Today In Music: A look back at pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  April 2, 2002 at 2:00 AM
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(April 2)

Today's birthdays include the late Herbert Mills of the Mills Brothers, who was born in 1912; the late Marvin Gaye Jr. was born in 1939; Leon Russell in 1941 (age 61); Larry Coryell and the Fortunes' Glen Dale, both in 1943 (age 59); Kurt Winter, formerly of the Guess Who, in 1946 (age 56); Emmylou Harris in 1947 (age 55); Leon Wilkerson of Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1952 (age 50); Cars drummer David Robinson in 1953 (age 49); and Keren Woodward of Bananarama in 1961 (age 41).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1967, the Beatles wrapped up recording "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

In 1971, Ringo Starr released his first solo single -- "It Don't Come Easy" -- which eventually reached No.4 on the charts.

In 1977, "Sir Duke" -- Stevie Wonder's tribute to Duke Ellington -- was released.

In 1981, a bottle-shaped children's book was published based on the lyrics of Sting's "Message in a Bottle."

In 1987, a five-hour benefit for AIDS at London's Wembley Stadium featured Elton John, Boy George, George Michael and Bob Geldof.

Also in 1987, British rocker Ronnie Lane debuted with his new band -- "Ronnie Lane and the Tremors" -- in Austin, Texas. The group included ex-Rolling Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys. Lane had been diagnosed as suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Also in 1987, the Washington Post reported that Tammy Faye Bakker's "crush" on Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Gary Paxton is what drove her husband, TV preacher Jim Bakker, into the arms of church secretary Jessica Hahn -- touching off the PTL scandal.

And in 1987, jazz drumming great Buddy Rich died following brain surgery. He was 69.

In 1991, singer Diahann Carroll and Vic Damone announced they were splitting up. It'd been the fourth marriage for both. The couple wed Jan. 3, 1987, in Atlantic City, N.J.

In 1993, a London newspaper reported that former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's 30-year-old son, Stephen, was engaged to marry 46-year-old Patsy Smith, the mother of Bill's ex-wife Mandy.

In 1994, an unauthorized biography of Janet Jackson was published. It said she was the only sibling to emerge intact from the "mad, dysfunctional (Jackson) family."

In 1996, rocker Vince Neil sued his former Motley Crue bandmates for $5 million in damages, contending the group had dumped him four years earlier after signing a recording contract with Elektra.

In 1998, Rob Pilatus -- one-half of the lip-synching duo Milli Vanilli -- was found dead in a hotel room in Frankfort, Germany. He was 32. Pilatus's death was blamed on a lethal mix of booze and pills.

Also in 1998, a new interactive Hall of Fame opened at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

In 2000, British newspapers reported that the three surviving Beatles had finished work on the first "autobiography" about the Fab Four. The 360-page "Beatles' Anthology" was published in Oct. 2000.

Today's musical quiz:

In 1979, Leon Russell and Willie Nelson had a No.1 country single that'd been a hit for another singer 23 years earlier. Can you name the tune and the artist? Answer: The song was "Heartbreak Hotel," and the artist was Elvis Presley, who recorded it in 1956.

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