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Today in Music History: "Folsom Prison Blues" recorded live

January 13, 2016

Johnny Cash
A 1977 photo of singer-songwriter Johnny Cash.
Associated Press

History Highlight:

Today in 1968, Johnny Cash played a show, which was recorded for his forthcoming live album at Folsom Prison, near Sacramento, California in front of 2,000 inmates. When released, the lead single, "Folsom Prison Blues" (an update of his 1956 hit) became one of the most famous recordings of his career. The song combines elements from two popular folk styles, the train song and the prison song, both of which Cash would continue to use for the rest of his career.

Also, in:

1962 - Chubby Checker's "The Twist" became the only single in the history of the charts to make it to #1 on two separate occasions. The first time had been in September of 1960.

1963 - The Beatles recorded a TV appearance on the ABC Television program "Thank Your Lucky Stars" in Birmingham playing their new single, "Please Please Me". The show was broadcast on January 19.

1965 - The first day of recording sessions for Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home album were held at Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios in New York City. Dylan recorded "Subterranean Homesick Blues," and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue."

1969 - Elvis Presley started recording in Memphis for the first time since the Sun sessions in 1955.

1978 - Work began on the first album by Sting (Gordon Sumner), Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland, known as The Police. The album would be titled Outlandos d'Amour.

1979 - Toto peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart with their debut single "Hold The Line".

1979 - The Y.M.C.A., unimpressed and certainly not amused by the flamboyantly gay Village People's song "Y.M.C.A.," sued the group. The action was later dropped.

1980 - The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Starship, The Beach Boys, Santana and Joan Baez performed a benefit concert for the people of Kampuchea at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA.

1984 - BBC Radio 1 announced a ban on "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, after DJ Mike Read called it "obscene", a BBC TV ban also followed.

2004 - The NFL rejected Bono's request to perform "American Prayer" during the Super Bowl halftime show as part of an effort to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic in Africa.


Trevor Rabin, guitarist for Yes, is 62 today.

Wayne Coyne, Flaming Lips front man, is 55 today.

Graham "Suggs" McPherson, the lead singer of Madness, is also 55.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, and Wikipedia.