- Andy Gill born (Manchester) English rock guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of the Gang of Four.
- Alexander Gretchaninov (91) dies in New York
- Nels Cline born (Los Angeles, CA) American rock and avant-garde guitarist, composer. Member of Wilco from 2004 and solo artist.
- Ann Magnuson born (Charleston, WV) American actress, performance artist, rock singer. Member of Bongwater from 1985 to 1992.
- Bernard Sumner born (Salford) English rock singer, guitarist, keyboard player, songwriter. Founder member of Joy Division, New Order and Electronic.
- (& 5 Jan) Count Basie and His Orchestra record two sessions in New York for Verve. Wendell Culley, Reunald Jones, Thad Jones (tp) Quincy Jones, Joe Newman (tp, arr) Henry Coker, Bill Hughes, Benny Powell (tb) Bill Graham (as) Marshall Royal (as, cl) Frank Wess (ts, fl, arr) Frank Foster (ts, arr) Charlie Fowlkes (bars) Count Basie (p, org) Freddie Green (g) Eddie Jones (b) Sonny Payne (d) Joe Williams (vo) Ernie Wilkins (arr). Tracks cut appear on April in Paris.
- Mistinguett (80) dies in Bougival, France
- Alexander Baillie born (Stockport) English cellist, teacher.
- Paul de Maleingreau (68) dies in Brussels
- Elvis Presley makes his first RCA recordings in Nashville including Heartbreak Hotel. Elvis Presley (vo) Scotty Moore (el g) Chet Atkins (ac g) Floyd Cramer (p) Bill Black (b) D.J. Fontana (d)
- The Coasters make their first recordings for Atco in New York. Carl Gardner, Leon Hughes (tenor) Billy Guy (baritone) Bobby Nunn (bass) Adolph Jacobs (g). Tracks cut include Down In Mexico; Turtle Dovin’; One Kiss Led To Another & Brazil
- Roger Sessions’s Idyll of Theocritus for soprano and orchestra premiered in Louisville, KY
- Miklós Rózsa’s Violin Concerto premiered in Dallas
- Paul Young born (Luton, Bedfordshire) English pop singer, songwriter, guitarist. Member of the Q-Tips from 1979 to 1982 and solo artist.
- Peter Ritzen born (Ghent, Belgium) Belgian pianist, composer, conductor.
- Frederick May’s Sunlight and Shadow for orchestra premiered in Dublin
- Ralph Carney born (Akron, OH) American rock saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, session player, instrument collector. Worked with Tin Huey, Tom Waits and others.
- James Brown and the Famous Flames sign to King Records subsidiary Federal in Cincinnati, OH
- Andy Cox born (Birmingham) English pop and rock guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of the Beat and the Fine Young Cannibals.
- Joan Jeanrenaud née Dutcher born (Memphis, TN) American cellist, session player. Member of the Kronos Quartet from 1978 to 1999.
- Howlin’ Wolf records Smokestack Lightnin’ for Chess in Chicago. Also cut is You Can’t Be Beat. Howlin’ Wolf (vo, hca) Willie Johnson, Hubert Sumlin (g) Willie Dixon (b) Hosea Lee Kennard (p) Earl Phillips (d)
- Buddy Holly makes his first recordings for Decca In Nashville. Buddy Holly (vo) Sonny Curtis (el g) Grady Martin (ac g) Don Guess (b) Doug Kirkham (perc)
- Erich Kleiber (65) dies in Zürich following a heart attack
- Elvis Presley’s first RCA single Heartbreak Hotel is released
- Richard Danielpour born (New York) American composer, teacher.
- Elvis Presley’s makes his national TV debut on CBS’s The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show
- The Charles Mingus Quintet record a session for Atlantic in New York. Jackie McLean (as) J.R. Monterose (ts) Mal Waldron (p) Charles Mingus (b) Willie Jones (d). Tracks cut appear on the album Pithecanthropus Erectus
- (& 31 Jan) Elvis Presley records six tracks over two days for RCA in New York including My Baby Left Me; Blue Suede Shoes & Tutti Frutti. Elvis Presley (vo, g) Scotty Moore (g) Bill Black (b) Shorty Long (p) D.J. Fontana (d)
- John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten born (London) English rock singer, songwriter. Founder member of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd.
- An electronic music synthesizer developed by H.F. Olson and H. Belar at RCA is unveiled in New York
- Count Basie & His Orchestra – April In Paris / Roll ‘Em Pete (Clef)
- Clovers – Devil Or Angel / Hey Doll Baby (Atlantic)
- Fats Domino – Bo Weevil / Don’t Blame It On Me (Imperial)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Lightnin’s Sky Hop / Lonesome in Your Home (Herald)
- Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes / Honey Don’t (Sun)
- Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel / I Was The One (RCA Victor)
- Jimmy Reed – Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby / Baby, Don’t Say That No More (Vee-Jay)
- Introducing Nat Adderley (Wing)
- Count Basie Swings And Joe Williams Sings (Verve)
- Paul Bley (Wing)
- Miles Davis – Dig (Prestige)
- Julie London – Julie Is Her Name (Liberty)
- Modern Jazz Quartet – Concorde (Prestige)
- Exene Cervenka born (Chicago, IL) American rock singer, songwriter, writer. Founder member of X and solo artist.
- Guo Wenjing born (Chongqing, China) Chinese composer, violinist, teacher.
- Arthur Benjamin’s opera Mañana premiered on BBC Radio, London. Lib. Cedric Cliffe
- Samuel Barber’s Medea’s Dance of Vengeance for orchestra premiered in New York
- Lee Ranaldo born (Glen Cove, NY) American rock and avant-garde guitarist, singer, composer. Founder member of Sonic Youth and solo artist.
- Robert Moevs’s Fourteen Variations for Orchestra premiered in New York
- James Brown and the Famous Flames record a session for King in Cincinnati, OH. Tracks cut include Please, Please Please. James Brown, Johnny Terry, Bobby Byrd, Nashpendle Knox, Sylvester Keels (vo) Clifford Scott, Wilbert Smith (ts) Ray Felder (as) Fats Gonder (p) Clarence Mack (b) Nafloyd Scott (g) Edison Gore (d)
- Jerry Marotta born (Cleveland, OH) American rock drummer, session player. Worked with Orleans, Peter Gabriel, Indigo Girls and others.
- Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Guitar Concerto premiered in Houston
- Ella Fitzgerald records 31 Cole Porter songs over three days in Los Angeles for Verve, some accompanied by Buddy Bregman’s Orchestra and some by a quartet featuring Paul Smith (p) Barney Kessel (g) Joe Mondragon (b) Alvin Stoller (d). Most feature on the two volumes of Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book
- Peter Mennin’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra premiered in New York
- Roger Sessions’s Piano Concerto premiered in New York
- HR aka Paul D Hudson born (London) American rock and reggae singer, bassist, songwriter. Member of Bad Brains from 1978 to 1987, 1989 to 1990, 1994 to 1995 and from 1998. Brother of Earl Hudson (b.1957).
- Henry Barraud’s Concertino for Piano and Winds premiered in New York
- Brian Robertson born (Glasgow) Scottish rock guitarist. Member of Thin Lizzy from 1974 to 1978, Motorhead from 1982 to 1983 and solo.
- Peter Hook born (Salford) English rock bassist, songwriter, singer. Founder member of Joy Division, New Order and Monaco.
- William Bergsma’s opera The Wife of Martin Guerre premiered in New York. Lib. Janet Lewis Winters
- Ernest Bloch’s Symphony in E premiered in London
- Henry King’s film Carousel opens, starring Gordon MacRae & Shirley Jones. Music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
- Gustave Charpentier (95) dies in Paris
- The Platters have the Billboard number one single for the first of two weeks with The Great Pretender (1st week of 2)
- Jimmy Smith makes his first recordings for Blue Note in Hackensack, NJ. Jimmy Smith (org) Thornel Schwartz (g) Bay Perry (d). Tracks cut appear on the Jimmy Smith At The Organ, Vol. 1 – A New Sound-A New Star album
- Peter Holsapple born (Greenwich, CT) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of the dBs, the Continental Drifters and solo artist.
- Dave Wakeling born (Birmingham) English ska, pop and rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of the Beat and General Public.
- Edwin Franko Goldman (78) dies in New York
- Charles Ives’s Calcium Light Night for chamber orchestra premiered in New Haven, CT
- Thomas Pernes born (Vienna) Austrian composer, performance artist.
- Elsie Janis (66) dies in Los Angeles
- Henry Cowell’s … if He please for choir and orchestra premiered in New York
- Darius Milhaud’s Fourth Quintet for strings op.350 premiered in Brussels
- Verve Records is launched by Norman Granz
- Chuck Berry – No Money Down / The Downbound Train (Chess)
- Ray Charles – Drown In My Own Tears / Mary Ann (Atlantic)
- Bo Diddley – Diddy Wah Diddy / I’m Looking for a Woman (Checker)
- BB King – I’m Cracking Up Over You / Ruby Lee (RPM)
- Harry Belafonte – Belafonte (RCA Victor)
- Elmer Bernstein – The Man With the Golden Arm OST (Decca) played by Shorty Rogers and His Giants.
- Dexter Gordon – Dexter Blows Hot And Cool (Dootone)
- Jackie McLean – The New Tradition (Ad Lib)
- Helen Merrill With Strings (EmArcy)
- Presenting the Gerry Mulligan Sextet (Emarcy)
- Einar Englund’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra no.1 premiered in Helsinki
- Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Symphony no.11 premiered in Boston
- Roy Orbison makes his first recordings for Je-Wel in Clovis, NM with his band the Teen Kings
- Bobby Darin makes his first recordings in New York for Decca backed by Jack Pleis and his orchestra
- Eugene Aynsley Goossens arrested at Sydney Airport and charged with possession of pornographic material, creating a scandal that all but ended his career
- Jean Barraqué’s Séquence for voice, percussion and chamber ensemble premiered in Paris
- Bobby Darin makes his first television appearance on on CBS’s The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show singing Rock Island Line
- Olivier Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques [exotic birds] for piano and chamber orchestra premiered in Paris
- Sergey Nikiforovich Vasilenko (83) dies in Moscow
- The first Ivor Novello Awards are presented in London. The award is restricted to British songwriters and composers in a number of categories, and recipients of the inaugural awards include Jack Woodman and Paddy Roberts and Tolchard Evans and Larry Kahn
- Steve Harris born (London) English rock bass guitarist, songwriter. Member of Iron Maiden from 1975.
- Kenny Burrell makes his first recordings as leader for Blue Note in New York. Frank Foster (ts) Tommy Flanagan (p) Kenny Burrell (g) Oscar Pettiford (b) Shadow Wilson (d). Tracks cut appear on the Kenny Burrell, Vol. 2 album. This is Tommy Flanagan’s first recording session.
- Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe’s musical My Fair Lady opens on Broadway (2717 performances)
- A benefit concert held at the Pythian Hall, New York in order to raise funds for Woody Guthrie’s children
- Raoul Björkenheim born (Los Angeles) Finnish-American jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader.
- Alphonso Martin born (Birmingham) English reggae percussionist, singer. Member of Steel Pulse from 1976 to 1991.
- Samuel Barber’s Summer Music for wind quintet premiered in Detroit
- Guy Chadwick born (Hanover) English rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of the House of Love.
- Alfred Newman’s music for Henry King’s film Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing wins the best dramatic score Oscar at the 28th Academy Awards. Robert Russell Bennett, Jay Blackton and Adolph Deutsch’s music for Fred Zinnemann’s film Oklahoma! wins the award for best musical score
- Fred F. Sears’s musical film Rock Around the Clock opens starring Alan Freed and featuring Bill Haley and His Comets, The Platters and others
- Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Symphony No.11 premiered in New York
- Jerry Bock, Larry Holofcener, George David Weiss, Joseph Stein and Will Glickman’s musical Mr. Wonderful starring Sammy Davis, Jr opens on Broadway (383 performances)
- Carl Perkins suffers a broken collarbone in a car accident in Dover, DE. His brothers Clayton and Jay Perkins are also injured
- Hilding Rosenberg’s opera Porträttet premiered on Swedish radio, Stockholm, lib. Rosenberg
- Alan Freed hosts Rock ‘n Roll Dance Party on CBS Network radio, the first regularly scheduled network rock show
- Hugo Burnham born (London) English rock drummer, teacher. Founder member of the Gang of Four.
- Pierre Henry’s Haut Voltage for voice and tape premiered in Metz
- John Lee Hooker records six tracks for Vee-Jay in Chicago including Dimples; Every Night & I’m So Worried Baby. John Lee Hooker (vo, g) Eddie Taylor (g) George Washington (b) Tom Whitehead (d)
- Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings record their first Sun Records session in Memphis. Tracks cut include Ooby Dooby but Sam Phillips prefers the JE-WEL records demo and issues that as the first single instead.
- John Cage’s Seven Haiku for piano premiered in New York
- Henri Tomasi’s opera Miguel de Mañara premiered in Munich. Lib. Tomasi
- Zeno Roth born (Düsseldorf) German rock guitarist, songwriter. Worked with Electric Sun and solo. Brother of Uli Jon Roth (b.1954).
