Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International   |   May 16, 2003 at 2:45 AM

(May 17)

Today's birthdays include Pervis Jackson of the Spinners, who was born in 1938 (age 65); Taj Mahal, whose real name is Henry St. Clair Fredericks, in 1942 (age 61); Jesse Winchester in 1944 (age 59); drummer Bill Bruford of King Crimson, Yes and Genesis in 1950 (age 53); George Johnson of the Brothers Johnson in 1953 (age 50); Tracy Bryn of Voice of the Beehive in 1962 (age 41); Nine Inch Nails lead singer Trent Reznor in 1965 (age 38); and Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block -- later known as NKOTB -- in 1970 (age 33).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1963, the first Monterey Folk Festival opened in Monterey, Calif. It featured Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary and Pete Seeger.

In 1967, "Don't Look Back" -- a film about Bob Dylan's United Kingdom tour -- opened in San Francisco.

In 1969, Chicago's debut album -- "Chicago Transit Authority" -- entered the album charts.

In 1975, Mick Jagger cut his fist when he smashed it through a window at a Long Island, N.Y., restaurant. He needed 20 stitches to close the wound.

In 1978, the disco movie "Thank God It's Friday," featuring tracks by Donna Summer, premiered in Los Angeles.

In 1980, drummer Peter Criss left KISS. He was replaced by Eric Carr, who died of cancer in 1991 at age 41.

In 1986, virtually all of Ireland's best-known rock musicians -- and a few rockers of Irish heritage -- played a benefit concert in Dublin to raise money to help Irish youngsters. The bill included Van Morrison, U2, the Pogues, Elvis Costello and Bob Geldof, who'd organized "Live Aid" the previous summer.

In 1987, a fire caused $1 million damage to Tom Petty's estate in Encino, Calif.

On this date in 1992, bandleader Lawrence Welk died of pneumonia at the age of 89.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn a lower court ruling that granted Hank Williams, Sr.'s illegitimate daughter partial rights to his music. The appeal had been filed by Hank Williams, Jr., and publisher Acuff-Rose.

In 1994, Quincy Jones was awarded the 1994 Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm.

In 1995, 67-year-old Fats Domino was hospitalized in England following a concert in Sheffield with Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Domino's promoter said he was suffering from a "serious infection" and needed to rest.

In 1996, Capitol Records announced plans by three original members of Grand Funk Railroad to reunite and tour the United States for the first time in 21 years.

Also in 1996, blues/funk pioneer Johnny "Guitar" Watson died of an apparent heart attack in Yokohama, Japan. He was 61.

In 1997, Paul McCartney answered about 200 questions from fans during a 90-minute Internet "McCartney's Town Hall Meeting" in London. It was part of a Q&A session broadcast worldwide on satellite TV.

In 2000, jury selection began in the New York trial of a lawsuit against Sean "Puffy" Combs and fellow rapper Heavy D in connection with an event they sponsored in 1991 that resulted in a stampede. Nine people died and 21 more were injured after ticket holders for a basketball game featuring rap artists stormed the doors to a New York University gym after the event was oversold.

Today's musical quiz:

Nine Inch Nails performed at Woodstock '94 covered in this substance. What? Answer: Mud. Trent Reznor tripped over his guitarist en route to the stage and the musician fell on his face in the mud, prompting the band to get into a mud fight.


(May 18)

Today's birthdays include composer-conductor Meredith Willson ("The Music Man") in 1902; bandleader Tommy Tucker in 1908; R&B singer "Big Joe" Turner, who was born in 1911; Perry Como in 1912; Rodney Dillard of The Dillards in 1942 (age 61); Albert Hammond, who had a top-five hit in 1972 with "It Never Rains in Southern California," also in 1942 (age 61); Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys in 1948 (age 55); Yes's Rick Wakeman, and William Wallace of the Guess Who, both in 1949 (age 54); and country's George Strait in 1952 (age 51).

