- John Cage’s Music of Changes for piano premiered in New York
- Morton Feldman’s Intersections 2 for piano premiered in New York
- Sergei Prokofiev’s Pushkin Waltzes op.120 for orchestra premiered on Moscow radio
- Stan Tracey makes his first recordings for Parlophone in London as a member of the Kenny Baker Swing Group. Kenny Baker (tp) Vic Ash (cl, as) Harry Klein (as, bs) Freddy Courtenay (ts) Stan Tracey (p) Alan McDonald (b) Johnny Flanagan (d). Tracks cut include Lullaby Of Birdland & Exploitation
- Michael Hoenig born (Hamburg) German film soundtrack composer, electronic musician. Worked with Agitation Free, Tangerine Dream, Ashra and Klaus Schulze.
- Bohuslav Martinu’s Serenade for two clarinets, violin, viola and cello premiered in New York
- Darius Milhaud’s West Point Suite for band op.313 premiered in New York
- Craig Leon born (Miami, FL) American record producer, composer, arranger.
- Woody Guthrie records a session for Decca, but his abilities are too seriously impaired by Huntington’s Disease and the results are deemed unreleasable
- Hit Parade is first broadcast on BBC television, a show featuring the most popular songs of the day performed by a cast of studio regulars including Eve Boswell and Dick James
- Karlheinz Stockhausen arrives in Paris to take up studies with Olivier Messiaen and Darius Milhaud
- William Parker born (Bronx, NY) American jazz bassist, composer, poet, bandleader. Worked with Cecil Taylor, David S Ware, Peter Brötzmann and others.
- Scott Thurston born (Medford, OR) American rock guitarist, keyboard player, songwriter, session player. Member of the Stooges from 1973 to 1974 and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers from 1991.
- Bohuslav Martinu’s Concerto for cello and orchestra no.1 premiered in The Hague
- Johnnie Ray becomes the first white artist to top the Billboard R&B chart with Cry
- Artur Kapp (73) dies in Suure-Jaani, Finland
- Boris Blank born (Bern, Switzerland) Swiss electronic musician, songwriter. Member of Yello from 1979.
- Ryuichi Sakamoto born (Nakano, Japan) Japanese electronica, avant-garde and pop keyboard player, composer, actor. Founder member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra and solo artist.
- John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape no.5 for tape premiered in New York
- Morton Feldman’s Nature Pieces for piano premiered in New York
- Paul Stanley aka Stanley Harvey Eisen born (New York) American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter. Member of Kiss from 1973.
- Arthur Farwell (79) dies in New York
- Samuel Barber’s Melodies passagères op.27 for voice and piano premiered in Washington, DC
- Benjamin Britten’s Canticle II “Abraham and Isaac” op.51 for alto, tenor and piano premiered in Nottingham
- The Charlie Parker Sextet record a session for Mercury in New York. Benny Harris (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Walter Bishop Jr. (p) Teddy Kotick (b) Max Roach (d) Jose Mangual (bgo). Tracks cut include My Little Suede Shoes; La Cucaracha; Estrellita & Begin The Beguine
- Hilding Rosenberg’s Symphony no.6 (Sinfonia semplice) premiered in Gävle
- Paul Hindemith’s symphony Die Harmonie der Welt [the harmony of the world] premiered in Basel
- Tommy Ramone aka Tommy Erdelyi born (Budapest) American rock drummer, record producer, bluegrass guitarist, singer and mandolin player. Member of the Ramones from 1974 to 1978 and Uncle Monk from 2004.
- Fats Domino – You Know I Miss You / I’ll Be Gone (Imperial)
- Howlin’ Wolf – The Wolf Is At Your Door / Howlin’ Wolf Boogie (Chess)
- Treniers – It Rocks, It Rolls, It Swings / Taxi Blues (Okeh)
- Jenő Jandó born (Pécs, Hungary) Hungarian concert pianist, teacher.
- Jerry Shirley born (London) English rock drummer, session player. Member of Humble Pie from 1969 to 2002 with breaks.
- Virgil Thomson’s Five Songs from William Blake for baritone and orchestra premiered in Louisville, KY
- Arnold Schoenberg’s String Quartet in D premiered in Washington, DC
- John Cage’s Two Pastorales for prepared piano premiered in New York
- Morton Feldman’s Intermission 4 & Intermission 5 for piano premiered in New York
- Virgil Thomson’s Four Songs to Poems of Thomas Campion for mezzo-soprano and piano premiered in New York
- Michael McDonald born (St Louis, MO) American rock singer, songwriter. Member of the Doobie Brothers from 1976 to 1982 and solo artist.
- Paul Jeffreys born (London) English rock bassist, session player. Worked with Cockney Rebel and Be Bop Deluxe. Died 1988
- Alfred Einstein (71) dies in El Cerrito, CA
- James Ingram born (Akron, OH) American soul singer, songwriter, musician.
