Today In Music: A look back at pop music

PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International

(Dec. 1)

Today's birthdays include Billy Paul, who was born in 1934 (age 67); Lou Rawls in 1935 (age 66); Sandy Nelson, of "Let There Be Drums" fame, in 1938 (age 63); Blue Oyster Cult's Eric Bloom in 1944 (age 57); Doors drummer John Densmore, and entertainer Bette Midler, both in 1945 (age 56); Gilbert O'Sullivan in 1946 (age 55); Shocking Blue's Klaaseje Van Der Wal in 1949 (age 52); singer/actress Charlene Tilton in 1959 (age 42); and Sam Reid of Glass Tiger in 1963 (age 38).


Today's musical milestones:

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

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.

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.


(Dec. 2)

Today's birthdays include bassist Tom McGuinness of Manfred Mann, and also of McGuinness-Flint, who was born in 1941 (age 60); The Association's Ted Bluechel Jr. in 1942 (age 59); Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers in 1952 (age 49); Def Leppard bass guitarist Rick Savage in 1960 (age 41); and Britney Spears in 1981 (age 20).


Today's musical milestones:

In 1959, British pop star Marty Wilde married Joyce Baker of the Vernon Girls. Their first daughter was Kim Wilde, who had a chart-topping single in 1987 with "You Keep Me Hangin' On."

In 1967, the Monkees made it four when "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Limited" became the group's fourth No. 1 album in the same year.

Also in 1967, American Breed's "Bend Me, Shape Me" was released.

In 1972, Dr. Hook's "Cover of the Rolling Stone" was released.

In 1974, Ravi Shankar was hospitalized in Chicago while touring with George Harrison.

In 1979, country's Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge were divorced after six years of marriage.

In 1983, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video premiered on MTV.

In 1984, Madonna's "Like a Virgin" topped the Billboard Hot-100 pop singles chart for a six-week stay.

In 1986, while performing "Missionary Man" in concert, Annie Lennox ripped off her bra in front of 10,000 fans in Birmingham, England.

In 1990, composer Aaron Copland died at age 90.

In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that B.J. Thomas, Gene Pitney and the Shirelles were owed $1.2 million in unpaid royalties for songs they recorded in the 1960s and '70s.


In 1992, 22 people were hurt and 157 arrested at a Guns N' Roses concert in Santiago, Chile. The show started two hours late, reportedly because the rockers were drunk.

Also in 1992, fighting broke out between fans, reporters and bouncers outside a sold-out Keith Richards show at a London nightclub.

And in 1992, the Grateful Dead launched a brief, nine-day tour in Denver. The group had been sidelined by Jerry Garcia's health problems.

In 1996, a spokeswoman for Pamela Anderson Lee announced that the "Baywatch" actress had reconciled with her husband, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee. Pamela Lee had filed for divorce a month earlier.

Also in 1996, rapper Keith Murray was convicted of assault. Police said he hit the teenage brother of a music promoter over the head with a barstool during an argument over payment for a show at a nightclub in New Britain, Conn.

In 1997, the "Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute" double album was released. The collection included tracks from Sinead O'Connor, Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Queen, George Michael, U2, Paul McCartney, R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.


Also in 1997, a Rolling Stones fan was killed when he fell off a handrail during the band's concert at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan.

In 1999, Nine Inch Nails' "The Fragile" was named Spin magazine's 1999 Album of the Year. The publication dubbed Rage Against The Machine the Band of the Year, while TLC's "No Scrubs" was named Single of the Year.

Today's musical quiz:

Where is Britney Spears from? Answer: Spear was born in Kentwood, La.


(Dec. 3)

Today's birthdays include Andy Williams, who was born in 1930 (age 71); John Cale of the Velvet Underground in 1940 (age 61); Ozzy Osbourne in 1948 (age 53); Mickey Thomas of the Elvin Bishop Band, and also Jefferson Starship, in 1949 (age 52); Nicky Stevens of the Brotherhood of Man in 1951 (age 50); and Molly Hatchet guitarist Duane Roland in 1952 (age 49).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1949, the legendary Chicago blues club Theresa's opened on the city's South Side.

