Today In Music: A look back at pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Jan. 4, 2002 at 6:00 AM
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(Jan. 5)

Today's birthdays include Sam Phillips, founder of the legendary Sun Records, who was born in 1923 (age 79); Kool and the Gang drummer George "Funky" Brown in 1949 (age 53); Blondie's Chris Stein in 1950 (age 52); and Marilyn Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, in 1969 (age 33).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Elvis Presley recorded "Heartbreak Hotel." The song -- written by Mae Axton, Hoyt's mother -- was a No.1 hit four months later.

In 1959, Coral Records released Buddy Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore." It turned out to be Holly's last record before his death.

In 1967, folk singer Jesse Winchester moved to Canada after getting his draft notice.

In 1976, former Beatles bodyguard and road manager Mal Evans was shot to death during a scuffle with Los Angeles police. The gun he refused to give up turned out to be unloaded.

In 1978, the Sex Pistols opened the band's only U.S. tour, in Atlanta.

In 1979, the soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever" sold its 25 millionth copy.

In 1987, two days after his wedding to Diahann Carroll, Vic Damone was admitted to a Connecticut hospital suffering from kidney stones.

In 1991, ZZ Top was honored by the state of Tennessee, Shelby County and the city of Memphis for helping to "keep the blues alive."

In 1992, Ozzy Osbourne resumed his tour in Miami. The road trip had been interrupted in late November after the rocker broke his foot during a concert in Chicago.

In 1994, Whitney Houston was named Entertainer of the Year at the 26th NAACP Image Awards.

In 1995, newcomer Sheryl Crow tied with veterans Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John and singer/producer Babyface for the most Grammy nominations -- five each.

In 1998, Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif. -- one-half of the pop duo Sonny and Cher -- was killed in a skiing accident in Lake Tahoe, Nev. He was 62.

In 1999, Lauryn Hill led the list of nominees for the 41st annual Grammy Awards, with 10 nominations. Eight of the 10 nominations for record and album of the year went to women.

Today's musical quiz:

What sport did Sheryl Crow participate in while in high school? Answer: Track. She ran the hurdles in the Missouri state track meet.


(Jan. 6)

Today's birthdays include Earl Scruggs, who was born in 1924 (age 78); Wilbert Harrison, who had a No. 1 hit in 1959 with "Kansas City," was born in 1929; Nino Tempo, one-half of the Nino Tempo and April Stevens duo, in 1937 (age 65); the late Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention was born in 1941; the late producer and songwriter Van McCoy in 1944; Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett in 1946 (age 56); Fabulous Thunderbirds lead singer Kim Wilson in 1952 (age 50); AC-DC guitarist Malcolm Young in 1953 (age 49); Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge in 1959 (age 43); and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Mark O'Toole in 1964 (age 38).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1957, Elvis Presley made his final appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." He performed seven songs -- including "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel" and "Heartbreak Hotel."

In 1964, the Rolling Stones launched the band's first headline tour of Britain, with the Ronettes and 1950s rocker Marty Wilde opening.

In 1975, "The Wiz" opened on Broadway.

In 1977, EMI tore up the Sex Pistols' recording contract three months after signing the punk rockers and releasing their first single, "Anarchy in the U.K." Two months later, A&M Records would sign the group, only to terminate the contract nine days later.

In 1980, Georgeanna Tillman Gordon of the Marvelettes died at age 46.

In 1987, Elton John underwent exploratory throat surgery in Sydney, Australia, for what turned out to be a benign lesion on his vocal cords. The operation followed 18 months of throat problems.

In 1990, figures showed the Rolling Stones grossed more than $100 million -- a new record for any rock act -- during the band's 1989 U.S. tour.

In 1993, bassist Bill Wyman confirmed he was leaving the Rolling Stones after 30 years.

Also in 1993, jazz trumpeter "Dizzy" Gillespie died from pancreatic cancer. He was 75.

In 1994, Sting and composer David Foster topped the list of Grammy nominations, with six each.