- Chas Jankel born (London) English rock and funk keyboard player, guitarist, session player, songwriter, bandleader. Worked with the Blockheads.
- Ivo Papazov born (Kardzhali, Bulgaria) Bulgarian gypsy clarinetist, bandleader.
- Santiago Rodriguez born (Cardenas, Cuba) Cuban-American concert pianist, teacher.
- Hans Werner Henze’s opera Boulevard Solitude premiered in Hanover, lib. G. Weil
- Randy Crawford born (Macon, GA) American jazz and soul singer. Worked as a solo artist and with the Crusaders, Cannonball Adderley, Bootsy Collins, Al Jarreau and others.
- Luigi Nono’s Composition for Orchestra No.1 premiered in Hamburg
- Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony-Concerto premiered in Moscow
- Felix Salmond (63) dies in New York
- Jean-Jacques Burnel born (London) Anglo-French rock bass guitarist, singer, songwriter. Founder member of the Stranglers.
- Gian Carlo Menotti’s television opera Amahl and the Night Visitors premiered in Bloomington, IN, lib. Menotti (staged version)
- Sergei Prokofiev’s The Volga meets the Don op.130 for orchestra premiered on Radio Moscow
- Chou Wen-Chung’s Suite for Harp and Wind Quintet premiered in New York
- Brad Whitford born (Winchester, MA) American rock guitarist. Member of Aerosmith from 1971 to 1981 and from 1984.
- Bohuslav Martinu’s Piano Trio no.3 premiered in New York
- Jo Stafford marries Paul Weston in Los Angeles
- Cardinals – Wheel Of Fortune / Kiss Me Baby (Atlantic)
- Jimmy Forrest – Night Train / Bolo Blues (United)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Give Me Central 209 / New York Boogie (Sittin’ In With)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Lonesome Dog Blues / Jake Head Boogie (RPM)
- BB King – Fine Lookin’ Woman / She Don’t Move Me No More (RPM)
- Muddy Waters – She Moves Me / Early Morning Blues (Chess)
- Hank Williams – Honky Tonk Blues / I’m Sorry for You, My Friend (MGM)
- Yma Sumac – Legend of the Sun Virgin (Capitol)
- Uncle Dave Macon plays his final show at the Grand Ole Opry
- Art Pepper makes his first recordings as leader for Discovery in Los Angeles. Art Pepper (as) Hampton Hawes (p) Joe Mondragon (b) Larry Bunker (d). Tracks cut include Brown Gold; These Foolish Things; Surf Ride & Holiday Flight
- Marielle Labèque born (Bayonne, France) French concert pianist. Worked as a duo with her sister Katia Labèque (b.1950).
- Ernie Isley born (Cincinnati, OH) American soul, funk and rock guitarist, songwriter, drummer. Member of the Isley Brothers from 1973 to 1984 and from 1991 and Isley Jasper Isley from 1984 to 1988. Brother of Ronald (b.1941), O’Kelly (1937-86), Rudolph (b.1939) and Marvin (1953-2010) Isley.
- David Diamond’s Quintet for clarinet, two violas and two cellos premiered in New York
- Martin Scherber’s Symphony No.1 premiered in Lüneberg, Germany
- Wolfgang Rihm born (Karlsruhe) German composer, teacher.
- Harry Partch’s opera King Oedipus premiered in Oakland, CA, lib. Partch after W.B. Yeats (first version)
- Howard Devoto aka Howard Trafford born (Scunthorpe) English rock singer, songwriter. Member of the Buzzcocks from 1975 to 1977, Magazine from 1977 to 1981 and from 2009 and Luxuria from 1987 to 1990.
- Morton Feldman’s Extensions I for violin and piano premiered in New York
- Chou Wen-Chung’s Seven Poems of the T’ang Dynasty for voice, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, piano and percussion premiered in New York
- Percy Wenrich (72) dies in New York
- Franz Waxman’s music for George Stevens’s film A Place in the Sun wins the best dramatic score Oscar at the 24th Academy Awards. Johnny Green and Saul Chaplin’s music for Vincente Minnelli’s film An American in Paris wins the award for best musical score
- A riot breaks out at Alan Freed’s Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland, OH
- Clifford Brown makes his first recordings with Chris Powell And The Five Blue Flames for Okeh in Chicago. Clifford Brown (tp) Vance Wilson (as, ts) Duke Wells (p) Eddie Lambert (g) James Johnson (b) Osie Johnson (d) Johnny Echo (vo) Chris Powell (vo, perc)
- Jay Dee Daugherty born (Santa Barbara, CA) American rock drummer, songwriter, session player. Member of the Patti Smith Group from 1975 to 1979.
