Today In Music: A look back at pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International

(Jan. 26)

Today's birthdays include Eartha Kitt, who was born in 1928 (age 74); Huey "Piano" Smith in 1934 (age 68); Derek Holt of the Climax Blues Band in 1949 (age 53); former Little River Band member David Briggs in 1951 (age 51); Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen in 1957 (age 45); Norman Hassan of UB40, and Anita Baker, both in 1958 (age 44); Cinderella's Tom Keifer in 1961 (age 41); and Andrew Ridgeley, formerly of Wham!, and Beresford "Jazzie B" Romeo of Soul II Soul, both in 1963 (age 39).


Today's musical milestones:

In 1958, Buddy Holly and the Crickets performed on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

In 1967, Mick Jagger's verdict on a show by newcomer Jimi Hendrix was: "The most sexual thing I've seen in a long time!"


In 1968, the Bee Gees made their U.S. concert debut at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.

In 1970, John Lennon wrote, recorded and mixed "Instant Karma" -- with help from producer Phil Spector -- all in one day.

Also in 1970, Australia's first rock fest -- the Ourimbah Rock Festival -- drew 11,000 fans.

In 1977, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green was confined to a mental institution after threatening someone -- variously identified as an accountant or a delivery boy -- with a gun.

In 1979, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash headlined the first of three anti-nuclear benefit concerts.

In 1980, Prince made his TV debut on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand."

In 1992, Harry Connick Jr. sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXVI.

In 1998, the Spice Girls swept the 25th annual American Music Awards, winning in all three categories in which the group was nominated.

In 1999, the National Transportation Safety Board wrapped up its probe into the Oct. 12, 1997 plane crash that killed John Denver. It blamed the accident on fuel problems and the singer's inexperience with the new experimental plane.


Today's musical quiz:

Eddie Van Halen and his brother, Alex, grew up in Southern California, but they weren't born there. Where were they born? Answer: The Netherlands.


(Jan. 27)

Today's birthdays include the late David Seville of "The Chipmunks" fame, who was born in 1919. His real name was Ross Bagdasarian. Bobby "Blue" Bland was born in 1930 (age 72); Kevin Coyne in 1944 (age 58); Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason in 1945 (age 57); Nedra Talley of the Ronettes in 1947 (age 55); Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey and keyboardist Seth Justman of the J. Geils Band, both in 1951 (age 51); New Order's Gillian Gilbert in 1961 (age 41); and Faith No More lead singer Mike Patton in 1968 (age 34).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Elvis Presley's first single for RCA, "Heartbreak Hotel," was released. It became his first No. 1 song.

In 1962, Chubby Checker had four albums in the top-10 of Billboard's Hot-200 album chart -- "For Twisters Only," "Your Twist Party," "Bobby Rydell/Chubby Checker" and "Let's Twist Again."

In 1968, Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was released posthumously. It would become the first posthumous No. 1 record of the rock era.


In 1972, Mahalia Jackson died at age 60.

In 1981, Georgia-based Capricorn Records filed for bankruptcy. The label had specialized in southern rock. Its first and biggest star was the Allman Brothers Band.

In 1984, Michael Jackson suffered second- and third-degree burns when his hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial based on his hit single "Billie Jean." Brother Tito put out the fire.

In 1986, Grammy Award winners included Bruce Springsteen -- for best male vocalist, best album for "Born In The USA" and best male video star. Other winners were Tina Turner, Huey Lewis and the News, Pat Benatar, Wham! and Chicago.

In 1990, Billy Idol won a libel action against the London tabloid News of the World.

In 1991, Whitney Houston sang the "Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV in Tampa.

In 1992, C&C Music Factory and Garth Brooks were the big winners at the 19th annual American Music Awards.

In 1993, the Joffrey Ballet premiered "Billboards" -- the first full-length rock ballet performed in the United States -- at the University of Iowa. The music's composer, Prince, did not show up for the premiere.


Also in 1993, the late Dizzy Gillespie won the musical equivalent of a Nobel Prize, the Polar Music Prize, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

And in 1993, Barbra Streisand denied published reports that she was planning to run for the U.S. Senate.

And in 1993, Garth Brooks performed under the pseudonym Yukon Jack at a Clovis, N.M., nightclub.

In 1994, the first NKOTB album in three years went on sale. The group -- formerly known as the New Kids On The Block -- got a star on Tower Record's Walk of Fame in Boston.

In 1997, Alanis Morissette and Toni Braxton won two awards each at the 24th annual American Music Awards. Mariah Carey -- the frontrunner going into the ceremony, with a total of five nominations -- was shut out.

