The Current

Great Music Lives Here ®
Listener-Supported Music
Donate Now
Today In Music History

July 10 in Music History: Happy Birthday, Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples
Mavis StaplesAmerican Public Media

July 10, 2024

History Highlight:

Mavis Staples is 85 today. Born July 10, 1939, in Chicago, Illinois, she first started singing with her family as a part of the Staple Singers in 1950 at church and occasionally on the radio. The group scored their first hit in 1956 with "Uncloudy Day". Eventually the family would not just blow up the gospel scene, but also transitioned their focus to covering songs with a message as a part of the civil rights movement - songs such as Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth" as long as their own songs with a message. She released her first solo album in 1969 - and has been recording and performing since. In February of 2016 her album Livin' on a High Note was released. Produced by M. Ward, the album features songs written specifically for Staples by Nick Cave, Justin Vernon, tUnE-yArds, Neko Case, and others. She released her latest album, the live collection Carry Me Home, in 2022 with Levon Helm. Staples put out “Worthy,” a collaboration with MNDR, in June.

Also, Today In: 

1941 - Jazz icon Jelly Roll Morton, whose "Jelly Roll Blues" was the first published jazz composition, dies at age 50. 

1950 - The music show Your Hit Parade premiered on NBC TV. The program, which featured vocalists covering the top hits of the week, had been on radio since 1935. It moved to CBS television in 1958 but was canceled the following year, unable to cope with the rising popularity of rock 'n' roll. 

1961 - Bobby Lewis started a seven-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with 'Tossin' and Turnin'," the longest-running No. 1 single of 1961, spending seven weeks at the top of the chart. 

1965 - The Rolling Stones started a four-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," the group's first chart-topper in America. 

1965 - Sonny and Cher release "I Got You Babe." 

1965 - Wilson Pickett releases "In The Midnight Hour." 

1965 - The Kinks play the Seattle Center Coliseum in what turns out to be their last show on American soil until December 1969, as the powerful American Federation of Musicians union bans them. 

1968 - Eric Clapton announces the breakup of the supergroup Cream, currently finishing up its last tour. 

1969 - The funeral of Rolling Stone Brian Jones took place in his hometown of Cheltenham, England, at Hatherley Road Parish Church. Canon Hugh Evan Hopkins read Jones's own epitaph, "Please don't judge me too harshly." 

1972 - Harry Nilsson's eighth album, Son of Schmilsson, was released. Nilsson was being pressured to produce a follow-up album similar to his 1971 breakthrough, Nilsson Schmilsson, but instead, he created a more eccentric work. Among the album's tracks are "You're Breakin' My Heart" and the U.S. hit "Spaceman." Session musicians on the album included Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr (credited as Richie Snare) and George Harrison (credited as George Harrysong). The album cover for Son of Schmilsson features a photo of Nilsson taken at Harrison's home in England.  

1976 - One-hit wonders Starland Vocal Band started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Afternoon Delight." The song enjoyed a prominent appearance in the 2004 film, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

1978 - Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman was knocked unconscious after falling from the stage during a Stones concert at the St. Paul Civic Center (now the site of the Xcel Energy Center). 

1979 - Chuck Berry was sentenced to five months in jail after being found guilty of tax evasion. 

1985 - Playboy published nude photos of Madonna that were taken before she was famous. 

1985 - Tina Turner starred opposite Mel Gibson in the post-apocalyptic action flick 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome'. Turner sang two hit songs for the movie: "One Of The Living" and "We Don't Need Another Hero." 

1986 - Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia goes into a diabetic coma, forcing the band to cancel the rest of their tour. He's in the coma for five days, and when he comes to, he has to learn how to walk and talk again. After months of rehab, he gets his faculties back and in December, and is once again on stage with his band. 

1987 - John Hammond, who signed both Bob Dylan (in 1961) and Bruce Springsteen (in 1972) to Columbia Records, dies at 76 after suffering from a number of strokes. 

1989 - The Monkees got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At the ceremony, all four Monkees reunited for the first time - Mike Nesmith was a holdout on their reunion tour. 

1997 - Wanda Day, drummer for 4 Non Blondes, dies of a drug overdose. 

2000 - Coldplay release their debut album, Parachutes, in their native UK (it isn't issued in America until November 7). Featuring the singles "Yellow" and "Trouble," it becomes a global smash. 

2008 - By simply tapping an app button on an iPhone, music fans could finally get an answer to the timeless question, "What's that song?" Shazam's free smartphone app is the first music recognition service of its kind - using a phone's microphone to listen to any song being played publicly - like in a restaurant, at a friend's house, or on TV - and identify it. And it actually works. 

2009 - Robert Plant was officially named a Commander of the British Empire after being bestowed with the title by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. 

2009 - Shakira released the electro-pop album She Wolf

2011 - A pub in Dundee, Scotland, called Lennon's Bar was forced to change the name of the venue and remove all Beatles memorabilia after Yoko Ono threatened legal action for copyright infringement. 

2012 - Slash, of Guns N' Roses, got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Charlie Sheen was the master of ceremonies at the event, and commented, "It seems quite fitting that Slash is getting a star on the very street Axl Rose will one day be sleeping on." 

2015 - The documentary Amy was released. The film, directed by Asif Kapadia, chronicles the short life of British singer Amy Winehouse who won five Grammy awards for her 2006 album Back To Black. She died at the age of 27 from alcohol poisoning in 2011. 

2016 - Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry suffered a cardiac arrest while performing with Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp, fellow members of the supergroup The Hollywood Vampires, in Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. The 65-year-old was rushed to Coney Island hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. 

2017 - With nearly 2.9 billion views, "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth broke the record for most-viewed video on YouTube, overtaking "Gangnam Style" by PSY. In August of 2017, it was overtaken by "Despacito." 


Blind Boy Fuller was born today in 1907.

Jumpin’ Gene Simmons (“Haunted House”) was born today in 1933.

Jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was born today in 1938.

Ronnie James Dio was born today in 1942. 

Sixto Rodriguez, best known as Rodriguez, was born today in 1942.

Jerry Miller, founding member of Moby Grape, is 81.

Arlo Guthrie is 77. 

Greg Kihn ("Our love's in jeopardy / Baby / Ooooh, oooh, oooh, ooh") is 74. 

Rik Emmett of Triumph is 71.

Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys is 70. 

Béla Fleck is 66.

Sandy West of the Runaways was born today in 1959. 

Marc Riley, English radio DJ and former member of the Fall, is 63.

Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts is 54.

Jason Orange of Take That is 54. 

Elijah Blue Allman of Deadsy is 48.

Jessica Simpson is 44. 

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