Today In Music: A look back at pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  April 23, 2002 at 2:00 AM
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(April 23)

Today's birthdays include child actress/singer-turned-diplomat Shirley Temple, who was born in 1928 (age 74); Roy Orbison in 1936; Ray Peterson, who had a hit single in 1960 with "Tell Laura I Love Her," in 1939 (age 63); Narada Michael Walden in 1952 (age 50); Captain Sensible, bassist with The Damned, whose real name is Ray Burns, in 1955; and Def Leppard's "Steamin'" Steve Clark in 1960.

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Elvis Presley made his Las Vegas debut, opening for the Freddie Martin Orchestra and comic Shecky Greene at the New Frontier Hotel. He was dropped from the bill after only a week due to poor audience response.

In 1969, the Ash Grove club in Los Angeles -- where bands such as Canned Heat played during their formative years -- burned down.

In 1975, Badfinger's Peter Ham hanged himself only days after quitting the band and just three days before his 28th birthday.

In 1978, Sex Pistol bad boy Sid Vicious recorded -- in an artificially deep voice -- Frank Sinatra's signature tune "My Way."

In 1981, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded an album in Stuttgart, West Germany, that was released in 1982 as "The Survivors."

In 1986, songwriter Harold Arlen died at age 81. He wrote "Over the Rainbow," which was recorded by Judy Garland, Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others.

In 1988, "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?" topped the charts -- giving Whitney Houston seven consecutive No.1 singles. That broke the record of six held jointly by the Beatles and the Bee Gees.

In 1991, Johnny Thunders -- formerly with the New York Dolls -- was found dead from a suspected drug overdose in a New Orleans guesthouse. He was 38.

In 1995, a London newspaper (the Sunday Mirror) reported that Dreamworks SKG would buy out George Michael's recording contract with Sony. Michael had sued unsuccessfully in 1994 to break the agreement.

In 1996, Hootie and the Blowfish released "Fairweather Johnson," the follow-up album to the band's 13-million-plus seller "Cracked Rear View." That CD had been 1995's best-selling album.

Also in 1996, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., judge overturned a 1989 New York court agreement that ordered Tom Jones to pay $2,791 a month to a woman whose son he fathered. The woman wanted more money from the singer.

In 1997, the Los Angeles Times reported that several off-duty Inglewood, Calif., police officers working security for the Notorious B.I.G. might have witnessed the rapper's shooting death a month earlier.

Also in 1997, members of the Four Tops were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

And in 1997, LeAnn Rimes won three awards, and Brooks and Dunn two, at the 32nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Los Angeles.

In 1998, the Rolling Stones wrapped up the North American leg of the "Bridges to Babylon" tour where road trip had begun in September 1997 -- in Chicago.

Also in 1998, Carlos Santana and his son performed with the School O' The Arts jazz ensemble at a benefit for SOTA at the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco.

And in 1998, the late Rich Mullins -- who had died in a car accident the previous year -- was named the Artist of the Year at the Gospel Music Association's 29th annual Dove Awards.

Today's musical quiz:

Who wrote the Everly Brothers' hit "Claudette"? Answer: Roy Orbison. It was about his wife, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1966.

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