Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  Dec. 8, 2002 at 2:30 AM
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(Dec. 8)

Today's birthdays include Sammy Davis Jr., who was born in 1925; Jerry "The Iceman" Butler in 1939 (age 63); Hollies drummer Robert Elliott in 1942 (age 60); Jim Morrison of the Doors in 1943; George Baker of the George Baker Selection in 1944 (age 58); Gregg Allman in 1947 (age 55); Paul Rutherford of Frankie Goes To Hollywood in 1959 (age 43); and Sinead O'Connor in 1966 (age 36).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1961, the Beach Boys' first single, "Surfin'," was released on Candix, a local Los Angeles label.

In 1962, Flatt and Scruggs played New York's Carnegie Hall.

In 1967, Traffic's debut album "Mr. Fantasy" was released.

In 1970, Jim Morrison recorded a collection of original poetry on his 27th and last birthday. The tapes were later set to music by the surviving Doors as "An American Prayer."

In 1975, Bob Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Revue" tour ended at New York's Madison Square Garden.

In 1980, John Lennon was shot to death by deranged Beatles fan Mark David Chapman outside the Dakota Apartments in New York City. He was 40.

In 1982, country's Marty Robbins died of a heart attack at age 57.

In 1983, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page played the first of two multiple sclerosis benefits at Madison Square Garden. The show was organized by ex-Faces member and MS victim Ronnie Lane.

In 1984, drummer Nicholas Dingley was killed in a head-on collision. He was 24. Dingley was a passenger in a car driven by Motley Crue's Vince Neil.

Also in 1984, one-time Coasters manager Patrick Cavanaugh was convicted in the murder of group member Buster Wilson, whose dismembered body was found near Modesto, Calif.

In 1986, Czech police broke up a peaceful crowd of about 500 who'd gathered in Prague to mark the sixth anniversary of John Lennon's death.

Also in 1986, Barry Manilow had a cyst removed from his upper jaw.

In 1992, Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose was charged with trying to assault a group of journalists and guests at a Sao Paolo, Brazil, hotel.

Also in 1992, Capitol Records signed Paul McCartney to a new recording contract. He'd been with Capitol for 30 years.

In 1995, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead announced they were disbanding rather than carry on without Jerry Garcia, who'd died four month earlier.

Also in 1995, Bob Seger announced plans for his first tour in eight years, to begin in a month in Charleston, S.C.

In 1997, teenage country star Leann Rimes won four trophies at the 1997 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. R&B singer Toni Braxton took home three awards and Elton John's tribute to the late Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997," was named single of the year.

In 1999, a peace group known as The Alliance for Survival sponsored a musical candlelight march at John Lennon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The march commemorated the 19th anniversary of Lennon's murder.

Also in 1999, New York City police, citing safety concerns, closed Central Park and cleared John Lennon fans from Strawberry Fields. They had been trying to hold all-night vigil on the anniversary of the ex-Beatle's death.

In 2000, Sting was honored with the 2,168th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star was located in front of the historic El Capitan Theatre.

Topping the charts on this date: Big Girls Don't Cry - The 4 Seasons (1962), I Think I Love You - The Partridge Family (1970), You Don't Bring Me Flowers - Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond (1978), The Next Time I Fall - Peter Cetera with Amy Grant (1986).

Today's musical quiz:

What does the epitaph on Jim Morrison's grave in Paris read? Answer: "James Morrison, Poet." Morrison had quit music a few months before his death on July 3, 1971, and moved to Paris to become a poet.

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