- Tina Brooks makes his first recordings with Sonny Thompson’s orchestra for King in Cincinnati. These are also his only recordings until 1958
- Ronald Corp born (Wells, Somerset) English composer, conductor, priest.
- Sonny Boy Williamson II makes his first recordings for Trumpet in Jackson, MS. The session also marks Elmore James’s studio debut. Alex ‘Rice’ Miller (vo, hca) Willie Love (p) Elmore James, Joe Willie Wilkins (g) Joe Dyson (d). Tracks cut include Eyesight To The Blind & Crazy About You Baby
- Bohuslav Martinu’s Duo for violin and viola no.2 premiered in New York
- Crystal Gayle aka Brenda Gayle Webb born (Paintsville, KY) American country singer, actress. Sister of Loretta Lynn (b.1935).
- Karólína Eiríksdóttir born (Reykjavik) Icelandic composer, music administrator.
- Harry Partch and B. Johnstone’s incidental music for W. Leach’s play The Wooden Bird premiered in Charlottesville, VA
- Virgil Thomson’s Arcadian Songs and Dances from “Louisiana Story” for orchestra premiered in Philadelphia
- Chris Bell born (Memphis, TN) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Member of Big Star from 1971 to 1974 and solo artist. Died 1978
- Bohuslav Martinu’s Concerto for two violins and orchestra premiered in Dallas
- Ernst Krenek’s Parvula corona musicalis [Little musical crown] op.122 for string trio premiered on Radio Italiana
- John Cage’s Sixteen Dances for flute, trumpet, four percussionists, piano, violin and cello premiered in New York
- The Miles Davis Sextet record their first Prestige session in New York. Miles Davis (tp) Bennie Green (tb) Sonny Rollins (ts) John Lewis (p) Percy Heath (b) Roy Haynes (d). Tracks cut include Morpheus; Down; Blue Room & Whispering
- Morton Feldman’s Projection 2 for flute, trumpet, violin, cello and piano premiered in New York
- The Charlie Parker Quintet record a session for Mercury in New York. Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Walter Bishop Jr. (p) Teddy Kotick (b) Max Roach (d). Tracks cut include Au Privave; Star Eyes; She Rote & K.C. Blues
- Iván Fischer born (Budapest) Hungarian conductor, composer. Brother of Ádám Fischer (b.1949).
- Ian Hill born (West Bromwich) English rock bass guitarist. Member of Judas Priest from 1970.
- Eastwood Lane (71) dies in New York
- Roy Goodman born (Guildford, Surrey) English conductor, violinist.
- Brian Downey born (Dublin) Irish rock drummer. Member of Thin Lizzy from 1969 to 1983, from 1996 to 1998 and from 2010.
- Billy Bass Nelson born (Plainfield, NJ) American funk, soul and rock bassist, guitarist. Member of Funkadelic / Parliament from 1969 to 1971.
- The first Festival di Sanremo aka Sanremo Music Festival takes place in Sanremo, Italy, a competition for contemporary songwriters that inpired the Eurovision Song Contest
- Phil Collins born (London) English rock drummer, singer, songwriter, actor. Member of Genesis from 1970 to 1996 and solo artist.
- Phil Manzanera born (London) English rock guitarist, record producer, session player. Member of Roxy Music from 1972 to 1983 and from 2001. Also worked with 801, David Gilmour and others..
- Sam Cooke joins the Soul Stirrers, replacing R.H. Harris
- Fender introduces the Broadcaster electric guitar
- Charles Brown – Black Night / Once There Was A Fool (Aladdin)
- Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup – My Baby Left Me / Anytime Is the Right Time (RCA Victor)
- Floyd Dixon – Telephone Blues / Real Lovin’ Mama (Aladdin)
- Fats Domino – Tired of Crying / What’s the Matter Baby (Imperial)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Honey Honey Blues / Moonrise Blues (Aladdin)
- Dinah Washington – Fast Movin’ Mama / Juice Head Man Of Mine (Mercury)
- Stan Getz Quartet Vol.1 (Royal Roost)
- Bud Powell Trio (Royal Roost)
- Original Cast – Guys and Dolls (Decca)
- Fréhel (59) dies in Paris of alcohol related causes
- Cecil Gant (37) dies in Nashville of pneumonia
- Huw Lloyd-Langton born (London) English rock guitarist. Member of Hawkwind from 1969 to 1971 and from 1979 to 1988, Widowmaker from 1975 to 1977 and led the Lloyd-Langton Group. Died 2012
- Ernest Hutcheson (79) dies in New York
- Morton Feldman’s 4 Songs to e.e. cummings for soprano, piano and cello premiered in New York
- Alfred Hill’s Symphony No. 3 completed
- Daniel Miller born (London) English record executive, founder of Mute Records, songwriter, producer. Recorded as the Normal.
- Sylvain Sylvain aka Sylvian Mizrahi born (Cairo) American rock guitarist. Member of the New York Dolls from 1971 to 1977 and the Criminals.
- Norman Watt-Roy born (Mumbai) English rock bass guitarist, session player. Worked with the Blockheads, Wilko Johnson, Nick Lowe and others.
