Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  Dec. 14, 2002 at 2:30 AM
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(Dec. 14)

Today's birthdays include country's Charlie Rich, who was born in 1932; Them keyboardist Jackie McCauley and Dawn's Joyce Wilson, both in 1946 (age 56); Cliff Williams of AC-DC in 1949 (age 53); Mike Scott of The Waterboys in 1958 (age 44).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1961, Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" became the first country single certified "gold" by the Recording Industry Association of America.

In 1963, Dinah Washington died from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. She was 39.

In 1966, Chad and Jeremy guest-starred on the "Batman" TV series. The Catwoman stole their voices and England refused to pay to get them back.

In 1968, Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was certified "gold."

Also in 1968, Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover" was released.

In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono performed at a farewell dinner for U.N. Secretary-General U Thant.

In 1972, "Born to Boogie" -- a film starring Marc Bolan, directed by Ringo Starr and with guest star Elton John -- premiered in London.

In 1974, guitarist Mick Taylor formally quit the Rolling Stones while the band was recording in Munich, West Germany. Taylor would be replaced by Ron Wood.

Also in 1974, Styx's "Lady" was released.

In 1977, the movie "Saturday Night Fever" -- with music by The Bee Gees and others -- premiered in New York City.

In 1980, six days after John Lennon's murder, millions of people around the world and an estimated 100,000 in New York's Central Park joined Yoko Ono in 10 minutes of silence.

In 1983, the "Making Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'" video was released.

In 1991, the German heavy-metal rock group the Scorpions became the first Western rock group to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1992, a Seattle judge awarded the heirs of Janis Joplin $15,000 for copyright infringement by the writers and producers of a play based on the star's life.

In 1995, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that a federal judge a week earlier had ordered the FBI to disclose additional information from its files on John Lennon, including why the bureau investigated the ex-Beatle in 1971 and '72.

In 1996, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) presented Paul and Linda McCartney with the group's first Lifetime Achievement Award.

Also in 1996, Gloria Estefan won three Bravo Awards -- for best music special, best performance by a female in a variety program and best made-for-TV documentary. The awards honor positive portrayals of Hispanics in the media.

In 1999, Paul McCartney performed at Liverpool's Cavern Club for the first time since the Beatles last played there in August 1963.

Also in 1999, George Michael's first CD under a new deal with Virgin Music Group was released. "Songs from the Last Century" was his fourth solo record since leaving Wham!.

Topping the charts on this date:

Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino (1956), Mr. Lonely - Bobby Vinton (1964), I am Woman - Helen Reddy (1974), Lady - Kenny Rogers (1980).

Today's musical quiz:

What was Charlie Rich's nickname? Answer: Rich was affectionately known as the "Silver Fox" because of his prematurely white hair.

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