Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International   |   Dec. 20, 2002 at 2:30 AM

(Dec. 20)

Today's birthdays include Blood Sweat and Tears drummer Bobby Colomby, who was born in 1944 (age 58); Peter Criss of Kiss in 1947 (age 55); and "Little" Stevie Wright of the Easybeats in 1948 (age 54); Anita Ward and Billy Bragg, both in 1957 (age 45); and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes in 1966 (age 36).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1932, Al Jolson, the most famous singer of his day, recorded one of his biggest hits, "April Showers."

In 1952, Elvis Presley sang "Old Shep" at a Christmas Party at his high school in Memphis.

In 1957, Elvis Presley received his draft notice while home at Graceland for the Christmas holidays.

In 1966, Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans" was certified gold seven years after its release.

In 1967, Ian Anderson and bassist Glen Cornick left the John Evan Band to form Jethro Tull. Evan would later join Tull as a keyboardist.

Also in 1967, the Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy (He's My Brother)" was released.

In 1973, Bobby Darin died in a Los Angeles hospital while undergoing a second heart operation. He was 37.

In 1975, Joe Walsh replaced Bernie Leadon on lead guitar for the Eagles.

Also in 1975, Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" was released. It would top the charts for three weeks in February of 1976.

In 1981, "Dreamgirls" opened on Broadway. The show was based on the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes.

In 1986, more trouble for Boy George when he, his friend Mark Golding, and another man were arrested on suspicion of drug possession. Golding died the next day, an apparent victim of a methadone overdose.

Also in 1986, Randy Travis joined the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1991, Boston Pops conductor John Williams announced he would retire after the 1993 season.

In 1993, the NAACP blasted the media coverage of Michael Jackson's child molestation allegations as "excessive."

In 1996, "Evita" -- starring Madonna as Argentina's legendary first lady Eva Peron -- premiered in Italy. But Madonna angered the VIPs in the audience by showing up more than an hour late. Her publicist later said that her bodyguards wanted to make sure everything was secure.

In 1999, county music singer Hank Snow died at home in Madison, Tenn. He was 85.

In 2000, Frank Zappa's oldest son, Dweezil, released a cover of the song "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" on his new album "Automatic," with his brother Ahmet singing the vocals.

Topping the charts on this date:

To Know Him, is to Love Him - The Teddy Bears (1958), Winchester Cathedral - The New Vaudeville Band (1966), Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas (1974), Maneater - Daryl Hall and John Oates (1982_.

Today's musical quiz:

In what branch of the U.S. military did Elvis Presley serve, and where was he based? Answer: Presley did his stint in the Army, based in Germany. He had achieved the rank of sergeant when he was discharged in 1960.

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