July 31st: The Biggest Music Headlines

Scroll down the page to see all the music headlines, stories and events for July 31 throughout music history

Jim Reeves

Country Pioneer Jim Reeves Perishes In Plane Crash

On this day in music, July 31, 1964, 40-year-old singer-songwriter Jim Reeves perished in a plane that crashed in thick fog while traveling from Arkansas to Nashville. Nicknamed “Gentleman Jim,” the Texas-born artist topped the Billboard country charts for the first time in 1953. By the end of the decade, he had changed his style, preferring softly-sung easy listening ballads, a transformation which helped him to conquer the pop charts and achieve mainstream success. His 1960 single, “He’ll Have To Go,” which hit No. 2 on the US pop chart, helped make him a household name. He scored a posthumous UK No.1 with “Distant Drums” in 1966.

In 1999, Christina Aguilera topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with “Genie In A Bottle,” a track off her self-titled debut. It spent five weeks at No.1 and also reached the top position in the UK.

In 2012, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band played their longest-ever set, staying on stage for an epic four hours and six minutes at Finland’s Helsinki Olympiastadion. Four years later, The Boss nearly repeated that same feat at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. The concert, however, fell two minutes short of his Finland record.

In 1971, James Taylor scored his sole No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “You’ve Got A Friend.” The aptly-titled song, which was plucked from the troubadour’s third album, Mud Slide Slim & The Blue Horizon, was written by Taylor’s good friend and fellow singer-songwriter, Carole King, who premiered it on her 1971 album, Tapestry. The recording earned Grammys for both artists, giving Taylor a win in the Best Pop Vocal Male Performance category and King an award for Song of the Year.

In 1969, Elvis Presley played his first live show since 1961 when he appeared on stage before 2000 people in the showroom of the newly built Las Vegas International Hotel. His month-long stint in Sin City reportedly earned him $1.5m and played a crucial role in reviving his career.

In 1959, British pop icon Cliff Richard scored the first of 14 UK No.1s with the Lionel Bart-written “Living Doll,” taken from the soundtrack to the blackmail movie, Serious Charge. Richard appeared in the film, playing a teen pop idol called Curley Thompson.

Looking for more things that happened on this day in music?
Keep scrolling for all of the headlines for July 31.


1946: Gary Lewis (Gary Lewis & The Playboys)
1957: Daniel Ash (Bauhaus)
1958: Bill Berry (R.E.M.)
1963: Norman Cook/Fatboy Slim
1964: Fuzz Townsend (Pop Will Eat Itself)
1978: Zac Brown (Zac Brown Band)
1978: Will Champion (Coldplay)
1981: M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold)
1994: Lil Uzi Vert

Looking for more artists born on this day?
Keep scrolling for all of our July 31 birthdays.

What to find another day?