Today's musical milestones:

On this day in 1959, Wilbert Harrison's recording of the blues hit "Kansas City" topped the charts.

In 1963, the Beatles kicked off the group's third tour of Britain in a year -- this time co-headlining with Roy Orbison and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

In 1968, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, the Steve Miller Blues Band, Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin topped the bill at the Northern California Rock Festival in Santa Clara.

In 1978, "The Buddy Holly Story" -- starring Gary Busey -- premiered in Dallas.

In 1986, Kodak sponsored a Statue of Liberty benefit rock concert.

In 1987, Johnny Cash was released from a Council Bluffs, Iowa, hospital two days after stopping his show. The "Man in Black" was treated for exhaustion.

In 1992, Ozzy Osbourne announced he was giving up touring at the end of his tour, which was appropriately called the "No More Tours Tour." The rocker later changed his mind and resumed touring.

Also in 1992, recording tycoon David Geffen donated $1 million to the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York.

In 1993, Michael Bolton and Mariah Carey were named songwriters of the year at the BMI Pop Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Motown classic "When A Man Loves A Woman" was named song of the year.

Also in 1993, KISS members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Bruce Kulick were inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame.

In 1994, Barbra Streisand donated $25,000 to a Detroit inner-city school to help its struggling band program. Her recording label, Sony, said it'd match the gift.

Also in 1994, Madonna popped up -- unannounced -- on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

In 1995, former Education Secretary William Bennett and the chairwoman of the National Political Congress of Black Women, Delores Tucker, blasted Time Warner for its roster of "gangsta rap" artists.

In 1998, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers -- ASCAP -- named Dianne Warren its Composer of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time. Her tune "Unbreak My Heart" was named song of the year.

Also in 1998, Firehouse filed a class-action lawsuit in New York on behalf of more than 1,500 recording artists against Sony Music Entertainment. The suit claimed Sony had knowingly underpaid foreign royalties for as long as 30 years.

In 2000, Mick Jagger left the Cannes Film Festival after getting the news that his mom, Eva Jagger, 87, had died of heart failure following a month-long stay in a London hospital.

Today's musical quiz:

Barbra Streisand is only the second artist to have 40 "gold" albums. Who was the first? Answer: Elvis Presley.


(May 19)

Today's birthdays include bandleader-saxophonist Georgie Auld, born in 1919; Peter Townshend of the Who, who was born in 1945 (age 58); AC-DC's Phil Rudd in 1946 (age 57); Greg Herbert and Jerry Hyman, both with Blood Sweat and Tears, both in 1947 (age 56); Tom Scott in 1948 (age 55); ZZ Top's Dusty Hill in 1949 (age 54); Grace Jones in 1953 (age 50); Joey Ramone also in 1953; and Human League co-founder Martyn Ware in 1956 (age 47).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1960, disc jockey and TV personality Alan Freed, who coined the term "rock 'n' roll," was arrested with seven others on suspicion of commercial bribery in the payola scandal.

In 1979, a party for Eric Clapton and his new bride, Patti -- George Harrison's ex-wife -- featured an impromptu jam session that included Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. It was the first time the three had performed together since the break-up of the Beatles.

In 1984, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" marked its 520th week -- a total of 10 YEARS -- on Billboard's Top 200 album chart.

Also in 1984, the late Bob Marley topped the British album charts for the first time with "Legend," an album released to coincide with the third anniversary of his death from cancer.

In 1987, Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know" was honored as the most performed song of 1986 -- and its composer, Narada Michael Walden, was named songwriter of the year -- at the ASCAP Pop Awards banquet.

In 1992, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds was named songwriter of the year for the third year in a row at the 40th annual BMI Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles. Mariah Carey's "Love Takes Time" was honored as song of the year.

Also in 1992, Aerosmith donated $10,000 to a Boston art exhibit denied an NEA grant because it contained sexually explicit materials. The rock group blasted the NEA action as censorship.