- Uncle Dave Macon (81) dies in Murfreesboro, TN
- Charles Koechlin’s Alceste for choir premiered in Paris
- Hilding Rosenberg’s Violin Concerto no.2 premiered in Stockholm
- Sun Records begins operations in Memphis
- Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s film Singin’ in the Rain opens, starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor
- Ruth Brown – 5-10-15 Hours / Be Anything (Atlantic)
- Clovers – One Mint Julep / Middle Of The Night (Atlantic)
- Roscoe Gordon – No More Doggin’ / Maria (RPM)
- John Lee Hooker – Cold Chills All Over Me / Rock Me Mama (Modern)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Coffee Blues / New Short Haired Woman (Sittin’ In With)
- Charlie Parker and his Orchestra – Au Privave / Star Eyes (Mercury)
- Hank Thompson – The Wild Side of Life / Cryin’ in the Deep Blue Sea (Capitol)
- Gerry Mulligan – Mulligan Plays Mulligan (Prestige)
- Elliott Carter’s Emblems for chorus and piano premiered in New York, text A. Tate
- Gary Moore born (Belfast) Irish rock guitarist, singer, songwriter. Worked with Skid Row, Thin Lizzy and solo. Died 2011
- Walter Lang’s biopic of Jane Froman With a Song in My Heart opens, starring Susan Hayward. Froman herself dubbed Hayward’s singing voice
- Lou Donaldson makes his first recordings as part of the Milt Jackson Quintet for Blue Note in New York. Lou Donaldson (as) Milt Jackson (vib) John Lewis (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d)
- Peter Perrett born (London) English rock singer, songwriter. Founder member of the Only Ones.
- György Ligeti’s Cantata for Youth Festival premiered in Budapest
- Frederic Austin (80) dies in London
- Darius Milhaud’s Le candélabre à sept branches op.315 [the candelabra with seven branches] for piano premiered in Ein-gev, Israel
- Wadih Sabra (76) dies in Beirut
- Margarethe Siems (72) dies in Dresden
- Leo Smith (70) dies in Toronto
- Billie Holiday signs to Verve
- Elisabeth Schumann (63) dies in New York
- John Lee Hooker records the second of two sessions for Chess Records in Detroit
- Ketil Bjørnstad born (Oslo) Norwegian jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, writer, novelist.
- Gerald Barry born (Clarecastle, Ireland) Irish composer.
- Peter Maxwell Davies’ Phantom of the Winds for violin and piano premiered in Manchester
- Fats Domino – Goin’ Home / Reeling And Rocking (Imperial)
- Dominoes – Have Mercy Baby / Deep Sea Blues (Federal)
- Five Keys – Be Anything But Be Mine / Red Sails in the Sunset (Aladdin)
- Bill Haley & His Saddlemen – Rock the Joint / Icy Heart (Essex)
- Wynonie Harris – Keep on Churnin’ / Married Women Stay Married (King)
- John Lee Hooker – High Priced Woman / Union Station Blues (Chess)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Don’t Keep My Baby Long / Last Affair (RPM)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Sad News From Korea / Let Me Fly Your Kite (Mercury)
- Howlin’ Wolf – Gettin’ Old and Grey / Mr. Highway Man (Chess)
- Lloyd Price – Lawdy Miss Clawdy / Mailman Blues (Specialty)
- Swallows – Beside You / You Left Me (King)
- Treniers – Hadacol / Long Distance Call (Okeh)
- Muddy Waters – All Night Long / Country Boy (Chess)
- Hank Williams – Half as Much / Let’s Turn Back the Years (MGM)
- Sonny Boy Williamson – Nine Below Zero / Mighty Long Time (Trumpet)
- Thelonious Monk – The Genius Of Modern Music Volume 1 (Blue Note)
- Bud Powell – The Amazing Bud Powell (Blue Note)
- Original Soundtrack – Singin’ in the Rain (MGM)
- John Cage’s Water Music for piano, radio, whistles, water containers and a deck of cards premiered in New York
- Morton Feldman’s Extensions 3 for piano premiered in New York
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Romance in D-flat major for harmonica and orchestra premiered in New York
- Pierre Boulez’s Structures Ia for two pianos premiered in Paris
- Henry Cowell’s Four Trumpets for Alan premiered in New York
- Elliott Carter’s Six Pieces for kettle drums and orchestra premiered in New York
- Bohuslav Martinu’s Nonet for five recorders, clarinet, two violins and cello premiered in Basel
- The Miles Davis Sextet record the album Young Man With a Horn for Blue Note in New York. Miles Davis (tp) J.J. Johnson (tb) Jackie McLean (as) Gil Coggins (p) Oscar Pettiford (b) Kenny Clarke (d)
- Lee Brilleaux born (Durban, S Africa) English rock singer, songwriter, harmonica player. Member of Dr Feelgood from 1971 to 1994. Died 1994
- Lowell ‘Sly’ Dunbar born (Kingston, Jamaica) Jamaican reggae and rock drummer, record producer, session player. Worked with Robbie Shakespeare as Sly & Robbie.
- The Chess brothers set up Checker Records
- RCA Victor is the first company to issue long playing records in sleeves with flat spines with text on
- Renaud Pierre Manuel Séchan born (Paris) French pop singer, songwriter, actor.
