August 15, 1979 – Led Zeppelin release their eighth and final studio album In Through The Out Door. It is the last album from the band while John Bonham is still alive. It goes on to sell over 6 million copies in the U.S.
August 15, 1969 – The Woodstock Festival begins outside of New York City in Bethel on Max Yasgur’s 600 acre farm. Over 400,000 people attend the 3-day event, which features Jimi Hendrix, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Santana, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Canned Heat, Ten Years After, Johnny Winter, Jefferson Airplane, and Joe Cocker.
August 15, 1965 – The Beatles play probably their most famous concert at Shea Stadium in New York. 55,600 screaming fans attend the show, drowning out the 12-song set from the band. Ed Sullivan (whose company later produces the documentary of the show), introduces the band by saying, “Now, ladies and gentlemen, honored by their country, decorated by their Queen, and loved here in America, here are The Beatles!”
August 15, 1983 – Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone has emergency brain surgery for a fractured skull after being kicked in the head repeatedly in a fight. The Ramones name their next album Too Tough to Die in his honor.
Classic Rock Birthdays
August 15, 1950 – Tommy Aldridge, drums (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Thin Lizzy, Black Oak Arkansas)
August 15, 1946 – Jimmy Webb, piano, vocals, songwriter (“Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” and “MacArthur Park”)
August 15, 1942 – Pete York, drums (The Spencer Davis Group)
August 15, 2008 – Record producer Jerry Wexler dies of congestive heart failure at his home in Sarasota, Florida. He was 91. In 1968, he and Ahmet Ertegun signed Led Zeppelin to Atlantic Records. Working with a wide range of artists throughout his career, some of his highlights include producing the Aretha Franklin hit “Respect,” the Wilson Pickett song “In the Midnight Hour” and helping Bob Dylan win his first Grammy award by producing the 1979 album Slow Train Coming. He also coined the term “rhythm and blues” while writing for Billboard magazine in the late 1940s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.