Today In Music: A look back at pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Dec. 7, 2001 at 6:15 AM
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(Dec. 8)

Today's birthdays include Sammy Davis Jr., who was born in 1925; Jerry "The Iceman" Butler in 1939 (age 62); Hollies drummer Robert Elliott in 1942 (age 59); Jim Morrison of the Doors in 1943; George Baker of the George Baker Selection in 1944 (age 57); Gregg Allman in 1947 (age 54); Paul Rutherford of Frankie Goes To Hollywood in 1959 (age 42); and Sinead O'Connor in 1966 (age 35).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1961, the Beach Boys' first single, "Surfin'," was released on Candix, a local Los Angeles label.

In 1962, Flatt and Scruggs played New York's Carnegie Hall.

In 1967, Traffic's debut album "Mr. Fantasy" was released.

In 1970, Jim Morrison recorded a collection of original poetry on his 27th and last birthday. The tapes were later set to music by the surviving Doors as "An American Prayer."

In 1975, Bob Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Revue" tour ended at New York's Madison Square Garden.

In 1980, John Lennon was shot to death by deranged Beatles fan Mark David Chapman outside the Dakota Apartments in New York City. He was 40.

In 1982, country's Marty Robbins died of a heart attack at age 57.

In 1983, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page played the first of two multiple sclerosis benefits at Madison Square Garden. The show was organized by ex-Faces member and MS victim Ronnie Lane.

In 1984, drummer Nicholas Dingley was killed in a head-on collision. He was 24. Dingley was a passenger in a car driven by Motley Crue's Vince Neil.

Also in 1984, one-time Coasters manager Patrick Cavanaugh was convicted in the murder of group member Buster Wilson, whose dismembered body was found near Modesto, Calif.

In 1986, Czech police broke up a peaceful crowd of about 500 who'd gathered in Prague to mark the sixth anniversary of John Lennon's death.

Also in 1986, Barry Manilow had a cyst removed from his upper jaw.

In 1992, Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose was charged with trying to assault a group of journalists and guests at a Sao Paolo, Brazil, hotel.

Also in 1992, Capitol Records signed Paul McCartney to a new recording contract. He'd been with Capitol for 30 years.

In 1995, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead announced they were disbanding rather than carry on without Jerry Garcia, who'd died four month earlier.

Also in 1995, Bob Seger announced plans for his first tour in eight years, to begin in a month in Charleston, S.C.

In 1997, teenage country star Leann Rimes won four trophies at the 1997 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. R&B singer Toni Braxton took home three awards and Elton John's tribute to the late Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997," was named single of the year.

In 1999, a peace group known as The Alliance for Survival sponsored a musical candlelight march at John Lennon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The march commemorated the 19th anniversary of Lennon's murder.

Also in 1999, New York City police, citing safety concerns, closed Central Park and cleared John Lennon fans from Strawberry Fields. They had been trying to hold all-night vigil on the anniversary of the ex-Beatle's death.

In 2000, Sting was honored with the 2,168th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star was located in front of the historic El Capitan Theatre.

Today's musical quiz:

What does the epitaph on Jim Morrison's grave in Paris read? Answer: "James Morrison, Poet." Morrison had quit music a few months before his death on July 3, 1971, and moved to Paris to become a poet.


(Dec. 9)

Today's birthdays include Dan Hicks of Hot Licks, who was born in 1941 (age 60); Sammy Strain, of Little Anthony and the Imperials as well as the O'Jays, also in 1941 (age 60); The Band's bassist Rick Danko and Jay and the Americans' Kenny Vance (age 58), both in 1943; Alice Cooper bassist Dennis Dunaway and "Screamin'" Scott Simon of Sha Na Na, both in 1948 (age 53); Joan Armatrading in 1950 (age 51); and Donny Osmond in 1957 (age 44).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1967, Cream's "Disraeli Gears" entered the U.S. charts.

In 1972, Helen Reddy became the first Australian female artist to top the U.S. singles charts with the song "I Am Woman."

Also in 1972, Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" was released.

In 1973, The Who's rock opera "Tommy" premiered as a stage production in London, to negative reviews. The all-star cast also included Rod Stewart, Steve Winwood, Maggie Bell, Sandy Denny, Richie Havens, Ringo Starr and Richard Harris.

In 1978, the Blues Brothers' cover version of the Sam and Dave classic "Soul Man" was released.

In 1981, Sonny Til, former lead vocalist with the doo-wop group The Orioles, died from a heart attack. He was 51.

In 1984, the Jacksons ended their 23-city Victory tour.

In 1986, Luther Vandross pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges in the death of a passenger killed when his car went out of control in Los Angeles. The judge ordered Vandross to perform a benefit concert, with the proceeds to go to a scholarship fund established by the victim's family.