- Fritz Lehmann (51) dies following a heart attack during a concert in Munich
- Carl Orff’s opera Comoedia de Christi resurrectione [Comedy about the resurrection of Christ] premiered on Bayerischer Rundfunk television, Munich, lib. Orff
- James Brown – Please Please Please / Why Do You Do Me (Federal)
- Coasters – Down In Mexico / Turtle Dovin’ (Atco)
- Johnny Horton – Honky Tonk Man / I’m Ready, If You’re Willing (Columbia)
- Little Richard – Long Tall Sally / Slippin’ & Slidin’ (Specialty)
- Little Walter – Who / It Ain’t Right (Checker)
- Sonny Boy Williamson – Let Me Explain / Your Imagination (Checker)
- Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant (Columbia)
- Glenn Gould – Bach: The Goldberg Variations (Columbia Masterworks)
- The Amazing Bud Powell Vol.1 (Blue Note)
- Elvis Presley (RCA Victor)
- Frank Sinatra – Songs For Swingin’ Lovers (Capitol) Orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle
- Lennie Tristano (Atlantic)
- Josh White – Josh At Midnight (Elektra)
- Little Willie John records Fever for King in Cincinnati. Also cut is Letter From My Darling and two other tracks. Little Willie John (vo) Ray Felder, Rufus Gore (ts) Jon Thomas (p) Bill Jennings (g) Edwyn Conley (b) Edison Gore (d)
- Elvis Presley has a screen test at Paramount Studios in Hollywood
- The Rhythm and Blues of 1956 package tour opens in Richmond, VA. The five week sojourn features Ruth Brown, the Cadillacs, the Clocers, Fats Domino, Little Willie John, Little Richard and others and is the first to visit Canada
- Johnny Cash records I Walk the Line for Sun in Memphis. Also cut is Get Rhythm and two other tracks. Johnny Cash (vo, ac g) Luther Perkins (el g) Marshall Grant (b)
- Frédéric Aguessy born (Paris) French pianist, composer.
- Elvis Presley appears on NBC’s Milton Berle Show with an estimated audience of 40 million
- Ernest Bloch’s Symphony for trombone and orchestra premiered in Houston
- Paul Creston’s Symphony No.5 premiered in Washington, DC
- Tim ‘TV’ Smith born (Romford) English rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of the Adverts and solo artist.
- (& 4 May) The Jazz Messengers record two sessions for Columbia in New York. Kenny Dorham (tp) Hank Mobley (ts) Horace Silver (p) Doug Watkins (b) Art Blakey (d). Tracks cut appear on the album The Jazz Messengers
- Paramount Pictures signs Elvis Presley to a three film deal
- The Capitol Tower (arch. Welton Becket) in Hollywood, CA, home to Capitol Records, is officially opened
- Gene Vincent records his first demos at WCMS in Norfolk, VA
- Nat King Cole is attacked by a group of four white supremacists at an early evening whites-only show in Birmingham, AL
- Robert Lewis’s musical film Anything Goes opens starring Bing Crosby and Donald O’Connor. Music by Nick Castle, Joseph J. Lilley and Van Cleave
- Kathleen Howard (71) dies in Los Angeles
- Paul Buchanan born (Glasgow) English rock singer, guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of the Blue Nile and solo artist.
- Chuck Berry records a session for Chess in Chicago. Tracks cut include Roll Over Beethoven; Drifting Heart; Too Much Monkey Business & Brown Eyed Handsome Man. Chuck Berry (vo, g) Johnny Johnson (p) L.C. Davis (ts) Willie Dixon (b) Fred Below (d)
- Henry Cowell’s Dalton Suite for orchestra premiered in New York
- Johnny Griffin makes his first recordings as leader in Hackensack, NJ. Johnny Griffin (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Curly Russell (b) Max Roach (d). Tracks cut appear on the Introducing Johnny Griffin album.
- Gary Langan born (England) English record producer, engineer. Co-founder of ZTT records and worked with the Art of Noise.
- Norman Dello Joio’s Meditations on Ecclesiastes for string orchestra premiered in New York
- Elliott Carter’s Variations for Orchestra premiered in Louisville, KY
- Jukka-Pekka Saraste born (Lahti, Finland) Finnish conductor, violinist.
- The Four Seasons make their first recordings for RCA as the Four Lovers. Frankie Valli (vo, d) Thomas DeVito, Henry Majewski (vo, g) Nicolas DeVito (vo, b)
- Link Wray makes his first recordings for Starday as a member of country act Lucky Wray and the Palomino Ranch Hands (Lucky is his brother, Vernon)
- Fats Domino – I’m in Love Again / My Blue Heaven (Imperial)
- Buddy Holly – Blue Days, Black Nights / Love Me (Decca)
- Janis Martin – Drugstore Rock and Roll / Will You, Willyum (RCA Victor)
- Joe Turner – Corrine Corrina / Boogie Woogie Country Girl (Atlantic)
- Muddy Waters – Forty Days and Forty Nights / All Aboard (Chess)
- Julian Cannonball Adderley And Strings (EmArcy)
- Miles Davis and Horns (Prestige)
- Dizzy Gillespie / Stan Getz – Diz And Getz (Norgran)
- The Jazz Messengers At The Café Bohemia Vol. 1 (Blue Note)
- Charles Mingus – Jazz Composers Workshop (Savoy)
- Modern Jazz Quartet – Fontessa (Atlantic)
- Anita O’Day Sings – Anita (Verve)
- Sonny Rollins – Worktime (Prestige)
- Sarah Vaughan – In the Land of Hi-Fi (EmArcy)
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony no.8 premiered in Manchester
- The Biggest Rock ‘n’ Roll Show of ’56 package tour opens in Hershey, PA. The six week sojourn features Lavern Baker, Bo Diddley, the Drifters, the Flamingos, Bill Haley, the Platters, the Teenagers, Joe Turner and others
- Frank Loesser’s musical The Most Happy Fella opens on Broadway (676 performances)
- Gene Vincent makes his first recordings for Capitol in Nashville. Tracks cut include Race with the Devil & Be Bop A Lula. Gene Vincent (vo) Cliff Gallup, Willie Williams (g) Dickie Harrell (d) Jack Neal (b)
- Elvis Presley has the Billboard number one album for the first of ten weeks with Elvis Presley & the Billboard number one single for the first of seven weeks with Heartbreak Hotel
- Steve Diggle born (Manchester) English rock guitarist, singer, songwriter. Founder member of the Buzzcocks.
- Anne Dudley born (Chatham, Kent) English composer, arranger. Member of the Art of Noise from 1983 to 1990.