In 1998, James Brown was arrested on drug and weapons possession charges. The allegations stemmed from what sheriff's deputies saw when they came to his Beech Island, S.C., home a couple of weeks earlier to take him to the hospital, by judge's order, to treat an addiction to painkillers.


Also in 1998, Billy Joel kicked off a world tour in Portland, Maine, that included eight shows on Long Island, N.Y.

In 1999, bassists Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big and the David Lee Roth Band, Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Bootsy Collins of Parliament Funkadelic, jazz great Stanley Clarke and legendary session player Leland Sklar were inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk.

Today's musical quiz:

"Chipmunks" creator Dave Seville (Ross Bagdasarian) had small roles in what two movies? Answer: "Rear Window" and "Stalag 17."


(Jan. 28)

Today's birthdays include Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright, who was born in 1943 (age 59); The Pretty Things lead guitarist Dick Taylor, also in 1943 (age 59); Chambers Brothers drummer Brian Keenan in 1944 (age 58); Rick Allen of the Box Tops in 1946; German singer/songwriter Peter Schilling in 1956 (age 46); guitarist Dave Sharp of The Alarm in 1959 (age 43); Sarah McLachlan in 1968 (age 34); Joey Fatone Jr. in 1977 (age 25); and Nick Carter in 1980 (age 22).

Today's musical milestones:


In 1956, Elvis Presley made his national television debut with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey on "The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show."

In 1965, The Who made its debut on the British TV show "Ready Steady Go."

In 1970, Jimi Hendrix headlined the Vietnam Moratorium Committee's Winter Festival for Peace at New York's Madison Square Garden. Also on the bill: the Rascals, Judy Collins, Dave Brubeck, Harry Belafonte, and Peter Paul and Mary.

In 1976, British pop star Gary Glitter announced his retirement. It was only temporary.

In 1978, Ted Nugent filled an unusual autograph request by writing his name on a fan's arm with a bowie knife.

In 1983, Billy Fury died at age 41.

In 1985, 46 artists recorded the anti-famine song "We Are the World" following the American Music Awards.

In 1988, the Sex Pistols' debut album "Never Mind The Bullocks -- Here's The Sex Pistols" was certified "gold," 11 years after its release.

In 1991, Hammer won five American Music Awards, Janet Jackson took home three, and Aerosmith, Phil Collins, Reba McEntire, Bell Biv DeVoe and Vanilla Ice won two each. The awards ceremony featured the comeback performance by Gloria Estefan following her injuries in a traffic accident the previous March.


Also in 1991, court papers obtained by Rolling Stone magazine revealed that the marriage of Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose and Erin Everly had been annulled.

In 1993, Sire/Warner Bros. Records dropped Ice-T, citing "creative differences." The previous year, critics had targeted the rapper and Time-Warner for releasing the rap tune "Cop Killer."

In 1997, it was announced that Jimi Hendrix's albums would be re-released under an agreement between MCA Records and Experience Hendrix, the Hendrix family-run company which had recently assumed control of the late guitarist's recorded material.

Also in 1997, Arista Records President Clive Davis became the first sitting record label president to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1998, members of Congress gathered in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill to pay tribute to the late Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif. The entertainer-turned-politician had died in a skiing accident earlier in the month.

Also in 1998, Megadeth's Dave Mustaine became a father for the second time when his wife, Pam, gave birth to a daughter in Phoenix. The couple also had a six-year-old son.

In 1999, thousands of people packed New Jersey's Continental Airlines Arena for a concert by the Beastie Boys, Rage Against The Machine, Bad Religion and Chumbawamba -- despite pleas from police and politicians to boycott the show. The concert was a benefit for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was hoping for a retrial.


Today's musical quiz:

What did Elvis Presley sing on his national TV debut? Answer: "Heartbreak Hotel."


(Jan. 29)

Today's birthdays include Ron Towson of the Fifth Dimension, who was born in 1933 (age 69); Uriah Heep singer David Byron in 1947 (age 55); Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone, whose real last name is Erdelyi, in 1952 (age 50); "Handsome" Dick Manitoba of the Dictators in 1954 (age 48); LaToya Jackson in 1956 (age 46); Queensryche bassist Eddie Jackson in 1961 (age 41); and Jonny Lang in 1981.

Today's musical milestones:

In 1962, Warner Bros. Records signed Peter Paul and Mary.

In 1967, London's famed Marquee Club was the site of a remarkable battle of the bands -- Jimi Hendrix versus The Who -- as part of a tribute to the late Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles.