In 1989, Rodney Crowell (husband of Johnny Cash's daughter, Roseanne) became the first artist to release an album with five country No. 1 singles.

In 1990, Paula Abdul was slightly injured in a car accident in Los Angeles.

In 1991, George Harrison sued The Globe for portraying him as a Nazi supporter.

Also in 1991, the Jamaican Supreme Court ordered the trustees for Bob Marley's estate to sell its assets -- including the song catalog -- to Marley's widow, children and a small record company for $11.5 million.

In 1993, LaToya Jackson told an Israeli news conference that her brother, Michael, DID molest young boys.

Also in 1993, a video duet featuring Frank Sinatra and U2's Bono singing "I've Got You Under My Skin" debuted.

In 1996, Michael Jackson performed in suburban Manila in his first concert in the Philippines since the 1970s, when he was part of the Jackson 5.

Today's musical quiz:

U2 once opened for themselves. True or false? Answer: True. In November 1987, U2 --- disguised as the country-rock band The Dalton Brothers --- opened at the Los Angeles Coliseum.


(Dec. 10)

Today's birthdays include famed producer and talent scout John Hammond Sr., who was born in 1910; Chad Stuart of Chad and Jeremy fame in 1943 (age 58); Commodores drummer Walter Orange and Ace Kefford, bassist with The Move, both in 1946 (age 55); ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard in 1949 (age 52); and country singer Johnny Rodriguez in 1952 (age 49).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1927, the "WSM Barn Dance" program was re-named the "Grand Ole Opry."

In 1949, a 21-year-old Fats Domino recorded "The Fat Man" in New Orleans. It became his first million-seller.

In 1966, the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" topped the Billboard Hot-100 pop singles chart.

Also in 1966, Keith's "98.6" and the Monkees' "I'm A Believer" were released.

In 1967, Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash near Madison, Wis. He was 26. Four members of his backing band the Bar-Kays also died.

Also in 1967, the Steve Miller Blues Band signed with Capitol Records.

In 1968, the Bee Gees' Robin Gibb married Molly Hullis.

In 1971, Frank Zappa suffered a fractured skull and broken leg when he was attacked onstage in London by a young man who was jealous because his girlfriend said she loved the rocker. It took Zappa almost a year to recover from his injuries.

In 1976, Paul McCartney's "Wings Over America" album was released.

Also in 1976, Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin was buried wearing the same ring Jimi Hendrix was wearing the day he died.

In 1990, charges were dropped against a San Antonio, Texas, record store owner for selling 2 Live Crew's album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be."

In 1991, singer Headman Tshabalala -- co-founder of the South African a-capella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo -- was killed during a scuffle with a security guard in Natal province. The guard was later charged with murder.

In 1992, Paul McCartney announced that he, George Harrison and Ringo Starr might work together on new music for a TV documentary titled "The Long and Winding Road."

In 1993, rapper "Fresh Prince" --- a.k.a. Will Smith -- was sued by a former co-star on his TV show who contended he forced her off the series after she became pregnant.

In 1995, "Fat Boy" rapper Darren "The Human Beat Box" Robinson dropped dead while performing for friends at his New York home. Robinson was 28.

In 1997, Motley Crue's Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx were arrested in Phoenix, Ariz., after beating up a security guard who tried to keep fans from rushing the stage during a concert.

Also in 1997, Elton John handed a check for $32 million to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. It was the first installment of royalties from sales of "Candle in the Wind 1997," John's tribute to Diana.

And in 1997, Harry Connick Jr., Mariah Carey, Boys II Men, Emmylou Harris, Jewel and Sinead O'Connor performed in Oslo, Norway, at a concert honoring Nobel Peace Prize winner and anti-land mine activist Jody Williams.

In 1999, one day after turning 56, The Band frontman and bass player Rick Danko died in his sleep at his home near Woodstock, N.Y.

Today's musical quiz:

Name the first posthumous No. 1 single of the rock era. Answer: "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," which topped the charts in 1968, a few months after Otis Redding's untimely death.


(Dec. 11)

Today's birthdays include the late Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, who was born in 1926; David Gates of Bread in 1940 (age 61); Brenda Lee, and Booker Jones of Booker T and the MGs, both in 1944 (age 57); XTC's Andy Partridge in 1953 (age 48); Jermaine Jackson, of the Jackson 5 and also Michael's and Janet's brother, in 1954 (age 47); and Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx, whose real name is Frank Ferranno, in 1958 (age 43).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1946, Hank Williams Sr. made his first recordings, in New York City.

In 1964, Sam Cooke was shot to death in a Los Angeles motel room by the motel's female manager, who claimed the R&B singer had tried to rape a young woman and then assaulted her. Cooke was 29. A court later ruled Cooke's killing was justified.