- Federico Mompou & Xavier Coll’s ballet Don Perlimplín premiered in Barcelona
- Adrian Rollini (52) dies in Homestead, FL of mercury poisoning brought on by a hospital accident
- Vivian Fine’s A Guide to the Life Expectancy of a Rose for soprano, tenor and chamber ensemble premiered in New York
- Orlando Morgan (91) dies in London
- Dimitri Shostakovich’s Five Romances on Verses of Yevgeni Dolmatovsky op.98 for bass singer and piano premiered in Kiev
- Darius Milhaud’s Piano Concerto no.5 op.346 premiered in New York
- John Cage’s Music for Piano 53-68 premiered in Notre Dame, IN
- Martyn Ware born (Sheffield) English electronic musician, songwriter. Founder member of the Human League and Heaven 17.
- Lonnie Donegan makes his American television debut on NBC’s Perry Como Show
- Larry Blackmon born (New York, NY) American R&B singer, songwriter, musician. Founder member of Cameo.
- Sonny Rollins records a session for Prestige in Hackensack, NJ. Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane (ts) Red Garland (p) Paul Chambers (b) Philly Joe Jones (d). Tracks cut appear on the album Tenor Madness.
- The first Eurovision Song Contest is held in Lugano, Switzerland. The winner is Swiss singer Lys Assia with Refrain written by Géo Voumard and Émile Gardaz.
- Sugar Minott born (Kingston, Jamaica) Jamaican reggae singer, record producer. Died 2010
- Igor Stravinsky’s Choral Variations on Von Himmel hoch da komm ich Hier [From Heaven Above to Earth I Come] premiered in Ojai, CA
- La Toya Jackson born (Gary, IN) American pop and soul singer, songwriter, actress. Sister of Rebbie (b.1950) Jackie (b.1951) Tito (b.1953) Jermaine (b.1954) Marlon (b.1957) Michael (1958-2009) Randy (b.1961) and Janet (b.1966) Jackson
- Hermann Abendroth (73) dies in Jena following a stroke during surgery
- (& 30th) The Kenny Burrell Quintet record two sessions for Blue Note in Hackensack, NJ. Tommy Flanagan (p) Kenny Burrell (g) Paul Chambers (b) Kenny Clarke (d) Candido (cga). Tracks cut appear on the albums Introducing Kenny Burrell & Kenny Burrell Vol. 2
- Valaida Snow (51) dies back stage at the Palace Theatre, New York of a brain haemorrhage
- Earle Brown’s 4 More for piano premiered in New York
- John Cage’s Radio Music for 1 to 8 radios premiered in New York
- Morton Feldman’s Structures for string quartet & Three Pieces for String Quartet premiered in New York
- Ernst Krenek’s Spiritus intelligentiae, sanctuse [Holy Spirit of understanding] op.152 for soprano, tenor and magnetic tape premiered in Cologne
- Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge [Song of the Youths] for boy soprano and electronics premiered in Cologne
- Fritz Hilpert born (Düsseldorf) German electronic musician, sound engineer. Member of Kraftwerk from 1987.
- Kenny Dorham and the Jazz Prophets play four sets at the Café Bohemia, New York for Blue Note. Kenny Dorham (tp) J.R. Monterose (ts) Bobby Timmons (p) Kenny Burrell (g) Sam Jones (b) Arthur Edgehill (d). These are Bobby Timmons’s first recordings. Tracks cut are included on the album ‘Round About Midnight At The Cafe Bohemia
- Chuck Berry – Roll Over Beethoven / The Drifting Heart (Chess)
- Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line / Get Rhythm (Sun)
- Sanford Clark – The Fool / Lonesome for a Letter (MCI)
- Doris Day – Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) / I’ve Gotta Sing Away These Blues (Columbia)
- John Lee Hooker – Every Night / Trouble Blues (Vee-Jay)
- Thumper Jones – Rock It / How Come It (Starday) George Jones
- BB King – Did You Ever Love a Woman / Let’s Do the Boogie (RPM)
- Nervous Norvus – Transfusion / Dig (Dot)
- Jimmy Reed – Can’t Stand To See You Go / Rockin’ With Reed (Vee-Jay)
- Frank Sinatra – (How Little It Matters) How Little We Know / Five Hundred Guys (Capitol)
- Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet (Prestige)
- Stan Kenton – Kenton In Hi-Fi (Capitol)
- Sonny Stitt Plays Arrangements by Quincy Jones (Roost)
- Lynne Dawson born (York) English soprano singer.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A Vision of Aeroplanes for chorus and organ premiered in London
- Richard Butler born (Kingston upon Thames) English rock singer, songwriter. Founder member of the Psychedelic Furs and Love Spit Love.
- Kenny G aka Kenneth Bruce Gorelick born (Seattle, WA) American jazz and pop saxophonist, composer.
- Elvis Presley appears on the Milton Berle Show to widespread condemnation from conservative and religious groups
- Will Shatter born (San Francisco, CA) American rock singer, bassist, songwriter. Founder member of Flipper. Died 1987
- Jamaaladeen Tacuma aka Rudy McDaniel born (Hempstead, NY) American jazz bassist, bandleader. Worked with Ornette Coleman.
- Frankie Trumbauer (55) dies in Kansas City following a heart attack
- David Hinds born (Birmingham) English reggae singer, guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of Steel Pulse.
- Charles Walters’ film High Society opens, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly & Frank Sinatra. Music by Cole Porter
- Anton Fier born (Cleveland, OH) American rock and avant-garde drummer, composer. Worked with the Lounge Lizards, the Feelies, the Golden Palominos and others.
- Benjamin Britten’s song suite Three Songs from ‘The Heart of the Matter’ premiered in Aldeburgh
- Derek Forbes born (Glasgow) Scottish rock bassist, songwriter. Member of Simple Minds from 1978 to 1985.
- The Sonny Rollins Quartet record a session for Prestige in Hackensack, NJ. Sonny Rollins (ts) Tommy Flanagan (p) Doug Watkins (b) Max Roach (d). Tracks cut are included on the album Saxophone Colossus
- Reinhold Glière (81) dies in Moscow
- The first episode of the Steve Allen Show goes on the air on NBC TV (later ABC)
- (to 27 Jun) Gene Vincent records sixteen tracks over four days for Capitol in Nashville, including twelve used for the Bluejean Bop album. Gene Vincent (vo) Cliff Gallup, Willie Williams (g) Jack Neal (b) Dickie Harrell (d)
- Michio Miyagi (62) dies after falling from a train in Kariya, Japan
- Darius Milhaud’s Piano Concerto no.5 premiered in New York
- Chris Isaak born (Stockton, CA) American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist.
