This Week in Music History | June 29 – July 5

From the introduction to the walkman, the downfall of The Doors, and the rise of Ed Sheeran, here’s what went down this week in music history!

1956 – July 2nd, Elvis Presley recorded “Hound Dog” at RCA Studios, New York.

  • The song was originally recorded in blues style by Big Mama Thornton in 1953
  • Take 31 ended up being the version they released.
  • It became his best-selling song and topped the pop chart for 11 weeks, a record that stood for 36 years.

1964 – July 4th, The Beach Boys started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart with “I Get Around”.

  • During its recording session, Wilson’s father Murry was relieved of his duties as the group’s manager.
  • The song was incredibly innovative, with an opening fuzz guitar, stop-start rhythms…
    and a keyboard line working in and out of the song.
  • It was the group’s first #1 single.

1968 – July 1st, The Band released their debut album Music From Big Pink.

  • The album employs a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul.
  • It featured their first hit single “The Weight”.
  • The cover artwork is a painting by Bob Dylan.

1971 – July 3rd, Jim Morrison of The Doors was found dead in a bathtub in Paris, France.

  • The cause of death was given as a heart attack.
  • The Doors co-founder Ray Manzarek said Morrison “embodied hippie counterculture rebellion”
  • On the 25th anniversary of his death, about 15,000 fans gathered in France to pay their respects.

1979 – July 2nd, Sony introduced the Walkman, the first portable audio cassette player.

  • Sony sold over 385 million Walkmans in cassette, CD, mini-disc and digital file versions.
  • They were the market leaders until the arrival of Apple’s iPod and other new digital devices.

2003 – July 5th, Johnny Cash made his last ever live performance when he appeared at the Carter Ranch.

  • Before singing “Ring of Fire”, Cash read a statement.
  • It was about his late wife that he had written shortly before taking the stage…
  • “The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess from heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has.”
  • Johnny Cash died on Sept 12th of that year

2017 – July 1st, Ed Sheeran returned to #1 for the fourth time with his third studio album ÷ (pronounced ‘divide’).

  • The album was released after a year long hiatus and social media break
  • It won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
  • On its release, the tracks of the album achieved a record-breaking 56.7 million streams on Spotify in a single day.

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