May 12 in Music History: The Jimi Hendrix Experience releases Are You Experienced, Rolling Stones release Exile on Main Street
1960 – Elvis Presley, who was recently discharged from the Army, appears on Frank Sinatra’s variety TV special, Welcome Home Elvis. The two artists perform “Witchcraft” and “Love Me Tender” together.
1961 – The Beatles sign a recording contract with producer Bert Kaempfert in Hamburg, West Germany.
1963 – Bob Dylan walks out of rehearsals for The Ed Sullivan Show after being told he can’t perform his song “Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues” because it mocks the US military and segregation. CBS officials asked Dylan to substitute it for another song, but the singer reportedly said, “No, this is what I want to do. If I can’t play my song, I’d rather not appear on the show.”
1964 – The Beach Boys score their first #1 album (and the first live album to ever top the pop charts) with Beach Boys Concert.
1965 – The Rolling Stones record “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” at RCA Hollywood studios, which becomes their first #1 single in the US.
1967 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience releases their debut album, Are You Experienced.
1967 – Pink Floyd puts on a special concert, Games For May – Space Age Relaxation For The Climate Of Spring, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. This is reportedly the first show to include loudspeakers placed at the back of the hall to give a “sound in the round,” or quadraphonic effect. The sound system, developed by EMI technicians, is stolen after the show and not recovered for several years.
1968 – Brian Jones performs for the last time with The Rolling Stones when they play the New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert at the Empire Pool in Wembley, England. Jones drowns while under the influence of drugs and alcohol after taking a midnight swim in his pool a month and a half later on July 3 at age 27.
1972 – The Rolling Stones release Exile on Main St.
1977 – Virgin records announce they had signed the Sex Pistols after the band had been signed & dropped by both EMI and A&M records in the previous 6 months.
1981 – Debbie Harry branches off from Blondie, announcing her solo career. She simultaneously continues working with the band, which proves more successful.
1992 – The Black Crowes release The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, and the Indigo Girls release Rites of Passage.
1998 – Lenny Kravitz releases 5.