- Ivor Novello and Alan Melville’s musical Gay’s the Word opens in London (504 performances)
- Horace Andy born (Kingston, Jamaica) Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter. Worked as a solo artist and with Massive Attack from 1990.
- Randy California aka Randy Craig Wolfe born (Los Angeles, CA) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Member of Spirit from 1967 to 1997. Died 1997
- Tony Davis born (Paterson, NJ) American composer, jazz pianist, teacher.
- Howard Brockway (80) dies in New York
- Vince Welnick born (Phoenix, AZ) American rock keyboard player. Worked with the Tubes and the Grateful Dead. Died 2006
- Henry W. Armstrong (71) dies in New York
- The Clovers record their first session for Atlantic in New York. Buddy Bailey (lead tenor), Matthew McQuater (tenor), Harold Lucas (baritone), Harold Winley (bass), Bill Harris (g). Tracks cut include Don’t You Know I Love You
- Charles Ives’s Symphony no.2 premiered in New York
- Due to a threat of a lawsuit by Gretsch over the name, the Fender Broadcaster electric guitar is renamed the Telecaster
- Steve Harley born (London) English pop singer, songwriter, broadcaster. Founder member of Cockney Rebel and solo artist.
- Arthur Honegger’s Suite archaïque for orchestra premiered in Louisville, KY
- Rosco Gordon makes his first recordings at Sun Studios in Memphis, although the tracks are licensed to RPM.
- Ravens – Lilacs in the Rain / Time Is Marching On (National)
- Hank Williams – Cold Cold Heart / Dear John (MGM)
- Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Sings Gershwin (Decca)
- Rene Le Roy & the N.Y. Wind Ensemble and the Julliard Percussion Orch. cond. Frederic Waldman – Complete Works of Edgard Varese Volume 1 (EMS)
- Elliott Sharp born (Cleveland, OH) Jazz, rock and avant-garde guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer.
- Kenny Burrell makes his first recordings in Detroit with the Dizzy Gillespie Sextet. Dizzy Gillespie (tp) John Coltrane (as, ts) Milt Jackson (vib, p) Kenny Burrell (g) Percy Heath (b) Carl Fields (d) Freddy Strong (vo)
- Sam Cooke makes his first recordings with the Soul Stirrers for Specialty in Hollywood, CA. Sam Cooke, SR Crain, Jesse Farley, TL Bruster, Paul Foster, RB Robinson. Tracks cut include Peace in the Valley & Jesus Gave Me Water
- Bob and Jim Copper of the Copper Family make their first recordings for the BBC in Rottingdean, Sussex
- Lindsay Cooper born (London) English classical and rock oboist, bassoonist, composer, activist. Worked with Henry Cow, National Health and Comus.
- (or 5 Mar) Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm record a session at Sun in Memphis. Jackie Brenston (vo, ts) Raymond Hill (ts) Ike Turner (p) Willie Kizart (g) Willie Sims (d). Tracks cut include Rocket 88, released credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (a fictitious group name).
- Chris Rea born (Middlesbrough) English rock singer, guitarist, songwriter.
- Ivor Novello (58) dies in London of coronary thrombosis
- Stanley Donen’s film Royal Wedding opens, starring Fred Astaire & Jane Powell. Music by Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner.
- Zakir Hussain born (Mahim, India) Indian tabla player, producer, composer, actor.
- Arthur Honegger’s Symphony no.5 “Di tre re” premiered in Boston
- Germaine Tailleferre’s opera Il était un petit navire [It was a small ship] premiered in Paris, lib. H. Jeanson
- Alan Hovhaness’s Symphony No.9 Saint Vartan premiered in New York
- Harold Bauer (77) dies in Miami, FL
- Hilding Rosenberg’s Piano Concerto premiered in Gothenburg
- Scott Gorham born (Glendale, CA) American rock guitarist, songwriter, singer. Member of Thin Lizzy from 1974 to 1983 and from 1996.
- Paul Dessau’s opera Die Verhör des Lukullus [The Trial of Lucullus], lib. Bertolt Brecht, premiered in Berlin (withdrawn version)
- Billie Holiday signs to Aladdin Records
- Bill Frisell born (Baltimore, MD) American experimental, jazz and folk guitarist, composer, session player. Worked solo and with the Paul Motian Trio, John Zorn and Naked City.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Flourish for Three Trumpets premiered in Stafford
- Russell Thompkins, Jr. born (Philadelphia) American R&B singer. Member of the Stylistics from 1968 to 2000.
