Today in music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  Dec. 19, 2002 at 2:30 AM
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(Dec. 19)

Today's birthdays include French singer Edith Piaf born in Paris in 1915; country singer "Little" Jimmy Dickens, who was born in 1920 (age 82); the late Phil Ochs was born in 1940; Maurice White, lead vocalist with Earth Wind and Fire, in 1941 (age 61); Alvin Lee of 10 Years After and Lovin' Spoonful's Zalman Yanovsky, both in 1944 (age 58); John McEuan of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1945 (age 57); and country's Janie Fricke in 1952 (age 50).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1955, Carl Perkins recorded his original version of "Blue Suede Shoes" at Sun Studios in Memphis.

In 1962, the Tamla-Motown show -- featuring the Supremes, the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, and the Contours -- opened for a 10-day run at New York's Apollo Theater.

In 1964, Petula Clark's "Downtown" entered the singles charts.

In 1969, Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger was arrested for possession of marijuana in London. He was fined 200 pounds and released.

In 1980, Dolly Parton's first movie "9 to 5" opened nationwide. She won a Grammy Award for the title song.

In 1981, the final show of the Rolling Stones tour was broadcast live and nationwide on cable TV.

In 1985, country singer Johnny Paycheck of "Take That Job and Shove It" fame shot and wounded a man at a Hillsboro, Ohio, tavern after the man asked him if he'd ever eaten turtle meat.

In 1986, a Los Angeles judge threw out a lawsuit that claimed Ozzy Osbourne's "Satanic" heavy metal music drove a troubled 19-year-old man to suicide. The judge said that censuring Osbourne would inhibit freedom of speech.

Also in 1986, Ringo Starr was ordered to pay his ex-wife Maureen $98,000 a year in alimony, a more than 50-percent increase.

And in 1986, a daughter, Jinnarie, was born to Bobby Womack and wife Regina.

In 1994, Aerosmith ended its 18-month-long world tour in the band's hometown of Boston.

In 1995, the ex-wife of Jermaine Jackson told NBC's "Leeza" her former husband was a deadbeat dad who tried to get out of paying child support by denying he fathered her two kids. Jackson later denied her claims on "Entertainment Tonight."

In 1996, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince confirmed on NBC's "Today" show that his first child had been born two months earlier with some kind of problem, but refused to elaborate. In fact, the boy had been born Oct. 16, 1996, with a fatal birth defect and died a week later.

Also in 1996, a spokeswoman for the Rolling Stones denied London newspaper reports that the Stones were planning a U.S. tour the summer of '97. It turned out the paper was more-or-less right, and the "Bridges to Babylon" tour kicked off Sept. 23, 1997, in Chicago.

And in 1996, Michael Jackson made a personal appearance at the Tokyo premiere of his 35-minute music video "Ghosts," triggering mass hysteria among Japanese fans.

And in 1996, Showtime said it was making into a cable-TV movie Elvis Presley's impromptu meeting Dec. 21, 1970, with President Nixon at the White House, to be titled "Elvis Meets Nixon."

In 1997, Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997," was the top single and the Spice Girls' debut album "Spice" the No. 1 album in the 1997 year-end Billboard charts. It marked the first time John had topped the year-end singles chart and the first time a "girl group" had a top album of the year.

Also in 1997, Oprah Winfrey aired part two of her interview with Paul McCartney.

And in 1997, B.B. King performed at the Vatican Christmas Concert. He presented Pope John Paul II with one of his signature Gibson Lucille model guitars.

In 1999, members of the Goo Goo Dolls were uninjured when their plane skidded off a runway in Sicily during a rainstorm. The band had just wrapped up a holiday tour for U.S. military personnel at bases in Europe.

In 2000, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, the patriarch of the legendary Staple Singers, died of a heart attack at his home in Chicago. He was 85.

Also in 2000, Candie's announced it had signed the members of Destiny's Child to appear in ads promoting the company's brand of shoes.

Topping the charts on this date:

Heartaches by the Number - Guy Mitchell (1959), Daydream Believer - The Monkees (1967), Fly, Robin Fly - Silver Convention (1975), Say Say Say - Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson (1983).

Today's musical quiz:

What's "Little" Jimmy Dickens' nickname? Answer: "Tater." His biggest hit song was 1965's "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose."

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