Today's birthdays include Chuck Berry, who was born on this day in either 1926 or 1931. He won't say. But most reference books list 1926 (age 76). Ronnie Bright of the Coasters was born in 1938 (age 64); the Association's Russ Giguere in 1943 (age 59); Laura Nyro in 1947; REO Speedwagon guitarist Gary Richrath and Stealers Wheel's Joe Egan, both in 1949 (age 53); Keith Knudsen of the Doobie Brothers in 1952 (age 50); and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis in 1961 (age 41).
Today's musical milestones:
On this day in 1961, the movie version of the Broadway musical "West Side Story" opened in New York. It went on to win the Oscar for best picture of the year.
In 1966, the Jimi Hendrix Experience debuted at Olympia Theatre in Paris.
In 1967, "How I Won The War" -- a movie with John Lennon in his first solo film role -- premiered in London.
In 1968, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were arrested at Ringo Starr's London apartment on drug charges. Lennon pleaded guilty so the police wouldn't press charges against Ono, although he swore the hash had been planted. The arrest became the backbone of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Department's case to keep Lennon from becoming a U.S. citizen.
Also in 1968, Led Zeppelin performed for the first time in Britain at London's Marquee Club.
Also in 1969, Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" was released.
And in 1969, Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner was charged with possession of marijuana after being arrested outside his home in Honolulu. Kantner said he was set up.
In 1974, Al Green was scalded on the back when his ex-girlfriend, Mary Woodson, threw boiling grits at him. She then shot and killed herself.
In 1986, for the first time, the top three spots on the Billboard Hot-100 single chart were occupied by three different female artists -- Janet Jackson's "When I Think Of You," Tina Turner's "Typical Male," and "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper. The next week, Jackson and Lauper traded places, placing Lauper into the No. 1 position.
Also in 1986, Christine McVie married Portuguese musician Eduarto Quintela de Mendonca.
And in 1986, Ink Spot Wilburt Harris died at age 44.
In 1993, the trial of George Michael's lawsuit seeking to break his contract with Sony began in London. He would lose -- although a year later, the music division of the newly formed DreamWorks SKG would buy out his contract.
In 1994, John Denver's lawyer asked that his client's blood alcohol test taken after an August car crash in Aspen, Colo., be thrown out. He said the singer was suffering from a concussion and in no condition to give permission for a blood test.
Also in 1995, Linda McCartney's veggie burgers were recalled in Britain after a study found the fat content was 20-to-23 percent instead of the 11 percent listed on the package.
In 1996, Madonna's newborn daughter made Entertainment Weekly's list of the 101 most powerful people in the entertainment industry -- she was 101.5 on the list. Madonna herself placed 82nd.
Also in 1996, a federal court in Los Angeles issued a preliminary injunction barring former members of Creedence Clearwater Revival from using a similar name for their new group.
Topping the charts on this date:
Chances Are/The Twelfth of Never -- Johnny Mathis (1957), Yesterday -- The Beatles (1965), Half-Breed -- Cher (1973), Arthur's Theme (Beast That You Can Do) -- 1981.
Today's musical quiz:
Who said, "If we had to give rock 'n' roll another name, we'd probably call it Chuck Berry"? Answer: John Lennon, during an appearance on "The Mike Douglas Show."
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