- Willem Mengelberg (79) dies in Sent, Switzerland
- Sid Catlett (41) dies in Chicago following a heart attack
- David Butler’s musical comedy Lullaby of Broadway starring Doris Day opens. Music by Ray Heindorf
- Douglas Moore’s opera Giants in the Earth, lib. Arnold Sundgaard, premiered in New York. It wins the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Music
- Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein’s musical The King and I opens on Broadway (1246 performances)
- Franz Waxman’s music for Billy Wilder’s film Sunset Boulevard wins the best dramatic score Oscar at the 23rd Academy Awards. Adolph Deutsch and Roger Edens’s music for George Sidney’s film Annie Get Your Gun wins the award for best musical score
- Walter Piston’s Symphony No.4 premiered in Minneapolis
- The Cardinals make their first recordings for Atlantic in New York. Ernie Warren (lead tenor) Meredith Brothers (tenor) Jack Aydelotte (tenor, g) Donald Johnson (baritone) Leon Hardy (bass). Tracks cut include Shouldn’t I Know & Please Don’t Leave Me
- Miles Davis – Morpheus / Blue Room (Prestige)
- Fats Domino – Don’t Lie to Me Baby / Sometimes I Wonder (Imperial)
- John Lee Hooker – John L’s House Rent Boogie / Queen Bee (Modern)
- Luke the Drifter [Hank Williams] – Just Waitin’ / Men With Broken Hearts (MGM)
- Les Paul & Mary Ford – How High The Moon / Walkin’ And Whistlin’ Blues (Capitol)
- Muddy Waters – Long Distance Call / Too Young to Know (Chess)
- Charlie Parker With Strings (Mercury). Full LP version
- Lee Wiley – Night in Manhattan (Columbia)
- Francesco De Gregori born (Rome) Italian folk and rock singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet.
- Juliette Gréco makes her first recordings in Paris
- Zoltan Kodály’s Kállai kettos for violin and piano premiered in Budapest
- Paul Hindemith’s Symphony in B-flat for Band premiered in Washington, DC
- Halfdan Cleve (71) dies in Oslo
- Janis Ian aka Janis Eddy Fink born (New York, NY) American folk and pop singer, songwriter, guitarist, author
- Judy Garland plays the first of a four week series of shows at the London Palladium
- Paul Fox born (London) English rock guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of the Ruts. Died 2007
- Germaine Tailleferre’s opera Parfums premiered in Monte Carlo, lib. G. Hirsch and J. Bouchor
- Morton Feldman’s Variations for piano premiered in Seattle
- Peabo Bryson born (Greenville, SC) American R&B and pop singer, songwriter, keyboard player, record producer.
- Max Weinberg born (Newark, NJ) American rock drummer, broadcaster. Member of the E Street Band from 1974 and bandleader for the Conan O’Brien television show from 1993 to 2010.
- Julian Lloyd Webber born (London) English classical cellist. Brother of Andrew Lloyd Webber (b.1948).
- Malcolm Arnold’s Symphony No. 1 & English Dances for Orchestra op.27 premiered in London
- Henry Cowell’s Hymn and Fuguing Tune no.3 for orchestra premiered in Los Angeles
- The Dizzy Gillespie Sextet record a session in New York for DeeGee. Dizzy Gillespie (tp) J.J. Johnson (tb) Budd Johnson (ts) Milt Jackson (vib, p) Percy Heath (b) Art Blakey (d) Joe Carroll, Melvin Moore (vo). Tracks cut include Lady Be Good; Love Me Pretty Baby & The Champ parts 1 & 2
- Richard Thorpe’s biopic of Enrico Caruso The Great Caruso opens, starring Mario Lanza and Ann Blyth
- Hugh Martin, Preston Sturges and Abe Burrows’s musical Make a Wish opens on Broadway (102 performances)
- George Abbott, Betty Smith, Dorothy Fields and Arthur Schwartz’s musical A Tree Grows in Brooklyn opens on Broadway (267 performances)
- Joe Turner records his first Atlantic Records session in New York
- Luther Vandross born (New York, NY) American soul singer, songwriter, record producer. Died 2005
- Witold Lutoslawski’s Little Suite for chamber orchestra premiered in Katowice
- Robert Gotobed aka Robert Grey born (Leicester) English rock drummer. Founder member of Wire.
- Olive Fremstad (80) dies in Irvington, NY
- Alexander Krein (67) dies in Staraya Russa, Russia
- Les Paul and Mary Ford have the Billboard number one single for the first of nine weeks with How High the Moon
- Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata no.9 op.103 premiered in Moscow
- Paul Carrack born (Sheffield) English rock and pop singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. Member of Ace from 1972 to 1977 and worked with Roxy Music, Squeeze, Roger Waters, Mike and the Mechanics and solo.
- John Alden Carpenter (75) dies in Chicago of heart failure
- John Lee Hooker records the first of two sessions for Chess Records in Chicago
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ opera The Pilgrim’s Progress premiered in London, lib. Vaughan Williams
- Paul Daniel “Ace” Frehley born (New York) American rock guitarist, sionger, songwriter. Member of Kiss from 1973 to 1982 and 1996 to 2002 and solo artist.
- Maurice Vieux (67) dies in Paris
- Pierre Schaeffer’s Diapason Concertino for tape premiered on Radio France
- Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats – Rocket 88 / Come Back Where You Belong (Chess)
- Cardinals – Shouldn’t I Know / Please Don’t Leave Me (Atlantic)
- Dominoes – Sixty Minute Man / I Can’t Escape From You (Federal)
- Louis Jordan – Weak Minded Blues / Is My Pop in There (Decca)
- Frankie Laine – Jezebel / Rose, Rose I Love You (Columbia)
- Larks – When I Leave These Prison Walls / Hopefully Yours (Apollo)
- Stick McGhee – One Monkey Don’t Stop The Show / Blue Barrelhouse (Atlantic)
- Sonny Boy Williamson – Crazy ‘Bout You, Baby / Eyesight to the Blind (Trumpet)
- Jo Callis born (Rotherham, Yorkshire) English rock and pop guitarist, keyboard player, songwriter. Member of the Rezillos from 1976 to 1978, Boots for Dancing from 1980 to 1981 and the Human League from 1981 to 1985.
