Today In Music: A look back at pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Dec. 14, 2001 at 6:10 AM
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(Dec. 15)

Today's birthdays include Alan Freed, who was born in 1922. It was Freed who (according to legend) coined the phrase "rock 'n' roll." Cindy Birdsong, who sang with Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells as well as the Supremes, was born in 1939 (age 62); drummer Dave Clark, of the Dave Clark Five, in 1942 (age 59); veteran drummer Carmine Appice, who sat behind the drum kit for Vanilla Fudge, Jeff Beck, Bogert and Appice, Rod Stewart, Ted Nugent, among others, in 1946 (age 55); and the Clash's Paul Simenon in 1959 (age 42).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1943, Fats Waller died at age 39.

In 1964, the "Beatles '65" album was released in the United States.

In 1968, Jefferson Airplane appeared on the "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." They performed the song "Crown of Creation."

In 1969, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, The Who's Keith Moon, Billy Preston, and Delaney and Bonnie performed "Peace For Christmas" -- a UNICEF benefit show -- at the Lyceum Gallery in London. The concert marked the start of Lennon and Ono's "War Is Over If You Want It" billboard/newspaper campaign. It was also the Plastic Ono Band's first, and only, concert in Britain.

In 1973, Jermaine Jackson married Hazel Gordy, daughter of Motown founder Berry Gordy.

In 1977, The Who played a private concert for fan club members at Shepperton Film Studios, the results of which became part of "The Kids Are Alright," the feature-length documentary on the group.

In 1984, Olivia Newton-John married Matt Lattanzi at her home in Malibu, Calif.

Also in 1984, Bette Midler married Martin von Haselbert in Las Vegas.

In 1990, Rod Stewart married New Zealand model Rachel Hunter in Beverly Hills, Calif.

In 1992, Mariah Carey led the list of American Music Award nominees, with six nominations. Michael Jackson and Kris Kross each received five.

In 1993, Whitney Houston received eight nominations, and Janet Jackson five, for the American Music Awards.

Also in 1993, a former maid for Michael Jackson gave a sworn deposition in the investigation into allegations the pop star molested a teenage boy. The maid had previously told TV interviewers that Jackson kept a secret hideaway apartment where he took boys. She also claimed she'd seen him naked in showers and in hot tubs with boys.

In 1998, Rick James told reporters the stroke he'd suffered a month earlier might've been a message from God to get his life in order. At that point in time, James had been hospitalized for more than a month at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Today's musical quiz:

Cindy Birdsong was not one of the original Supremes. How did she end up in the group? Answer: Birdsong replaced Florence Ballard after she left the Supremes in 1967.


(Dec. 16)

Today's birthdays include Jim Glaser of the Glaser Brothers, who was born in 1937 (age 64); Hollies guitarist Anthony Hicks in 1945 (age 56); Benny Andersson of ABBA in 1946 (age 55); and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons in 1949 (age 52).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1966, Jimi Hendrix's first single, "Hey Joe," was released. It was a top-10 hit in Britain, but failed to chart in the United States.

In 1971, Don McLean's "American Pie" was released.

In 1972, on an anti-war mission, folk singer Joan Baez arrived in Hanoi simultaneously with American B-52s, which bombed the North Vietnamese capital city.

In 1974, Ian Hunter quit Mott the Hoople, causing the group to split up.

In 1977, the movie "Saturday Night Fever" opened nationwide.

In 1983, Pete Townshend was quoted in the London Sun as saying The Who had broken up. The band had never recovered from the death of Keith Moon five years earlier.

Also in 1983, members of Iron Maiden and Def Leppard played each other in a heavy-metal SOCCER match. No word on who won.

In 1984, ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill was accidentally shot in the stomach when the derringer he carried in his boot went off as his girlfriend helped him take off the boot. He recovered after surgery.

In 1991, Chubby Checker sued McDonald's Canada for $17 million, accusing the fast-food giant of using a sound-alike version of "The Twist" in an ad campaign.

