Today's birthdays include Billy Paul, who was born in 1934 (age 68); Lou Rawls in 1935 (age 67); Sandy Nelson, of "Let There Be Drums" fame, in 1938 (age 64); Blue Oyster Cult's Eric Bloom in 1944 (age 58); Doors drummer John Densmore, and entertainer Bette Midler, both in 1945 (age 57); Gilbert O'Sullivan in 1946 (age 56); Shocking Blue's Klaaseje Van Der Wal in 1949 (age 53); singer/actress Charlene Tilton in 1959 (age 43); and Sam Reid of Glass Tiger in 1963 (age 39).
Today's musical milestones:
In 1934, jazz clarinet pioneer Benny Goodman debuted as a regular on the radio variety show Let's Dance. Goodman, who was white, became one of the first bandleaders to use both black and white musicians.
In 1954, Nashville music publisher Fred Rose died.
In 1969, blues guitarist Magic Sam died at age 32. Five years earlier, he'd had a hit with the song "High-Heeled Sneakers."
In 1971, John Lennon's "Happy Christmas" was released.
In 1975, on her 30th birthday, Bette Midler had an emergency appendectomy.
In 1976, the Sex Pistols shocked Britain when group leader Johnny Rotton used the "f" word on live television. The network later determined the show's host provoked the remarks. But the news media played up the event, resulting in many of the Sex Pistols' concert dates being canceled.
In 1981, Depeche Mode founding member and songwriter Vince Clarke announced he was leaving the band.
In 1983, Neil Young was sued by his label, Geffen Records, which claimed his albums were "not commercial in nature and musically uncharacteristic" of his previous albums.
In 1986, New Orleans R&B singer Lee Dorsey died at age 59.
In 1992, Warner Books said Austin, Texas, became the first U.S. city to ban the sale of Madonna's "Sex" in Windsor, Canada.
In 1994, rapper Tupac Shakur was convicted in the November 1993 sexual assault of a woman at his New York City hotel suite.
In 1996, Allman Brothers Band lead guitarist Dickie Betts was arrested in Florida after his wife said he threatened to shoot her in the head during an argument over his drug use.
In 1998, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and his actress wife, Pamela Anderson Lee, couldn't sue Internet Entertainment Group (IEG) of Seattle for selling the couple's now-infamous X-rated "honeymoon" videotape.
In 1999, RCA Records announced that Lou Bega's debut album "A Little Bit Of Mambo" had been certified triple platinum, meaning sales of more than 3 million copies.
In 2000, British police reported thieves had broken into Madonna's rented $4.5 million house in Kensington and stole a car belonging to Madonna's boyfriend, filmmaker Guy Ritchie, using keys they picked up as they prowled around the house. The Range Rover was later found abandoned in West London. The thieves also made off with a number of other unspecified items.
In 2000, the Baha Men, 98 Degrees, The Corrs, Mya, Outkast and Jessica Simpson were among the artists who performed on the third annual "Music With A Message: World AIDS Day 2000" concert on MTV, taped earlier at New York's Beacon Theater.
Topping the charts on this date:
Runaround Sue - Dion (1961), Come Together/Something - The Beatles
Today's musical quiz:
Bette Midler was named after what actress? Answer: Midler's mother named her daughter after actress Bette Davis, and pronounced it "Bet" because she thought that's the way Davis said it.
Dennis Rodman pledges to end trips to North Korea
Jessica Simpson shares three-way kiss with friends in photo