- Ernst Krenek’s opera Dark Waters premiered in Los Angeles. Lib. Krenek
- Christopher Cross born (San Antonio, TX) American pop singer, songwriter, musician.
- Massimo Ranieri aka Giovanni Calone born (Naples) Italian pop singer, songwriter, actor.
- The Royal Festival Hall opens in London to mark the start of the Festival of Britain
- Jackie Jackson born (Gary, IN) American pop and soul singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist (Jackson Five). Brother of Rebbie (b.1950) Tito (b.1953) Jermaine (b.1954) La Toya (b.1956) Marlon (b.1957) Michael (1958-2009) Randy (b.1961) and Janet (b.1966) Jackson.
- Cyprien Katsaris born (Marseilles) Franco-Cypriot concert pianist, composer, teacher.
- Pierre Schaeffer’s L’oiseau RAI for tape premiered on Radio France
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ cantata The Sons of Light premiered in London
- Janina Fialkowska born (Montreal) Canadian concert pianist.
- Philip Bailey born (Denver, CO) American soul and funk singer, songwriter, precussionist. Member of Earth, Wind and Fire from 1972 and solo artist.
- Chris Frantz born (Fort Campbell, KY) American rock drummer, record producer. Member of Talking Heads from 1975 to 1991 and Tom Tom Club from 1981.
- Marcel Tournier (72) dies in Paris
- Hans Werner Henze’s ballet Das Vokaltuch der Kammersängerin Rosa Silber [The vocal sheet of the chamber singer Rosa Silber] premiered in Berlin (concert performance)
- Ildebrando Pizzetti’s opera Ifigenia premiered in Florence. Lib. Pizzetti
- John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape no.4 for 12 radios premiered in New York
- Reinhold Glière’s Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in B-flat major op.91 premiered in St Petersburg
- Charles Ives’s Luck and Work for chamber orchestra (part of Set no.3); Largo for Violin, Clarinet and Piano & Allegretto sombreoso for chamber orchestra premiered in New York
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ cantata A Cotswold Romance premiered in London
- Paul Thompson born (Newcastle upon Tyne) English rock drummer, session player. Member of Roxy Music from 1971 ot 1980 and from 2001.
- Howlin’ Wolf makes his first recordings for Chess at Sun Studios, Memphis
- E. Y. Harburg, Fred Saidy and Sammy Fain’s musical Flahooley opens on Broadway (40 performances)
- Jonathan Richman born (Nattick, MA) American rock, pop and folk singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of the Modern Lovers and solo artist.
- Guitar Slim makes his first recordings for Imperial
- Darius Milhaud’s Cantata from Proverbs op.310 premiered in New York
- Joey Ramone aka Jeffrey Hyman born (Queens, NY) American rock singer, songwriter. Founder member of the Ramones. Died 2001
- William Alwyn’s Festival March premiered in London at the opening of the Festival of Britain
- Hank Williams is admitted to the North Louisiana Sanitarium in an attempt to deal with his alcoholism
- Benjamin Britten’s Five Flower Songs op.47 for chorus premiered on BBC Radio
- David Diamond’s Mizmor L’David for cantor, chorus and organ premiered in New York
- Morton Feldman’s Piece for violin and piano & Projection 4 for violin and piano premiered in New York
- Ken Nicol born (Preston, Lancs) English folk singer, songwriter, guitarist. Worked solo and with the Albion Band and Steeleye Span.
- Roger Sessions’s String Quartet no.2 premiered in Madison, WI
- Fanny Brice (59) dies in Los Angeles of a brain haemorrhage
- Josef Bohuslav Foerster (91) dies in Nový Vestec, Czech Rep
- Robert Kahn (85) dies in Biddenden, Kent
- Dimitrios Levidis (66) dies in Athens
- Johnnie Ray makes his first recordings for Okeh in Detroit. Tracks cut include Whiskey and Gin & Tell the Lady I Said Goodbye
- György Ligeti’s Wedding Dances for two pianos premiered on Hungarian Radio
- Clovers – Don’t You Know That I Love You / Skylark (Atlantic)
- John Lee Hooker – Women In My Life / Tease Me Baby (Modern)
- Lord Kitchener – London Is The Place For Me / Festival Of Britain (Melodisc UK)
- Larks – My Reverie / Let’s Say a Prayer (Apollo)
- Hank Williams – Howlin’ At The Moon / I Can’t Help It (MGM)
- Emmanuel Bondeville’s opera Madame Bovary premiered in Paris. lib. René Fauchois after Flaubert
- Sergei Koussevitzky (76) dies in Boston, MA
- Henri Dutilleux’s Symphony No. 1 premiered in Paris
- Bonnie Tyler aka Gaynor Hopkins born (Skewen, Wales) Welsh rock, pop and country singer.
