Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  Nov. 28, 2002 at 2:30 AM
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(Nov. 28)

Today's birthdays include Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., who was born in 1929 (age 73); singer/songwriter Randy Newman in 1943 (age 59); former Little River Band guitarist Beeb Burtles in 1948 (age 54); David Letterman's TV bandleader Paul Shaffer in 1949 (age 53); and David Jaymes of Modern Romance in 1954 (age 48).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1925, the first WSM "Barn Dance," precursor to the Grand Ole Opry, was broadcast in Nashville.

In 1960, Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" was the No. 1 song.

In 1964, Willie Nelson debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

In 1970, George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and Elton John's "Your Song" were released.

In 1974, John Lennon made his last concert appearance at an Elton John show in Madison Square Garden. The two performed "Whatever Gets You Through The Night," "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," and "I Saw Her Standing There."

In 1977, the stage musical "Elvis" opened in London.

In 1981, Lotte Lenya died at age 81. She was mentioned in the song "Mack the Knife."

In 1983, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Charlie Watts, Joe Cocker, Bill Wyman, Paul Rodgers, Kenney Jones and Ronnie Lane took part in a concert in Dallas to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. Lane was suffering from MS.

Also in 1983, Sylvia Robinson's Sugarhill Records signed a distribution deal with MCA.

In 1987, R.E.M. had its first hit single in Britain with "The One I Love." The song was also the band's first U.S. Top-10 single.

In 1990, VH1 followed the lead of MTV and became the second national video cable network to refuse to air Madonna's steamy new music video "Justify My Love."

In 1997, in his first extended TV interview in a decade, Paul McCartney told David Frost he thought the world would've been "very different" without the Beatles.

Also in 1997, Chumbawamba's Danbert Nobacon spent six hours in police custody in Florence, Italy, after being picked up for wearing a skirt in public.

In 2000, promoters of Madonna's cyber-concert at London's Brixton Academy said the show was watched online by 9 million people worldwide. Madonna was accompanied by Texas star Sharleen Spitteri, ex-Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft and Goldie. She sang six songs, starting with "Impressive Instant."

Also in 2000, Erykah Badu's new album, "Mama's Gun," was released.

Topping the charts on this date:

Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell (1956), Leader of the Pack - The Shangri-Las (1964), I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash (1972) Woman in Love - Barbra Streisand (1980).

Today's musical quiz:

Near the beginning of the 1996 film "Independence Day," one of the characters was playing an R.E.M. song on his stereo. Can you name the tune? Answer: "It's the End of the World (As We Know It)."


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