Today In Music: A look back at pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   April 5, 2002 at 8:00 AM
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(April 6)

Today's birthdays include country's Merle Haggard, who was born in 1937; Michelle Phillips, formerly of the Mamas and the Papas, in 1944 (age 58); reggae star Bob Marley was born in 1945; Hot Chocolate drummer Tony Connor in 1947 (age 55); Air Supply's Ralph Cooper in 1951 (age 51); and Housemartins bassist Stan Cullimore in 1962 (age 40).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Paramount Pictures signed Elvis Presley to a three-picture deal just five days after his first screen test.

In 1968, Syd Barrett -- lead guitarist and founder of Pink Floyd -- quit the band.

In 1971, the Rolling Stones unveiled the "lips" logo for the band's record label.

In 1974, "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones" -- with a quadrophonic soundtrack -- premiered in New York.

Also in 1974, California Jam -- a festival featuring the Eagles, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath -- opened.

In 1979, Rod Stewart married Alanna Hamilton -- George Hamilton's ex-wife -- in the Beverly Hills, Calif., home of Tina Sinatra. The marriage ended by 1984.

In 1983, Danny Rapp -- lead singer with Danny and the Juniors -- committed suicide.

In 1984, the film "This is Spinal Tap" opened in New York.

Also in 1984, Thomas Dolby made his U.S. concert debut in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

In 1985, singer/songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan -- who had a series of hit singles in the early 1970s -- won his lawsuit against his manager, Gordon Mills, whom he accused of not paying royalties. O'Sullivan was awarded $2 million.

In 1987, "singing cowboy" Gene Autry became the first person ever honored with FIVE stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Also in 1987, Hank Williams Jr. was named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.

In 1990, the manager of the rock band Bon Jovi was sentenced to three years probation on drug charges.

Also in 1990, the "Godfather of Soul" James Brown was transferred from a Georgia prison -- where he was serving a six-year sentence for a variety of charges -- to a minimum-security facility, where he counseled drug abusers.

In 1992, George Harrison performed his first full-length concert in Britain since 1969, when he had played with the other Beatles on the roof of Apple Records in London.

In 1993, an out-of-court settlement was reached in former KISS drummer Peter Criss's lawsuit against the Star tabloid, which had published a story claiming he was a homeless alcoholic "bum."

Also in 1993, LaToya Jackson avoided an IRS auction by paying the back taxes on her interest in her parents' home in Encino, Calif.

In 1994, Elton John and Billy Joel announced plans for a joint summer tour.

In 1997, Michael Jackson's 3D musical space movie "Captain EO" had its final performance at the Tomorrowland Theater at Disneyland.

In 1998, singer Tammy Wynette -- the "first lady of country music" -- died in her sleep at her Nashville home. She was 55.

Also in 1998, Wendy O. Williams, lead singer of 1980s punk band Plasmatics, died from a self-inflected shotgun wound. Her body was found in the woods near her Connecticut home. Williams was 41.

And in 1998, R. Kelly was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in Chicago after he refused to turn down the music blasting from his sports utility vehicle.

And in 1998, Lollapalooza co-owner Ted Garner told USA Today that the traveling rock festival was off for that summer -- because he couldn't sign any headlining acts.

In 1999, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan announced plans to tour together for the first time. PaulBob'99 kicked off June 6, 1999, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Also in 1999, Johnny Cash made an unannounced appearance at his tribute concert in New York City. He performed his classic hit "Folsom Prison Blues." Other artists at the tribute included Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, U2, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris and Wyclef Jean.

In 2000, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish was among the hundreds of Confederate flag opponents who gathered at the South Carolina Capitol building in Columbia to urge state lawmakers to take down the Civil War-era banner flying atop the Statehouse dome.

In 2001, Eminem picked up two awards at the 11th annual Detroit Music Awards. The show featured a performance by the rapper's group D-12.

Also in 2001, Melissa Etheridge, Paula Cole, the Bangles and Sarah McLachlan were among the artists who performed at a Rock for Choice Show in Hollywood. The concert raised money for the Feminist Majority's Campaign to Save Roe v. Wade.

Today's musical quiz:

Reportedly, the Chinese soldiers guarding the crew of the U.S. Navy surveillance plane that landed on Hainan Island a year ago asked the Americans for the lyrics to this song. What? Answer: "Hotel California" by the Eagles.