- Herman Hupfeld (57) dies in Montclair, NJ
- Joseph Haydn’s opera L’anima del filosofo [The Philosopher’s soul] premiered in Florence, lib. C.F. Badini
- Alan Freed begins his rhythm and blues radio show on WJW in Cleveland
- Bun E. Carlos aka Brad M. Carlson born (Rockford, IL) American rock drummer. Member of Cheap Trick from 1974.
- Brad Delp born (Peabody, MA) American rock singer, songwriter. Member of Boston from 1976 to 1989 and 1994 to 2007. Died 2007
- Arthur Honegger’s Monopartita for orchestra premiered in Zürich
- Francis Poulenc’s Stabat Mater for soprano, choir and orchestra premiered in Strasbourg
- Benjamin Britten’s Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for oboe premiered in Thorpeness
- Steve Walsh born (Atlanta, GA) American rock singer, songwriter, keyboard player. Member of Kansas from 1973 to 1981 and from 1985.
- Bobby Previte born (Niagara Falls, NY) American jazz, rock and avant-garde drummer, composer, bandleader, arranger, session player.
- Benjamin Frankel’s Violin Concerto ‘in memory of the Six Million’ premiered on BBC Radio
- Nils Lofgren born (Chicago, IL) American rock singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. Member of Grin, solo artist and worked with Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Three Shakespeare Songs for chorus premiered in London
- Karl-Birger Blomdahl’s Symphony no.3 Facetter premiered in Frankfurt
- Roberto Gerhard’s opera The Duenna premiered in Wiesbaden. Lib. Gerhard after Sheridan
- Stanley Clarke born (Philadelphia, PA) American jazz bassist, composer, bandleader. Worked with Return to Forever and solo.
- Peter Maxwell Davies’ Dance for piano premiered on BBC radio
- Louis Jordan – If You’re So Smart How Come You Ain’t Rich / How Blue Can You Get (Decca)
- BB King – Don’t You Want a Man Like Me / My Baby’s Gone (RPM)
- Larks – Eyesight to the Blind / I Ain’t Fattening Frogs for Snakes (Apollo)
- Treniers – Go Go Go / Plenty Of Money (Okeh)
- Joe Turner – Chains Of Love / After My Laughter (Atlantic)
- Muddy Waters – Appealing Blues / Honey Bee (Chess)
- Hank Williams – Hey Good Lookin’ / My Heart Would Know (MGM)
- Fred Schneider born (Newark, NJ) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of the B-52s.
- John Cage’s Music of Changes part 1 for piano premiered in Boulder, CO
- Morton Feldman’s Two Intermissions for piano & Intermission 3 for piano premiered in Boulder, CO
- Pierre Schaeffer’s opera Toute la lyre [The whole lyre] aka Orphée 51 premiered in Paris
- Terence William ‘Blondie’ Chaplin born (Durban) South African rock and pop guitarist, singer, songwriter, session player. Worked with the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and others.
- Michael Henderson born (Yazoo City, MS) American jazz bassist, singer, bandleader. Worked with Miles Davis.
- Eugeniusz Knapik born (Ruda Śląska, Poland) Polish pianist, composer, teacher.
- Egbert Van Alstyne (73) dies in Chicago
- Constant Lambert’s ballet Tiresias premiered in London
- Aleksandër Peçi born (Tirana) Albanian composer, music director.
- DJ/promoter Alan Freed broadcasts his first Rhythm and Blues radio programme from station WJW in Cleveland
- Peter Maxwell Davies’ Parade for piano premiered on BBC radio
- Arnold Schoenberg (76) dies in Los Angeles following a stroke
- Gregory Isaacs born (Kingston, Jamaica) Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter. Died 2010
- Jimmy Yancey makes his final recordings for Atlantic in New York
- Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s musical revue Two on the Aisle opens on Broadway (276 performances)
- Lynval Golding born (St Catherine, Jamaica) English ska singer, guitarist. Member of the Specials and the Fun Boy Three.
- Wynton Kelly makes his first recordings as leader for Blue Note in New York. Wynton Kelly (p) Oscar Pettiford, Franklin Skeete (b) Lee Abrams (d). Tracks cut include Blue Moon; Moonglow; Cherokee; Born To Be Blue & Where Or When
- The annual Bayreuth Festival is held for the first time since the end of the second world war
- Five Keys – The Glory Of Love / Hucklebuck With Jimmy (Aladdin)
- Dizzy Gillespie – The Champ parts 1 & 2 (Dee Gee)
- Bill Haley and The Saddle Men – Rocket 88 / Tearstains on My Heart (Holiday)
- Peppermint Harris – I Got Loaded / It’s You, Yes, It’s You (Aladdin)
- Wynonie Harris – Bloodshot Eyes / Confessin’ The Blues (King)
- Roy Hawkins – The Thrill Is Gone / Trouble Making Woman (Modern)
- John Lee Hooker – Leave My Wife Alone / Ramblin’ By Myself (Chess)
- Luke the Drifter (Hank Williams) – I’ve Been Down That Road Before / I Dreamed About Mama Last Night (MGM)
- Jimmie Nelson – T99 Blues / Rain Drop Blues (RPM)
- Bud Powell Trio – Un poco loco / It Could Happen to You (Blue Note)
- Andrew Gold born (Burbank, CA) American pop singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer. Son of Marni Nixon b.1930. Died 2011
- Steve Hillage born (London) English rock and electronica guitarist, composer, record producer, singer. Member of Khan, Gong, System 7 and solo artist.