July 31st

On this day in music
31 Jul 2021
American guitarist and singer-songwriter Paul Cotton died at the age of 78. He was a member of the band Poco and the writer of their international hit song ‘Heart of the Night’. Cotton left Poco in early 2010 and went on to release several solo albums.
31 Jul 2015
Morrissey claimed he was sexually assaulted by a security officer at San Francisco International Airport, who he said "groped" him. An official spokesman for the Transport Security Administration (TSA) said security camera footage confirmed that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.
31 Jul 2014
Meceo McEaddy was sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from concert promoters by posing as a booking agent. McEaddy who pretended to be in charge of Lady Gaga, Rihanna and several other celebrities, pleaded guilty to 21 counts of grand larceny and fraud, according to Manhattan district attorney's office.
31 Jul 2012
Sheryl Crow was granted a temporary restraining order against a man accused of threatening to shoot her. The order stated that Phillip Gordon Sparks had to stay 90 metres away from Crow and must not contact her, her family or anyone who works with her.
31 Jul 2012
Appearing at the Helsinki Olympiastadionin Finland, at the end of a European tour, Bruce Springsteen played his longest show ever - 4 hours and 6 minutes.
31 Jul 2006
Former Culture Club singer Boy George (O'Dowd) was ordered to do community service by picking up trash on New York City streets after pleading guilty last March to false reporting of an incident. He called police with a bogus report of a burglary at his lower Manhattan apartment in October and the responding officers found cocaine inside.
31 Jul 2001
BBC producer John Walters died aged 63. Walters produced and worked with Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who teamed up with Walters to broadcast some of the most groundbreaking music of an era. He joined the BBC in 1967, and became producer on John Peel's Top Gear show two years later. Walters played the trumpet with the Alan Price Set in the 1960s.
31 Jul 1999
Christina Aguilera scored her first US No.1 single with 'Genie In A Bottle', also No.1 in the UK. The song spent 5 weeks at No.1 on the US chart and won Aguilera the Best New Artist Grammy for the year.
31 Jul 1999
Wu-Tang Clan member Ol Dirty Bastard, (real name Russell Jones) was arrested for crack and marijuana possession in New York after being stopped by police during a routine traffic offence.
31 Jul 1994
Aaliyah and R. Kelly secretly married at the Sheraton Gateway Suites, Rosemont, IL. Aaliyah never admitted being married, though Vibe published a copy of the marriage certificate. Unfortunately, she was only 15 at the time, so thus the marriage was later annulled.
31 Jul 1992
Michael Jackson made an unscheduled appearance on his hotel balcony in London after a man had threatened to jump from an apartment building across the street. 28 year-old Eric Herminie told police he would leap to his death if he didn't see Jackson, who was in Britain for a series of concerts. Jackson spent a couple of minutes waving to Herminie, who then climbed back into the building.
31 Jul 1985
The Eurythmics had the No.1 position on the UK singles chart with 'There Must Be An Angel, (Playing With My Heart). The song which was the Eurythmics' first (and to date only) No.1 single features a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder.
31 Jul 1982
Survivor's 'Eye Of The Tiger' was at No.1 on the US chart. The song, which was commissioned by actor Sylvester Stallone for the theme for the movie Rocky III, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song and go on to sell over five million copies.
31 Jul 1980
During an Eagles concert at Long Beach, California, tempers boiled over between Glen Frey and Don Felder, who spent the entire show describing to each other the beating each planned to administer backstage. "Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal," Frey told Felder. The group’s next album was mixed by Frey and Felder on opposite coasts after the two decided they couldn't bear to be in the same state, let alone the same studio.
31 Jul 1980
Jon Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas was apprehended by FBI narcotics agents for possession of cocaine, he was later sentenced to 250 hours Community service giving anti-drug lectures.
31 Jul 1971
James Taylor went to No.1 on the US singles chart with the Carole King song 'You've Got A Friend', (included in her album Tapestry and James Taylor's album Mud Slide Slim). The song would go on to win the 1971 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal male Performance and Song Of The Year.
31 Jul 1971
A security guard was stabbed to death during a concert by The Who at New York's Forest Hill Stadium.
31 Jul 1969
Elvis Presley kicked off a four week run at the Las Vegas International Hotel, (his first live show since 1961). He reportedly netted $1.5m for the shows. On the menu an Elvis special, polk salad with corn muffins & honey.
31 Jul 1968
Tommy James and The Shondells were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Mony Mony'. Also a hit for Billy Idol in 1987.
31 Jul 1968
Working at Trident studios in London, England, (with its 8-track equipment, EMI was still using 4-track recorders), The Beatles recorded four takes of a new Paul McCartney song '‘Hey Jude’.
31 Jul 1967
An appeal court in London, England, gave Mick Jagger a conditional discharge and quashed Keith Richard’s conviction for permitting his house to be used for the purpose of smoking cannabis resin.
31 Jul 1964
Country singer Jim Reeves was killed in a plane crash when the single engine aircraft flying from Arkansas to Nashville crashed in thick fog. 40 year- old Reeves was one of the first country singers to cross-over into the pop market. with his 1960 US No.2 single 'He'll Have To Go', and 1966 UK No.1 single 'Distant Drums'.