In 1992, a Pittsburgh nightclub owner canceled a concert by rapper Ice-T after off-duty police refused to work security at the show. Ice-T had angered law enforcement officials with his tune "Cop Killer."

Also in 1992, Vanilla Ice was sued by a former limo driver who said the rapper ordered two bodyguards to beat him up.

In 1995, Michael Jackson flew to EuroDisney near Paris only days after being released from the hospital, where he'd spent six days after collapsing during a rehearsal for an HBO concert.

In 1996, a Lou Harris poll found country artist Reba McEntire had replaced Frank Sinatra as America's favorite music star. Also on that list -- Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, the Beatles, George Strait, Alabama, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey, the Statler Brothers and the Rolling Stones.

In 1997, Nicolette Larson died at UCLA Medical Center of brain edema. She was 45.

Also in 1997, Carl Perkins suffered what his family described as a "severe" stroke.

And in 1997, Bobby Brown settled a lawsuit brought against him by a New York City woman who paid his brother to arrange a concert by Brown in her native Trinidad. The show was never held and Brown's brother refused to return her phone calls or the money she'd paid him.

In 2000, a Los Angeles radio station was forced to issue an apology after Cedric Hailey -- K-Ci of the soul-pop duo K-Ci & JoJo -- allegedly pulling down his boxer shorts and displayed his private parts on stage during a holiday concert attended by families with small children.

Today's musical quiz:

An episode of the 1980s medical drama "St. Elsewhere" featured a dream sequence that took the form of a ZZ Top music video. Can you name the tune? Answer: 1984's "Legs."


(Dec. 17)

Today's birthdays include actor/singer Tommy Steele, who was born in 1936 (age 65); Art Neville, one of the Neville Brothers, in 1937 (age 64); the late Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations was born in 1939; the late Paul Butterfield was born in 1942; Raspberries drummer Jim Bonfanti in 1949 (age 52); Wanda Hutchinson of the Emotions in 1951 (age 50); R.E.M.'s Michael Mills in 1958 (age 43); and Bananarama's Sarah Dallin in 1961 (age 40).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1955, Carl Perkins wrote "Blue Suede Shoes."

In 1957, Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" entered the charts for the first time.

In 1962, the Beatles made its British TV debut on "People and Places." The group performed "Love Me Do," which had just become the Fab Four's first U.K. Top-20 single.

In 1966, the Royal Guardsmen released "Snoopy Versus the Red Baron."

In 1970, the Beach Boys performed for Princess Margaret at London's Royal Albert Hall.

In 1971, David Bowie's "Hunky Dory," his first U.S. album, was released.

In 1973, Fleetwood Mac manager Clifford Davis fielded a bogus band under the "Fleetwood Mac" name, prompting the REAL members of Mick Fleetwood's group to sue. They won.

In 1975, "Hound Dog" Taylor died at age 59.

In 1977, Elvis Costello performed on "Saturday Night Live," substituting for the Sex Pistols, who'd failed to show up. It was Costello's first U.S. television appearance.

In 1982, The Who played the band's last show, in Toronto, on what members of the group said was their last tour.

In 1991, C&C Music Factory and Color Me Badd each received six nominations to lead the list of American Music Award nominees.

Also in 1991, rock 'n' roll pioneer Alan Freed received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

And in 1991, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati threw out the six-year prison sentence given a man convicted of stalking and threatening to kill pop singer Debbie Gibson. The judges said the sentence was longer than federal guidelines allowed.

In 1992, Barbra Streisand signed a new record and movie deal with Sony. The agreement was estimated to be worth about $60 million.

Also in 1992, Paul McCartney and ABC said they were near a deal that'd have the TV network airing two McCartney specials.

And in 1992, Ice-T invited "honest" cops in Bloomington, Ill., to his Christmas concert. Police officers were angry because some had to work security at the show and didn't get the day off. But they also weren't impressed with the offer from the rapper, whose songs included one titled "Cop Killer."

In 1993, a St. Louis radio station dropped Michael Jackson from its playlist, saying music by the pop star and alleged child molester was "inappropriate" considering the holiday season.

