Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  Nov. 15, 2002 at 2:45 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

(Nov. 16)

Today's birthdays include blues composer W.C. Handy, who was born in 1873, guitarist, bandleader Eddie Condon in 1905, and Toni Brown of the Joy of Cooking in 1938 (age 64).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1965, the first known rock concert "light show" was created by Houston promoter Bill Ham, later the manager of ZZ Top.

In 1968, B.J. Thomas's "Hooked On A Feeling" was released.

In 1973, David Bowie's first TV special, "1980 Floor Show," aired in the United States on NBC's "Midnight Special."

In 1974, John Lennon topped the singles charts for the first time as a solo artist with "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night." Elton John played piano and sang backing vocals on the song.

In 1979, the short-lived British label Infinity Records went belly-up when parent company MCA withdrew its financial support. The label's few hits included Spyro Gyra, Hot Chocolate, and Rupert Holmes, whose No. 1 single "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" was Infinity's greatest success.

In 1985, after 19 years, Starship finally had a No. 1 single with "We Built This City."

Also in 1985, the Irish rock group U2 formed its own label, Mother Records.

And in 1985, Joan Baez sang for Polish labor leader Lech Walesa at his home in Gdansk. The two also discussed human rights.

In 1986, the surviving members of Bob Wills's Original Texas Playboys reunited for a farewell concert in Fort Worth, Texas.

Also in 1986, Frank Sinatra left a Rancho Mirage, Calif., hospital one week after undergoing surgery for diverticulitis.

In 1992, a Manhattan jury cleared Rita Marley, widow of reggae star Bob Marley, of civil charges that she robbed her late husband's estate.

Also in 1992, a Missouri man was convicted in the December 1983 murder of 1960s pop singer Walter Scott. Scott was the lead singer of Bob Kuban and the In-Men, which had a hit in 1966 with "The Cheater."

In 1994, Sony Music announced plans to launch a West Coast record label through its Columbia Records Group.

Also in 1994, Quincy Jones teamed up with former football player Willie Davis and the Tribune Broadcasting Co. to form a company that buys TV and radio stations.

In 1998, Beach Boys Mike Love and Bruce Johnston took time off from touring to work as carhops at the Sonic Drive-In in Biloxi, Miss. Said Love: "Carhopping is a lot harder than I thought it would be."

Topping the charts on this date:

Georgia on My Mind - Ray Charles (1960), Hey Jude - The Beatles (1968), Tonight's the Night (Gonna be Alright) - Rod Stewart (1976), Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) - Billy Ocean (1984).

Today's musical quiz:

What bet did John Lennon and Elton John make while recording "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night"? Answer: John predicted the tune would top the charts, something Lennon didn't think would happen. If it did, according to the bet, Lennon would have to perform at a John concert. The song went to No. 1 and Lennon appeared on stage with John Thanksgiving night 1974 in New York.


(Nov. 17)

Today's birthdays include Gordon Lightfoot, who was born in 1938 (age 64); Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons in 1942 (age 60); Byrds guitarist Gene Clarke in 1944; Jethro Tull's Martin Barre in 1946 (age 56); Dean Martin Jr.,in 1952; MTV vee jay Daisy Fuentes in 1966 (age 36), Ronald DeVoe, of New Edition and also Bell Biv DeVoe, in 1967 (age 35); and Isaac Hanson of Hanson in 1980 (age 22).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1968, Feathers, a small mine group lead by David Bowie, debuted at a country club in Hampstead, England.

In 1970, Elton John's "11-17-70" album was recorded as it was broadcast, live, over radio station WABC-FM in New York.

In 1979, Jethro Tull bassist John Glasock died following heart surgery. He was 27.

In 1986, Eric Clapton left a Boston hospital, one day after checking in with back pain that apparently was caused by a kidney stone.

In 1993, Barbra Streisand donated her $15 million, 24-acre Malibu, Calif., estate to the state environmental agency.

In 1995, Beatles biographer Geoffrey Giuliano said the upcoming Beatles documentary on ABC-TV would not have happened if it wasn't for George Harrison's financial troubles.