- Tommy Bolin born (Sioux City, IO) American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter. Member of the James Gang from 1973 to 1974, Deep Purple from 1975 to 1976 and solo artist. Died 1976
- Elmore James makes his first recordings as leader for Trumpet in Jackson, MS. Elmore James (g, vo) Sonny Boy Williamson (hca) Leonard Ware (b) Frock O’Dell (d). Tracks cut include Dust My Broom & I Believe My Time Ain’t Long
- Lotte Lehmann gives her final concert performance in Santa Barbara, CA
- Peter Blegvad born (New York, NY) American rock and avant-garde singer, songwriter, guitarist, cartoonist. Member of Slapp Happy and the Golden Palominos.
- Artur Schnabel (69) dies in Axenstein, Switzerland
- Eric Bibb born (New York, NY) American blues singer, songwriter, guitarist. Son of Leon Bibb (b.1922).
- Robert H.P. Platz born (Baden-Baden, Germany) German composer, teacher.
- John Deacon born (Oadby, Leics) English rock bassist, singer songwriter. Founder member of Queen.
- Gustavo Santaolalla born (El Palomar, Argentina) Argentinian film composer, producer.
- Constant Lambert (45) dies in London of pneumonia
- Darius Milhaud’s String Quartet no.18 premiered in Aspen, CO
- Nat King Cole dissolves the King Cole Trio
- The Modern Jazz Quartet are formed
- Karlheinz Stockhausen’s pantomime Burleska premiered on West Deutsche Rundfunk radio
- Rob Halford born (Walsall) English rock singer, songwriter. Member of Judas Priest from 1973 to 1992 and from 2003.
- Gerry Mulligan makes his first recordings as leader for Prestige in New York. Jerry Lloyd, Nick Travis (tp) Ollie Wilson (tb) Allen Eager (ts) Gerry Mulligan, Max McElroy (bars) George Wallington (p) Phil Leshin (b) Walter Bolden (d) Gail Madden (perc). Tracks cut include Ide’s Side; Roundhouse; Bweebida Bobbida; Kaper; Funhouse & Mullenium
- The Dave Brubeck Quartet makes its first recordings in San Francisco. Paul Desmond (as) Dave Brubeck (p) Fred Dutton (b, bassoon) Herb Barman (d). Tracks cut include Crazy Chris; Somebody Loves Me; A Foggy Day & Lyons Busy
- Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats – Juiced / Independent Woman (Chess)
- Fats Domino – No No Baby / Right From Wrong (Imperial)
- Tommy Edwards – It’s All in the Game / All Over Again (MGM)
- BB King – B. B. Blues / She’s Dynamite (RPM)
- Michael Kaminski born (Harrogate, Yorkshire) English rock violinist. Member of Electric Light Orchestra from 1973 to 1983.
- Martin Chambers born (Hereford) English rock drummer, singer. Founder member of the Pretenders.
- Alejandro Viñao born (Buenos Aires) Argentinian composer, broadcaster.
- Chrissie Hynde born (Akron, OH) American rock and pop singer, songwriter, guitarist, journalist. Founder member of the Pretenders.
- Mark Isham born (New York, NY) American trumpeter, film soundtrack composer, session player.
- Cecil Gray (56) dies in Worthing, Sussex
- Leonard Bernstein marries actress Felicia Montealegre in New York
- Giuseppe Mulè (66) dies in Rome
- Igor Stravinsky’s opera The Rake’s Progress premiered in Venice, lib. W.H. Auden and C. Kallma
- Heitor Villa-Lobos’s String Quartet no.12 premiered in Sao Paulo
- Fritz Busch (61) dies in London of heart failure
- Jimmy Yancey (53) dies in Chicago following a stroke
- Daniel Lanois born (Hull, Quebec) Canadian record producer, guitarist, songwriter.
- Grazyna Bacewicz’s Cello Concerto no.1 premiered in Warsaw
- Grazyna Bacewicz’s String Quartet no.4 premiered in Liège
- David Coverdale born (Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Yorks) English rock singer, songwriter. Member of Deep Purple from 1973 to 1976, Whitesnake from 1978 and solo artist.
- Clovers – Fool Fool Fool / Needless (Atlantic)
- John Lee Hooker – I’m In The Mood / How Can You Do It (Modern)
- Hank Williams – Crazy Heart / (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle (MGM)
- Sonny Boy Williamson – Come on Back Home / Stop Crying (Trumpet)
- The Dave Brubeck Trio vols 1 & 2 (Fantasy)
- Duke Ellington and his Orchestra – Masterpieces by Ellington (Columbia)
- George Shearing Quintet – Touch of Genius (MGM)
- Sting aka Gordon Sumner born (Wallsend) English rock singer, songwriter, musician, actor. Founder member of the Police and solo artist.