In 1996, Adrienne Brown -- the wife of soul singer James Brown -- collapsed and died two days after undergoing cosmetic surgery in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 47.

In 1997, SoundScan reported Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" was the top-selling album in the United States in 1996, with 7.4 million copies sold.

In 1998, newcomer Paula Cole, pop singer Elton John and the Dylans -- Bob and Jakob with his band, the Wallflowers -- were among the nominees for the 40th annual Grammy Awards.

In 2000, a spokesman for Paul McCartney announced the former Beatles had donated more than $2 million to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson. McCartney's late wife, Linda, had received treatment at both places for the breast cancer that took her life in 1998.

Today's musical quiz:

Van McCoy had a big hit in 1975 with "The Hustle." But he might be better known as a producer. Name some of the artists he worked with. Answer: The Drifters, Shirelles, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the Stylistics --- among others.


(Jan. 7)

Today's birthdays include Ramsey Lewis Trio bassist Eldee Young, who was born in 1936 (age 66); Paul Revere, leader of the 1960s pop group Paul Revere and the Raiders, in 1942 (age 60); Mike McCartney, the brother of ex-Beatle Paul who performs under the name Mike McGear, in 1944 (age 58); Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jan Wenner in 1946 (age 56); Kenny Loggins in 1948 (age 54); Marshall Chapman in 1949 (age 53); and Go-Gos bassist Kathy Valentine in 1959 (age 43).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1924, George Gershwin completed the piano score for "Rhapsody in Blue."

In 1950, Hank Snow made his Grand Ole Opry debut.

In 1954, Muddy Waters recorded "I'm Your Hootchie-Cootchie Man" at Chicago's Chess Records.

In 1958, Gibson Guitars patented its now famous "Flying V" model.

In 1962, "The Twist" by Chubby Checker returned to the No. 1 position on the pop singles chart, becoming the only single to top the Billboard Hot-100 twice.

In 1963, Gary "U.S." Bonds sued Chubby Checker for plagerism, claiming Checker's "Dancin' Party" was too close for coincidence to his 1961 hit "Quarter To Three."

In 1970, neighboring farmers sued Max Yasgur for $35,000 in damages caused by a little show called Woodstock.

In 1974, a girl, Sarah Marie, was born to James Taylor and Carly Simon.

In 1975, thousands of Led Zeppelin fans rioted while waiting for the box office to open at the Boston Gardens. The show was cancelled.

In 1976, music industry executive Kenneth Moss was sentenced to four months in jail for involuntary manslaughter in the drug overdose death of Average White Band drummer Robbie McIntosh.

In 1982, Lynval Golding of Fun Boy 3 was stabbed and wounded at a Conventry, England, disco. Authorities said the attack -- by three whites -- was racially motivated.

In 1992, the U.S. postmaster-general announced that a stamp commemorating Elvis Presley would be issued in 1993.

Also in 1992, Paul Simon arrived in Johannesburg amid heavy security as the first international artist to perform in South Africa since the lifting of the cultural boycott.

And in 1992, the rap group Public Enemy stirred controversy with its music video "By The Time I Get To Arizona," which blasted the state for not observing Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

And in 1992, Spanish opera star Jose Carreras said he and Whitney Houston would sing a specially written song at the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

In 1993, veteran rocker Eric Clapton led the list of nominees -- with a total of nine -- for the 35th annual Grammy Awards. He'd end up winning six awards.

In 1994, funkster Rick James was sentenced to more than five years in prison after being convicted in the 1992 beating of a woman at a Hollywood hotel.

In 1997, producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds received 12 Grammy nominations, tying with Michael Jackson for the most nominations in a single year. Smashing Pumpkins got seven nominations.

Today's musical quiz:

Kenny Loggins wrote and performed the title song to what 1980s Tom Cruise film? Answer: "Top Gun." Loggins also composed and recorded the title track for "Footloose," which starred Kevin Bacon.