- Giovanni Tebaldini (86) dies in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy
- Darius Milhaud’s Cantata from Proverbs premiered in Lawrence, NY
- David Byrne born (Dumbarton) Scottish-American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, writer, founder of Luaka Bop records. Member of Talking Heads from 1975 to 1991 and solo artist.
- Olivier Messiaen begins compiling his notebooks of bird song
- Italo Montemezzi (76) dies in Vigasio, Italy
- Oscar Straus’s operetta Bozena premiered in Munich. Lib. J. Brammer, A. Grinwald
- George Strait born (Poteet, TX) American country, singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer.
- Jakov Gotovac’s opera Mila Gojsalica premiered in Zagreb. Lib. Gotovac
- Darius Milhaud’s Miracles de la foi op.314 premiered in Cedar Rapids, IA
- Olivier Messiaen & Pierre Henry’s Timbres-Durées, musique concrète for tape premiered on Radio Paris
- Georg Schumann (85) dies in Berlin
- Pierre Henry’s Microphone bien tempéré; Musique sans titre & Concerto des ambiguïtés premiered in Paris
- Jean-Marc Cerrone born (Vitry-sur-Seine, France) French electronic musician, drummer, singer, songwriter, producer. Worked as Cerrone.
- Pauline Oliveros’ Undertone for violin and piano premiered in Houston
- Howard Ferguson’s Piano concerto premiered in London
- Hans Werner Henze’s ballet Labyrinth premiered in Schwetzingen (concert performance)
- Henry Cowell’s Fantasie on a Theme by Ferdinand Kücken for band premiered in West Point, NY
- Karl Bartos born (Berchtesgarten, Germany) German electronic musician, percussionist. Member of Kraftwerk from 1975 to 1990 and solo artist.
- Georges Brassens – La mauvaise réputation / Le petit cheval (Polydor France)
- BB King – Shake it Up and Go / My Own Fault, Darling (RPM)
- Al Martino – Here in My Heart / I Cried Myself to Sleep (Capitol)
- Thelonious Monk – Straight No Chaser / Four In One (Blue Note)
- John Ellis born (London) English rock guitarist, session player. Member of the Vibrators from 1974 to 1978 and the Stranglers from 1990 to 2000. Worked with Peter Hammill’s K Group and solo.
- John Perry born (Bristol) English rock guitarist, songwriter, writer, session player. Founder member of the Only Ones.
- Michael ‘Nicko’ McBrain born (London) English rock drummer. Member of Streetwalkers from 1975 to 1977, Trust from 1979 to 1983 and Iron Maiden from 1983.
- Pavel Kogan born (Moscow) Russian conductor, violinist.
- Yukihiro Takahashi born (Tokyo) Japanese pop and electronica drummer, singer, songwriter. Member of the Sadistic Mike Band from 1972 to 1975 and founder member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra.
- Hans Werner Henze’s Sinfonische Zwischenpiele aus dem lyrischen Drama “Boulevard Solitude” [Symphonic interludes from the lyrical drama “Boulevard Solitude”] premiered in Aachen
- Adolf Busch (60) dies in Guilford, VT
- Pete Farndon born (Hereford) English rock bass guitarist. Founder member of the Pretenders. Died 1983
- Oliver Knussen born (Glasgow) Anglo-Scottish composer, conductor.
- Leonard Bernstein’s opera Trouble in Tahiti premiered in Waltham, MA, lib. Bernstein
- Emma Eames (86) dies in New York
- John Kirby (43) dies in Hollywood, CA of complications of diabetes brought upon by alcohol abuse
- Alberto Williams (89) dies in Buenos Aires
- Heinrich Schlusnus (63) dies in Frankfurt
- (to 21 June) Alan Freed’s Dance Caravan of Rhythm and Blues Stars gives three shows in Ohio – in Vermilion, Akron and Youngstown
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ An Oxford Elegy for narrator, chorus and orchestra premiered in Oxford
- Lou Donaldson makes his first recordings as leader for Blue Note in New York. Lou Donaldson (as) Horace Silver (p) Gene Ramey (b) Art Taylor (d). Tracks cut include Roccus; Cheek To Cheek; The Things We Did Last Summer & Lou’s Blues
- Lodewijk Mortelmans (84) dies in Antwerp
- Tim Finn born (Te Awamutu, New Zealand) New Zealand rock singer, songwriter, musician. member of Split Enz from 1972 to 1984, Crowded House from 1990 to 1991 and solo artist. Brother of Neil Finn (b.1958).
