Today In Music: A look back at pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Oct. 23, 2001 at 4:45 AM
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(Oct. 23)

Today's birthdays include Gerry and the Pacemakers drummer Fred Marsden, who was born in 1940 (age 61); bassist Greg Ridley of Spooky Tooth and Humble Pie in 1947 (age 54); Motorhead's Wurzel, whose real name is Michael Burston, in 1949 (age 52); country's Dwight Yoakam in 1956 (age 45); and Alfred "Weird Al" Yankovic in 1959 (age 42).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1962, 12-year-old Stevie Wonder recorded "Thank You For Loving Me All The Way," his first record for Motown.

In 1964, David Box -- one of Buddy Holly's successors as lead vocalist with The Crickets -- was killed in a plane crash.

In 1966, the Supremes became the first female group to top the U.S. album chart. The album was titled "Supremes A Go Go."

In 1978, "Mother" Maybelle Carter died at age 69.

In 1984, James Petrillo, president of the American Federation of Musicians from 1940 to 1958, died at age 92. It was Petrillo who called the strike against the recording industry in 1942, during which no musician recorded for more than a year. The strike finally ended in late 1944 when RCA and CBS agreed to pay the union royalties on every record sold.

In 1987, Madonna's film "Who's That Girl?" premiered in London.

In 1991, Janis Joplin's collection of lyrics, photos, posters and personal items were donated to the future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1995, Smashing Pumpkins performed a free concert in Chicago in support of the band's new album "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness."

Also in 1995, a jury in Houston, Texas, convicted Yolanda Saldivar of murder in the March 31, 1995, shooting death of Tejano singer Selena.

And in 1995, rapper Tone Loc was sentenced to three years' probation for stealing money from a pizzaria in a dispute over a pizza.

In 1996, a lawyer for the convicted murderer of Tejano singer Selena argued that his client was entitled to a new trial -- in part because the original trial record couldn't be found. Yolanda Saldivar had been convicted a year earlier in the shooting death of Selena.

In 1998, Madonna won an award for best personal style in the artist category, and also received a special award for courage and creativity that had been named after slain fashion designer Gianni Versace, at the 1998 VH1 Fashion Awards. Janet Jackson won an award for most stylish music video for her song "Got 'Til It's Gone."

Also in 1998, Paul McCartney told BBC Radio that he'd "softened" his opposition to animal research after his late wife Linda "had to take drugs tested on animals" to treat her breast cancer.

In 1999, Garth Brooks, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Melissa Etheridge, N'Sync, Gloria Estefan, Lenny Kravitz, John Mellencamp and John Fogerty performed at VH1's "Save the Music" concert at the White House.

Today's musical quiz:

The lyrics to this "Weird Al" Yankovic "Star Wars" parody started out, "A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away..." To what tune was "The Saga Begins" sung? Answer: "American Pie." (Don McLean, who originally recorded "American Pie," has been quoted as saying both he and his kids enjoyed the satire.)

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