- Clifford Brown (25) and Richie Powell (24) killed in a car accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when Powell’s wife Nancy, who was driving, lost control of the car in wet weather.
- Fats Domino records Blueberry Hill for Imperial in Hollywood, CA. Also cut is Honey Chile. Fats Domino (vo, p) Wendell Duconge (as) Buddy Hagans, Eddie Sylvas (ts) Walter Nelson (g) Lawrence Guyton (b) Cornelius Coleman (d)
- Walter Lang’s film The King and I opens, starring Deborah Kerr & Yul Brynner. Music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
- Johnny Burnette – Tear It up / You’re Undecided (Coral)
- Ray Charles – Hallelujah I Love Her So / What Would I Do Without You (Atlantic)
- Rudy Grayzell – Duck Tail / You’re Gone (Starday)
- Little Willie John – Fever / Letter From My Darling (King)
- Roy Orbison – Ooby Dooby / Go Go Go (Sun)
- Little Richard – Rip It Up / Ready Teddy (Specialty)
- Gene Vincent – Be-Bop-A-Lula / Woman Love (Capitol)
- Harry Belafonte – Calypso (RCA Victor)
- Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook (Verve)
- Jackie McLean – Lights Out! (Prestige)
- Modern Jazz Sextet (Norgran) Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, John Lewis, Clifton “Skeeter” Best, Percy Heath and Charlie Persip.
- The Platters (Mercury)
- Joe Turner – Boss Of The Blues (Atlantic)
- Dinah Washington – Dinah (Emarcy)
- Elvis Presley records Hound Dog & Don’t Be Cruel for RCA in New York. Elvis Presley (vo, g) Scotty Moore (g) Bill Black (b) Shorty Long (p) D.J. Fontana (d) The Jordanaires (vo)
- Billy Jenkins born (Bromley, Kent) English blues and jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader.
- (to 7 Jul) The third Newport Jazz Festival takes place at Peabody Park, Newport, RI with Count Basie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Charles Mingus, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Jazz Messengers, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum and others
- Henry Cowell’s Lines from the Dead Sea Scrolls for choir and orchestra premiered in Tanglewood, MA
- The Duke Ellington Orchestra play the Newport Jazz Festival, recorded for a live album. Willie Cook, Herbie Jones, Cat Anderson (tp) Clark Terry (tp, fl) Ray Nance (tp, vln, vo) Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson, John Sanders (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts) Russell Procope (cl, as, ss) Johnny Hodges (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Harry Carney (cl, as, bars) Duke Ellington (p) Jimmy Woode (b) Sam Woodyard (d) Jimmy Grissom (vo) (see Dec 1956)
- Douglas Moore’s opera The Ballad of Baby Doe, lib. John Latouche, premiered in Central City, CO
- Dick Clark hosts American Bandstand for the first time
- Heitor Villa-Lobos’s ballet Emperor Jones premiered in Ellenville, Brazil
- Sun Ra records a session for Transition in Chicago. Sun Ra (p, org) Art Hoyle (tp) Dave Young (tp) Julian Priester (tb) James Scales (as) John Gilmore (ts) Pat Patrick (bars) Richard Evans (b) Wilburn Green (b, tamb) Robert Barr (d) Jim Herndon (perc). Tracks cut appear on the album Jazz by Sun Ra vol.1.
- Ian Curtis born (Manchester) English rock singer, songwriter. Founder member of Joy Division. Died 1980
- Marky Ramone aka Marc Bell born (Brooklyn, NY) American rock drummer. Worked with the Voidoids, the Ramones, the Misfits and others.
- Pierre Boulez’s Flute Sonatina premiered in Paris
- Benjamin Frankel’s Clarinet Quintet premiered in Cheltenham
- Shirley Scott makes her first recordings in New York as a member of the Eddie Davis Trio
- Nikki Sudden aka Nicholas Godfrey born (London) English rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of Swell Maps and solo artist. Brother of Epic Soundtracks aka Kevin Godfrey (1959-97). Died 2006
- Paul Cook born (London) English rock drummer. Founder member of the Sex Pistols.
- Kenneth Leighton’s Cello Concerto premiered in Cheltenham
- The Teenagers have the UK number one single for the first of three weeks with Why Do Fools Fall In Love
- Columbia announces the signings of Leonard Bernstein, Miles Davis, Erroll Garner, Johnny Mathis and Boyd Raeburn
- Johnny Carroll – Hot Rock / Crazy Crazy Lovin’ (Decca)
- Eddie Cochran – Skinny Jim / Half Loved (Crest)
- Bo Diddley – Who Do You Love? / I’m Bad (Checker)
- Fats Domino – When My Dreamboat Comes Home / So-Long (Imperial)
- Jayhawks – Stranded in the Jungle / My Only Darling (Flash)
- Humphrey Lyttelton – Bad Penny Blues / Close Your Eyes (Parlophone UK)
- Elvis Presley – Don’t Be Cruel / Hound Dog (RCA Victor)
- Johnnie Ray – Just Walking In the Rain / In the Candlelight (Columbia)
- Shirley & Lee – Let the Good Times Roll / Do You Mean to Hurt Me So (Aladdin)
- Rev. Gary Davis & Pink Anderson – American Street Songs (Riverside)
- Julie London – Lonely Girl (Liberty)
- Graeme Koehne born (Adelaide) Australian composer, teacher.
- Chris Foreman born (London) English rock and pop guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of Madness.
- May Brahe (71) dies in Bellevue Hill, New South Wales
- Bertolt Brecht (58) dies in Berlin following a heart attack
- Jaroslav Řídký (58) dies in Poděbrady, Czech Rep
- Alberta Hunter graduates from nursing school aged 61
- Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald record a session for Verve in Los Angeles. Louis Armstrong (tp, vo) Ella Fitzgerald (vo) Oscar Peterson (p) Herb Ellis (g) Ray Brown (b) Buddy Rich (d). Tracks cut appear on the album Ella And Louis
- The Studio 51 club in Soho, London, becomes Britain’s first to hold regular rock ‘n’ roll nights. Rory Blackwell’s Rock ‘n’ Rollers are the first headliners
- Sally Beamish born (London) English composer, viola player.
- Cromwell Everson’s song cycle Water en Woestyn premiered in Stellenbosch, South Africa
- Bohuslav Martinu’s Frescoes of Piero della Francesca for orchestra premiered in Salzburg
- Glen Matlock born (London) English rock bassist, songwriter. Founder member of the Sex Pistols and the Rich Kids.
- Gaye Advert aka Gaye Black born (Bideford) English rock bass guitarist. Member of the Adverts from 1976 to 1980.