In 1965, Ray Charles' "Crying Time" entered the charts.

In 1968, the Rolling Stones film "Rock 'n' Roll Circus" aired on BBC-TV. Also in the special: John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and members of The Who and Jethro Tull.

In 1970, two Plastic Ono Band albums were released: one by John Lennon and the other by Yoko Ono. John's album included the song "Working Class Hero."

In 1971, Carly Simon's "Anticipation" album was released.

In 1972, Genesis performed in the United States for the first time. The concert was at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

Also in 1972, James Brown was arrested following a concert in Knoxville, Tenn., and charged with disorderly conduct. When he threatened to file a $1 million lawsuit, the charges were dropped.

In 1976, Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley suffered a near-fatal shock when he touched a short-circuited light rail during a concert in Lakeland, Fla. He recovered enough to continue the show.

Also in 1976, Bob Seger's "Night Moves" was released.

In 1990, the Statler Brothers were given the American Spirit Award. It's the highest award presented to civilians by the Air Force recruiting service.

In 1991, a federal appeals court in San Francisco rejected Englebert Humperdinck's lawsuit against the National Enquirer. The singer had sued the tabloid for running a story saying he had AIDS. He tested negative as part of the suit.

In 1995, Linda McCartney underwent breast cancer surgery in London.

In 1996, Mariah Carey led the list of nominees -- with five nominations -- for the 24th annual American Music Awards.

Also in 1996, a fight over Jerry Garcia's estate between Garcia's widow and his second wife opened in San Francisco probate court.

In 1997, rapper Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs led the list of nominations -- with five -- for the 25th annual American Music Awards.

In 1998, Rob Van Winkle, a.k.a. Vanilla Ice, surprised concert-goers at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles when he joined Offspring onstage. They performed Offspring's "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" -- which refers to Vanilla Ice -- and Van Winkle's "Too Cold," a remake of his early '90s hit "Ice Ice Baby."

Today's musical quiz:

"Hound Dog" was a huge hit for Elvis Presley, but who was the first to record the tune? Answer: Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton.


(Dec. 12)

Today's birthdays include Frank Sinatra, who was born in 1915; Connie Francis in 1938 (age 63); Dionne Warwick, and The Association's Terry Kirkman, both in 1941 (age 60); Mike Heron of the Incredible String Band, and the Moody Blues' Mike Pinder, both in 1942 (age 59); guitarist Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band, and Grover Washington Jr., both in 1943 (age 58); Clive Bunker, who played drums for Jethro Tull, in 1946 (age 55); Bad Company's Paul Rodgers, who also was a member of Free, in 1949 (age 52); and Sheila E (Escoveda), Prince's former drummer, in 1959 (age 42).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis secretly married Myra Brown, his cousin's daughter. The fact that she was only 13 was bad enough. But the marriage took place five months BEFORE he was divorced from his second wife. When the news became public, the scandal nearly ended Lewis's career.

In 1964, the Righteous Brothers released "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling."

In 1966, Pink Floyd played its first major show, at Royal Albert Hall in London.

In 1970, "Joshua," Dolly Parton's first single, entered the charts.

In 1974, the Rolling Stones -- minus Mick Taylor -- began recording the "Black and Blue" album in Munich, West Germany. The group used various lead guitarists -- including Ron Wood, who'd eventually be asked to join the band.

In 1985, Ian Stewart -- who was known as the sixth Rolling Stone for inspiring the group in its early days -- died from a heart attack. He was 47.

In 1987, George Michael and Michael Jackson became the first artists to issue picture disc CDs.

In 1990, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., record store owner convicted two months earlier of selling the 2 Live Crew album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be" was fined $1,000. A judge had previously declared the album to be obscene. That ruling would eventually be thrown out by a higher court.

Also in 1990, Frank Sinatra celebrated his 75th birthday with a sold-out Diamond Jubilee Concert at the Meadowlands' Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.

In 1995, Boyz II Men and Hootie and the Blowfish led the list of nominees for the 23rd annual American Music Awards.

Also in 1995, Michael Jackson left a New York hospital, six days after collapsing during rehearsals for an HBO concert.

And in 1995, a British court cut by more than three-quarters Elton John's libel award against The Sunday Mirror tabloid.

And in 1995, a Lou Harris poll named Frank Sinatra Americans' favorite musical artist.

In 1997, Frank Sinatra celebrated his 82nd birthday quietly at home with his family and friends. He died in May 1998.

In 1999, Paul McCartney told London's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that he cried for 14 months following the April 1998 death of his wife, Linda, but said he's now getting on with his life.

Today's musical quiz:

Who took over leadership of the Allman Brothers Band after Duane Allman's death in 1971? Answer: Dickie Betts.