Also in 1995, officials in Gary, Ind., announced they wanted to build a $2 million amusement park around the boyhood home of Michael Jackson.

In 1997, a Los Angeles judge granted Janet Jackson a restraining order against musician Eric Christian. She said he'd made threats against her and her people. He claimed he'd sent Jackson a demo tape and that she used his song's hook without permission on her new CD "The Velvet Rope."

Topping the charts on this date:

Mr. Blue - The Fleetwoods (1959), To Sir with Love - Lulu (1867), Island Girl - Elton John (1975), All Night Long (All Night) - Lionel Ritchie (1983).

Today's musical quiz:

In 1999, Eric Clapton auctioned off more than 100 of his guitars for a total of more than $5 million. Why? Answer: The sale benefited the Crossroads Center, a substance abuse treatment center Clapton founded in Antigua.


(Nov. 18)

Today's birthdays include songwriter Johnny Mercer born in 1909; Hank Ballard of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, who was born in 1936 (age 66). The group recorded the original version of "The Twist." Herman Rarebell of the Scorpions was born in 1949 (age 53); Graham Parker in 1950 (age 52); Kim Wilde in 1960 (age 42); and Metallica's Kirk Hammett in 1962 (age 40).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Fats Domino performed "Blueberry Hill" on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

In 1970, Jerry Lee Lewis and wife Myra were divorced. Marrying her in 1957, when she was just 13, all but ruined his career.

In 1971, the album "Procol Harum Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony," including the hit single "Conquistador," was recorded in Edmonton, Canada.

Also in 1971, Junior Parker died during brain surgery. He was 54.

In 1972, guitarist Danny Whitten of Neil Young's band Crazy Horse died of a heroin overdose. He was 29.

In 1979, the B-52s' self-titled debut album was certified gold.

In 1983, former Badfinger guitarist Tom Evans hanged himself. He was 36.

In 1992, a New York federal jury decided that Jimmy Merchant and Herman Santiago -- the last surviving members of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers -- were the true composers of the group's 1956 hit "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" The decision was worth as much as $4 million.

In 1993, a Los Angeles television station reported that police seized a nude photo of a boy during a raid on the home of Michael Jackson's family in Encino, Calif.

Also in 1993, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder was charged with public drunkeness and disturbing the peace after he and his buddy, baseball player Jack McDowell, got into a barroom brawl in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

In 1997, as many as 25 people were injured trying to get inside a Grapevine, Texas, shopping mall for a concert by Hanson.

Also in 1997, Chico DeBarge, of the DeBarge family, released "Long Time No See." The album was his first in six years due to his imprisonment on drug charges.

In 1998, Melissa Etheridge's partner, filmmaker Julie Cypher, gave birth to the couple's second child, a boy, in Los Angeles. The couple already had a daughter, born in January 1997.

In 1999, a federal judge in Michigan dismissed a lawsuit filed by civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks against the rap group Outkast. The band had used her name as a song title on an album without her permission.

Topping the charts on this date:

Tom Dooley - The Kingston Trio (1958), Poor Side of Town - Johnny Rivers (1966), Whatever Gets You Through the Night - John Lennon with The Plastic Ono Nuclear Band (1974), Up Where We Belong - Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes (1982).

Today's musical quiz:

If you were a teenager back in the late 1950s and wanted to buy a copy of "The Twist" as recorded by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, where could you find it? Answer: "The Twist" was the "flip" or B-side of Ballard's first charted song, "Finger Poppin' Time."


(Nov. 19)

Today's birthdays include Ray Collins of Frank Zappa's The Mothers of Invention in 1937 (age 65); the Tokens' Hank Medress in 1938 (age 64); Fred Lipsius of Blood Sweat and Tears in 1944 (age 58); and Paul Revere and the Raiders' Joe Correro Jr. in 1946 (age 56).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1957, after banning Elvis Presley records from its playlist, Chicago radio station WCFL was picketed by members of the local Elvis Presley Fan Club. The ban continued anyway.