In 1994, Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora married actress Heather Locklear, the ex-wife of Motley Crue's Tommy Lee, who'd marry "Baywatch" actress Pamela Anderson two months later.

Also in 1994, Canadian singer Celine Dion married manager Rene Angelil in Montreal.

In 1996, Virgin Records announced it was making more copies of the Smashing Pumpkins CD boxed set "The Aeroplane Flies High" after demand exceeded supply.

In 1998, "Too Close" by Next was named the No. 1 single of the year, while the "Titanic" soundtrack won for top album and Usher named top artist, at the 1998 Billboard Music Awards.

Also in 1998, rapper Michael "Mystikal" Tyler was arrested on drug and weapons possession charges in Kenner, La. He later said the police had stopped him because he was driving a "flashy" car and that the joint he supposedly was smoking was actually in the car's ashtray.

Today's musical quiz:

In the annals of music history, what's "Blue Suede Shoes" claim to fame? Answer: The Carl Perkins-penned tune was the first song EVER to top the R&B, country and Top-40 charts.


(Dec. 18)

Today's birthdays include Animals bassist Bryan "Chas" Chandler, who was born in 1938 (age 63); Sam Andrew, guitarist with Big Brother and the Holding Company, in 1941 (age 60); Rolling Stone Keith Richards in 1943 (age 58); Cars guitarist Elliot Easton in 1953 (age 48); former White Lion drummer Greg D'Angelo, who was a founding member of the heavy metal group Anthrax, in 1963 (age 38); and Christina Aguilera in 1980 (age 21).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1964, hundreds of distraught fans converged on a Chicago funeral home for the funeral of Sam Cooke, who'd been shot to death a week earlier in Los Angeles.

In 1965, Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" entered the charts.

In 1969, Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky on "The Tonight Show." He was 44, she 17. The marriage didn't last.

In 1970, the Beatles released a Christmas album for their fan club titled "From Them To Us."

In 1971, Jerry Lee Lewis and his wife, Myra -- who was also his cousin -- were divorced. Their 1958 wedding -- when she was just 13 years old -- caused a scandal, when in fact the only thing illegal about the marriage was the fact that Lewis was not yet divorced from his previous wife when they wed.

In 1975, Rod Stewart announced he was leaving Faces. The group would later break up.

In 1976, the Eagles released "New Kid In Town."

In 1981, Rod Stewart headlined a concert at the Los Angeles Forum that was broadcast live around the world. Also on the bill -- Tina Turner.

Also in 1981, Sting badly cut his hand when he put it through a window during the filming of "Brimstone and Treacle."

In 1983, on his 40th birthday, Keith Richards married girlfriend Patti Hansen in Mexico. His best man was Mick Jagger.

In 1986, a Houston judge said while heavy metal music glorifying violence was "filth," it was not responsible for the conduct of a 16-year-old who shot and killed her mother after a fight over a knitting needle.

In 1991, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler rescued his wife, baby daughter and pet cat from their burning home in the Boston suburb of Marshfield Hills, Mass. No one was hurt.

In 1993, the baby daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown suffered minor burns on an arm after she knocked down her nanny's curling iron.

In 1995, fire swept the first floor of Kenny G's Los Angeles mansion. No one was hurt. Officials said the fire's cause was accidental.

In 1996, Alanis Morissette was named Billboard's top pop artist of 1996 and her debut album, "Jagged Little Pill," the No. 1 album of the year. The top single of the year was "Macarena" by Los del Rios.

Also in 1996, Madonna told reporters in London that she expected to be nominated for an Oscar for her role in "Evita." She wasn't.

In 1998, a federal judge ordered former Temptation Dennis Edwards to stop performing under the group's name.

Today's musical quiz:

He was Jimi Hendrix's manager. Who? Answer: Animals bassist Bryan "Chas" Chandler.