- Yves Nat (65) dies in Paris
- Coasters – One Kiss Led to Another / Brazil (Atco)
- Bill Doggett – Honky Tonk parts 1 & 2 (King)
- Five Satins – In The Still Of The Night / The Jones Girl (Ember). Vocal group formed in New Haven, CT in 1954, led by Fred Parris
- BB King – Sweet Little Angel / Bad Luck (RPM)
- Muddy Waters – Don’t Go No Farther / Diamonds at Your Feet (Chess)
- Art Blakey – A Night At Birdland Vols. 1 & 2 (Blue Note)
- Clifford Brown & Max Roach At Basin Street (EmArcy)
- Dave Brubeck – Brubeck Plays Brubeck (Columbia) Solo piano
- June Christy – The Misty Miss Christy (Capitol)
- Erroll Garner – Concert by the Sea (Columbia)
- Charles Mingus – Mingus at the Bohemia (Debut)
- Charles Mingus – Pithecanthropus Erectus (Atlantic)
- The Unique Thelonious Monk (Riverside)
- Sonny Rollins Plus 4 (Prestige)
- Gene Vincent – Bluejean Bop (Capitol)
- Josh White Stories Volume 1 (ABC Paramount)
- (to 3 Sep) Elvis Presley records his second album Elvis for RCA Victor in Hollywood. Elvis Presley (vo, g, p) Scotty Moore (g) Shorty Long, Gordon Stoker (p) Bill Black (b) DJ Fontana (d) The Jordanaires (vo)
- Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 4 op.53 (for left hand) premiered in Berlin
- Felix Borowski (84) dies in Chicago
- Frank Tovey born (Leeds) English rock and avant-garde singer, electronic musician, songwriter. Worked as Fad Gadget. Died 2002
- Fred Rich (58) dies in Los Angeles
- Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time which is guest presented by actor Charles Laughton and has an estimated audience of 54 million
- Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing born (Hong Kong) Chinese pop singer, songwriter, actor, film director, screenwriter. Died 2003
- Screamin’ Jay Hawkins records I Put A Spell On You for Okeh in New York. Also cut is Little Demon and two other tracks. Hawkins (vo) Sam Taylor (ts) Heywood Henry (bars) Ernie Hayes (p) Jimmy Shirley (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Panama Francis (d)
- Igor Stravinsky’s Canticum sacrum ad honorem Sancti Marci nominis [the sacred song to the honor of the name of Saint Mark] for chorus and orchestra premiered in Venice
- Screenings of Fred F. Sears’s film Rock Around the Clock are banned by several local authorities in Britain including Birmingham after violent incidents after showings in London, Manchester, Croydon and Dagenham
- Elvis Presley has the Billboard number one single for the first of seven weeks with Don’t Be Cruel
- Bill Evans makes his first (solo) recordings for Riverside in New York. Tracks cut appear on the album New Jazz Conceptions
- Steve Coleman born (Chicago, IL) American jazz saxophonist, composer, bandleader. Worked with Dave Holland and others.
- John Harle born (Newcastle upon Tyne) English classical and avant-garde saxophonist, composer.
- Police using batons disperse a crowd in Oslo after a riot breaks out following a screening of Fred F. Sears’s film Rock Around the Clock
- Doug Wimbish born (Hartford, CT) American rock and funk bassist, composer, session player. Founder member of Tackhead and worked with Living Colour and others.
- Hans Werner Henze’s opera König Hirsch [King Hirsch] premiered in Berlin, lib. H. von Cramer
- Elvis Presley appears at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show in his hometown Tupelo, MS. His $10,000 fee is given to the Elvis Presley Youth Foundation
- Gerald Finzi (55) dies in Oxford of encephalitis following a bout of shingles
- Benjamin Britten’s Antiphon for choir and organ premiered in Tenbury Wells
- Bill Haley has five songs on the UK top thirty chart – Rockin’ Through the Rye; The Saints Rock ‘n’ Roll; Rock Around the Clock; Razzle Dazzle & See You Later, Alligator
- Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business / Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chess)
- Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill / Honey Chile (Imperial)
- John Lee Hooker – Dimples / Baby Lee (Vee-Jay)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – That’s Alright Baby / Finally Met My Baby (Herald)
- Buck Owens – Hot Dog / Rhythm & Booze (Pep)
- Elvis Presley – Blue Moon / Just Because (RCA Victor)
- Otis Rush – I Can’t Quit You Baby / Sit Down Baby (Cobra)
- Gene Vincent – Bluejean Bop / Who Slapped John (Capitol)
- Gene Vincent – Race With The Devil / Gonna Back Up Baby (Capitol)
- Clifford Brown Memorial Album (Blue Note)
- Introducing Kenny Burrell (Blue Note)
- Miles Davis & Milt Jackson – Quintet / Sextet (Prestige)
- Louis Thomas Hardin – Moondog (Prestige)
- Stan Kenton – Cuban Fire (Capitol)
- Albert Von Tilzer (78) dies in Los Angeles
- Lennox Berkeley’s opera Ruth premiered in London. Lib. Eric Crozier
- Bohuslav Martinu’s Piano Concerto no.4 premiered in New York
- Henry Cowell’s String Quartet no.5 premiered in Cleveland
- Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet no.6 premiered in St Petersburg
- Schahan Berberian (65) dies in Paris while visiting his son
- William Alwyn’s Symphony no.3 premiered in London
- Dave Vanian aka David Letts born (Hemel Hempstead) English rock singer. Founder member of the Damned.
- Alan Hovhaness’s Symphony No. 3 premiered in New York
- Charles Ives’s Robert Browning Overture premiered in New York
(& 16 Oct) Little Richard records six tracks for Specialty in New Orleans including Good Golly Miss Molly; Jenny, Jenny & The Girl
Can’t Help It. Little Richard (vo, p) Lee Allen (ts) Red Tyler (bars) Roy Montrell (g) Frank Fields (b) Earl Palmer (d)
- (to 18 Oct) Gene Vincent records sixteen tracks over four days for Capitol in Nashville, including twelve used for the Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps album. Gene Vincent (vo) Cliff Gallup, Paul Peek (g) Jack Neal (b) Dickie Harrell (d)
- Isham Jones (62) dies in Hollywood, FL of cancer
- Luciano Berio’s Variazioni for two basset horns and strings premiered in Donaueschingen
- Gian Carlo Menotti’s ballet The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore premiered in Washington, DC
- Dianne Reeves born (Detroit, MI) American jazz singer.
- Dwight Yoakam born (Pikeville, KY) American country singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor, film director.