- Harold Rome, Arthur Kober and Joshua Logan’s musical Wish You Were Here opens on Broadway (598 performances)
- Yoritsune Matsudaira’s Theme and Variations for piano and orchestra premiered in Salzburg
- John Lee Hooker – Walkin’ the Boogie / Sugar Mama (Chess)
- Louis Jordan – Junco Partner / Azure-te (Decca)
- Frankie Laine – High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me) / Rock of Gibraltar (Columbia)
- Peggy Lee – Lover / You Go to My Head (Decca)
- Louvin Brothers – Great Atomic Power / Insured Beyond the Grave (MGM)
- Esther Phillips – Aged and Mellow / Bring My Lovin’ Back to Me (Federal)
- Dinah Washington – Mad About the Boy / I Can’t Face the Music (Mercury)
- Muddy Waters – Please Have Mercy / Looking for My Baby (Chess)
- Sonny Boy Williamson – Mr. Downchild / Stop Now Baby (Trumpet)
- Dinu Lupatti – Chopin Waltzes (Columbia)
- Dan Aykroyd born (Ottawa) Canadian singer, actor, comedian. Member of the Blues Brothers with John Belushi.
- Henriëtte Bosmans (56) dies in Amsterdam
- Reinhard Febel born (Metzingen, Germany) German composer, music theorist, teacher.
- Andy Fraser born (Wolverhampton) English rock bass guitarist, songwriter, singer. Member of Free from 1968 to 1972.
- Medea Figner (93) dies in Paris
- Darius Milhaud’s Second Quintet for strings op.316 premiered in Ann Arbor, MI
- Chet Baker makes his first studio recordings as a member of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet for Pacific Jazz in Los Angeles. Chet Baker (tp) Gerry Mulligan (bars) Jimmie Rowles (p) Joe Mondragon (b)
- Rued Langgaard (58) dies in Ribe, Denmark
- Hank Williams’s divorce from Audrey Mae Sheppard is finalised
- Vera Lynn has the Billboard number one single with Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart, the first song recorded by a foreign artist to achieve the top position
- Alla Pavlova born (Ukraine) Russian composer.
- Bob Casale born (Kent, OH) American rock guitarist, keyboard player, songwriter. Founder member of Devo. Brother of Gerald Casale (b.1948).
- Chris Cross aka Christopher Allen born (London) English rock bass guitarist, songwriter, psychtherapist. Founder member of Ultravox.
- Johnny Thunders aka John Anthony Genzale born (Leesburg, FL) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. member of the New York Dolls from 1971 to 1975, the Heartbreakers from 1975 to 1978 and solo artist. Died 1991
- Stewart Copeland born (Alexandria, VA) American rock drummer, songwriter, singer. Member of the Police from 1977 to 1986.
- Nicolette Larson born (Helena, MT) American pop and country singer, guitarist. Died 1997
- Dominic Muldowney born (Southampton) English composer, teacher.
- Friedo Josch born (Mainz) German rock keyboard player, woodwind player, composer. Member of Dissidenten from 1981.
- Luigi Nono’s Epitaph for Federico García Lorca No.1 for soprano, baritone and chorus premiered in Darmstadt
- Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kreuzspiel no.1/7 for oboe, bass clarinet, piano and percussion premiered in Darmstadt
- Janis Siegel born (Brooklyn, NY) American jazz and pop singer. Member of Manhattan Transfer from 1972 and solo artist.
- Herbert Murrill (43) dies in London of cancer
- Henry Cowell’s Symphony no.7 premiered in Baltimore
- Andrzej Panufnik’s Heroic Overture premiered in Helsinki
- Johnny Ace – My Song / Follow The Rule (Duke)
- Clovers – Ting-a-Ling / Wonder Where My Baby’s Gone (Atlantic)
- Floyd Dixon – Call Operator / Wine, Wine, Wine (Aladdin)
- John Lee Hooker – It Hurts Me So / I Got Eyes for You (Modern)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Gone With the Wind / She’s Almost Dead (Mercury)
- Howlin’ Wolf – Saddle My Pony / Worried All the Time (Chess)
- BB King – Someday, Somewhere / Gotta Find My Baby (RPM)
- Hank Williams – Jambalaya (On the Bayou) / Window Shopping (MGM)
- Malcolm Arnold’s English Dances for Orchestra op.33 premiered in London
- Ian Hobson born (Wolverhampton) English concert pianist, conductor, teacher.
- Charlie Fuqua leaves the Ink Spots
- Bob Mothersbaugh born (Akron, OH) American rock guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of Devo. Brother of Mark Mothersbaugh (b.1950).
- Hank Williams is fired from the Grand Ole Opry for persistent drunkeness
- Richard Strauss’ opera Die Liebe der Danae [the love of the Danae] premiered in Salzburg, lib. J. Gregor
- Heiner Goebbels born (Neustadt, Germany) German composer, music director, teacher.
- Hank Williams is arrested in Alexander City, AL for public drunkenness
- John Hiatt born (Indianapolis, IN) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist, pianist.
- Kim Kashkashian born (Detroit) American viola player, teacher.
