Today in Music History: Bowie launches 'Space Oddity'

David Bowie Space Oddity
David Bowie released "Space Oddity" Today in Music History. (original cover art)

History Highlight:

Today in 1969, space buff David Bowie released "Space Oddity" just in time for the first Apollo 11 lunar landing (although the single was not played by the BBC until after the Apollo crew had safely returned). The song reached No. 5 in the U.K. chart, but in the U.S, it stalled at No. 124. (When it was re-released as a single in 1973, the song reached No. 15 on the Billboard Chart and became Bowie's first hit single in America; in Canada, it reached #16. This was then used to support RCA's 1975 U.K. reissue, which gave Bowie his first No. 1 single in November of that year).

Also, Today In:

1949 - Hank Williams made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, where he received an unprecedented total of six encores.

1966 - The Rolling Stones started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Paint It Black", the group's third U.S. No. 1 single. It was the first No. 1 hit to feature a sitar on the recording.

1966 - Janis Joplin joined Big Brother & The Holding Company onstage for the first time at a show in San Francisco.

1977 - Joe Strummer and Topper Headon were detained overnight in prison in Newcastle upon Tyne to answer a charge relating to the theft of a Holiday Inn pillowcase. They were both fined £100 ($170).

1977 - As Britain celebrated the Queen's Silver Jubilee, The Sex Pistols reached No. 2 in the singles chart with "God Save The Queen."

1977 - KC and the Sunshine Band became only the second group after The Jackson Five to achieve four U.S. No. 1 singles when "I'm Your Boogie Man" went to the top of the charts.

2005 - Led Zeppelin founding member and guitarist Jimmy Page was awarded an OBE in the Queen of England's Birthday Honours list, and Queen (the band) founding member and guitarist Brian May was awarded a CBE.

2011 - Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side Of The Moon re-entered the Billboard Album chart at No. 47, reaching the milestone of 1,000 weeks on Billboard's charts.

2015 - The Kinks' frontman and principal songwriter Ray Davies was awarded with a London Legend Award at a ceremony held at the Camden Roundhouse. Davies said, "I accept this on behalf of all the young writers coming through, all the young people embarking on careers and as a symbol of the future."

2016 - Singer Christina Grimmie, who had competed on The Voice, died after being shot in Florida. A man opened fire on her when she was signing autographs after a concert in Orlando. The assailant was tackled by Grimmie's brother then shot and killed himself. The 22-year-old singer died in a local hospital.


Glenn Leonard of the Temptations is 72.

ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard (his real name) is 70.

Steven Drozd, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter for the Flaming Lips and Electric Wurms, is 50.

Stereo MC's singer Rob Birch is 58.

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

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