(April 7)

Today's birthdays include Percy Faith, who was born in 1908; jazz singer Billie Holiday in 1915; sitar player Ravi Shankar in 1920 (age 82); country's Bobby Bare in 1935 (age 67); Freddie Hubbard in 1938 (age 64); guitarist Mick Abrahams of Jethro Tull and Blodwyn Pig, and Spencer Dryden -- drummer with Jefferson Airplane and also New Riders of the Purple Sage -- both in 1943 (age 59); Chiffons' singer Patricia Bennett in 1947 (age 55); John Oates of Hall and Oates in 1949 (age 53); Janis Ian in 1951 (age 51); and Knack drummer Bruce Gary in 1952 (age 50).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1962, future Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards met Brian Jones -- then performing as Elmo Lewis -- at a London blues hangout called the Ealing Club.

In 1977, The Clash released its self-titled debut album.

In 1981, guitarist Steve Marriott -- formerly with Faces and then with Humble Pie -- accidentally crushed his fingers in a revolving door in Chicago.

In 1985, Wham! became the first major western rock band to perform in China. 12,000 Chinese fans showed up for the band's concert in Beijing.

Also in 1985, Prince announced after a show at Miami's Orange Bowl that he was retiring from live performing. He didn't.

In 1987, Ozzy Osbourne sent evangelist Oral Roberts $1 for "psychiatric treatment" after Roberts announced that God would take his life unless he received $1 million in donations.

In 1993, the rock group Extreme and R&B singer Bobby Brown were the big winners at the seventh annual Boston Music Awards.

Also in 1993, members of the rap group Onyx roughed up a bootlegger in lower Manhattan. No charges were filed.

In 1994, Courtney Love -- the wife of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain -- was arrested on drug charges in Beverly Hills, Calif., one day before her husband was found dead in Seattle. The charges against Love eventually were dropped when it turned out the "drugs" in question was prescription medication.

In 1995, rocker Eddie Van Halen was briefly detained after he tried to carry a loaded gun onto a commercial flight. He later pleaded no contest and was fined $300.

Also in 1995, hundreds turned out at a South-Central Los Angeles church for a memorial service for rapper Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, who'd died of AIDS.

In 1997, Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher married actress Patsy Kensit in a secret civil ceremony in London. It was the first marriage for him, and the third for her.

Also in 1997, the University of Amsterdam began offering a course titled "Madonna 101," a pop culture class studying the singer's lyrics, song stylings and films.

In 1998, George Michael was arrested and charged with "engaging in a lewd act" in a Beverly Hills, Calif., park restroom. He would later plead "no contest" to the charges.

Also in 1998, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee pleaded "no contest" to felony spousal abuse charges in connection with his attack two months earlier on his wife, former "Baywatch" actress Pamela Anderson.

Today's musical quiz:

Why couldn't Bobby Bare tour when his 1959 hit single "All American Boy" was released? Answer: Bare was in the U.S. Army, so fellow singer Bill Parsons toured in his place, lip-synching to the record.


(April 8)

Today's birthdays include Connie Stevens, who was born in 1938 (age 64; guitarist Steve Howe of Yes and Asia in 1947 (age 55; Mel Schacher, bassist with Grand Funk Railroad, in 1951 (age 51); actor/singer John Schneider in 1959 (age 43); and Julian Lennon, John's eldest son, in 1963 (age 39).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1970, "Woodstock," the movie, had its British premiere in London.

In 1976, folk singer Phil Ochs hanged himself at his sister's home in Queens, N.Y. He was 35.

In 1977, The Damned became the first British punk band to play in the United States.

In 1987, in her book "Are You Lonesome Tonight," Lucy de Barbin said she had a 24-year-long affair with Elvis Presley that produced a daughter. The claim was laughed off by Graceland.

In 1988, R.E.M. signed with Warner Bros. Records.

In 1989, Cure drummer Lawrence "Lol" Tollhurst -- a founding member of the group in 1977 -- left the band. Reportedly, Cure frontman Robert Smith felt Tollhurst wasn't making appropriate musical contributions.

In 1991, backing singer Yvette Marine sued Virgin Records, saying the lead vocals on at least two songs on Paula Abdul's 1988 debut album "Forever Your Girl" were a mix of her and Abdul's voices. Virgin and Abdul denied the charges. Marine would eventually lose her lawsuit.

In 1993, contralto singer Marian Anderson died one month after suffering a stroke. She was 91. Anderson was the first black performer to appear at the New York Met.