In 1965, in Glasgow, Scotland, the Beatles launched what would be the band's last concert tour of Great Britain. Also on the bill: the Moody Blues and the Paramounts, who'd later turn into Procol Harum.


In 1968, the "Elvis TV Special" aired, proving Elvis Presley was not artistically bankrupt. The show drew the year's largest audience for a TV musical special.

In 1971, a concert by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention ended abruptly when fire broke out at the famed casino in Montreaux, Switzerland. The blaze forced Deep Purple out of the hotel where the band was recording. The incident yielded the Deep Purple classic "Smoke on the Water," written by vocalist Ian Gillan.

In 1976, the Sex Pistols' first single "Anarchy in the U.K." was released.

Also in 1976, an inflatable pink pig used for a Pink Floyd album cover broke its moorings and drifted across London.

And in 1976, Jackson Browne dropped his pants onstage in Oakland, Calif., when a fan urged him to "get loose."

In 1977, "Mull of Kintyre" became Paul McCartney's first post-Beatles No. 1 single in Britain. The song was a flop in the United States, where most radio stations played the B-side tune, "Girls' School."

In 1979, 11 people were killed and dozens more injured as fans rushed for the best "festival seating" sports at a Who concert in Cincinnati.


In 1991, Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey, C&C Music Factory and Whitney Houston were the big winners at the 1991 Billboard Music Awards.

In 1992, Chilean police searched the Guns N' Roses plane in response to reports that drugs were found in the band's laundry. No dope was found on the plane and it was allowed to leave.

In 1996, Michael Bolton and Gladys Knight helped with the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City.

In 1998, the video for "I'm Losing You," a track from "The John Lennon Anthology" four-CD box set, premiered on VH1. It included Lennon's line drawings brought to life by animator David Spafford.

Also in 1998, B.B. King headlined a USO holiday gala aboard the USS Intrepid on New York's Hudson River. The black-tie event honored Walter Cronkite.

Today's musical quiz:

This former Beatle's daughter is now an up-and-coming fashion designer. Who? Answer: Stella McCartney, daughter of Paul McCartney.


(Dec. 4)

Today's birthdays include Freddy Cannon, who was born in 1940 (age 61); Bob Mosley of Moby Grape, and Chris Hillman of the Byrds and later the Flying Burrito Brothers, both in 1942 (age 59); Dennis Wilson, drummer with the Beach Boys, in 1944; Southside Johnny (Lyon) of Southside Johnny and The Asbury Dukes in 1948 (age 53); and Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington in 1952 (age 49).


Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Elvis Presley -- back in Memphis to visit his family -- dropped by the Sun Records studios and ended up jamming with former label mates Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. The resulting recording was dubbed "The Million-Dollar Quartet."

In 1965, Keith Richards was knocked cold by an electric shock when he tried to move his ungrounded microphone stand with the neck of his guitar during a Rolling Stones concert.

In 1976, reggae star Bob Marley was shot and wounded at his home in Kingston, Jamaica. It didn't prevent him from playing a political show two days later.

Also in 1976, Deep Purple singer/guitarist Tommy Bolin died from a drug overdose in Miami. He was 25.

In 1980, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin announced they "could not continue as we were" following the death of drummer John Bonham two months earlier.

In 1986, fans stopped traffic on London's Oxford Street when members of the Norwegian pop group A-Ha made a personal appearance at a record store.

In 1988, Roy Orbison played his final gig, in Cleveland. He died two days later.


In 1990, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences said it would not give the 1989 New Artist Grammy to someone else after yanking the award from Milli Vanilli.

In 1991, a Madonna spokesperson denied rumors the pop star was HIV-positive.

Also in 1991, Van Halen gave a free concert in Dallas to make up for a 1988 show canceled by lead singer Sammy Hagar's sinus infection.