- Luigi Nono’s cantata Il canto sospeso [The Suspended Song] premiered in Cologne
- Walter Gieseking (60) dies in London due to complications following an operation
- The Miles Davis Quintet’s final marathon recording session for Prestige in Hackensack, NJ produces twelve tracks that are released across three singles and various albums between 1957 and 1961. Miles Davis (tp) John Coltrane (ts) Red Garland (p) Paul Chambers (b) Philly Joe Jones (d)
- Maria Callas appears on the cover of Time magazine
- William Schuman’s New England Triptych: Three Pieces for Orchestra after William Billings premiered in Miami
- Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide premiered in Boston, lib. Lillian Hellman, R. Wilbur, J. La Touche, Dorothy Parker and Bernstein
- Michael Tippett’s Piano Concerto premiered in Birmingham
- Bob Belden born (Evanston, IL) American jazz saxophonist, composer, bandleader, producer, A&R director for Blue Note
- Johnny Burnette and the Rock ‘n Roll Trio – The Train Kept A-Rollin’ / Honey Hush (Coral)
- Ray Charles – Lonely Avenue / Leave My Woman Alone (Atlantic)
- Dells – Oh What a Nite / Jo-Jo (Vee-Jay)
- Howlin’ Wolf – I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) / So Glad (Chess)
- Ivory Joe Hunter – Since I Met You Baby / You Can’t Stop This Rocking and Rolling (Atlantic)
- Little Richard – Heeby-Jeebies / She’s Got It (Specialty)
- Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender / Any Way You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be) (RCA Victor)
- Frank Sinatra – Hey! Jealous Lover / You Forgot All the Words (Capitol)
- Sonny Criss – Jazz USA (Imperial)
- Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Ella and Louis (Verve)
- Coleman Hawkins – Hawk In Paris (Vik)
- Milt Jackson – Ballads and Blues (Atlantic)
- Herbie Nichols Trio (Blue Note)
- Elvis Presley – Elvis (RCA Victor)
- Tommy Johnson (60) dies in Crystal Springs, MS following a heart attack
- Police use tear gas after a riot breaks out during a Fats Domino concert in Fayetteville, NC. Domino and three members of his band receive minor injuries
- Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A Choral Flourish premiered in London
- Tom Greenhalgh born (Stockholm) English rock singer, songwriter, guitarist, artist. Founder member of the Mekons.
- James Honeyman-Scott born (Hereford) English rock guitarist. Founder member of the Pretenders. Died 1982
- Igor Talkov born (Gretsovka, Russia) Russian rock singer, songwriter. Died 1991
- Art Tatum (47) dies in Los Angeles of uremia
- Lee Morgan makes his first recordings as leader for Blue Note in Hackensack, NJ at the age of 18. Lee Morgan (tp) Clarence Sharpe (as) Horace Silver (p) Wilbur Ware (b) Philly Joe Jones (d). Tracks cut appear on the album Lee Morgan Indeed!
- Nat King Cole becomes the first black performer to host a variety show on US national television
- Lukas Foss’s opera Griffelkin premiered on NBC television, lib. A. Reed
- Una Mae Carlisle (40) dies in New York of a brain abscess
- Harry Partch’s Ulysses Turns Homeward from the Edge of the World (Ulysses at the Edge) for voice and various instruments premiered in Urbana, IL
- Roland Kirk makes his first recordings for King in New York. Roland Kirk (ts, manzello, stritch) James Madison (p) Carl Pruitt (b) Henry Duncan (d). Tracks cut appear on the album Triple Threat
- Victor Young (56) dies in Palm Springs, CA of a brain haemorrhage
- Elvis Presley has the UK number one album for one week with Elvis Presley
- The Horace Silver Quintet record a session for Blue Note in Hackensack, NJ. Donald Byrd (tp) Hank Mobley (ts) Horace Silver (p) Doug Watkins (b) Louis Hayes (d). Tracks cut are included on the album 6 Pieces Of Silver
- Misha Alperin born (Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Ukraine) Ukrainian jazz pianist, composer
- Ian Craig Marsh born (Sheffield) English electronic musician, songwriter. Founder member of Human League and Heaven 17.
- Marie Hall (72) dies in Cheltenham
- Marguerite Monnot and Alexandre Breffor’s musical Irma La Douce opens in Paris and runs for four years
- Jerry Lee Lewis records his first session for Sun in Memphis. Four tracks are cut including Crazy Arms. Jerry Lee Lewis (vo, p) Roland James (g) Jimmy Van Eaton (d)
- Michael Hampton born (Cleveland, OH) American funk guitarist, record producer. Member of Parliament / Funkadelic from 1975 to 1981.
- Norman Panama, Melvin Frank, Gene De Paul & by Johnny Mercer’s musical Li’l Abner opens on Broadway (693 performances)
- Guido Cantelli is appointed music director of La Scala in Milan, but doesn’t live to take up the post
- Philip Grange born (London) English composer.
- Alan Bush’s opera The Men of Blackmoor premiered in Weimar. Lib. Nancy Bush
- Patsy Cline records Walkin’ After Midnight and three other tracks for Decca in Nashville. Patsy Cline (vo) Harold Bradley (ac g) Grady Martin (el g) Don Helms (steel g) Tommy Jackson (vln) Owen Bradley (p) Bob Moore (b) Farris Coursey (d)
- Kool DJ Red Alert aka Fred Crute born (New York) American radio disc jockey, hip hop DJ, artist manager.
- Robert Poss born (Buffalo, NY) American rock singer, guitarist, songwriter. Founder member of the Band of Susans.
- Achille Baquet (71) dies in New Orleans
- Robert D. Webb’s musical western film Love Me Tender opens starring Richard Egan, Debra Paget and in his first role Elvis Presley. Music is by Lionel Newman with four songs sung by Presley
- Usko Meriläinen’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.1 premiered in Tampere, Finland
- Henry Cowell’s Variations for Orchestra premiered in Cincinnati
- Usko Meriläinen’s Concerto for Orchestra premiered in Tampere, Finland
- Jouni Kaipainen born (Helsinki) Finnish composer.
- Terry Lewis born (Omaha, NE) American R&B record producer, songwriter, bassist. Half of Jam & Lewis production team with Jimmy Jam.
- Guido Cantelli (36) dies in an air crash in Paris
- Elvis Presley has the Billboard number one single for the first of two weeks with Love Me Tender, his third chart-topper of the year
- Tommy Dorsey (51) dies in Greenwich, CT when he chokes in his sleep
- Henry Cowell’s Ballad for strings premiered in Tucson, AZ
- Chris Bailey born (Nanyuki, Kenya) Irish-Australian rock singer, songwriter, guitarist. Founder member of the Saints.