In 1994, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain was found dead from a gunshot wound at his home in Seattle. He was 27. The cause of death was ruled a suicide.

In 1996, rocker and hunting advocate Ted Nugent demonstrated archery at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. He declared the sport a way to keep kids off booze and drugs.

In 1997, singer/songwriter Laura Nyro died of ovarian cancer. She was 49. Among other songs, Nyro wrote "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Wedding Bell Blues" for the Fifth Dimension, "And When I Die" for Blood Sweat and Tears, and "Stoney End" for Barbra Streisand.

In 1999, two suspects were arrested in New York in the shooting death two weeks earlier of rapper Freaky Tah (real name Raymond Rogers) of The Lost Boyz.

Also in 1999, Celine Dion announced she was rearranging her schedule and postponing about a month's worth of concerts to be with her husband following his cancer surgery.

In 2000, the Bacon Brothers --- headed by actor Kevin Bacon and his brother, Michael --- played a benefit concert at the Community College of Philadelphia. The show raised money for an award named for the Bacon brothers' mother, who had taught at the school.

Today's musical quiz:

What's Julian Lennon's full name? Answer: John Charles Julian Lennon. He was the first child born to a Beatle.


(April 9)

Today's birthdays include singer/songwriter Tom Lehrer, who was born in 1928 (age 74); rockabilly pioneer Carl Perkins in 1932; country singer Margo Smith in 1942 (age 60); drummer Gene Parsons of the Byrds and also the Flying Burrito Brothers in 1944 (age 58); Mud's Les Gray in 1946 (age 56); Paper Lace's Philip Wright and ShaNaNa's Dave "Chico" Ryan, both in 1948 (age 54); and keyboardist Mark Kelly of the Irish band Marillion in 1961 (age 41).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1961, Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" entered the country music charts.

In 1965, Bruce Johnston joined the Beach Boys, in place of Brian Wilson.

In 1969, King Crimson -- with Robert Fripp, Greg Lake and Ian McDonald -- debuted at the Speakeasy Club in London.

In 1984, Irene Cara's "Flashdance ... What a Feeling" won the best song Oscar.

In 1987, the National Park Service voted against removing Beale Street in Memphis from the list of National Landmarks.

Also in 1987, Sandi Patti was named Artist of the Year by the Gospel Music Association.

In 1988, Dave Prater, of Sam and Dave, was killed in a car accident. He was 50.

Also in 1988, Brook Benton died from bacterial meningitis at age 56.

In 1992, Sandi Patti won four Dove Awards -- gospel music's most prestigious award -- at ceremonies in Nashville.

In 1993, L.L. Cool J's "14 Shots To The Dome" album entered the Billboard Top-200 Album Chart at No.5. It would drop out of the top-10 the following week.

In 1997, songwriter Mae Boren Axton died at age 82. She co-wrote the Elvis Presley classic hit "Heartbreak Hotel."

Today's musical quiz:

The Beatles recorded some of Carl Perkins' songs. True or false? Answer: True. They include "Honey Don't" and "Matchbox."


(April 10)

Today's birthdays include Shelby "Sheb" Wooley, who was born in 1921 (age 81); The Spinners' Bobbie Smith in 1936 (age 66); Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers in 1940 (age 62); Bunny Wailer -- whose real name is Neville O'Reilly Livingstone -- of the Wailers in 1947 (age 55); guitarist Eddie Hazel of P-Funk in 1950 (age 52); Terre Roche of the Roches in 1953 (age 49); singer/songwriter/producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds in 1957 (age 45); Brian Setzer, formerly with the Stray Cats and now leading The Brian Setzer Orchestra, in 1959 (age 43); and pop singer Mandy Moore in 1984 (age 18).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Nat "King" Cole was attacked and beaten by a mob of racists while singing on stage at Municipal Hall in Birmingham, Ala.

In 1958, Chuck Willis was killed in a car crash in Atlanta. He was 30.

In 1962, Stu Sutcliffe -- the original bassist with the Beatles and the originator of the shaggy "Beatle" haircut -- died at age 21 from a brain hemorrhage.

In 1970, Paul McCartney announced he was leaving the Beatles, citing personal differences with John Lennon.

In 1981, Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman-Scott married model Peggy Sue Fender in London.

In 1982, the Paul McCartney-Stevie Wonder duet "Ebony and Ivory" entered the U.S. pop singles chart at No. 29. It would eventually hit No. 1 in both the United States and Britain.

In 1985, Wham! performed for 5,000 Chinese fans in Canton, China.