(Dec. 19)

Today's birthdays include country singer "Little" Jimmy Dickens, who was born in 1920 (age 81); the late Phil Ochs was born in 1940; Maurice White, lead vocalist with Earth Wind and Fire, in 1941 (age 60); Alvin Lee of 10 Years After and Lovin' Spoonful's Zalman Yanovsky, both in 1944 (age 57); John McEuan of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1945 (age 56); and country's Janie Fricke in 1952 (age 49).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1955, Carl Perkins recorded his original version of "Blue Suede Shoes" at Sun Studios in Memphis.

In 1962, the Tamla-Motown show -- featuring the Supremes, the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, and the Contours -- opened for a 10-day run at New York's Apollo Theater.

In 1964, Petula Clark's "Downtown" entered the singles charts.

In 1969, Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger was arrested for possession of marijuana in London. He was fined 200 pounds and released.

In 1980, Dolly Parton's first movie "9 to 5" opened nationwide. She won a Grammy Award for the title song.

In 1981, the final show of the Rolling Stones tour was broadcast live and nationwide on cable TV.

In 1985, country singer Johnny Paycheck of "Take That Job and Shove It" fame shot and wounded a man at a Hillsboro, Ohio, tavern after the man asked him if he'd ever eaten turtle meat.

In 1986, a Los Angeles judge threw out a lawsuit that claimed Ozzy Osbourne's "Satanic" heavy metal music drove a troubled 19-year-old man to suicide. The judge said that censuring Osbourne would inhibit freedom of speech.

Also in 1986, Ringo Starr was ordered to pay his ex-wife Maureen $98,000 a year in alimony, a more than 50-percent increase.

And in 1986, a daughter, Jinnarie, was born to Bobby Womack and wife Regina.

In 1994, Aerosmith ended its 18-month-long world tour in the band's hometown of Boston.

In 1995, the ex-wife of Jermaine Jackson told NBC's "Leeza" her former husband was a deadbeat dad who tried to get out of paying child support by denying he fathered her two kids. Jackson later denied her claims on "Entertainment Tonight."

In 1996, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince confirmed on NBC's "Today" show that his first child had been born two months earlier with some kind of problem, but refused to elaborate. In fact, the boy had been born Oct. 16, 1996, with a fatal birth defect and died a week later.

Also in 1996, a spokeswoman for the Rolling Stones denied London newspaper reports that the Stones was planning a U.S. tour the summer of '97. It turned out the paper was more-or-less right, and the "Bridges to Babylon" tour kicked off Sept. 23, 1997, in Chicago.

And in 1996, Michael Jackson made a personal appearance at the Tokyo premiere of his 35-minute music video "Ghosts," triggering mass hysteria among Japanese fans.

And in 1996, Showtime said it was making into a cable-TV movie Elvis Presley's impromptu meeting Dec. 21, 1970, with President Nixon at the White House, to be titled "Elvis Meets Nixon."

In 1997, Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997," was the top single and the Spice Girls' debut album "Spice" the No. 1 album in the 1997 year-end Billboard charts. It marked the first time John had topped the year-end singles chart and the first time a "girl group" had a top album of the year.

Also in 1997, Oprah Winfrey aired part two of her interview with Paul McCartney.

And in 1997, B.B. King performed at the Vatican Christmas Concert. He presented Pope John Paul II with one of his signature Gibson Lucille model guitars.

In 1999, members of the Goo Goo Dolls were uninjured when their plane skidded off a runway in Sicily during a rainstorm. The band had just wrapped up a holiday tour for U.S. military personnel at bases in Europe.

In 2000, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, the patriarch of the legendary Staple Singers, died of a heart attack at his home in Chicago. He was 85.

Also in 2000, Candie's announced it had signed the members of Destiny's Child to appear in ads promoting the company's brand of shoes.

Today's musical quiz:

What's "Little" Jimmy Dickens' nickname? Answer: "Tater." His biggest hit song was 1965's "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose."


(Dec. 20)

Today's birthdays include Blood Sweat and Tears drummer Bobby Colomby, who was born in 1944 (age 57); Peter Criss of Kiss in 1947 (age 54); and "Little" Stevie Wright of the Easybeats in 1948 (age 53); Anita Ward and Billy Bragg, both in 1957 (age 44); and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes in 1966 (age 35).