In 1993, Michael Jackson was honored by the Hollywood Guinness World of Records Museum for setting numerous show-business records.

Also in 1993, Alabama's Randy Owen checked himself into a Birmingham, Ala., hospital because of chest pains. He was released the next day.

In 1994, the Toronto-based Paragon Entertainment Corporation announced the purchase of ex-Beatle George Harrison's film production company HandMade Films.

Also in 1994, Gloria Estefan took home three awards from the Premio Lo Nuestro a la Musica Latina in Miami. The awards honor the best of Latin music in the United States.

In 1998, U2 performed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to promote the "yes" vote for the upcoming referendum on the Ulster peace settlement.

Today's musical quiz:

He was the first winner to say the so-called "f" word during the Grammy Awards' live broadcast. Who? Answer: U2's Bono.


(May 20)

Today's birthdays include Vic Ames of the Ames Brothers, who was born in 1924; Jill Jackson, "Paula" of Paul and Paula, in 1942 (age 61); Joe Cocker in 1944 (age 59); Cher in 1946 (age 57); Warren Cann of Ultravox in 1952 (age 51); Black Oak Arkansas' Jimmy Henderson in 1954 (age 49); Mr. Mister's Steve George in 1955 (age 48); Go-Gos guitarist Jane Wiedlin in 1958 (age 45); John and Susan Cowsill of the Cowsills in 1960 (age 43); and Brian "Nasher" Nash of Frankie Goes to Hollywood in 1963 (age 40).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1960, disc jockey and rock 'n' roll promoter Alan Freed pleaded innocent to payola charges.

In 1967, Reprise Records signed the Jimi Hendrix Experience to a recording contract.

In 1971, Peter Cetera of Chicago had four teeth knocked out at a Chicago Cubs game when three men objected to the length of his hair. He needed five hours of surgery.

In 1978, "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac became the first million-selling album in Canada.

In 1993, Bette Midler announced plans for her first concert tour in 10 years, to be launched with a four-week engagement at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

In 1994, laryngitis forced Frank Sinatra to cancel a concert in Ledyard, Conn.

In 1995, the Eagles' Don Henley married model Sharon Summerall in Malibu, Calif.

In 1997, a London newspaper quoted an English businessman saying he had a tape of former Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney performing together in 1974, four years after the Fab Four broke up. Also on the tape -- Stevie Wonder and Harry Nilsson.

In 1998, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee began serving a six-month sentence in the Los Angeles County Jail for spousal abuse. The rocker had pleaded no contest to charges he hit his wife, actress Pamela Anderson, while she held their younger son.

Today's musical quiz:

Cher sang backing vocals for what 1960s girl groups? Answer: The Crystals and the Ronettes.


(May 21)

Today's birthdays include band leader Horace Heidt, born in 1901; Thomas "Fats" Waller in 1904; singer Dennis Day in 1917; Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers, who was born in 1941 (age 62); Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine in 1943 (age 60); Leo Sayer in 1948 (age 55); Jane Olivor in 1952 (age 51); Stan Lynch, drummer with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, in 1955 (age 48); Mike Barson, keyboardist with Madness, in 1958 (age 45); and Tim Lever of Dead or Alive in 1961 (age 42).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1955, Chuck Berry recorded his hit "Maybellene."

In 1958, during what turned out to be his last studio session, Buddy Holly recorded four songs -- including "It Doesn't Matter Anymore."

In 1963, "Little" Stevie Wonder, 13, recorded his first hit single, "Fingertips, Part 2."

In 1968, the Who's Pete Townshend married designer Karen Astley.

In 1979, Elton John opened a tour of the Soviet Union with a concert in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg. He was the first solo Western rock artist to do so.

In 1983, former Doobie Brother Michael MacDonald married singer Amy Holland.