In 1977, Kenny Rogers' "Lucille" entered the singles charts.

In 1979, Emerson Lake and Palmer disbanded after 10 years together. They would eventually reunite.

In 1979, a San Diego teenager opened fire on her schoolmates, killing 11 of them. When asked why by police, the girl replied, "I don't like Mondays." Her excuse inspired Boomtown Rat frontman Bob Geldof to write the song "I Don't Like Mondays." It was a huge hit in Britain but a flop in the United States.


In 1981, Barry Kramer -- the publisher of rock's Creem Magazine -- was found dead in his apartment in Birmingham, Mich. He was 37.

In 1983, the Australian band Men At Work became the first act since Rod Stewart in 1971 to top the singles and album charts simultaneously in the United States and Britain. The album was "Business As Usual" and the single, "Down Under."

In 1992, the Starlight Foundation named Paula Abdul its 1992 Humanitarian of the Year.

Also in 1992, blues legend Willie Dixon died at age 76.

In 1993, MTV banned the Paul McCartney single "Bad Boys Bickering" because it included the "f" word seven times. The song was a protest about the world's governments failing to curb pollution.

In 1994, former Supreme Mary Wilson was injured -- and her 14-year-old son killed -- when their Jeep hit a highway median and overturned near Barstow, Calif.

And in 1994, longtime ASCAP president and song lyricist Stanley Adams died at age 86.

In 1996, the Eagles and country superstar Garth Brooks were triple winners at the 23rd annual American Music Awards. Brooks was named artist of the year but politely left the trophy on the podium, saying the other nominees deserved the award more, especially Hootie and the Blowfish.


In 1998, Bobby Brown was convicted on DUI charges in Florida. He was sentenced to five days in jail and ordered to undergo alcohol and drug rehabilitation in connection with the August 1996 one-car accident.

In 1999, Meredith Brooks performed at a Los Angeles high school and then spoke with the kids about her career in music. The singer was in the Mentoring Musicians Program, which was part of "Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation," dedicated to promoting music instruction in U.S. public schools.

Today's musical quiz:

Before his days with The Fifth Dimension, Ron Towson toured with what entertainer? Answer: Nat King Cole. He was part of Cole's trio.


(Jan. 30)

Today's birthdays include Joe Terranova of Danny and the Juniors, who was born in 1941 (age 61); Marty Balin, formerly with Jefferson Airplane and its later incarnation, Jefferson Starship, in 1943 (age 59); Jay and the Americans' Sandy Deane also in 1943 (age 59); the late Steve Marriott of Small Faces and Humble Pie in 1947; William King of the Commodores in 1949 (age 53); Phil Collins and Quarterflash's Marv Ross, both in 1951 (age 51); and Jody Watley in 1961 (age 41).

Today's musical milestones:


In 1969, the Beatles played the group's final live performance -- on the roof of the Apple Corps Headquarters in London. The performance of "Get Back" was filmed for the movie "Let It Be."

In 1971, Kris Kristofferson won an award from the Nashville Songwriters Association.

In 1974, Emerson Lake and Palmer's Greg Lake was arrested in Salt Lake City after he was caught skinny-dipping in a hotel pool.

In 1980, Professor Longhair -- whose real name was Henry Byrd -- died at age 62.

Also in 1980, rockabilly star Warren Smith died.

In 1982, Lightnin' Hopkins died of cancer at age 69.

In 1986, Spandau Ballet announced a split with Chrysalis Records.

In 1992, a University of Massachusetts music professor who worked with New Kids On The Block sued the group's manager, Maurice Starr, saying he wasn't paid the fees and royalties promised. The professor further charged that the group lip-synched in concerts and that their singing on their albums was technically enhanced.

Also in 1994, the original members of Jefferson Airplane joined John Sebastian and Country Joe McDonald in Pepsi ads that aired during the Super Bowl. The commercials spoofed reunion rock concerts.


In 1994, a San Francisco newspaper quoted private investigators saying the teenage boy who accused Michael Jackson of molesting him had a solid case. And they claimed they'd interviewed other boys who said the pop star had sexually abused them.

In 1995, Boyz II Men was the big winner at the 22nd annual American Music Awards, winning three awards.

In 1996, Michael Jackson's unauthorized biographer -- Randy Taraborrelli -- claimed the pop star paid Lisa Marie Presley $15 million to marry him for a year. Jackson's attorney said there was no such deal.

Also in 1996, Paul McCartney returned to Liverpool, England, to officially open a performing arts college he helped found at his old high school.