And in 1991, singer/dancer Paula Abdul was honored with the 1944th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

And in 1991, The Judds gave what they said would be their final concert as a duo, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Mom Naomi was retiring due to ill health. However, she has since "unretired."

In 1992, Deep Purple's Ian Gillan and Roger Glover awarded the Harp Rock Plaque to the mayor of Montreux, Switzerland -- sight of the 1971 casino fire that inspired the Deep Purple hit song "Smoke on the Water." The Harp Rock Plaque honors significant geographical locations in music history.

In 1993, Frank Zappa died of prostate cancer at age 52.

Also in 1993, former Gin Blossoms member Douglas Hopkins shot himself to death at his Tempe, Ariz., apartment. He was 32.


In 1995, Michael Jackson and French mime Marcel Marceau pantomined at a weird New York photo-op for an upcoming HBO concert. The show never took place -- it was canceled when Jackson fell ill.

Also in 1995, Barbra Streisand was "uninvited" to sing at a New York memorial rally for slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after orthodox Jewish rabbis cited Talmudic law banning men from listening to a woman sing in public.

In 1996, Alanis Morissette was named Artist of the Year at the 1996 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. At the awards, Madonna made her first public appearance since becoming a mother the previous October.

Also in 1996, Reba McEntire injured her knee in a skiing accident in Utah. The injury forced the singer to cancel the next night's concert in Tucson, Ariz.

In 1997, the original Black Sabbath line-up of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward reunited for two sold-out concerts in their hometown of Birmingham, England.

Also in 1997, the Recording Industry Association of America updated the platinum and multi-platinum certifications of 11 Led Zeppelin albums, making Led Zeppelin second only to the Beatles as the all-time top-selling artist.


Today's musical quiz:

During her teenage dance pop days, Alanis Morissette toured with what rapper? Answer: Vanilla Ice.


(Dec. 5)

Today's birthdays include Little Richard (Perriman), who was born in 1932 (age 69); Chad Mitchell, leader of The Chad Mitchell Trio, in 1936 (age 65); singer/songwriter J.J. Cale in 1938 (age 63); Andy Kim in 1946 (age 55); Jim Messina in 1947 (age 54); Def Leppard's Phil Collen in 1957 (age 44); and Jack Russell of Great White in 1960 (age 41).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1964, the Zombies' "She's Not There" and the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" first appeared on the U.S. music charts.

In 1968, Graham Nash quit the Hollies. He disagreed with the group's plans to record an album of Bob Dylan songs.

Also in 1968, the Rolling Stones hosted a "Beggar's Banquet" in London to celebrate the release of the band's album of the same name.

In 1990, a judge ordered Madonna to trim the foliage at her Hollywood Hills home. The court order stemmed from a lawsuit filed against the pop star by a neighbor.


In 1991, Beach Boy Brian Wilson settled out-of-court a lawsuit brought by his family who claimed he was being "brainwashed" by his therapist.

In 1993, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel ended their brief "Together Again" reunion tour in Singapore.

In 1996, Michael Jackson and his "HIStory" tour entourage arrived in the Philippines for two concerts.

In 1997, drummer Matt Walker played his last gig with the Smashing Pumpkins as the band opened for the Rolling Stones at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Walker left the Pumpkins to devote more time to his band, the Cubcakes.

In 2000, hip-hopper Sisqo, R&B trio Destiny's Child, country artists Faith Hill and the Dixie Chicks, rockers 3 Doors Down and pop heartthrobs 'N Sync were the big winners at the 2000 Billboard Music Awards. The Artist of the Year award went to Destiny's Child, while the country-pop tune "Breathe," by Faith Hill, was named Hot 100 Single of the Year. 'N Sync's "No Strings Attached" was named Top 200 Album of the Year.

Also in 2000, controversial rapper Eminem, rockers Radiohead and your computer's hard drive topped Spin magazine's "Best of 2000" in its January "Year In Music" issue.