In 1984, Don King and Joe and Katherine Jackson announced the details of the Jacksons' "Victory" tour.

In 1985, the Parents Music Resource Center - a.k.a. The Washington Wives, whose members included Tipper Gore -- asked the music industry to inaugurate a ratings system for record lyrics.

In 1991, Janet Jackson and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds were named Songwriters of the Year, while Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?" was named Song of the Year, at the 39th annual BMI Pop Awards Dinner in Los Angeles.

In 1996, George Harrison said he would produce Ravi Shankar's next album.

Also in 1996, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead unveiled tie-dyed basketball uniforms they designed to raise money to help pay for the Lithuanian men's Olympic basketball team at the Atlanta games.

In 1997, Paul McCartney said he had a notebook of never-recorded songs he wrote with John Lennon. The compositions would've been the earliest-ever McCartney-Lennon songs written after the two met some 40 years before.

Also in 1997, U2 shut down stretches of a downtown Kansas City freeway to shoot the video of "Do You Feel Loved?", causing traffic headaches for motorists.

Today's musical quiz:

Paul McCartney once charted with his version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." True or false? Answer: True. The song peaked at No.9 on the British music charts.


(May 22)

Today's birthdays include Charles Aznavour in 1924 (age 79); Peter Nero in 1934 (age 69); Bernie Taupin, Elton John's lyricist, in 1950 (age 53); Jerry Dammers of the Specials in 1954; Icehouse guitarist and singer Iva Davies in 1955 (age 48); and Morrissey, whose full name is Stephen Patrick Morrissey, in 1959 (age 44).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1954, Robert Zimmerman -- who later changed his name to Bob Dylan -- celebrated his bar mitzvah.

In 1966, 16-year-old Bruce Springsteen and his first band -- the Castilles -- recorded their only single, "That's What You Get," backed with "Baby I." The record was never released.

In 1981, Bob Marley's funeral was held in St. Annes, Jamaica.

In 1982, Madness topped the British album charts with a "best of" compilation titled "Complete Madness."

In 1987, the New York School of Performing Arts was named after Jose Feliciano.

Also in 1987, Fox TV announced that songwriter Carol Bayer Sager would be the first guest host to replace Joan Rivers on the network's late-night talk show.

In 1989, the rap group Public Enemy fired one of its members -- Professor Griff -- after he made anti-semitic remarks in the Washington Post.

In 1991, the New York Daily News quoted a photographer as saying nine members of the pop singing group Menudo were sexually abused by founder/promoter Edgardo Diaz and two other men.

In 1992, Michael Jackson paid for the funeral of a nine-year-old Los Angeles boy who was killed by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting.

Also in 1992, five members of the rap group NWA were arrested and charged with inciting to riot after a fight broke out in a hotel lobby in New Orleans.

And in 1995, Breeders guitarist Kelley Deal was charged with drug possession in Dayton, Ohio.

In 1997, Fleetwood Mac -- Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks -- reunited for the first time since 1982 to tape an MTV concert that was also turned into a new album.

In 1999, Barry Manilow was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a reaction from dental surgery. He was treated for an infection and released two days later.

In 2000, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, a.k.a. Steely Dan, were presented with the ASCAP Founders Award at the annual ASCAP Pop Awards Dinner in Los Angeles. The award is ASCAP's top honor for lifetime achievement in songwriting.

Also in 2000, Dave Matthews of The Dave Matthews Band and Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish were among the guests at a White House state dinner for South African President Thabo Mbeki. Also on hand -- Lenny Kravitz, BeBe Winans and Stevie Wonder. Matthews' family is from South Africa.

And in 2000, a side project by Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts -- the "Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner Project" album - was released. It included cameo appearances by two of Watts' Rolling Stones bandmates, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

Today's musical quiz:

Who co-wrote Madonna's 1990 hit single "Justify My Love"? Answer: Lenny Kravitz, who also co-wrote Aerosmith's "Line Up."


