August 16 – Robert Johnson, Buddy at the Apollo, Supremes

1938

1961 cover art

Highly influential blues musician Robert Johnson is poisoned — the story goes — by a jealous husband in Three Forks, Mississippi.
 
The death of the legendary delta blues player (born May 8, 1911) makes him the first well-known member of the 27 Club. Exposed 

Dust My Broom 78rpm label

While there are dozens of recordings (among them 13 on Vocalion Records, 29 from ARC), it isn’t until a 1962 Columbia Records re-issue called King of the Delta Blues Singers (mono, CL 1654 (*)) that he begins to be widely known. Rolling Stone ranks it #27 of its Top 500 albums. A Volume 2 is released in 1970. A 1998 edition (CK 65211) is re-mastered from the best available 78 originals.
 
In 1990, a compilation wins a Best Historical Grammy. In 1998 his 1936 Vocalion Records single Cross Road Blues joins the Grammy Hall of Fame.
 
▷Blues HoF, 1980▹ ▷Rock HoF, 1986▹
Sweet Home Chicago  Hellbound  ▷Notebook▹

See also: Clapton’s Me and Mr. Johnson (US#6)

1957

Lubbock, TX white rockabilly act Buddy Holly & the Crickets begin a week at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NYC. (*)
 
Their reception is recreated in the fun 1978 biopic The Buddy Holly Story.
 
They might have been famous, but they weren’t the first white act to play there, say R&B sax-player Jimmy Cavallo (he appears in Alan Freed movie ‘Rock Rock Rock‘) and Louisiana swamp-rocker Dale Hawkins (who sang Susie Q).

1964

Motown girl group The Supremes get their first US#1 with Holland-Dozier-Holland tune Where Did Our Love Go.
 
Originally founded in 1959 as The Primettes of Detroit, MI, the group had 11 more unforgettable US#1s, most written by the same guys. Among them: Baby Love (UK#1), Stop! In the Name of Love , You Can’t Hurry Love , Love Child, Someday We’ll Be Together .
 
They break up in 1977 but with 33 top-40 singles and 12 top-10 albums, are still the most successful US vocal group. They join the Rock HoF in 1998.
 
 ( Dennis fansite ▷Classic Bands bio▹