- Betty Comden, Adolph Green & Jule Styne’s musical Bells Are Ringing opens on Broadway (924 performances)
- Jean Schwartz (78) dies in Los Angeles
- Morton Feldman’s Piano Piece 1956 premiered in Vienna
- Sil Austin – Slow Walk / Wildwood (Mercury)
- Chuck Berry – You Can’t Catch Me / Havana Moon (Chess)
- Charlie Feathers – One Hand Loose / Bottle to the Baby (King)
- Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You / Little Demon (Okeh)
- Clarence “Frogman” Henry – Ain’t Got No Home / Troubles, Troubles (Argo)
- BB King – On My Word of Honor / Bim Bam Boom (RPM)
- Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers – I’m Not a Juvenile Delinquent / Baby Baby (Gee)
- Mickey & Sylvia – Love Is Strange / I’m Going Home (Groove)
- Guy Mitchell – Singing the Blues / Crazy With Love (Columbia)
- Muddy Waters – I Got to Find My Baby / Just to Be With You (Chess)
- Sonny Boy Williamson – Keep It to Yourself / The Key (Checker)
- Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley In The Land Of Hi-Fi (EmArcy)
- Lavern Baker – Lavern (Atlantic)
- The Clovers (Atlantic)
- Paul Desmond Quartet Featuring Don Elliott (Fantasy)
- Dexter Gordon – Daddy Plays The Horn (Bethlehem)
- The Jazz Messengers (Columbia)
- Sonny Rollins – Tenor Madness (Prestige)
- Pierre Schaeffer / Pierre Henry – Panorama Of Musique Concrète (Ducretet-Thomson UK)
- Horace Silver And The Jazz Messengers (Blue Note)
- Sarah Vaughan – Sassy (EmArcy)
- Dinah Washington – In The Land Of Hi-Fi (EmArcy)
- Julee Cruise born (Creston, IO) American pop singer, songwriter, actress.
- Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide opens on Broadway (73 performances)
- Frank Tashlin’s film The Girl Can’t Help It opens, starring Tom Ewell, Jayne Mansfield & Edmond O’Brien. Music by Bobby Troup
- The legendary ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ session takes place at Sun Studios in Memphis, with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins jamming together
- Karl Blake born (Reading) English avant-garde multi-instrumentalist, composer. Worked with the Lemon Kittens, Sol Invictus, Current 93 and solo.
- Krystian Zimerman born (Zabrze, Poland) Polish concert pianist.
- Peter Buck born (Berkeley, CA) American rock guitarist, mandolin player, songwriter. Founder member of REM.
- Harold Karr, Matt Dubey, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s musical Happy Hunting starring Ethel Merman opens on Broadway (412 performances)
- Henry Fillmore (75) dies in Miami, FL
- Edgar Bainton (76) dies in Sydney following a heart attack
- Guy Mitchell has the Billboard number one single for the first of nine weeks with Singing the Blues
- Elvis Presley has the Billboard number one album for the first of five weeks with Elvis
- Lorenzo Perosi (83) dies in Rome
- Sam Cooke records his first solo session for Specialty in New Orleans cutting five sides. Sam Cooke (vo) Warren Myles (p) Edgar Blanchard (g) Frank Fields (b) Earl Palmer (d)
- Majida El Roumi born (Tyre, Lebanon) Lebanese popular soprano singer, actress.
- Fred F. Sears’s musical film Don’t Knock the Rock opens starring Alan Dale and featuring Bill Haley and His Comets, Little Richard and the Treniers
- Chris Leslie born (Banbury, Oxfordshire) English folk fiddler, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, singer. Member of Fairport Convention from 1997.
- William Orbit aka William Wainwright born (London) English electronica multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer.
- Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Zeitmasze no.5 for woodwind quintet premiered in Paris
- Lizzy Mercier Descloux born (Paris) French jazz, rock and world fusion singer, songwriter, guitarist, painter, writer. Died 2004
- Jimmy Cauty born (Liverpool) English artist, electronic musician, songwriter. Member of Brilliant from 1982 to 1986, the Orb from 1988 to 1990 and the KLF from 1987 to 1992.
- Merzbow aka Masami Akita born (Tokyo) Japanese electronic and noise musician, producer, composer, writer.
- Friedrich Trautwein (68) dies in Düsseldorf
- Raymond Scott files a patent for the clavivox, a prototype sound synthesiser
- Dave Murray born (London) English rock guitarist, songwriter. Member of Iron Maiden from 1978.
- Ralph Moore born (London) English jazz tenor saxophonist. Worked with Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard.
- Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus premiered in St Petersburg
- Nigel Kennedy born (Brighton) English classical and jazz violinist and viola player.
- Michael Flanders & Donald Swann’s revue At the Drop of a Hat opens in London (808 performances)
- Cameo Records founded in Philadelphia by Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann
- Roulette Records founded by George Goldner, Joe Kolsky and Morris Levy. Within 6 months, Levy has sole control
- Leonard Cohen’s first poetry collection Let Us Compare Mythologies published in Toronto by the Contact Press
- Lavern Baker – Jim Dandy / Tra La La (Atlantic)
- Harry Belafonte – Banana Boat (Day-O) / Star-O (RCA Victor)
- Johnny Cash – Train of Love / There You Go (Sun)
- Fats Domino – Blue Monday / What’s The Reason I’m Not Pleasing You (Imperial)
- Buddy Holly – Modern Don Juan / You Are My One Desire (Decca)
- Lightnin’ Hopkins – Shine on Moon / Sittin’ Down Thinkin’ (Herald)
- Webb Pierce – Teenage Boogie / I’m Really Glad You Hurt Me (Decca)
- Little Richard – The Girl Can’t Help It / All Around The World (Specialty)
- Johnny Burnette – Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio (Coral)
- This Is Fats Domino (Imperial)
- Duke Ellington – Ellington at Newport (Columbia) recorded live on 7 Jul 1956 at the Newport Jazz Festival
- Dizzy Gillespie – World Statesman (Norgran)
- Julie London – Calendar Girl (Liberty)
- Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues (Tradition)
- The Teenagers Featuring Frankie Lymon (Gee)
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Gospel Train (Mercury)
- Billie Holiday’s autobiography Lady Sings the Blues (written with William Dufty) published by Doubleday, New York
- Chain Gang (Sol Quasha, Herb Yakus) Fever (Eddie Cooley, John Davenport) Heartbreak Hotel (Mae Axton, Tommy Durden) I Walk the Line (Johnny Cash) In the Still of the Night (Fred Parris) Let the Good Times Roll (Leonard Lee) Maria (Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein) On The Street Where You Live (Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe) Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans) Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry) Singing the Blues (Melvin Endsley) A Tear Fell (Eugene Randolph, Dorian Burton) Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (Cole Porter)
- Bob Gibson – Offbeat Folk Songs (Riverside)