On This Day – March 2 – Stevie Wonder, Elvis, The Jam, Dusty Springfield, Jeff Healey & more

Bo Diddley’s first recording session occurs at Universal Recording Studio in Chicago, where he lays down ‘Bo Diddley’, which topped the US R&B chart the following June.

After completing his national service and flying back to America, Elvis Presley steps on British soil for the first and only time in his life when the plane carrying him stops for refuelling at Prestwick Airport, Scotland.

The Beatles begin filming their first feature film A Hard Day’s Night at Marylebone station, London.

At this year’s Grammy Awards Stevie Wonder wins four awards: Album Of The Year (Innervisions), Best R&B Song and Best Vocal for ‘Superstition’ and Best Pop Vocal Performance for ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’.

A policeman who stops a Lincoln Continental for running a red light in Los Angeles is surprised to find Paul McCartney at the wheel with his wife Linda. The cop detects a strong smell of marijuana and on searching the car finds eight ounces of the drug. Linda is arrested for the offence.

The Jam play the first of a five-week Wednesday night run at The Red Cow, Hammersmith, London. The band has just signed a four-year recording contract with Polydor Records.

Over two decades after its first release ‘All Right Now’ by Free makes No. 2 in the UK singles chart after being reissued to coincide with its use in a Wrigley’s chewing gum TV ad.

Wham! start a three week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with ‘Make It Big’ which eventually sells over five million copies in America.

French singer and composer Serge Gainsbourg dies of a heart attack. Best known (outside France) for ‘Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus’, his sensuous 1969 UK No. 1 duet with Jane Birkin, during his career Gainsbourg wrote the soundtracks for more than 40 films. He also famously propositioned Whitney Houston during a televised French TV chat show in 1986.

Oasis score their second UK No. 1 single with ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. Taken from the band’s What’s The Story Morning Glory album it is the first Oasis single to feature Noel Gallagher on lead vocals instead of his brother, Liam.

Dusty Springfield dies after a long battle against cancer, aged 59. The much loved British singer had her first UK hit single in 1963 with ‘I Only Want To Be With You’, which reached No. 4, a 1966 UK No. 1 & US No. 4 single (‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’) plus over 15 other UK Top 40 singles.

Singer-songwriter Hank Ballard dies from throat cancer. Ballard wrote and recorded the original version of ‘The Twist’, released as a B-side. A year later, Chubby Checker debuted his own chart-topping version of ‘The Twist’ on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, launching a dance craze that prompted the creation of other Twist songs, including ‘Twist And Shout’ by The Isley Brothers and ‘Twistin’ The Night Away’ by Sam Cooke.

American R&B singer Kelis is arrested in Miami Beach, Florida, after the singer started screaming racial obscenities at two female police officers who were working as prostitutes in an undercover operation on South Beach. Kelis was detained and charged with two misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and for resisting arrest.

Canadian singer-guitarist, Jeff Healey, dies of cancer. Healey lost his sight to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes when he was eight months old, resulting in his eyes being surgically removed. After living cancer-free for 38 years, he developed sarcoma in his legs which spread to his lungs. Healey released over 12 albums, presented a long running radio show and worked with many artists including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, BB King, ZZ Top, Steve Lukather and Eric Clapton.
Liverpool Hope University launches a Masters degree on The Beatles, popular music and society. The university claims the course which looks at the studio sound and compositions of The Beatles is the first of its kind in the UK and “probably the world”.

Born on this day:
1938 Lawrence Payton, vocals (The Four Tops)
1943 Lou Reed, guitar, vocals (Velvet Underground)
1948 Rory Gallagher (Irish blues guitarist)
1950 Karen Carpenter, vocals, drums (The Carpenters)
1962 Jon Bon Jovi, guitar, vocals (Bon Jovi)
1977 Chris Martin, piano, guitar, vocals (Coldplay)

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