January 5th: The Biggest Music Headlines

Scroll down the page to see all the music headlines, stories and events for January 5 throughout music history


Prince Makes His Live Debut

On this day in music, January 5, 1979, 20-year-old Prince played his first public show at Minneapolis’ Capri Theater, for what was sure to have been a lucky audience. While the artist had already signed a three-album deal with Warner Bros. Records and released his debut, 1978’s For You, he still had yet to take to the stage. Ahead of the concert, Prince assembled a band featuring bassist André Cymone, guitarist Dez Dickerson, drummer Bobby Z, and keyboardists Gayle Chapman and Doctor Fink – several of whom would be part of The Revolution. Although Prince would soon be known for his live performances, Warner Bros. executives who attended the hometown show weren’t convinced and felt that the young artist needed continued development.

In 1973, Bruce Springsteen released his debut, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Although the album didn’t make a splash on the charts, its artistry was recognized by critics. Today, it is ranked by several outlets as one of the greatest debuts of all time, while it produced the fan favorite, “Blinded By the Light” (Manfred Mann’s cover topped the US charts several years later).

In 1965, The Supremes kicked off the new year with a three-day session at Hitsville U.S.A., where they recorded “Stop! In the Name of Love.” Upon its release the following month, the song went straight to the top of the US pop chart.

In 1979, double bassist, pianist, composer, and bandleader, Charles Mingus, died at the age of 56. A major innovator in the jazz idiom, Mingus produced undisputed masterpieces like 1963’s Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.

In 1998, tragedy struck when Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident. The singer, songwriter, and TV show host wore many hats, even becoming a U.S. congressman in the mid-’90s. Bono rose to fame as one half of the husband-and-wife duo, Sonny & Cher. In 1965, they scored a No.1 hit in the US and UK with “I Got You Babe.”

In 1991, heavy metal icons Iron Maiden topped the UK singles chart with “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter.” The song was a late-period hit for the enduring band and proved their relevance in an era of changing tastes.

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Keep scrolling for all of the headlines for January 5.


1923: Sam Phillips (Producer, Record Executive)
1934: Phil Ramone (Producer)
1949: George Brown (Kool & The Gang)
1950: Chris Stein (Blondie)
1966: Kate Schellenbach (Luscious Jackson)

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Keep scrolling for all of our January 5 birthdays.