In 1991, a judge in Louisville, Ky., reduced the arson charge against New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg in exchange for his recording of fire safety, drug abuse and drunk driving public service announcements. The charge stemmed from a March 27 hotel hallway fire that Wahlberg allegedly had set.

In 1992, Axl Rose skipped town ahead of Cook Co., Ill., Sheriff's deputies, who were going to arrest him on charges stemming from a riot that'd broken out July 2, 1991, at a suburban St. Louis concert. Rose's abrupt departure forced the cancellation of the Guns N' Roses concert in Chicago. Shows in suburban Detroit scheduled for April 13 and 14 were also cancelled.

In 1993, more than 100 people were hurt and 100 others arrested when rioting erupted outside a Metallica concert in suburban Jakarta, Indonesia.

In 1994, more than 10,000 people turned out for a memorial vigil in downtown Seattle for Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, who'd been found dead two days earlier from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In 1995, Rod Stewart said a British newspaper reporter misunderstood him when the journalist quoted the rocker saying he'd retire after his upcoming concert tour.

In 1996, Rob Pilatus -- formerly of Milli Vanilli -- was arrested on outstanding warrants after being pulled over by Los Angeles police for running a stop sign.

In 1997, A&M Records confirmed that Soundgarden was breaking up after 12 years.

In 1999, the Smashing Pumpkins kicked off "The Arising" tour in Detroit. The first four songs of the show were cybercast via the Internet.

In 2000, Whitney Houston received a standing ovation following a 20-minute performance at a party celebrating the 25th anniversary of her record label, Arista -- even if she did trip once on stage, speak a few lyrics instead of singing them, and stop in the middle of a tune to ask for a drink of water.

Today's musical quiz:

"Sheb" Wooley wrote the theme song to this country music-oriented TV variety show. What? Answer: "Hee Haw."


(April 11)

Today's birthdays include Chris Difford of Squeeze, who was born in 1954 (age 48); Neville Staples of the Specials in 1956 (age 46); Stuart Adamson, guitarist with Big Country, in 1958 (age 44); and Lisa Stansfield in 1966 (age 36).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, James Brown's first charted single -- "Please Please Please" -- appeared on the R&B singles charts.

Also in 1956, the Jordanaires joined Elvis Presley in the studio for the first time, singing backup on "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You."

In 1961, Bob Dylan performed professionally for the first time at Gerde's Folk City in New York's Greenwich Village, opening for John Lee Hooker.

In 1963, the Beatles' "From Me To You" was released in England. It would become the Fab Four's first British No. 1 single.

In 1965, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals, Moody Blues, Herman's Hermits, Donovan, Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield were among the performers at a concert sponsored by Britain's New Musical Express magazine.

In 1970, Peter Green -- a founding member of Fleetwood Mac -- found religion and announced he was leaving the group.

In 1981, Van Halen lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen married actress Valerie Bertinelli in Los Angeles.

In 1984, at a concert in Atlanta, Adam Ant found his onstage diving pool filled with goldfish. The prank was pulled by his opening act The Romantics to celebrate the end of the tour.

In 1988, the best original song Oscar went to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from the movie "Dirty Dancing."

Also in 1988, Roy Acuff was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame by the National Association of Broadcasters.

In 1994, the TV tabloid show "Hard Copy" reported that no criminal charges would be filed against Michael Jackson because the teenager who accused the pop star of molesting him refused to testify. Authorities denied this was the reason.

Also in 1994, the coroner in Seattle confirmed that Kurt Cobain's death was a suicide.

In 1995, Michael Jackson took wife Lisa Marie Presley and her two children on an outing to Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park near Los Angeles.

In 1997, University of Central Florida officials said they'd gotten more than 800 phone calls protesting the planned concert (on April 15) by the rock group Marilyn Manson on campus.

In 2000, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill, Donna Summer, RuPaul and Destiny's Child took the stage for "VH1 Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross" at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Also in 2000, Carlos Santana performed at a benefit concert for the San Francisco School of the Arts, the only publicly funded arts high school in the Bay Area.

In 2001, Eminem was sentenced to two years probation for pistol-whipping a man he saw kiss his wife in the parking lot of a Detroit-area nightclub in June 2000.

Also in 2001, 'N Sync took home three awards and Christina Aguilera, Eminem and Destiny's Child won two each at the Seventh Annual Blockbuster Awards in Los Angeles.

