On this day, May 18 In Music History

On this day, May 18 In Music History


On this day, May 18 in 1959 – With his version of  Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s song ‘Kansas City’Wilbert Harrison topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also went to number one on the Billboard R&B chart later that year. Additionally, over three hundred artists covered the song, including James Brown and The Beatles but Wilbert had the biggest success with it.

1963 – With ‘If You Wanna Be Happy’Jimmy Soul went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Also a chart topper on the R&B chart few weeks later.

1963 – Lesley Gore‘s song ‘Its My Party’ entered the Top 40 on the Billboard chart. The single later topped the chart as well. It also became a number one hit in Australia and New Zealand while in the UK it peaked at #9.

1963 – The Beatles kicked off their very first tour as the headline act. They started with a concert in Slough, England.

1964 – The Animals recorded their version of the traditional folk song ‘House of the Rising Sun’. Few months after its release, the record went to number on the US, UK and French singles charts. Some call it “the first folk rock hit”.

1968 – With ‘Tighten Up’Archie Bell & the Drells went to number one on both Billboard R&B and Pop charts. Also one of the first funk songs to become a hit in music history. In the UK however, the song didn’t even manage to chart.

1974 – With the country/novelty song ‘The Streak’Ray Stevens started a three week run at number one on the US singles chart. Also a chart topper in the UK.

Ray Stevens – The Streak

1975 – “The First Lady of Country Music” – Tammy Wynette topped the UK, Irish and Dutch singles charts with ‘Stand By Your Man’. The song previously topped the US and Canadian single charts as well.

1980 – Drummer and founding member of KissPeter Criss left the band after 7 years of recording and touring. However, he did return to the group in 1996 and in 2014 was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of it.

1980 – Lead singer and founding member of Joy DivisionIan Curtis committed a suicide by hanging at his home in Macclesfield, England, aged 23. The young musician struggled with depression, epilepsy throughout his life.

1981 – After a two decades long partnership with Motown RecordsDiana Ross left the label to sign a massive $20 million contract with RCA Records.

1985 – Seven years after releasing their first record, Simple Minds finally made it to America. They went to number one on the US singles chart with ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’. Also a Top 10 hit in the UK where it peaked at #7. The song featured on the teen drama movie ‘The Breakfast Club’.

1991 – With their seventh studio album Out of Time, alternative rock band R.E.M. went to number one on the US album chart. The record features one of their most famous songs – ‘Losing My Religion’.

1991 – British girl group Bananarama released their fifth studio album ‘Pop Life’ through London Records. The band’s first LP without Siobhan Fahey in the lineup and also their last one as a trio.

1999 – Jamaican roots reggae and dub record producer Augustus Pablo died at the age of 44 due to a collapsed lung.

2004 – Founding member and bassist of ‘The Moody Blues’Clint Warwick died at the age of 63 from a liver disease. His real name however is Albert Eccles.

2004 – Rock musician Lenny Kravitz released his seventh studio album ‘Baptism’ on this day, May 18 in music history.

2014 – American singer and actor Genaro Vitaliano also known as Jerry Vale died on this day, May 18 at the age of 83.

2017 – Lead singer and founding member of Soundgarden and AudioslaveChris Cornell committed suicide at the age of 52.

15 Chris Cornell Facts You May Have Not Known


1911 – American blues singer and songwriter Big Joe Turner was born on this day, May 18 in Kansas City, Missouri. His career spanned for six decades for which he deserved an induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

1912 – American singer, actor and television personality Pierino Perry” Como was born on this day, May 18 in music history. Best remembered for his 1957 chart topping single ‘Round and Round’.

1944 – Gibraltarian singer, songwriter, and record producer Albert Hammond was born on this day in London, England.

1949 – Canadian musician William ‘Bill’ Wallace was born on this day, May 18 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Best known for playing bass guitar with The Guess Who during their peak years.

1949 – English keyboardist, songwriter and record producer Richard ‘Rick’ Wakeman was born in Perivale, London. Best known for his work with progressive rock band Yes.

1950 – Founding member and singer for rock band DevoMark Mothersbaugh was born on this day in Akron, Ohio.

1952 – The “King of Country” music – George Strait was born on this day, May 18 in Poteet, Texas. He is one of the most successful music artists of all time having sold more than 100 million records worldwide. In his rich career he scored 53 number one hits on the Country chart.

1954 – Rock/new wave musician Eric Goulden also known as Wreckless Eric was born on this day, May 18 in music history.

1957 – Romanian singer-songwriter and record producer Michael Cretu was born in Bucharest. Best known as founder of the musical project Enigma.

1969 – American singer-songwriter and actress Marta Marrero also known professionally as Martika was born in Whittier, California.

1975 – American musician, filmmaker and former professional surfer Jack Johnson was born on this day, May 18 in music history.

Featured image by: Remko Hoving

Spread the love
  • 10