Today's musical quiz:

Little Richard is an ordained minister. True or false? Answer: True. He has officiated at many rock weddings, and at one time announced he was quitting show business to take up religion fulltime. He soon returned to music.


(Dec. 6)

Today's birthdays include Mike Smith of the Dave Clark 5, who was born in 1943 (age 58); Jonathan King, who had a hit in 1965 with "Everyone's Gone To The Moon," in 1944 (age 57); Weather Report bassist Miroslav Vitous in 1947 (age 54); Jeff Grobe of Looking Glass in 1950 (age 51); R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Rick Buckler of The Jam, both in 1956 (age 45); and Ben Watt of the duo Everything But The Girl in 1962 (age 39).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1949, Leadbelly, whose real name was Huddie Ledbetter, died at age 60.

In 1965, the Rolling Stones recorded "19th Nervous Breakdown" and "Mother's Little Helper" in London.

Also in 1965, the Beatles' "Rubber Soul" album was released in the United States.

In 1968, President-elect Nixon reportedly sent a letter to Elvis Presley, asking for "The King's" support in his first term in the White House.


In 1969, an 18-year-old boy was beaten to death by members of the Hell's Angels bikers group, which was providing security at a free Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway in Livermore, Calif., near San Francisco.

Also in 1969, Asia's concert in Tokyo was beamed live to the United States, where it was viewed by an estimated 20-million people. The show, titled "Asia In Asia," marked the debut of bass player Greg Lake.

In 1986, the makers of Sun Country Classic wine cooler announced that Ringo Starr had signed to be their commercial spokesman.

In 1988, Roy Orbison died of a heart attack in Henderson, Tenn. He was 52.

In 1991, Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top-200 album chart.

In 1995, Michael Jackson was rushed to a New York City hospital after fainting while rehearsing for an upcoming HBO concert. The show was postponed. Jackson also missed the Billboard Music Awards, where he was to have been honored with a special award.

In 1999, Danish newspapers reported that Michael Jackson was among those seeking to buy Tivoli Gardens, the 156-year-old amusement park in Copenhagen that the Danes consider a national treasure.

Today's musical quiz:


Who purchased the best picture Oscar statuette for "Gone With The Wind" when it was auctioned off in 1999? Answer: Michael Jackson. He paid $1.54 million for it.


(Dec. 7)

Today's birthdays include Harry Chapin, who was born in 1942; country's Gary Morris in 1948 (age 53); Tom Waits in 1949 (age 52); and Psychedelic Furs' Tim Butler in 1958 (age 43).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1968, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," a collaboration between Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations, was released.

In 1974, Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good" was released.

In 1978, Sid Vicious, awaiting trial for the stabbing death of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, was arrested for assaulting Patti Smith's brother, Todd, with a beer mug in a New York nightclub.

In 1986, Ray Charles received the Kennedy Center Honor.

In 1990, R&B pioneer Delecta "Dee" Clark died of an apparent heart attack at age 52.

In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to touch a federal appeals court ruling that said 2 Live Crew's album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be" was not obscene.

In 1996, the oversales of tickets for Aretha Franklin's appearance at a Detroit church left many fans out in the cold.


In 1998, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion and the "Titanic" soundtrack, R&B group Next and Usher were the big winners at the 1998 Billboard Music Awards.

Also in 1998, Tony Bennett was feted with an all-star tribute to his 50th anniversary in show business on A&E's "Live By Request."

In 1999, "Born Again," the second posthumous CD from The Notorious B.I.G., was released. The rapper had been killed in an as-yet unsolved drive-by shooting in March 1997.

Also in 1999, the Recording Industry Association of America presented the Eagles with a plaque honoring the band's album "Greatest Hits, 1971-1975" as the best-selling album of the century.

Today's musical quiz:

Tom Waits often opened for what rocker in the 1970s? Answer: Frank Zappa.

Latest Headlines