Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  Dec. 27, 2002 at 2:45 AM
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(Dec. 28)

Today's birthdays include the late Roebuck "Pops" Staples, patriarch of the Staple Singers, who was born in 1915; Johnny Otis in 1924 (age 78); Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers in 1938 (age 64); Edgar Winter in 1946 (age 56); Eastbeats bassist Dick Diamond in 1947 (age 55); and Alex Chilton of the Box Tops in 1950 (age 52).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1947, blues singer Wynonie Harris recorded the hit song "Good Rockin' Tonight." It was a hard-driving blues number that popularized the word "rock" and associated with the fast, exciting blues-based music that would dominate the charts in the 1950s.

In 1957, Danny and the Juniors' "At the Hop" topped the charts.

In 1968, the three-day Miami Pop Festival -- the first big East Coast rock festival -- opened in Miami. On the bill: Procol Harum, 3 Dog Night, Chuck Berry, the McCoys, Fleetwood Mac, Pacific Gas and Electric, Steppenwolf, Marvin Gaye, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, Iron Butterfly and the Turtles.

Also in 1968, the Beatles' "white album" topped the charts.

In 1971, The Who's Keith Moon emceed a Sha Na Na show at New York's Carnegie Hall.

In 1975, Ted Nugent was threatened while performing in Spokane, Wash., by a man in the audience who pointed a .44-magnum at the rocker. Police overpowered the gunman.

In 1983, Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson drowned while diving at Marina Del Rey, Calif. He was 39. An autopsy later found he'd been drinking.

Also in 1983, the "Making Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'" video was certified gold and platinum. It was the first music video to reach either sales plateau.

And in 1983, Tracy Ullman married Allan McKeown.

In 1990, only 10 months after being sent to an Ohio prison for shooting a man in a tavern, country singer Johnny Paycheck asked Gov. Richard Celeste to pardon him. Less than a month later, the governor did.

In 1992, Paul Simon's wife, New Bohemian Edie Brickell, gave birth to their first child, a boy they named Adrian Edward Simon.

Also in 1992, Kenny Rogers and former Kentucky Gov. John Brown -- co-owners of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based restaurant chain Roasters Limited -- were hit with a $10 million trademark infringement lawsuit by Cluckers Wood Roasted Chicken.

In 1993, Tammy Wynette was hospitalized in Nashville with what doctors described as a "sudden major infection."

Also in 1993, Billy Ray Cyrus married his longtime companion, Leticia Finley, in Nashville.

In 1994, Pollstar reported the Rolling Stones was the top moneymaker for the year, as the concert industry raked in a record $1.4 billion dollars in ticket sales.

Also in 1994, a man convicted of stalking Madonna was sentenced to six months in jail.

Today's musical quiz:

Edgar Winter and his brother, Jonathan, have what genetic anomaly? Answer: They're albinos, meaning they lack pigmentation in their skin and hair. Both Winter brothers are very, very fair-skinned and have whitish hair.


(Dec. 29)

Today's birthdays include Ray Thomas of the Moody Blues, who was born in 1941 (age 51); Marianne Faithfull in 1946 (age 56); Whitesnake's Cozy Powell in 1947 (age 55); Robert Parissi of Wild Cherry in 1950 (age 52); and Yvonne Elliman in 1951 (age 51).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1967, jazz band leader Paul Whitman died on this date. He was one of the earlier white bandleaders to popularize jazz. A featured singer with Whiteman in the 1920s, incidentally, was a young Bing Crosby.

Also in 1967, singer/guitarist Dave Mason quit Traffic for the first of three times.

In 1975, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner split up after living together for seven years. Slick took their daughter, China, and later married Jefferson Starship lighting man Skip Johnson.

In 1980, songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose. He was 40.

In 1982, Jamaica issued a Bob Marley commemorative stamp. The reggae musician had died the previous year.

In 1985, a girl, Alexa Ray, was born to Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley.

In 1992, off-duty police officers picketed Ice-T's concert in Green Bay, Wis. Other cops had protested the rapper's show the night before in Chicago. Ice-T had sparked a controversy earlier in the year with the rap song "Cop Killer."

Also in 1992, B.B. King performed for inmates at the Gainesville, Fla., Drug Treatment Center. In the audience: his 36-year-old daughter.

In 1994, Boyz II Men's "II" album broke its own record for the year's top-selling R&B album.

Also in 1994, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC was sentenced to five years' probation after pleading guilty to burning down the Atlanta mansion of her football star boyfriend Andre Rison the previous June.

In 1995, rocker Patty Smith gave birth in New York City to a daughter fathered by tennis great John McEnroe.

In 1997, the Spice Girls; Bob Dylan and his son, Jakob; Sean "Puffy" Combs; and Elton John made Entertainment Weekly's list of the top entertainers of 1997.

Also in 1997, Yoko Ono told BBC Radio that John Lennon was the "visionary" and the reason "why the Beatles happened." She disputed Paul McCartney's claim that he was the Fab Four's creative leader, saying the only contribution McCartney made to the band's success was organizing Lennon's talent.

And in 1997, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee's wife, ex-"Baywatch" actress Pamela Anderson Lee, gave birth to the couple's second son. They named him Dylan Jagger Lee.

In 1999, Pollstar magazine reported that the Rolling Stones were the top concert money makers for the year, pulling in $64.7 million.

Also in 1999, country/pop singer Shania Twain topped's list of artists whose songs were downloaded the most in 1999 (in Twain's case, more than 56,000 times).

And in 1999, Stockton, Calif., gave hometown rocker Chris Isaak the key to the city.

Today's musical quiz:

This Hawaiian-born singer sang backing vocals on the Eric Clapton hit song "I Shot the Sheriff." Who? Answer: Yvonne Elliman.