- Vicente Minnelli’s film An American in Paris opens, starring Gene Kelly & Leslie Caron. Music by George Gershwin
- David Earl born (Stellenbosch, South Africa) South African composer, pianist, teacher.
- Bob Geldof born (Dún Laoghaire) Irish rock singer, songwriter, musician, activist. Founder member of the Boomtown Rats and solo artist.
- Jackie McLean makes his first recordings for Prestige in New York as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet. Miles Davis (tp) Jackie McLean (as) Sonny Rollins (ts) Walter Bishop Jr. (p) Tommy Potter (b) Art Blakey (d)
- Pierre Boulez’s Polyphonie X for orchestra premiered in Donaueschingen
- Ernst Krenek’s Double Concerto for violin, piano and small orchestra premiered in Donaueschingen
- John Mellencamp aka John Cougar born (Seymour, IN) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist.
- Hans Werner Henze’s Symphony no.3 premiered in Donaueschingen
- Dimitri Shostakovich’s Ten Poems on Texts by Revolutionary Poets op.88 for chorus premiered in Moscow
- Paul Dessau’s opera Die Verurteilung des Lukullus [The Condemnation of Lucullus], lib. Bertolt Brecht, premiered in Berlin (second and final version)
- Little Richard makes his first recordings for RCA in Atlanta. Little Richard (vo) Willie Mays (tp) Fred Jackson (ts) Albert Dobbins (as) J. Hudson (bars) J. Wimby (p) George Holloway Jr. (b) Donald J. Clark (d). Tracks cut include Every Hour; Taxi Blues; Get Rich Quick & Why Did You Leave Me?
- George Posford and Eric Maschwitz’s musical Zip Goes a Million opens in London starring George Formby (544 performances)
- Ernst Krenek’s Piano Concerto no.4 premiered in Cologne
- Charlie Creath (60) dies in Chicago
- Richard Lloyd born (Pittsburgh, PA) American rock guitarist, songwriter, singer. Member of Television from 1973 to 2007 and solo artist.
- Ahmad Jamal makes his first recordings for Epic in Chicago as the Three Strings. Ahmad Jamal (p) Ray Crawford (g) Eddie Calhoun (b). Tracks cut include The surrey with the fringe on top; Will you still be mine; Rica pulpa & Perfidia
- William ‘Bootsy’ Collins born (Cincinatti, OH) American funk bassist, singer, songwriter. Worked with JAmes Brown, Parliament / Funkadelic and led Bootsy’s Rubber Band. Brother of Catfish Collins (1944-2010).
- Kenneth “K.K.” Downing born (West Bromwich) English rock guitarist, songwriter. Member of Judas Priest from 1970 to 2011.
- Henry Cowell’s Set of Two Movements for piano premiered in New York
- Trilok Gurtu born (Mumbai) Indian tabla player, percussionist, composer. Worked with John McLaughlin amongst others.
- Earl Bostic – Flamingo / I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (King)
- Nat “King” Cole – Unforgettable / My First and My Last Love (Capitol)
- John Lee Hooker – Ground Hog Blues / Louise (Chess)
- Howlin’ Wolf – Moanin’ At Midnight / How Many More Years (Chess)
- Professor Longhair – Hey Little Girl / Willie Mae (Atlantic)
- Original Soundtrack – An American in Paris (MGM)
- Ronald Bell aka Khalis Bayyan born (Youngstown, OH) American R&B singer, songwriter, saxophonist, producer. Founder member of Kool and the Gang. Brother of Robert Bell (b.1950).
- Johnny Mercer and Hy Kraft’s musical Top Banana opens on Broadway starring Phil Silvers (350 performances)
- Lindy Morrison born (Brisbane) Australian rock drummer, writer, activist, actor. Member of the Go-Betweens from 1980 to 1989.
- Cosey Fanni Tutti aka Christine Newby born (Hull) English performance artist, musician, composer, singer. Founder member of Throbbing Gristle and worked with husband Chris Carter as Chris & Cosey.
- Frieda Hempel gives her final concert performance in New York
- Frank Sinatra marries actress Ava Gardner
- Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Erosão for orchestra premiered in Louisville
- Sigmund Romberg (64) dies in New York
- Henry Cowell’s Evensong at Brookside: A Father’s Lullaby for male chorus premiered in New York
- César Vezzani (63) dies in Bastia, Corsica
- Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe’s musical Paint Your Wagon opens on Broadway (289 performances)
- Nikolai Medtner (71) dies in London
- Richard Henry Walthew (79) dies in East Preston, Sussex
- Dora Bright (89) dies in Babington, Somerset
- Lorenzo Ferrero born (Turin) Italian composer, librettist, writer.
- Conlon Nancarrow’s Piano sonata premiered in Washington, DC
- Sergei Prokofiev’s Gypsy Fantasy op.127 for orchestra premiered in Moscow
- Joaquin Rodrigo’s Sonatas de Castilla for piano premiered in Madrid
- Hans Werner Henze’s radio opera Ein Landarzt [A Country Doctor] premiered in Hamburg, lib. Franz Kafka
- Darius Milhaud’s Concertino d’été op.311 [Summer concertino] for viola and chamber orchestra premiered in Charleston, SC
- Kent Nagano born (Berkeley, CA) American conductor.