In 1968, Diana Ross and the Supremes appeared before Queen Elizabeth at the annual Royal Variety Performance in London. Between songs, Ross urged racial tolerance in an unrehearsed speech.

In 1971, B.B. King began a European tour on the anniversary of his 25th year in show business.

In 1977, rocker Joey Ramone was burned backstage before a concert in New Jersey, reportedly when a teapot exploded.

Also in 1977, Steely Dan's "Peg" was released.

In 1979, Chuck Berry was released from a California prison farm after serving a 100-day sentence for tax evasion.

In 1986, Billy Joel donated the royalties from his "You're Only Human" anti-suicide song to the National Committee on Youth Suicide Prevention.

In 1990, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences stripped Milli Vanilli of their 1989 Best New Artist Grammy Award following revelations the pop duo didn't sing on their debut album "Girl You Know It's True."

In 1992, Billboard said Whitney Houston's remake of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" would top the upcoming Hot-100 singles chart. It marked the first time in 20 years a song had leaped to the top from outside the top-10.

In 1993, rapper Tupac Shakur was arrested in connection with the gang rape of a woman at his New York City hotel suite. He was convicted of the charges a year later.

In 1995, the first of three two-hour segments of "The Beatles Anthology" documentary premiered on ABC-TV. The show included the debut of the first new Beatles' single in 25 years, "Free As A Bird."

Also in 1995, Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres suffered a flare-up of tendonitis following a gig in Adelaide, Australia -- forcing cancellation of the band's concert in Perth.

And in 1995, Hootie and the Blowfish were among the celebrities who paid tribute to Frank Sinatra at a concert bash marking Ol' Blue Eyes' 80th birthday. (Sinatra's actual birthday was Dec. 12.)

In 1996, "Baywatch" actress Pamela Anderson Lee filed for divorce from Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee after less than two years of marriage and one son. The couple later reconciled and had another son.

In 1998, rap producer Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, a colleague of rap mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs, and another man were arrested in the beating of Blaze magazine editor Jesse Washington. They allegedly didn't like an article Washington had written about Combs and Angelettie.

Also in 1998, Natalie Imbruglia's concert at the London Forum was cybercast live.

And in 1998, three Christian leaders and 2,000 followers held a prayer/protest outside a Marilyn Manson concert in Syracuse, N.Y.

Topping the charts on this date:

You Send Me - Sam Cooke (1957), Get Off of My Cloud - The Rolling Stones (1965), Keep on Truckin' - Eddie Kendricks (1973), Private Eyes - Daryl Hall and John Oates (1981).

Today's musical quiz:

What's Marilyn Manson's real name? Answer: Brian Warner. His alter ego, Marilyn Manson, is a combination of the names Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson.


(Nov. 20)

Today's birthdays include Dick Smothers of the Smothers Brothers, who was born in 1939 (age 63); the Lettermen's Tony Butalo in 1940 (age 62); Norman Greenbaum in 1942 (age 60); Danny McBride of Sha Na Na in 1945 (age 57); the late Duane Allman was born in 1946; Poco drummer George Grantham and Joe Walsh, both in 1947 (age 55); UB40's James Brown in 1957 (age 45); and Mike D, whose last name is Diamond, of the Beastie Boys in 1965 (age 37).

Today's musical milestones:

A struggling Frank Sinatra agreed to take a screen test for a role in "From Here To Eternity" on this date in 1952. He got the job, won an Academy Award and gave his flagging career the big boost it needed.

In 1954, the bartenders' union in Hammond, Ind., asked a local radio station (WJOB-AM) to stop playing the song "The Drunken Driver" by Ferlin Husky -- about a drunken driver who kills two children -- because it was hurting business.

In 1961, Bob Dylan began recording his self-titled debut album.

In 1965, Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" was released.

In 1970, "Lola" became the Kinks' first U.S. top-10 single in five years.

In 1971, "Theme from Shaft" by Isaac Hayes became his only U.S. chart-topping single.

In 1973, Scott Halpin, 19, of Muscatine, Iowa, sat in for Keith Moon at a Who concert in San Francisco after Moon took ill and Roger Daltrey asked the audience, "Is there a drummer in the house?"