(May 23)

Today's birthdays include the clarinet-playing bandleader Artie Shaw in 1910 (age 93); singers Helen O'Connell in 1920 and Rosemary Clooney in 1928; Robert Moog (rhymes with "vogue"), inventor of the Moog Synthesizer, in 1934 (age 69); Tiki Fulwood, drummer with P.Funk, in 1944 (age 59); J.Geils Band's Daniel Klein in 1946 (age 57); Bill Hunt of ELO in 1947 (age 56); 10cc's Rick Fenn in 1953 (age 50); Musical Youth's Junior Waite in 1967 (age 36); and Jewel, whose last name is Kilcher, in 1974 (age 29).

Today's musical milestones:

On this day in 1940, Frank Sinatra, singing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, recorded "I'll Never Smile Again," the first of several No. 1 hits he recorded while performing with Dorsey.

In 1977, Jefferson Starship was prevented from playing a free concert in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, due to a ban on electronic instruments. The band later said one of its biggest hits -- "We Built This City" -- was inspired by the ban.

In 1979, "The Kids Are Alright" -- The Who film documentary -- premiered in New York.

In 1984, some $17,000 in box office receipts was stolen at a Clash concert at Michigan State University while the band was onstage.

In 1987, the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC opened their United Kingdom tour in London.

In 1993, Natalie Cole received an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

In 1994, Guns N' Roses drummer Matthew Sorum pleaded innocent to charges he beat his wife.

In 1995, felony drug charges were filed against Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland, who'd been arrested a few days earlier after allegedly buying crack from a street dealer in Pasadena, Calif.

Also in 1995, Chicago's album of updated big band standards -- "Day and Night (Big Band)" -- was released.

In 1996, Gloria Gaynor performed at a disco extravaganza at New York's Studio 54, which reopened for one night only for a charity event.

In 1997, Trauma Records sued Interscope Records in Los Angeles for at least $100 million, saying Interscope gave it production rights to the band No Doubt and then took those rights back.

In 2000, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan told a Los Angeles radio station (KROQ-FM) that the Chicago-based group planned to break up by year's end, and had discussed disbanding even before recording its last album "Machina/The Machines of God."

Also in 2000, guitarist Noel Gallagher announced he was quitting Oasis. Just hours earlier, the band abruptly canceled a concert in Paris.

And in 2000, matchbox twenty's new album "mad season by matchbox twenty" hit stores.

Today's musical quiz:

Jewel was raised by her father on a ranch in Homer, Alaska, but where was she born? Answer: Payson, Utah.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from
Related UPI Stories
share with facebook
share with twitter
Topics: Alan Freed, Albert Hammond, Artie Shaw, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Beatles John Lennon, BeBe Winans, Bette Midler, Billy Corgan, Bob Dylan, Bob Geldof, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, Buddy Holly, Charlie Watts, Chuck Berry, Darius Rucker, Dave Matthews, David Geffen, Don King, Donald Fagen, Donna Summer, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, Gary Busey, Gene Simmons, George Strait, Gloria Estefan, Grace Jones, Hank Williams, Harry Nilsson, Janet Jackson, Janis Joplin, Jay Leno, Jesse Winchester, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Joan Rivers, Joe Cocker, Johnny Cash, Jordan Knight, Jose Feliciano, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Lindsey Buckingham, Little Richard, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Mary Had, Michael Bolton, Michael Jackson, Mick Fleetwood, Mick Jagger, Natalie Cole, Noel Gallagher, Ozzy Osbourne, Pamela Anderson, Paul Stanley, Perry Como, Pete Seeger, Pete Townshend, Peter Cetera, Quincy Jones, Scott Weiland, Steve Miller, Stevie Wonder, Taj Mahal, Thabo Mbeki, Tom Petty, Tommy Dorsey, Tommy Lee Jones, Van Morrison, William Bennett, William Wallace
Trending Stories