August 15th: On this day

1955, Elvis Presley attended a meeting in Memphis with his manager Bob Neal, Colonel Tom Parker and Vernon Presley, at which a new contract was signed that named Colonel Parker as “special advisor” with control of virtually every aspect of Elvis’ career. Parker was not really a Colonel at all, but a Dutch immigrant named Andreas Cornelius van Kujik, whose honorary title was given to him in 1948 by Governor Jimmie Davis of Louisiana. He was a flamboyant promoter whose pre-Elvis experience included shows called The Great Parker Pony Circus and Tom Parker And His Dancing Turkeys and was a veteran of carnivals, medicine shows and various other entertainment enterprises.

1960, Elvis Presley started a five week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘It’s Now Or Never’, also No.1 in the UK. The song which was based on the Italian song, ‘O Sole Mio’, gave Presley his first post-army No.1.

1965, The Beatles set a new world record for the largest attendance at a pop concert when they played in front of 55,600 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City. Sharing the bill with The Beatles; Brenda Holloway, The King Curtis Band, The Young Rascals and Sounds Incorporated. The Beatles were paid $160,000 for the show, the set list: ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘She’s a Woman’, ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzie’, ‘Ticket to Ride’, ‘Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby’, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘Baby’s In Black’, ‘Act Naturally’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Help!’, and ‘I’m Down’. Two of the Rolling Stones were among the audience, Mick Jagger and Keith Richard and later that evening; Bob Dylan visited The Beatles at their hotel.

1966, During a US tour The Beatles appeared at the D.C. Stadium in Washington DC to over 32,000 fans. Tickets cost $3. Five members of the Ku Klux Klan, led by the Imperial Wizard of Maryland, picketed the concert.

1967, Jimi Hendrix Experience played a one night only show at The Fifth Dimension club, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The club is now demolished.

1969, During a North American tour Led Zeppelin appeared at the Hemisfair Arena in San Antonio. Jethro Tull and Sweet Smoke were also on the bill. During the show Zeppelin received abuse from locals due to the length of their hair.

1969, Woodstock Festival was held on Max Yasgur’s 600 acre farm in Bethel outside New York. Attended by over 400,000 people, the event featured, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Santana, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Canned Heat, Joan Baez, Melanie, Ten Years After, Sly and the Family Stone, Johnny Winter, Jefferson Airplane, Ravi Shanker, Country Joe and the Fish, Blood Sweat and Tears, Arlo Guthrie, and Joe Cocker. During the three days there were three deaths, two births and four miscarriages. Joni Mitchell was booked to appear but had to pull out due to being booked for a TV show, wrote the song ‘Woodstock.’

1979, The futuristic satire film ‘Americathon’ premiered in Los Angeles featuring Meat Loaf. The soundtrack included songs by The Beach Boys, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello.

1981, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie started a nine week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Endless Love’, a No.7 in the UK. The song was the title from a film starring Brooke Shields.

1987, Michael Jackson had his third UK No.1 with the single ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’, a duet with Siedah Garrett. It was originally intended to be a duet between Jackson and either Barbra Streisand or Whitney Houston. Session singer Siedah Garrett also worked with Madonna.

1991, Paul Simon played a free concert in New York’s Central Park before an audience of three quarters of a million people.

1992, Jamaican singer-song writer Jackie Edwards died. Edwards worked as a singer, songwriter for Island Records. He wrote both ‘Keep On Running’ and ‘Somebody Help Me’, that became No.1 singles for The Spencer Davis Group as well as releasing his own albums.

1992, Boyz II Men started a 13 week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘End Of The Road’ the group’s first US No.1. Taken from the Eddie Murphy film ‘Boomerang’, it broke the 36-year-old record held by Elvis for the longest run at No.1

1992, INXS went to No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Welcome To Whoever You Are’, their first UK No.1 album.

1995, The Dublin hotel owned by U2 ‘The Clarence’ was damaged by a fire which took over three hours to control. Also ‘The Kitchen’ nightclub in the same building was affected by the fire and was evacuated.

1998, Boyzone scored their fourth UK No.1 single with ‘No Matter What’, making them the first Irish group to have four No.1 singles. Also Boyzone became the first act in history to reach the Top 5 with their first 12 single releases. The song came from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ‘Whistle Down The Wind’.

2000, David Bowie and his wife Iman celebrated the birth of their first child a baby girl named Alexandria Zahra Jones.

2002, A memorial to John Lennon was unveiled in the remote Scottish village of Durness where Lennon had spent his holidays from age seven to fifteen. The lyrics from ‘In My Life’ had been inscribed on three stones.

2004, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts was being treated for throat cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in June.

2007, Sixteen solo John Lennon albums were made available to download on iTunes for the first time. A deal was approved by the late Beatle’s widow Yoko Ono following a lengthy legal battle between the band’s label Apple Corps and Apple Inc, which owned Tunes.

2008, US record producer Jerry Wexler, who influenced the careers of singers including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, died at his home in Sarasota, Florida aged 91. Wexler produced the Aretha Franklin hit Respect, the Wilson Pickett song, In the Midnight Hour and helped Bob Dylan win his first Grammy award by producing the 1979 album, Slow Train Coming. He also coined the term ‘rhythm and blues’ while writing for Billboard magazine in the late 1940s.

2009, U2’s first UK gig on their current tour broke the attendance record for a Wembley Stadium concert. Over 88,000 people attended the show.

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