- Joe Strummer aka John Mellor born (Ankara, Turkey) English rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Member of the 101ers from 1974 to 1976, the Clash from 1976 to 1986 and the Mescalaros from 1999 to 2002. Died 2002
- Peter Laughner born (Cleveland, OH) American rock guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of Pere Ubu. Died 1977
- Hociel Thomas (48) dies in Oakland, CA of heart disease
- Linton Kwesi Johnson born (Chapelton, Jamaica) Anglo-Jamaican dub poet.
- David Tudor gives the premiere of John Cage’s 4′ 33″ in Woodstock, NY
- Simon Bainbridge born (London) English composer, teacher. Head of composition at the Royal Academy of Music 1999-2007.
- Percy Mayfield is seriously injured in a car accident that leaves him facially disfigured
- Ruth Brown – Daddy Daddy / Have A Good Time (Atlantic)
- Little Walter – Juke / Can’t Hold On Much Longer (Checker)
- Luke the Drifter [Hank Williams] – Be Careful of Stones (That You Throw) / Why Don’t You Make Up Your Mind (MGM)
- Kitty Wells – It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels / I Don’t Want Your Money (Decca)
- Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie – Bird and Diz (Mercury)
- Various Artists – Anthology of American Folk Music (Folkways) Collection of 1920s blues, folk and country recordings compiled by Harry Smith
- Hans Werner Henze’s ballet Der Idiot premiered in Berlin
- Gertrude Lawrence (54) dies in NEw York of liver cancer
- The Stan Kenton band record the first of 5 sessions in 9 days for Capitol in Chicago for the New Concepts of Artistry In Rhythm album. Conte Candoli, Buddy Childers, Don Dennis, Maynard Ferguson, Ruban McFall (tp) Bill Holman, Richie Kamuca (ts) Stan Kenton (p) Lee Konitz, Vinnie Dean (as) Sal Salvador (g) Don Bagley (b) Stan Levey (d) Bill Russo, Bob Fitzpatrick, Keith Moon, George Roberts Frank Rosolino (tb) Derek Walton (perc), Kay Brown (vo)
- Manuel Göttsching born (Berlin) Rock and electronica guitarist, composer, producer. Founder member of Ash Ra Tempel and Ashra and solo artist.
- Dave Stewart born (Sunderland) English musician, songwriter, record producer. Member of the Tourists from 1977 to 1980 and Eurythmics from 1980 to 1990 and 1999 to 2005.
- Grazyna Bacewicz’s Symphony no.3 premiered in Krakow
- Ray Charles records his first session for Atlantic in New York. Tracks cut include The Sun’s Gonna Shine Again; Jumpin’ In The Mornin’; Roll With Me Baby & The Midnight Hour
- Neil Peart born (Hamilton, Ontario) Canadian rock drummer, songwriter, writer. Founder member of Rush.
- Don Was aka David Fagenson born (Detroit, MI) American jazz and pop singer, instrumentalist, composer, record producer. Member of Was (Not Was) from 1979 to 1992 and from 2004.
- Hans Werner Henze’s Piano Concerto no.1 premiered in Düsseldorf
- Vesta Tilley (88) dies in London
- Dee Dee Ramone aka Douglas Colvin born (Fort Lee, VA) American rock bassist, songwriter. Founder member of the Ramones. Died 2002
- Frances Alda (73) dies in Venice following a stroke
- Rhys Chatham born (New York, NY) American avant-garde guitarist, trumpeter, composer.
- Henry Kaiser born (Oakland, CA) American avant-garde and rock guitarist, composer, record producer, marine photographer.
- Nile Rodgers born (New York, NY) American funk, R&B and rock guitarist, songwriter, record producer. Founder member of Chic.
- Nat Ayer (65) dies in Bath, Somerset
- Hank Williams begins a series of Saturday night appearances on the Louisiana Hayride
- Mark Pankler aka Vudi born (Chicago, IL) American rock guitarist, session player. Member of American Music Club from 1982 to 1994 and from 2004.
- Daniel Blumenthal born (Landstuhl, Germany) German-American concert pianist.
- Boris Blacher’s opera Preussisches Märchen [Prussian fairytale], lib. Heinz von Cramer, premiered in Berlin
- Mark Sandman born (Newton, MA) American rock singer, bass guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of Morphine. Died 1999
- Darius Milhaud’s Petites légendes op.319 for voice and piano premiered in Aspen, CO
- John Lombardo born (Jamestown, NY) American rock guitarist, songwriter. Member of 10,000 Maniacs from 1981 to 1986 and from 1994 to 2002 and John and Mary with Mary Ramsey.
- Eddie Boyd – Five Long Years / Blue Coat Man (JOB)
- Varetta Dillard – Them There Eyes / You Are Gone (Savoy)
- Fats Domino – Poor Poor Me / Trust in Me (Imperial)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Bald Headed Woman / Dirty House (Sittin’ In With)
- Mills Brothers – The Glow-Worm / After All (Decca)
- Treniers – Rockin’ On Sunday Night / Cheatin’ On Me (Okeh)
- Hank Williams – Settin’ the Woods on Fire / You Win Again (MGM)
- Hank Williams – Moanin’ The Blues (MGM)
- Virgil Thomson’s ballet The Harvest According premiered in New York
- John Otway born (Aylesbury) English rock singer, songwriter.