Today's musical milestones:

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.

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.


(Dec. 21)

Today's birthdays include the late Frank Zappa, who was born in 1940; Ray Hildebrand, "Paul" of the duo Paul and Paula, also in 1940 (age 61); Albert Lee in 1943 (age 58); Beach Boy guitarist Carl Wilson in 1946; and Betty Wright in 1953 (age 48).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1964, Charlie Watts' book about jazz great Charlie "Bird" Parker, titled "Ode To A High Flying Bird," was published.

In 1967, the Rolling Stones album "Their Satanic Majesties Request" was released.

In 1968, Crosby Stills and Nash performed together for the first time at a concert in California.

Also in 1968, Bob Seger's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" was released.

In 1969, following the break-up of Blind Faith, drummer Ginger Baker launched his own group, Airforce.

In 1970, Elvis Presley met with President Richard Nixon privately at the White House. "The King" said he wanted to help restore patriotism in the United States, and also made a pitch to be named a drug enforcement agent.

In 1974, what would become the Doobie Brothers' first No.1 single, "Black Water," was released.

In 1979, Willie Nelson's first movie, "Electric Horseman," opened nationwide.

In 1985, Lionel Richie's "Say You, Say Me" topped the U.S. singles chart.

In 1986, a second generation of Osmonds, the six sons of Alan Osmond, made their network TV debut on a Bob Hope Christmas special.

In 1992, nine people were injured during a concert in Edinburgh, Scotland, by the British rock group Madness.

In 1993, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz was charged with grand theft and battery in connection with his allegedly attack the previous month on a TV cameraman outside a memorial service for actor River Phoenix.

In 1994, Beach Boys Brian Wilson and cousin Mike Love settled Love's lawsuit seeking songwriting credits on 35 songs with $5 million and a handshake.

Also in 1994, Snoop Dogg and three members of his band were arrested in a Lake Charles, La., hotel on possession of marijuana charges.

And in 1994, Motley Crue's Tommy Lee was arrested for allegedly beating up his girlfriend.

In 1995, a Houston judge heard arguments on the request for a new trial from the woman convicted of killing Tejano singer Selena.

In 1998, a judge certified that George Michael had completed the community service that was part of his no-contest plea to lewd conduct charges. Michael had been arrested earlier in the year in a Beverly Hills, Calif., park bathroom after an undercover cop allegedly witnessed him performing a "lewd act."

Today's musical quiz:

Prior to getting together, Crosby Stills and Nash were in what bands? Answer: Graham Nash had been with the Hollies, David Crosby with the Byrds and Stephen Stills with Buffalo Springfield. Neil Young, also from Buffalo Springfield, would join CSN in 1969.

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Topics: Adam Horovitz, Alan Freed, Alanis Morissette, B.B. King, Barbra Streisand, Benny Andersson, Berry Gordy, Bette Midler, Betty Wright, Billy Preston, Bob Hope, Bobby Brown, Boy George, Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Celine Dion, Charlie Watts, Chris Robinson, Christina Aguilera, Dave Clark, David Crosby, Debbie Gibson, Diana Ross, Eddie Kendricks, Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, Florence Ballard, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Garth Brooks, George Michael, George Strait, Graham Nash, Heather Locklear, Ian Anderson, Ian Hunter, Janet Jackson, Jeff Beck, Jermaine Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joan Baez, John Lennon, John Paul II, John Williams, Keith Moon, Keith Richards, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, Matt Lattanzi, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Neil Young, Nicolette Larson, Oprah Winfrey, Patti Labelle, Pete Townshend, Princess Margaret, Rachel Hunter, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Rick James, River Phoenix, Rod Stewart, Sam Cooke, Snoop Dogg, Steven Tyler, Ted Nugent, Tina Turner, Tommy Lee Jones, Tommy Steele, Vince Gill, Whitney Houston, Yoko Ono
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