- The Dinah Shore Show begins on NBC television. The final show is on 1 Jan 1956
- Roger Troutman born (Hamilton, OH) American funk and R&B singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. Worked with Funkadelic, Zapp and solo. Died 1999
- Julián Carrillo’s Horizontes: Poema sinfónico for violin, cello and harp premiered in Pittsburgh
- Elmore James – Dust My Broom / Catfish Blues (Trumpet)
- Johnny Ray – Cry / Little White Cloud That Cried (Okeh)
- Joe Turner – The Chill Is On / Bump Miss Susie (Atlantic)
- Muddy Waters – My Fault / Still a Fool (Chess)
- Hank Williams – Baby, We’re Really in Love / I’d Still Want You (MGM)
- Hank Williams Sings (MGM) 4 x 78rpm discs. Reissued as a 10″ LP
- Sergio Dias born (Sao Paulo) Brazilian rock guitarist, singer, songwriter. Member of Os Mutantes from 1967 to 1978 and from 2006 and solo artist.
- Jaco Pastorius born (Norristown, PA) American jazz bassist, composer. Member of Weather Report from 1976 to 1981 and solo artist. Died 1987
- Felix Petyrek (59) dies in Vídeň, Czech Rep
- Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd premiered in London, lib. E.M. Forster and E. Crozier
- Roman Bunka born (Frankfurt) German avant garde composer, guitarist, oud player . Worked with(mbryo, Dissidenten and others.
- Barry Finnerty born (San Francisco, CA) American jazz guitarist, keyboard player, bassist, bandleader, session player. Worked with the Brecker Brothers and the Crusaders.
- Gary Rossington born (Jacksonville, FL) American rock guitarist. Member of Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1964.
- Daniel Adni born (Haifa, Israel) Israeli classical pianist.
- Mildred Bailey (44) dies in Poughkeepsie, NY of heart failure brought on by diabetes
- Selim Palmgren (73) dies in Helsinki
- H-Bomb Ferguson makes his first recordings for Savoy in New York
- Sergei Prokofiev’s Wedding Suite op.126 for orchestra premiered in Moscow
- Sonny Rollins makes his first recordings as leader for Prestige in New York. Sonny Rollins (ts) Kenny Drew (p) Percy Heath (b) Art Blakey (d). Tracks cut include Mambo Bounce; This Love Of Mine; Shadrack & With A Song In My Heart
- Darius Milhaud’s Concertino d’automne op.309 [autumn concertino] for orchestra premiered in New York
- Enrique Santos Discépolo (50) dies suddenly in Buenos Aires following a loss of consciousness
- Alfrēds Kalniņš (72) dies in Riga, Latvia
- Gian Carlo Menotti’s television opera Amahl and the Night Visitors premiered on NBC TV, lib. Menotti
- John Scofield born (Dayton, OH) American jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader, session player. Worked with his own bands, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Billy Cobham and many others.
- Vic Berton (55) dies in Los Angeles of lung cancer
- Yvonne Elliman born (Honolulu, HA) American R&B singer, actress.
- Johnny Ray has the Billboard number one single for the first week of eleven with Cry
- Chris Jasper born (Cincinnati, OH) R&B and funk keyboard player, songwriter, producer. Member of the Isley Brothers, Isley Jasper Isley and solo artist.
- Tom Hamilton born (Colorado Springs, CO) American rock bass guitarist, songwriter, singer. Member of Aerosmith from 1970.
- Tiny Bradshaw – The Train Kept A-Rollin’ / Knockin’ Blues (King)
- Fats Domino – Careless Love / Rockin’ Chair (Imperial)
- Roscoe Gordon – Booted / Love You Til The Day I Die (Chess)
- John Lee Hooker – Anybody Seen My Baby / Turn Over a New Leaf (Modern)
- Louis Jordan – Lay Something on the Bar (Besides Your Elbows) / No Sale (Decca)
- BB King – Three O’Clock Blues / That Ain’t The Way (RPM)
- Luke the Drifter [Hank Williams] Ramblin’ Man / Pictures From Life’s Other Side (MGM)
- Swallows – It Ain’t the Meat / Eternally (King)
- Sonny Boy Williamson – Pontiac Blues / Sonny Boy’s Christmas Blues (Trumpet)
- Dániel Hamar born (Budapest) Hungarian folk bassist, percussionist. Member of Muzsikás.
- Jody Harris born (?, KS) American rock guitarist, singer, composer, session player. Worked with the Contortions, Raybeats, Golden Palominos and others.
- Fender introduces the Precision Bass bass guitar
- Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry found the Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète
- The Rodgers and Hart Songbook published in New York
- Blue Velvet (Bernie Wayne, Lee Morris); Getting To Know You; Hello, Young Lovers (both Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers); Unforgettable (Irving Gordon)
- John Cage – Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano vols 1 & 2 (Dial) Maro Ajemian (p)