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January 5th

On this day in music
5 Jan 2024
It was reported that Female artists had a record year in 2023 on the UK singles chart, spending the most weeks at No.1 since records began in 1952. For 31 out of 52 weeks, female acts topped the chart either as solo artists or in collaboration with other musicians. Miley Cyrus had the biggest song of the year, with the break-up anthem 'Flowers' attracting 198 million streams.
5 Jan 2024
Royal Mail announced it was issuing a set of 15 stamps celebrating The Spice Girls. one of the world's most successful pop groups, as they marked their 30th anniversary. It was the first time Royal Mail had dedicated an entire stamp issue to a female pop group. The stamps were set to feature images from their performances from 1997 to 2012, including at the Brit Awards in 1997, and at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
5 Jan 2019
British musician Eric Haydock died age 75. He is best known as the original bass guitarist of The Hollies from December 1962 until July 1966. He was one of the first British musicians to play a Fender Bass VI, a six-string bass.
5 Jan 2016
Donald Fagen, lead singer and founder of Steely Dan, was arrested by New York police and charged with assaulting his wife at their home. Fagen, was accused of pushing Libby Titus into a marble window frame, knocking her to the ground, at their Manhattan apartment.
5 Jan 2010
American trumpeter, bandleader and producer Willie Mitchell died from a cardiac arrest age 81. He was best known for his Hi Records label of the 1970s, which released albums by a large stable of popular Memphis soul artists, including Mitchell himself, Al Green, O. V. Wright, Syl Johnson and Ann Peebles.
5 Jan 2004
The Kinks singer Ray Davies was shot in the leg while on holiday in New Orleans. The 59-year-old singer-songwriter was shot when running after two men who stole his girlfriend's purse at gunpoint. Davies was admitted to the Medical Centre of Louisiana but his injuries were not considered serious. New Orleans police said one person had been arrested, and police were still searching for the second.
5 Jan 2003
Green Day's lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was arrested on suspicion of drink driving after being stopped in California speeding in a black BMW convertible. He failed a breath test and was taken to Berkeley county jail and was later released on $1,053 (£657) bail.
5 Jan 2001
Kirsty MacColl was laid to rest at a private funeral ceremony, ahead of a public memorial to pay tribute to her life. The singer songwriter was killed in a boating accident on 18th Dec 2000.
5 Jan 1998
American singer, producer, and politician Sonny Bono was killed in a skiing accident at a resort near Lake Tahoe, aged 62. Bono who was one half of Sonny and Cher scored the 1965 UK & US No.1 single 'I Got You Babe' and had become a US Congressman. The United States Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which extended the term of copyright by 20 years, was named in honour of Bono when it was passed by Congress nine months after his death.
5 Jan 1998
Ken Forssi bassist with Love died of brain cancer aged 55. In 1965 he met Arthur Lee, who then had a band called Grass Roots and was greatly impressed. Lee hired Forssi as bassist, and soon officially formed Love. Love scored the 1966 US No.33 single '7 And 7 Is', 1968 UK No.24 album Forever Changes.
5 Jan 1991
Iron Maiden went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter.' The second single from their album No Prayer for the Dying, became the lowest selling No.1 since 1960, with just over 42,000 copies sold in its first week. The song was originally recorded and released by Bruce Dickinson for the soundtrack to A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.
5 Jan 1989
Winners in music weekly Melody Makers Readers Poll results, The Mission won best band, best live act, best single and best album. Morrissey won best male singer, Julianne Regan from All About Eve best female singer, worst LP went to Bros with 'Push' and best new band was won by House Of Love.
5 Jan 1980
David Bowie appeared on Saturday Night Live Live from New York City performing 'The Man Who Sold the World', 'TVC 15' and 'Boys Keep Swinging' with a specially prepared backing group, including Blondie's Jimmy Destri (keyboards) and Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias (backing vocals).
5 Jan 1979
Prince made his live debut at the Capri Theatre, Minneapolis. Warner Bros. executives attended the show but decided that Prince and the band needed more time to develop his music.
5 Jan 1979
American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer and bandleader Charles Mingus died aged 56. His compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop, drawing heavily from black gospel music and blues. His final project was 'Mingus' a collaboration with Joni Mitchell.
5 Jan 1976
Former The Beatles roadie Mal Evans was shot dead by police at his Los Angeles apartment. His girlfriend called police when she found Evans upset with a rifle in his hand; he pointed the gun at the police who opened fire. Friends later said that Evans was depressed about his separation from his wife Lil Evans — who had asked for a divorce before Christmas.
5 Jan 1973
Bruce Springsteen released his debut album 'Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.' Recorded in a single week the album only sold about 25,000 copies in the first year of its release. Both 'Blinded By The Light' and 'Spirit In The Night' were released as singles but neither made a dent in the charts. Manfred Mann's Earth Band later released a version of 'Blinded By The Light' on their album 'The Roaring Silence,' which reached No.1 on the US charts in 1977.
5 Jan 1969