(Dec. 13)

Today's birthdays include singer, actor and game show host John Davidson, who was born in 1941 (age 60); Andy Summers of the Police in 1942 (age 59); Ted Nugent, and also Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers fame, both in 1948 (age 53); David O'List of Roxy Music also in 1948 (age 53); Alabama's Randy Owen in 1949 (age 52); and Berton Averre of the Knack in 1954 (age 47).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1961, the Beatles agreed to be managed by Brian Epstein.

In 1974, George Harrison met with President Ford at the White House and was given a "WIN" button -- "WIN" being an acronym for "Whip Inflation Now."

In 1975, David Bowie's "Golden Years" and Foghat's "Slow Ride" were released.

In 1985, Phil Collins made his U.S. television acting debut portraying a sleazy game show host/drug dealer on NBC's "Miami Vice."

In 1993, Michael Jackson's lawyer confirmed that the pop star -- hounded by child molestation accusations -- had slipped back into the United States three days earlier and was holed up at his Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez, Calif.

In 1996, Madonna's first television interview since giving birth to her daughter on Oct. 14 aired on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Today's musical quiz:

John Davidson narrowly escaped death when fire swept a Kentucky nightclub in 1977. True or false? Answer: True. Davidson's musical director and 163 other people were killed in the fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club. Davidson helped in rescue efforts.


(Dec. 14)

Today's birthdays include country's Charlie Rich, who was born in 1932; Them keyboardist Jackie McCauley and Dawn's Joyce Wilson, both in 1946 (age 55); Cliff Williams of AC-DC in 1949 (age 52); Mike Scott of The Waterboys in 1958 (age 43).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1961, Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" became the first country single certified "gold" by the Recording Industry Association of America.

In 1963, Dinah Washington died from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. She was 39.

In 1966, Chad and Jeremy guest-starred on the "Batman" TV series. The Catwoman stole their voices and England refused to pay to get them back.

In 1968, Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was certified "gold."

Also in 1968, Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover" was released.

In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono performed at a farewell dinner for U.N. Secretary-General U Thant.

In 1972, "Born to Boogie" -- a film starring Marc Bolan, directed by Ringo Starr and with guest star Elton John -- premiered in London.

In 1974, guitarist Mick Taylor formally quit the Rolling Stones while the band was recording in Munich, West Germany. Taylor would be replaced by Ron Wood.

Also in 1974, Styx's "Lady" was released.

In 1977, the movie "Saturday Night Fever" -- with music by The Bee Gees and others -- premiered in New York City.

In 1980, six days after John Lennon's murder, millions of people around the world and an estimated 100,000 in New York's Central Park joined Yoko Ono in 10 minutes of silence.

In 1983, the "Making Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'" video was released.

In 1991, the German heavy-metal rock group the Scorpions became the first Western rock group to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1992, a Seattle judge awarded the heirs of Janis Joplin $15,000 for copyright infringement by the writers and producers of a play based on the star's life.

In 1995, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that a federal judge a week earlier had ordered the FBI to disclose additional information from its files on John Lennon, including why the bureau investigated the ex-Beatle in 1971 and '72.

In 1996, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) presented Paul and Linda McCartney with the group's first Lifetime Achievement Award.

Also in 1996, Gloria Estefan won three Bravo Awards -- for best music special, best performance by a female in a variety program and best made-for-TV documentary. The awards honor positive portrayals of Hispanics in the media.

In 1999, Paul McCartney performed at Liverpool's Cavern Club for the first time since the Beatles last played there in August 1963.

Also in 1999, George Michael's first CD under a new deal with Virgin Music Group was released. "Songs from the Last Century" was his fourth solo record since leaving Wham!.

Today's musical quiz:

What was Charlie Rich's nickname? Answer: Rich was affectionately known as the "Silver Fox" because of his prematurely white hair.

Topics: Alice Cooper, Andy Summers, Axl Rose, Barry Manilow, Brenda Lee, Brian Epstein, Charlie Rich, Connie Francis, David Gates, Dinah Washington, Dionne Warwick, Donny Osmond, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Frank Beard, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, George Michael, Gloria Estefan, Gregg Allman, Hank Williams, Harry Connick, Ian Stewart, James Brown, James Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jeff Beck, Jermaine Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jody Williams, John Davidson, John Hammond, John Lennon, Kenny Vance, LeAnn Rimes, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, Marty Robbins, Michael Jackson, Mike Scott, Mikhail Gorbachev, Oprah Winfrey, Paula Abdul, Phil Collins, Ray Charles, Richard Harris, Robin Gibb, Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis, Sao Paolo, Sinead O'Connor, Steve Miller, Ted Nugent, Tommy James, Tommy Lee Jones, Toni Braxton, Will Smith, Yoko Ono
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