And in 2001, Marc Anthony and Kid Rock joined Mary J. Blige and newcomers Nelly Furtado and Jill Scott on the fourth annual "VH1 Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin" at New York's Radio City Music Hall. The show aired live on VH1.

And in 2001, Don Henley and Alanis Morissette sang the praises of Napster before a congressional hearing on online music entertainment. Morissette called the popular online music sharing service publicity that could help many musicians survive, while Henley -- co-founder of the Recording Artists Coalition and former Eagles lead singer -- asked officials to protect Napster.

Today's musical quiz:

Valerie Bertinelli's character on the 1970s sitcom "One Day At A Time" was a huge fan of what pop star? Answer: Elton John.


(April 12)

Today's birthdays include Tiny Tim (real name: Herbert Khaury), who was born in 1922, or maybe 1930 or 1933; Herbie Hancock in 1940 (age 62); John Kay of Steppenwolf in 1944 (age 58); David Cassidy in 1950 (age 52); Pat Travers in 1954 (age 48); Alexander Briley of the Village People in 1956 (age 46); country singer Vince Gill in 1957 (age 45); and Echo and the Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant in 1958 (age 44).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1954, Bill Haley and the Comets recorded "Rock Around The Clock."

In 1966, Jan Berry of Jan and Dean fame was severely injured when his Corvette crashed into a truck in Los Angeles.

In 1978, Aretha Franklin married actor Glynn Turman. Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, officiated at the ceremony.

In 1987, a rock record smashing at a Dallas church turned into a confrontation when rock music fans started shouting "Jesus loves rock 'n' roll."

In 1992, singer/songwriter Don Henley was joined by other celebrities and 6,000 people on a six-mile "Walk for Walden Woods" to save the area in Concord, Mass., from commercial development.

In 1993, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album was back on the charts after Capitol Records released the 20th anniversary limited edition CD.

In 1994, Entertainment Weekly quoted music industry sources saying Barbra Streisand would get up to 90 percent of the $45 million in ticket sales for her first concert tour in 28 years.

And in 1994, Chicago artist Dwight Kalb carved a 180-lb. ham into a statue of Madonna, to be sent to David Letterman.

Also in 1994, a British-born Michael Jackson fan, Denise Pfeiffer, was charged with making obscene calls to the father of the boy who accused the pop star of molesting him.

In 1996, surf-rock groups the Ventures, Jan and Dean, the Surfaris and the Chantays were honored at the Hollywood Rock Walk.

Also in 1996, Jamaican pop singer Shaggy was slightly hurt -- and six other musicians injured, three seriously -- when a light panel fell on them during rehearsal for a concert in Poznan, Poland.

In 1997, the Fugees performed a benefit concert in Port-au-Prince in their homeland of Haiti.

In 1999, a judge in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., gave Bobby Brown a 90-day suspended sentence for showing up drunk to serve his jail time for a 1996 one-car accident that allegedly occurred when he was "under the influence."

In 2000, former Eagle Joe Walsh and his new band performed at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

Today's musical quiz:

Besides being the song that many consider as having ushered in the rock 'n' roll era, "Rock Around The Clock" is also noteworthy for this feat. What? Answer: "Rock Around The Clock" was the first rock 'n' roll song to be featured in a motion picture. It was used during the opening and closing credits of "Blackboard Jungle" (1955).

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Topics: Alanis Morissette, Aretha Franklin, Axl Rose, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Bobby Brown, Brian Jones, Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, Carlos Santana, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Connie Stevens, Courtney Love, Darius Rucker, David Letterman, Donna Summer, Donnie Wahlberg, Dusty Springfield, Eddie Van Halen, Elton John, Faith Hill, Freddie Hubbard, Gene Autry, George Michael, Glynn Turman, Hank Williams, Herbie Hancock, James Brown, Jill Scott, John Lee, John Lennon, John Oates, Johnny Cash, Keith Richards, Kevin Bacon, Kid Rock, Kurt Cobain, L.L. Cool, Lisa Marie Presley, Madonna, Mandy Moore, Marc Anthony, Mariah Carey, Marilyn Manson, Mark Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Melissa Etheridge, Merle Haggard, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Nelly Furtado, Oral Roberts, Ozzy Osbourne, Paul Simon, R. Kelly, Robert Smith, Rod Stewart, Roy Acuff, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Steve Howe, Stevie Wonder, Syd Barrett, Tammy Wynette, Ted Nugent, Tom Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Valerie Bertinelli, Vince Gill, Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, Wyclef Jean
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