Also in 1973, comedian Allan Sherman, who had a hit in 1963 with the novelty tune "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah!", died from respiratory failure at age 48.

In 1976, Manfred Mann's Earth Band's "Blinded By The Light" was released.

In 1990, a judge in St. Charles, Mo., dropped child abuse charges against Chuck Berry, but put the singer on two years' probation for a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.

In 1991, 30,000 copies of Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" album were stolen at gunpoint in California.

In 1991, Virgin Music announced it had signed the Rolling Stones to a long-term recording contract.

In 1994, David Crosby underwent a liver transplant at the UCLA Medical Center.

Also in 1994, Cab Calloway died of pneumonia five months after suffering a stroke. He was 86.

In 1996, The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) gave an unannounced concert at a Chicago album release party for his triple-CD "Emancipation."

In 1997, the National Transportation Safety Board denied reports by a San Francisco TV station that John Denver's plane crashed into Monterey Bay the previous month because it had run out of gas. The NTSB said fuel loss was only one possibility under investigation.

In 2000, the Dixie Chicks' first prime-time concert special aired on NBC. "Dixie Chicks: On The Fly" was shot in Washington, D.C., during the group's "Fly Tour."

Topping the charts on this date:

Love Me Tender - Elvis Presley (1956), Baby Love - The Supremes (1964), I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash (1972), Lady - Kenny Rogers (1980).

Today's musical quiz:

Before Joe Walsh joined the Eagles, he was with what group? Answer: The James Gang.


(Nov. 21)

Today's birthdays include Dr. John, whose real name is Mac Rebennac, who was born in 1940 (age 62); War keyboardist Lonnie Jordan in 1948 (age 54); The McCoys drummer Randy Zehringer in 1949 (age 53); Livingston Taylor, James Taylor's brother, in 1950 (age 52), and singer-songwriter Bjork in 1965 (age 37).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1877, Thomas Edison reported one of his greatest inventions, the phonograph, with the ability to record and play back sound.

In 1960, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles was released.

In 1964, Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" entered the pop singles chart. It was his fourth straight hit song that year.

In 1967, the Who released "The Who Sell Out." The early "concept" album featured the song "I Can See For Miles."

In 1974, after swearing for years that he'd never do it, Marty Balin surprised everyone by joining Jefferson Starship onstage in San Francisco.

In 1980, Don Henley was arrested after a 16-year-old girl was found nude and drugged at his Los Angeles home. He was charged with possession and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

In 1982, Joni Mitchell married her bass player, Larry Klein, in Malibu, Calif.

In 1983, Michael Jackson's award-winning 14-minute "Thriller" video was screened at the Metro Theater in Westwood, Calif.

In 1991, an animated Aerosmith made a special appearance on "The Simpsons."

In 1993, an 18-by-40-foot mural of Jimi Hendrix was unveiled above the Seattle music store where his father bought him his first electric guitar.

In 1994, a judge threw out a paternity suit against Michael Jackson.

In 1995, "The Beatles Anthology 1" album was released in the United States. 450,000 copies of the CD were sold on the first day.

Also in 1995, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was arrested and charged with indecent exposure after he allegedly mooned a Milwaukee concert audience. He was fined and released.

In 1996, The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) gave his first in-depth television interview to Oprah Winfrey on her show.

In 1998, Marilyn Manson trashed four rooms at the Sheraton Hotel in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Hotel officials said the band took responsibility for their actions and offered to pay for the damages.

In 2000, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor went online at to chat with fans about the band's new album, "Things Falling Apart."

Topping the charts on this date:

Autumn Leaves - Roger Williams (1955), Deep Purple - Nino Tempo and April Stevens (1963), Theme from Shaft - Isaac Hayes (1971), Still - Commodores (1979).

Today's musical quiz:

Who played organ on Aretha Franklin's recording of "Spanish Harlem"? Answer: Dr. John.