(Jan. 8)

Today's birthdays include the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," Elvis Presley, who was born in 1935; Shirley Bassey in 1937 (age 65); Anthony Gourdine, of Little Anthony and the Imperials, in 1941 (age 61); Marcus Hutson of The Whispers in 1943 (age 59); Doors guitarist Robby Kreiger in 1946 (age 56); David Bowie and Hollies guitarist Terry Sylvester, both in 1947 (age 55); and Loverboy's Mike Reno in 1955 (age 47).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1957, Bill Haley and the Comets kicked off its first tour of Australia. LaVern Baker and Big Joe Turner were the opening acts.

In 1979, the Canadian government named the rock group Rush "Canadian Ambassadors of Music."

In 1982, Johnny Cash Parkway was dedicated in Henderson, Tenn, making the country singer the town's first living inhabitant to have a road named after him.

In 1985, tickets for the first solo concerts by ex-Wham! member George Michael -- two nights at London's Earls Court arena -- sold out so quickly that two more shows were added to his debut tour.

In 1987, Elton John left a Sydney, Australia, hospital two days after having throat surgery to remove a benign lesion.

Also in 1987, the boyfriend of country singer Tanya Tucker, Jerry West, was sentenced by a Nashville judge to four years in prison after being convicted of drug dealing.

In 1991, Def Leppard guitarist "Steamin'" Steve Clark was found dead in his London apartment. He was 30.

In 1992, R.E.M. topped the list of nominees -- with seven -- for the 34th annual Grammy Awards.

In 1993, long lines were reported at U.S. post offices nationwide as the Elvis Presley commemorative stamps went on sale.

In 1995, a bronze sculpture of Elvis Presley by Felix de Weldon -- who did the Iwo Jima flag-raising memorial at Arlington National Cemetery -- was dedicated at Graceland.

In 1996, a Los Angeles jury convicted drifter Robert Dewey Hoskins of stalking Madonna.

Also in 1996, Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary led a two-hour concert and sing-along when the Boston-to-New York train he was riding on got stuck in snow outside the Big Apple during what became known as the Blizzard of '96.

In 1999, Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter announced they were separating after eight years of marriage and two children.

Today's musical quiz:

How many movies did Elvis Presley star in? Answer: A total of 33, between 1956 and 1972.


(Jan. 9)

Today's birthdays include folk singer Joan Baez, who was born in 1941 (age 61); Scott Engel of The Walker Brothers in 1944 (age 58); former Yardbird and Led Zeppeliner Jimmy Page in 1945 (age 57); William Cowsill of the Cowsills in 1948 (age 54); David Johansen of the New York Dolls in 1950 (age 52); country singer Crystal Gayle in 1951 (age 51); and Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band in 1967 (age 35).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1965, the Beatles dominated the Top 10 of the Billboard Top-200 album chart with three entries -- "Beatles '65," "A Hard Day's Night," and "The Beatles' Story."

In 1970, Elvis Presley was named one of the "10 outstanding young men of America" by the U.S. Jaycees.

In 1973, Mick Jagger was denied a Japanese visa on account of a 1969 drug bust, halting the Rolling Stones' planned tour of the Far East.

Also in 1973, Lou and Betty Reed were married.

In 1977, country singer Emmylou Harris wed her producer, Brian Ahern, in Nova Scotia, Canada.

In 1979, the "Music for UNICEF" concert at the U.N. General Assembly featured Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees, Rod Stewart, ABBA, Donna Summer, John Denver, and Earth Wind and Fire -- among others.

In 1984, members of the Beach Boys announced their plans to continue as a group, despite the drowning death two weeks earlier of drummer Dennis Wilson.

In 1987, EMI announced plans to release the first four of the 13 original Beatles albums on CD.

Also in 1987, Vic Damone was released from a Bridgeport, Conn., hospital where he'd been flown four days earlier for treatment of kidney stones only hours after marrying Diahann Carroll.

In 1992, Paul Simon said those who opposed his South African tour had promised not to cause trouble during his upcoming two concerts in Johannesburg.

