his all-time biggest hit. Redding, however, would never see the single’s success; he died in a plane crash just days later on December 10, 1967.

12/8- On this day in 1961, The Beach Boys’ first single, “Surfin’”, was released on Candix Records, a small record label based in Los Angeles. The song became extremely popular in Southern California, and the band was soon signed to Capitol Records.

12/9-  On this day in 1967, The Doors played at the New Haven Arena in New Haven, Connecticut. Before the show began, police caught frontman Jim Morrison kissing a girl in a backstage shower. Morrison mocked the incident onstage, and was dragged off and arrested by police.

12/10- On this day in 1983, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson began a six-week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with “Say Say Say”. The song was Jackson’s 10th No. 1 hit and McCartney’s 29th.

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