- Pierre Boulez’s Oubli signal lapidé [oblivion signal stoned] for 12 solo voices premiered in Cologne
- Jody Stephens born (Memphis, TN) American rock drummer, singer. Member of Big Star from 1971 to 1974 and 1993 to 2010 and Golden Smog from 1989.
- American Bandstand begins transmitting as Bob Horn’s Bandstand
- Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening play a concert of tape music at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
- Horace Silver makes his first recordings as leader for Blue Note in New York. Horace Silver (p) Gene Ramey (b) Art Blakey (d). Tracks cut include Safari; Thou Swell & Horoscope
- Claiborne Williams (83) dies in New Orleans
- Brian Jackson born (Brooklyn, NY) American R&B and jazz flautist, keyboard player, songwriter, session player. Worked with Gil Scott-Heron from 1972 to 1980.
- Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony no. 7 premiered in Moscow
- Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Spiel no.1/4 for orchestra premiered in Donaueschingen
- José Luis Turina born (Madrid) Spanish composer, teacher.
- Kaija Saariaho born (Helsinki) Finnish composer.
- Cordell Mosson born (Plainfield, NJ) American funk bass guitarist. member of Funkadelic / Parliament from 1972 to 2013. Died 2013
- Hank Williams marries his second wife Billie Jean Jones in Minden, LA
- Brent Mydland born (Munich) American rock keyboard player. Member of the Grateful Dead from 1979 to 1990. Died 1990
- Frederick Jacobi (61) dies in New York of heart failure
- Sergei Bortkiewicz (75) dies in Vienna following a stomach operation
- David Was aka David Weiss born (Detroit, MI) American jazz and pop instrumentalist, composer, journalist. Member of Was (Not Was) from 1979 to 1992 and from 2004.
- Hattie McDaniel (57) dies in Los Angeles from breast cancer
- Brigitte Engerer born (Tunis) French concert pianist. Died 2012
- Thomas Dinger born (Düsseldorf) Rock and electronica drummer, singer, songwriter. Member of Neu! in 1975 and La Düsseldorf from 1976 to 1981. Brother of Klaus Dinger (1946-2008). Died 2002
- Elliott Carter’s Eight Studies and a Fantasy for wind quartet premiered in New York
- Otto Luening’s Fantasy in Space for flute and magnetic tape premiered in New York
- Joan Sutherland makes her Royal Opera House debut in a production of Mozart’s Magic Flute
- Ida Kavafian born (Istanbul) Turkish violinist, viola player.
- Bernard Edwards born (Greenville, NC) American R&B, funk and rock bassist, songwriter, record producer. Founder member of Chic. Died 1996
- Mahalia Jackson begins her first European tour
- Ray Charles – The Midnight Hour / Roll With Me Baby (Atlantic)
- Clovers – Hey Miss Fannie / I Played the Fool (Atlantic)
- Miles Davis – Dig parts 1 & 2 (Prestige)
- John Lee Hooker – Key to the Highway / Bluebird Blues (Modern)
- Billy Ward and the Dominoes – I’d Be Satisfied / No Room (Federal)
- Nat King Cole – Unforgettable (Capitol)
- Billie Holiday Sings (Clef)
- Stan Kenton – City of Glass (Capitol)
- Atlantic unveils its first ‘binaural’ recordings – a primitive form of stereo
- Alan Winstanley born (London) English record producer.
- Hank Dutt born (Muscatine, IO) American classical and avant-garde viola player. Member of the Kronos Quartet from 1973.
- Dimitri Shostakovich’s The Sun Shines Over our Motherland op.90 for chorus and orchestra premiered in Moscow
- Igor Stravinsky’s Cantata late medieval English verse & Concertino for jazz orchestra premiered in Los Angeles
- The Charlie Parker Sextet play the Carnegie Hall, New York
- The first UK singles chart is published by NME. Al Martino has the first number one with Here In My Heart which stays on top for 9 weeks
- Solomiya Krushelnytska (80) dies in Lviv, Ukraine
- Grazyna Bacewicz’s Piano Quintet no.1 premiered in Krakow
- Charles Penrose (79) dies in London of heart failure
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Prelude on an Old Carol Tune for orchestra premiered on BBC Radio
- Henry Cowell’s Symphony no.7 premiered in Baltimore, MD
- Charles Vidor’s musical film Hans Christian Andersen opens starring Danny Kaye and Jane Wyman. Music by Frank Loesser
- Earl Hooker makes his first recordings for King in Bradenton, FL backing singer Johnny O’Neal. He also cuts four instrumental sides credited to the Earl Hooker Trio (Earl Hooker (g) Roosevelt Wardell (p) Robert Dixon (b) William Cochran (d))
- Alokesh ‘Bappi’ Lahiri born (Kolkata) Indian film music composer, music director, singer.