Also in 1992, Jordan Knight of the New Kids on the Block was ordered to stand trial for allegedly telling his bodyguard to punch a heckler outside a Boston nightclub the previous June.

In 1996, the Rolling Stones announced that the South American/Asian leg of the "Voodoo Lounge" tour was canceled after the promoter was unable to arrange a concert schedule.

In 1997, Frank Sinatra was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after suffering what doctors later called an "uncomplicated" heart attack. He was released eight days later.

In 1998, it was standing-room-only at a Palm Springs, Calif., church for the funeral of Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., who had died in a skiing accident four days earlier. He was eulogized by California Gov. Pete Wilson, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and his ex-wife and former singing partner Cher, who called him the "most unforgettable character" she'll ever meet.

Today's musical quiz:

Crystal Gayle's real first name is Brenda. Where does Crystal come from? Answer: Gayle's older sister, Loretta Lynn, nicknamed her "Crystal" after the Krystal Hamburger chain in the southern United States.


(Jan. 10)

Today's birthdays include Johnnie Ray, who was born in 1927; Ronnie Hawkins in 1935 (age 67); Sal Mineo was born in 1939; Jim Croce was born in 1942; Rod Stewart in 1945 (age 57); Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers in 1948 (age 54); Steely Dan's Donald Fagen in 1950 (age 52); Pat Benatar in 1952 (age 50); Shawn Colvin in 1956 (age 46); and Daddy Mack (real name: Chris Smith) of the rap duo Kris Kross in 1979 (age 23).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1948, Loretta and Oliver "Mooney" Lynn were married.

In 1956, Elvis Presley's first RCA recording session yielded "I Got a Woman" and his first No. 1 single, "Heartbreak Hotel."

In 1963, the Cliff Richard movie "Summer Holiday" premiered.

In 1976, Howlin' Wolf, whose real name was Chester Burnett, died at age 66.

In 1981, the "Pirates of Penzance" -- starring Linda Ronstadt and Rex Smith -- opened on Broadway for what would be a 772-performance run.

In 1991, Quincy Jones was nominated for five Grammys, bringing his total nominations to a record 74 -- more than anyone else in the history of the awards. The previous Grammy nominee frontrunner had been Henry Mancini.

Also in 1991, the governor of Ohio commuted the prison sentence of country singer Johnny Paycheck to time served. Paycheck had been imprisoned after being convicted in a 1985 barroom shooting that left one man wounded.

In 1996, Bruce Springsteen announced he'd donate proceeds from his Detroit concert to the newspaper workers on strike against the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News.

Also in 1996, Courtney Love and Melissa Etheridge made Mr. Blackwell's 36th annual "Worst Dressed Women" list. Madonna topped his "Best Dressed" list.

In 1997, the "Godfather of Soul," James Brown, was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He obliged fans by shrieking, "I feel good!"

In 1999, Garth Brooks was named Favorite Male Performer and Celine Dion Favorite Female Performer at the 25th Annual People's Choice Awards. Elton John was voted the all-time Favorite Musical Performer.

Today's musical quiz:

Did Rod Stewart ever play soccer professionally? Answer: Yes, when he was 16, Stewart turned "pro" but lasted only three weeks.


(Jan. 11)

Today's birthdays include singer-turned-pro golfer Don Cherry, who had a hit in 1956 with "Band of Gold," was born in 1924 (age 78); Clarence Clemons, with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, in 1942 (age 60); country singer Naomi Judd in 1946 (age 56); Sha Na Na's Denny Greene in 1949 (age 53); Vicky Peterson of the Bangles in 1960 (age 42); and Mary J. Blige in 1971 (age 31).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1963, Whiskey-A-Go-Go opened in Los Angeles.

In 1964, "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash became the first country album to top the U.S. pop album chart.

In 1969, Jethro Tull released its debut album, titled "This Was."

In 1977, Keith Richards was convicted of cocaine possession and fined $1,300.