31 Jul 1963
The Rolling Stones performed at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, Middlesex. The island was the site of the Eel Pie Hotel on the River Thames, where many up and coming acts appeared including: The Who, The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and David Bowie .
31 Jul 1959
Cliff Richard was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Living Doll.' The singers first of 14 UK No.1's. The song was one of three from the film, Serious Charge.
31 Jul 1957
Richard Starkey (later known as Ringo Starr) is thought to have made his debut at the The Cavern playing drums with the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. John Lennon made his first appearance at the club a week later with The Quarry Men Skiffle Group. Paul McCartney made his first appearance in January 1958 with The Quarry Men.
31 Jul 1955
Elvis Presley performed 3 shows at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, Florida, (2 matinee and 1 evening). A full scale riot broke out after the show when Elvis announced to the 14,000 strong crowd, "Girls, I'll see you backstage." Fans chased Elvis into the dressing room, tearing off his clothes and shoes.
Born on this day in music
31 Jul 1994
American hip hop recording artist Lil Uzi Vert who had the 2017 US No.1 album Luv Is Rage 2 which includes guest appearances from The Weeknd and Pharrell Williams.
31 Jul 1981
M. Shadows American vocalist, songwriter and founding member of heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold who had the 2010 US No.1 album Nightmare and the 2013 US No.1 album Hail to the King.
31 Jul 1978
English musician, Will Champion, drummer with Coldplay who had the 2000 UK No.4 single 'Yellow', the 2000 UK No.1 album Parachutes and the 2005 worldwide No.1 album X&Y. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth-best artist of the 2000s.
31 Jul 1978
Zac Brown American singer and guitarist with the Grammy Award winning country music group, Zac Brown Band. Their 2015 album Jekyll + Hyde which debuted at No.1 on the US chart featured the single 'Heavy Is the Head' with vocals from Chris Cornell.
31 Jul 1971
John Lowery, guitarist with American rock band Marilyn Manson who had the 1998 US No.1 album, Mechanical Animals.
31 Jul 1964
Jim Corr, guitar, keyboards, vocals, with Irish band The Corrs, who had the 1998 UK No.3 single 'What Can I Do'. Talk On Corners was the best selling UK album of 1998 spending 142 weeks on the UK chart. The Corrs have sold 40 million albums worldwide.
31 Jul 1964
Robert Townsend, from English alternative rock band, Pop Will Eat Itself who scored the 1991 UK No.15 single 'X Y & Zee' and the 1993 top ten hit, 'Get The Girl! Kill The Baddies!'
31 Jul 1963
Norman Cook also known by his stage name Fatboy Slim, English DJ, musician, multi-instrumentalist and record producer/mixer who with The Housemartins had the a cappella cover version of 'Caravan of Love' (originally by Isley-Jasper-Isley) which was a UK No.1 single. He was a member of Beats International who had the 1990 UK No.1 'Dub Be Good To Me'). Freak Power, who scored the hit 'Turn On Tune In Cop Out' and as as Fatboy Slim, had the 1999 UK No.1 single 'Praise You'.
31 Jul 1960
Malcolm Ross, Aztec Camera, (1988 UK No.3 single 'Somewhere In My Heart').
31 Jul 1958
Bill Berry, drums, R.E.M. (1991 UK No.6 & US No.10 single 'Shiny Happy People', plus over 20 Top 40 UK singles, 1992 UK No.1 & US No.2 album 'Automatic For The People'). Berry quit the band in 1997.
31 Jul 1957
Daniel Ash, singer songwriter from English post-punk band Bauhaus, who had the 1982 UK No.15 single with their version of the David Bowie song 'Ziggy Stardust'.
31 Jul 1953
Hugh McDowell, English cellist with Wizzard and Electric Light Orchestra who had the 1979 UK No.3 & US No.4 single 'Don't Bring Me Down' plus 26 other Top 40 hits. ELO have sold over 50 million records worldwide. McDowell died of cancer on 6 November 2018 aged 65.
31 Jul 1951
Carlo Karges, from German group Nena who had the 1984 UK No.1 & US No.2 single '99 Red Balloons'. The track made them UK One Hit Wonder.
31 Jul 1947
Karl Green, guitarist with English beat rock band, Herman's Hermits who scored the 1964 UK No.1 single 'I'm Into Something Good' (cover of Earl-Jean's) and the 1965 US No.1 single 'Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter'.
31 Jul 1946
Gary Lewis singer, (1965 US No.1 single with The Playboys, 'This Diamond Ring' plus 11 other US Top 40 hits).
31 Jul 1942
English pop musician Daniel Boone who became a one-hit wonder in the United States with the single 'Beautiful Sunday' in 1972. The song was written by Boone and Rod McQueen and sold over 2,000,000 copies worldwide. It peaked at number 15 on The Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at the end of the summer of 1972, having already reached number 21 on the UK Singles Chart. In 1972, Boone was the recipient of the "Most Likeable Singer" award from Rolling Stone magazine. He died on 27 January 2023 age 80.
31 Jul 1939
John West, organ and accordion from The Playboys that had the 1965 US No.1 single 'This Diamond Ring' plus 11 other US Top 40 hits.
31 Jul 1923
Turkish-American businessman, songwriter, record executive and philanthropist Ahmet Ertegun. He was the co-founder and president of Atlantic Records where he discovered and championed many leading rhythm and blues and rock musicians. Ertegun himself wrote a number of classic blues songs, including 'Chains of Love' and 'Sweet Sixteen', under the pseudonym "A. Nugetre" ("Ertegun" backwards). On 29 October 2006, Ertegun tripped, striking his head on a concrete floor, at a Rolling Stones concert at the Beacon Theatre. He was taken to hospital where he fell into a coma and died on December 14, 2006 age 83.
uDiscover Music - Back To Top
uDiscover Music - Back To Top