- Camargo Guarnieri’s opera Um homem só [One man only], lib. Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, premiered in Rio de Janeiro
- Semyon Bychkov born (St Petersburg) Russian conductor.
- Fats Domino – How Long / Dreaming (Imperial)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – New Worried Life Blues / One Kind of Favor (Sittin’ In With)
- Howlin’ Wolf – Oh, Red!! / My Last Affair (Chess)
- Bull Moose Jackson – Big Ten Inch Record / I Needed You (King)
- Little Walter – Sad Hours / Mean Old World (Checker)
- Willie Mabon – I Don’t Know / Worry Blues (Chess)
- Hank Snow – (Now and Then, There’s) A Fool Such as I / The Gal Who Invented Kissin’ (RCA Victor)
- Muddy Waters – Standing Around Crying / Gone to Main Street (Chess)
- Hank Williams – I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive / I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (MGM)
- Thelonious Monk – The Genius Of Modern Music Volume 2 (Blue Note)
- Jean Ritchie – Singing the Traditional Songs of Her Kentucky Mountain Family (Elektra)
- Ric Sanders born (Birmingham) English folk and jazz violinist, composer. Worked with Stomu Yamashta, the Albion Band and member of Fairport Convention from 1984.
- Virgil Thomson’s Sea Piece With Birds for orchestra premiered in Dallas
- Hank Williams is arrested in Shreveport, LA for public drunkenness
- Ernst Krenek’s Concerto for harp and chamber orchestra premiered in Philadelphia
- Roger Bourland born (Evanston, IL) American composer, publisher, teacher
- John Lurie born (Worcester, MA) American actor, rock and jazz musician, painter. Founder member of the Lounge Lizards.
- Fartein Valen (65) dies in Haugesund, Norway
- Francis Poulenc’s Thème varié for piano premiered in Paris
- Luigi Nono’s Epitaph for Federico García Lorca No.2 for flute and small orchestra premiered in Baden-Baden
- Henry Cowell’s Set of Five for violin, piano and percussion premiered in New York
- Hans Abrahamsen born (Copenhagen) Danish composer, teacher.
- Dmitri Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues for piano premiered in St Petersburg (first part)
- David Butler’s musical film April in Paris opens starring Doris Day and Ray Bolger. Music by Vernon Duke and LeRoy Prinz
- Sergio Assad born (São Paulo) Brazilian classical guitarist, composer, teacher.
- Andre-Michel Schub born (Paris) French concert pianist.
- Gerd Kühr born (Maria Luggau, Austria) Austrian conductor, composer, teacher.
- Dmitri Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues for piano premiered in St Petersburg (second part)
- Fletcher Henderson (55) dies in New York following a stroke
- June Anderson born (Boston, MA) American soprano singer.
- Tina Davidson born (Stockholm) American composer.
- Willie Lee Brown (52) dies in Tunica, MS of pneumonia
- Charlie Parker Quartet record a session for Clef in New York. Charlie Parker (as) Hank Jones (p) Teddy Kotick (b) Max Roach (d). Tracks cut include The Song Is You (I Hear Music); Laird Bird; Kim & Cosmic Rays
- Mel Stitzel (50) dies in New Orleans
- Chuck Berry plays his first show with pianist Johnnie Johnson in St Louis, MO
- Karel Goeyvaerts’s purely electronic piece Nummer 4 met dode tonen [Number 4 with dead tones] completed
- Big Maybelle – Gabbin’ Blues / Rain Down Rain (Okeh)
- Five Royales – Baby Don’t Do It / Take All of Me (Apollo)
- John Lee Hooker – New Boogie Chillen’ / I Tried (Modern)
- BB King – Story From My Heart and Soul / Boogie Woogie Woman (RPM)
- Treniers – Poon-Tang / Hi-Yo Silver! (Okeh)
- Les Paul & Mary Ford – Bye Bye Blues (Capitol)
- Dr Alimantado aka Winton Thompson born (Kingston, Jamaica) Jamaican reggae singer, DJ, producer.
- Charles Hayward born (England) English rock and avant-garde drummer, multi-instrumentalist. Founder member of This Heat, Camberwell Now and solo artist.
- Roger Miller born (Ann Arbor, MI) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of Mission of Burma and worked solo as No Man.
- Pierre Schaeffer’s book À la recherche d’une musique concrète [In Search of a Concrete Music] self-published in Paris
- Artie Shaw’s autobiography The Trouble With Cinderella: An Outline of Identity published
- High Noon (Ned Washington, Dimitri Tiomkin); Hound Dog (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller); It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels (J. D. Miller); Jambalaya; Your Cheatin’ Heart (Hank Williams); When I Fall in Love (Edward Heyman, Victor Young)
- Sidney Bechet – Deux heures du matin au Vieux Colombier (Vogue France)
- Pierre Henry – Le microphone bien tempéré (INA-GRM France)