(Nov. 22)

Today's birthdays include songwriter Hoagy Carmichael in 1899; Three Dog Night drummer Floyd Sneed in 1943 (age 59); bassist Aston Barrett of Bob Marley and the Wailers in 1946 (age 56); Steve Van Zandt, a.k.a. "Miami Steve" or "Little Steven," formerly with the E Street Band, in 1949 (age 53); and former Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth in 1950 (age 52).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1955, Elvis Presley signed with RCA, which had purchased his recording contract from Sun Records for $35,000. Another $5,000 went to Elvis himself, who bought his mom a pink Cadillac.

In 1965, Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" was released.

Also in 1965, Bob Dylan married former model Sara Lowndes, his "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands."

In 1967, "Soul Man" by Sam and Dave was certified "gold."

In 1968, the Beatles' "white album," which was actually titled "The Beatles," was released.

Also in 1968, Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" was released.

In 1969, Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" was released.

Also in 1969, Joe Cocker appeared for the first time on U.S. music charts with the song "With A Little Help From My Friends." The "friends" on the recording included Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood and Albert Lee.

In 1980, Mae West died at age 87. Back in 1966, she released a rock 'n' roll album, "Way Out West," that charted for five weeks.

In 1981, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood jammed with Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy at the Checker Board Lounge in Chicago.

In 1992, Alice Cooper helped raise $11,300 dollars at the garage sale of a Riverside, Calif., fan facing the foreclosure of his home. The man had come to Cooper's attention when he painted a likeness of the rocker on the side of his home.

In 1993, five former security guards for Michael Jackson filed suit, claiming they were fired because they knew about the pop star's alleged activities with boys. The lawsuit eventually was thrown out.

Also in 1993, Dolly Parton denied rumors that she's a lesbian, saying gal pal Judy Ogle was just her best friend.

And in 1993, three people were arrested in a riot aboard a yacht chartered by rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg to celebrate his new album.

In 1995, a man beat to death the sister of disco singer Gloria Gaynor on a street in Elizabeth, N.J., after she intervened in a fight between the man and another woman. Police said a crowd watched the assault but no one tried to help.

In 1996, George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars were inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk.

In 1997, INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence was found hanged in a hotel in suburban Sydney, Australia. He was 37.

Also in 1997, Coolio and seven members of his entourage were arrested in Stuttgart, Germany, during a scuffle with a boutique owner, who accused the musicians of walking out of his shop wearing clothes they hadn't paid for.

In 1998, Kiss drummer Peter Criss blasted the audience after someone shined a laser pointer in his eyes.

In 1999, shock-jock Howard Stern was dropped from a defamation lawsuit filed against rapper Eminem by his mother. She claimed her son defamed her in magazine interviews and on Stern's radio show.


Topping the charts on this date:

Big Girls Don't Cry - The 4 Seasons (1962), I Think I Love You - The Partridge Family (1970), MacArthur Park - Donna Summer (1978), Human - Human League (1986).

Today's musical quiz:

"Alice's Restaurant" was released by Reprise Records after Arlo Guthrie performed it where? Answer: At the Newport (R.I.) Folk Festival.

Related UPI Stories
Topics: Alice Cooper, B.B. King, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Bjork, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Cab Calloway, Charles Manson, Chuck Berry, Columbia Records, Crazy Horse, Daisy Fuentes, Daryl Hall, David Bowie, David Crosby, Diana Ross, Dick Smothers, Dolly Parton, Donna Summer, Ed Sullivan, Eddie Condon, Eddie Kendricks, Eddie Vedder, Elizabeth II, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, George Clinton, Gordon Lightfoot, Graham Parker, Hey Jude, Hoagy Carmichael, Howard Stern, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, Janet Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, John Lennon, John Oates, Johnny Mercer, Joni Mitchell, Keith Moon, Keith Richards, Kenny Rogers, Kirk Hammett, Larry Klein, Lech Walesa, Mae West, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Oprah Winfrey, Paul Revere, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Ray Collins, Rod Stewart, Roger Daltrey, Roger Williams, Ron Wood, Rosa Parks, Sam Cooke, Thomas Edison, Tom Dooley, Tommy Lee Jones, Tupac Shakur, W.C. Handy, Walter Scott
Trending Stories