In 1980, the Pretenders' self-titled first album was released.

In 1984, Michael Jackson collected a record 12 Grammy nominations for his "Thriller" album and the singles from it. 13 years later, producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds would tie that record.

Also in 1984, a BBC disc jockey announced he would no longer play Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax" due to the song's alleged sexual content. The action led to a complete BBC ban of the single.

In 1987, Frankie Goes To Hollywood opened its farewell tour in Manchester, England.

In 1988, "So Emotional" became the sixth straight No. 1 single for Whitney Houston -- following "Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know," "The Greatest Love of All," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" and "Didn't We Almost Have It All."

In 1990, Paul McCartney performed Beatles songs to the delight of the audience at London's Wembley Arena. Previously, he'd generally avoided playing anything associated with the Fab Four.

In 1992, Paul Simon opened his tour of South Africa in Johannesburg. He was the first international star to visit the country since the United Nations lifted a cultural ban.

Also in 1992, thieves broke into the Miami Beach mansion of rapper Vanilla Ice and stole $100,000 worth of stuff. Police arrested three suspects a week later and recovered most of the missing items.

In 1993, rap artists Bell Biv DeVoe and Whodini accused New York cops of police brutality after they say they were pulled from cars and beaten by white officers investigating an East Harlem supermarket robbery.

In 1994, pop singer-turned-politician Sonny Bono announced he was running for Congress on the Republican ticket. He won and represented the Palm Springs, Calif., area in the U.S. House until his death in January 1998.

In 1996, Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., needed 11 stitches to close a gash on his face after colliding with another skier near Big Bear Lake, Calif.

In 1998, Garth Brooks was named Favorite Male Musical Performer, and Whitney Houston and Reba McEntire tied for Favorite Female Musical Performer at the 24th annual People's Choice Awards.

Also in 1998, bad weather unplugged the Rolling Stones' concert in Montreal, as a winter storm cut power to most of the city and ice pierced the roof of the Olympic Stadium.

In 1999, rapper/actor Will Smith, Canadian pop singer Celine Dion and country superstar Garth Brooks were the big winners at the 26th annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Also in 1999, a New York judge found rappers Sean "Puffy" Combs and Dwight "Heavy D" Myers liable for a deadly stampede at a charity event they'd organized in 1991. The judge ruled that the rappers and the state of New York were each 50-percent responsible for mishandling the event and ordered a trial to assess the damages against the rappers.

In 2000, a newspaper in Hilo, Hawaii, (the Tribune-Herald) reported a security guard at Keahole-Kona International Airport found about half an ounce of marijuana in a bag that pop superstar Whitney Houston was carrying. Security officers tried to detain Houston but she walked away -- and her flight to San Francisco was gone by the time police arrived at the scene.

Today's musical quiz:

What was the original name of the Bangles? Answer: The Bangs.

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Topics: Bill Wyman, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Carly Simon, Celine Dion, Chris Smith, Cliff Richard, Courtney Love, Crystal Gayle, Dave Matthews, David Bowie, David Foster, Diahann Carroll, Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Fagen, Donna Summer, Earl Scruggs, Ed Sullivan, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, George Gershwin, George Michael, Gladys Knight, Iwo Jima, James Brown, James Taylor, Jerry West, Jesse Winchester, Jim Croce, Jimmy Page, Joan Baez, John Denver, Johnnie Ray, Johnny Cash, Jordan Knight, Jose Carreras, Keith Richards, Kenny Loggins, Kevin Bacon, Loretta Lynn, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary J. Blige, Melissa Etheridge, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Naomi Judd, Newt Gingrich, Ozzy Osbourne, Pat Benatar, Paul Revere, Paul Simon, Pete Wilson, Quincy Jones, Rachel Hunter, Reba McEntire, Rick James, Rod Stewart, Sheryl Crow, Shirley Bassey, Sonny Bono, Steve Clark, Syd Barrett, Tanya Tucker, Whitney Houston, Will Smith
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