In 1999, Janet Jackson ended her yearlong Velvet Rope World Tour with a sold-out concert at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

In 2000, Ringo Starr debuted in a new TV commercial for the online investment broker Charles Schwab. The 30-second ad aired during the pre-game kick-off segment of the Super Bowl.

Today's musical quiz:

Name the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who is Jody Watley's godfather. Answer: The late Jackie Wilson.


(Jan. 31)

Today's birthdays include the late Terry Kath of Chicago, who was born in 1946; Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, also in 1946 (age 56); "K.C.," a.k.a. Harry Wayne Casey, leader of K.C. and the Sunshine Band, in 1951 (age 51); guitarist Phil Manzanera, formerly with Roxy Music, also in 1951 (age 51); John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon of the Sex Pistols in 1956 (age 46); Whitesnake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg in 1958 (age 44); Lloyd Cole of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions in 1961 (age 41); and Justin Timberlake in 1981.


Today's musical milestones:

In 1958, Little Richard quit music at the height of his fame to attend evangelism college, where he stayed for four years.

In 1967, the New York Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit brought by officials of Yorktown Heights High School, who were attempting to cancel a concert by folk singer Pete Seeger. They feared he might incite students to riot. The show was held five days later -- peacefully and with no incidents.

In 1970, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead were arrested in New Orleans. The incident was immortalized in their song "Truckin'" with the claim they were "set up like a bowlin' pin."

In 1972, Aretha Franklin sang at Mahalia Jackson's funeral.

In 1978, Blood Sweat and Tears saxophonist Greg Herbert died from an accidental drug overdose. He was 31.

In 1979, the Clash launched the band's first U.S. tour. Bo Diddley was the opening act.

In 1982, the Doobie Brothers split up, but promised they'd get together again for a farewell tour.

In 1985, Barbara Cowsill -- mother of the Cowsills -- died at age 56.


In 1988, the Beastie Boys denied reports that they'd broken up.

In 1989, Playboy magazine -- featuring a photo spread of La Toya Jackson, nude with snakes -- hit newsstands.

In 1993, Garth Brooks sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl XXVIII.

In 2000, the Smashing Pumpkins kicked off a national in-store tour in Lawrence, Kan., in support of the band's upcoming CD "MACHINA/the Machines of God." The road trip included autograph signings and some in-store performances.

Today's musical quiz:

Where did Justin Timberlake meet his fiancé, Britney Spears? Answer: The two met on the set of the "New Mickey Mouse Club Show." Both were 11 years old.


(Feb. 1)

Today's birthdays include Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio, who was born in 1934 (age 68); Don Everly and Ray "Dr. Hook" Sawyer, both in 1937 (age 64); Kansas guitarist Rich Williams in 1950 (age 52); funkster Rick James in 1952 (age 50); guitarist Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1954 (age 48); and Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis and Priscilla and the ex-wife of Michael Jackson, in 1968 (age 34).


Today's musical milestones:

In 1949, RCA unveiled its new 45-rpm record player.

In 1964, the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for seven weeks.

Also in 1964, "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen was declared pornographic by the governor of Indiana, who, while admitting he couldn't understand the lyrics, said the song "made his ears tingle."

In 1967, Pink Floyd turned professional.

In 1978, Bob Dylan's "Renaldo and Clara" -- largely a film documentary of the Rolling Thunder tour -- premiered in Los Angeles.

In 1986, Diana Ross married Norwegian shipping magnate Arne Naess in Switzerland.

Also in 1986, music publisher Dick James died of a heart attack at age 65.

In 1993, country singer Reba McEntire made a guest appearance on the CBS sitcom "Evening Shade."

In 1994, newcomer Toni Braxton and relative veteran Janet Jackson led the field with four nominations each for the annual Soul Train Music Awards.

Also in 1994, a man was arrested defacing Michael Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He told police he didn't like child molesters.

In 1995, Jon Secada was named an AT&T spokesperson for the phone company's Spanish-language TV commercials.


In 1996, American Music Award executive producer Dick Clark announced that the artist of the year award would become a "traveling trophy" -- as suggested by that year's winner, Garth Brooks.

In 1999, Gloria Estefan's husband, Emilio, was jogging on a Miami Beach, Fla., beach when a boatload of Cuban refugees came ashore. He bought them coffee and pastries before the police showed up. The Estefans are former Cuban refugees themselves.

Today's musical quiz:

Ray "Dr. Hook" Sawyer appeared in what Dustin Hoffman movie? Answer: "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?"

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