Today in Music: a look back at pop music

Aug. 24, 2002 at 3:08 AM
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, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- (Aug. 24)

Today's birthdays include bassist David Freiberg of Quicksilver Messenger Service and Jefferson Starship, and also guitarist Mason Williams, both born in

1938 (age 64); Joe Chambers of the Chambers Brothers in 1942 (age 60); John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service in 1943 (age 59); Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi and the Sandpipers' Jim Brady in 1944 (58); Ken Hendley of Uriah Heep and Average White Band's Malcolm Duncan, both in 1945 (age 57); Mike DeRosier of Heart in 1951 (age 51); Shalamar's Jeffrey Daniel in 1955 (age 47); and Mark

Bedford of Madness in 1961 (age 41).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1963, "Little" Stevie Wonder became the first artist ever to hold the No.1 positions on the pop singles, pop albums and R&B singles charts simultaneously. The album was "The 12-year-old Genius"; and the single, "Fingertips, Part Two."

In 1968, Iron Butterfly's "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida" was released.

In 1969, Arlo Guthrie's movie "Alice's Restaurant" opened.

In 1977, Waylon Jennings, not long after being named honorary police chief in Nashville, was arrested on cocaine charges.

In 1979, the Cars drew an estimated half-a-million people to a free show in New York's Central Park.

In 1981, John Lennon's confessed killer, Mark David Chapman, was sentenced to spend 20-years-to-life in a New York prison.

In 1983, Jerry Lee Lewis's fifth wife, Shawn Michelle Stephens Lewis, was found dead of a drug overdose at their home in Nesbit, Miss. The couple had

been married only two-and-a-half months.

In 1984, Neil Young made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1988, Al Stewart released "Last Days of the Century," his first album in four years.

In 1990, Sinead O'Connor caused considerable controversy when she refused to allow the playing of the national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner" at a New Jersey concert.

In 1991, funkster Rick James was freed on bail after spending three weeks in the Los Angeles county jail in connection with the imprisonment and torture of a woman at his Hollywood Hills home.

In 1993, Michael Jackson kicked off the Asian leg of his "Dangerous" tour in Bangkok, Thailand.

In 1994, Beach Boy Carl Wilson and his mother, Andree, sued Harper Collins, the publisher of Brian Wilson's 1991 book "Wouldn't It Be Nice." They said the book unfairly depicted them as drug users

and alcoholics.

Also in 1994, Bob Dylan sued Apple Computers over software he said used his name without permission.

And in 1994, Geffen Records announced

Nirvana was planning to release a double album -- the first since Kurt Cobain's suicide four months earlier. The album was to have included previously

unreleased live performances recorded between 1989 and '94. However, the remaining band members later decided against releasing such an album for the

time being.

And in 1994, Elton John's handwritten score for "The Lion King" brought $9,300 dollars at a Boston auction to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Also in 1994, Quaker Oats announced it had chosen Gladys Knight asits new spokeswoman for Aunt Jemima products.

In 1995, Sony Music said Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone" was the first single to debut at No.1 on the Billboard Hot-100 singles chart.

In 1996, Warner Bros. Records announced R.E.M.

had re-signed with the label. The five-album deal was worth $80 million.

In 1998, Billy Joel filmed a cameo appearance for the NBC sitcom "Mad About You" on location in New York's Central Park.

Also in 1998, a commemorative plaque was placed at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis to honor the site of what turned out to be Elvis Presley's final live concert, which took place on June 26, 1977.

Topping the charts on this date: Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley and his Comets (1955), Fingertips - Part Two - Little Stevie Wonder (1963), How Do You Mend a Broken Heart - The Bee Gees (1971), Good Times - Chic (1979).

Today's musical quiz: Mason Williams' biggest hit was the 1968 instrumental "Classical Gas." But he also was known as a song/sketch/comedy writer for what TV variety shows? Answer: "The Smothers Brothers Hour" and "The Glenn Campbell Goodtime Hour."

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