During the band's first North American tour, Led Zeppelin played the last of four nights at the Whisky A Go-Go, Los Angeles, with Alice Cooper as the opening act. Zeppelin were billed as 'Led Zeppelin featuring Jimmy Page, formerly of the Yardbirds'.
5 Jan 1968
Jimi Hendrix was jailed for one day in Stockholm, Sweden on drink charges after going berserk and destroying everything in his room at the Goteberg Hotel.
5 Jan 1967
Pink Floyd and Eyes of Blue appeared at The Marquee Club London, England. Queen magazine said: "The two guitarists looked moody, the drummer thrashed wildly about and the lights kept flashing. After about twenty minutes it became very boring and after half an hour I left."
5 Jan 1965
The Supremes spent the first of three sessions at Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A) recording 'Stop! In the Name of Love'. Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song topped the US singles chart when it was released the following month.
5 Jan 1964
The Rolling Stones performed at the Ricky Tick club at the Olympia Ballroom in Reading, England. During the 1960s, the club was host to many important acts such as The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Cream. The Yardbirds were filmed performing in a recreation of the club built at MGM Studios in Borehamwood for Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blow-Up.
5 Jan 1961
The Beatles played at Litherland Town Hall, Liverpool. In the audience are two members from Rory Storm & the Hurricanes: Johnny Guitar and Ringo Starr who have just returned from Hamburg, Germany.
Born on this day in music
5 Jan 1976
Matthew Walter Wachter, bassist Angels & Airwaves, 30 Seconds to Mars who had the 2018 album America peak at No.2 on the US chart and No.4 in the UK.
5 Jan 1970
Troy Van Leeuwen, American guitarist, Queens of the Stone Age and A Perfect Circle, (their debut album Mer De Noms became the highest ever debut for a rock band, with 188,000 copies sold in its first week). Leeuwen is also a member of the supergroup Gone Is Gone and has fronted his own projects, Enemy and Sweethead.
5 Jan 1970
Jeffrey Jey, singer, Italian group Eiffel 65, (1999 UK No.1 single 'Blue (Da Ba Dee'). The single was also No.1 in Norway, Austria, Finland, Germany and Denmark.
5 Jan 1969
Brian Warner, (Marilyn Manson), with American rock band Marilyn Manson who had the 1998 US No.1 album, Mechanical Animals. His stage name was formed from juxtaposing the names of two 1960s American cultural icons, Marilyn Monroe and convicted multiple murder Charles Manson.
5 Jan 1966
Kate Schellenbach, singer, Luscious Jackson, (1997 UK No.25 single 'Naked Eye').
5 Jan 1963
Grant Young, drummer with American alternative rock band Soul Asylum, who had the 1993 US No.5 and UK No.7 single 'Runaway Train' from their album Grave Dancers Union.
5 Jan 1960
Phil Thornalley, songwriter, vocals, guitar, from British band Johnny Hates Jazz who had the 1987 UK No.5 single and international success with 'Shattered Dreams'. Thornalley was also a member of The Cure. He was also the co-writer of Natalie Imbruglia 1997 word-wide hit 'Torn'.
5 Jan 1957
Maartin Allcock, English multi-instrumentalist musician and record producer who was a member of British folk rock band Fairport Convention and then Jethro Tull. Allcock died 16 September 2018 aged 61.
5 Jan 1950
Chris Stein co-founder and guitarist of the new wave band Blondie. In 1973 Stein became the guitarist of the Stilettos and began a romantic relationship with Debbie Harry, one of the singers. Blondie scored five UK No.1 singles including the 1979 UK & US No.1 single 'Heart Of Glass' and the 1978 worldwide No.1 album Parallel Lines. Stein is also an accomplished photographer.
5 Jan 1949
Joe Herndon, American R&B and soul singer, former bass singer of a version of doo-wop group The Spaniels and former bass singer for The Temptations (2003–15).
5 Jan 1949
George Brown singer with American R&B, soul, and funk band Kool & The Gang who had the 1981 US No.1 & UK No.7 single 'Celebration', plus over 15 other UK Top 40 hits. He died on 16 November 2023.
5 Jan 1941
Grady Thomas, a former member of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic. Thomas started out in the late 1950s as one of The Parliaments, a doo wop barbershop quintet led by George Clinton.
5 Jan 1940
Athol Guy, singer, from Australian folk-influenced pop quartet The Seekers who scored the 1965 UK No.1 single 'I'll Never Find Another You'. They were the first Australian group to achieve major chart and sales success in the UK and the US.
5 Jan 1934
US music producer and pioneer of digital recording, Phil Ramone, Ramone. He was regarded as one of the most successful producers in history, winning 14 Grammy awards and working with stars such as Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Paul McCartney. He produced the first major commercial release on CD, Billy Joel's 1982 album 52nd Street. Ramone died on 30 March 2013 aged 79.
5 Jan 1929
American rhythm and blues singer, pianist, guitarist and harmonica player Wilbert Harrison. He had a Billboard No.1 record in 1959 with the song 'Kansas City', (covered by Little Richard, James Brown and The Beatles). He later wrote 'Let's Work Together (Part 1)' which was a hit for Canned Heat, and as 'Let's Stick Together', a hit for Bryan Ferry. Harrison died of a stroke on 26 October 1994 age 65.
5 Jan 1923
Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records, the first label of Elvis Presley's recordings. Phillips played a major role in the development of rock and roll during the 1950s, launching the career of Presley. He recorded Carl Perkins, Ike Turner, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis. Phillips died of respiratory failure on 30 July 2003 aged 80, at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, one day before the original Sun Studio was designated a National Historic Landmark.
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