(Dec. 30)

Today's birthdays include rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley, who was born in 1928 (age 74); country singer Skeeter Davis, whose real name is Mary Francis Penick, in 1931 (age 71); John Hartford in 1937 (age 65); and the late Del Shannon was born in 1939. Two members of the Monkees share birthdays today -- Michael Nesmith, who was born in 1942 (age 60) and Davy Jones in 1945 (age 57). And Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra and the Traveling Wilburys was born in 1947 (age 55).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1944, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys made their first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1951, "The Roy Rogers Show" debuted on NBC-TV.

In 1962, teenage singing star Brenda Lee lost her home and her pet poodle in a fire.

In 1970, Paul McCartney sued to dissolve the Beatles' partnership.

In 1973, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra played a final show at the Masonic Auditorium in Detroit.

In 1974, the Beatles' partnership was legally dissolved, four years to the day after Paul McCartney filed suit.

In 1979, Emerson Lake and Palmer announced it was breaking up. They've since gotten back together.

In 1981, the British rock band XTC played its first U.S. concert, in Philadelphia.

In 1994, Ringo Starr's ex-wife, Maureen Cox Starkey Tigrett, died of leukemia. She was 47.

In 1995, Elton John was awarded the CBE, Commander of the British Empire.

Also in 1995, U2's Bono arrived in Sarajevo to celebrate peace and New Year's Eve with Bosnian Muslims.

In 1996, a federal judge in Houston ruled in favor of a bar named the "Velvet Elvis" in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Also in 1996, has-been white rapper Vanilla Ice performed at a Dallas dance club.

In 1999, George Harrison was seriously injured when a man described by police as "obsessed" with the Beatles broke into his home west of London and stabbed him.

Also in 1999, the Smashing Pumpkins was the "blind date" at the Miller Genuine Draft Blind Date concert in Dublin.

Today's musical quiz:

Name the future member of the Monkees who appeared on the same "Ed Sullivan Show" broadcast on which the Beatles made their American television debut (Feb. 9, 1964)? Answer: Davy Jones. He was in the London cast of the musical "Oliver!" at the time.


(Dec. 31)

Today's birthdays include Rex Allen, the "Arizona Cowboy," who was born in 1924 (age 78); folksinger Odetta in 1930 (age 72); Police guitarist Andy Summers in 1942 (age 60); the late John Denver in 1943; original Kinks bassist Peter Quaife, also in 1943 (age 59); Patti Smith in 1946 (age 56); Burton Cummings, with the Guess Who before going solo, in 1947 (age 55); disco diva Donna Summer in 1948 (age 54); Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton in 1951 (age 51); rapper Vanilla Ice, a.k.a. Robert Van Winkle, in 1968 (age 34); and Joe McIntyre of NKOTB, a.k.a. New Kids On The Block, in 1972 (age 30).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1929, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians made their first annual New Year's Eve broadcast over the CBS radio network from the Roosevelt Grill in New York City.

In 1943, there was a near-riot in New York's Times Square as Frank Sinatra opened a singing engagement at the Paramount Theater.

In 1947, Roy Rogers married Dale Evans.

In 1961, the Beach Boys performed for the first time under that name at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Center in Long Beach, Calif. They were paid $300.

In 1964, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir played together for the first time.

In 1966, the Monkees' "I'm A Believer" topped the charts.

Also in 1966, the Buckinghams' "Kind Of A Drag" and the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Loving" were released.

In 1969, Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies -- with Buddy Miles on drums -- debuted at the Fillmore East in New York City.

In 1971, Bob Dylan and The Band played New York's Academy of Music. The session yielded the "Rock of Ages" album.

In 1974, Mick Fleetwood invited Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham -- sight unseen -- to join Fleetwood Mac.

In 1976, the Cars made its concert debut at Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire.

In 1978, Bill Graham's Winterland Auditorium in San Francisco hosted its final show -- a concert starring the Grateful Dead, the Blues Brothers and the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

In 1982, E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt married Maureen Santora in Asbury Park, N.J. Bruce Springsteen was Van Zandt's best man. "Little Richard" Penniman, an ordained minister, performed the wedding ceremony. Percy Sledge entertained at the reception.

In 1984, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen suffered injuries in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of an arm a few days later.

In 1985, Rick Nelson, his fiancee and five band members were killed when their private plane crashed in northeastern Texas en route to a Dallas gig. Nelson was 45. It was widely speculated that freebasing cocaine started a fire aboard the DC-3, but survivors said it was a faulty cabin heater.

In 1991, rocker and bow-hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent served venison -- including meat from three deer he'd shot -- at a Salvation Army soup kitchen in Detroit.

In 1992, Daily Variety reported that Billy Ray Cyrus's debut album "Some Gave All" was the top-selling album of 1992. Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was the lead single.

In 1993, Barbra Streisand gave the first of two performances at the MGM Grand Garden Hotel in Las Vegas. The shows were her first paid concerts in 27 years.

In 1994, Bobby McFerrin conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a New Year's Eve "pops" concert.

Also in 1994, Keith Sweat was a no-show at his own concert in Chicago.

In 1996, Paul McCartney became the first Beatle to be knighted.

Also in 1996, Kenny Rogers brought his girlfriend, Wanda Miller, onstage during his Las Vegas concert and proposed to her. She said yes.

In 1997, Buckingham Palace announced that Elton John would be knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his charitable work.

In 1998, Backstreet Boys, Barenaked Ladies, Monica, Chicago, Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Fastball performed at Harrah's Las Vegas on Dick Clark's "New Year's Rockin' Eve '99."

Also in 1998, Marilyn Manson performed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

And in 1998, a six-week tour featuring the "original" Black Sabbath line-up -- Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward -- kicked off in Phoenix.

And in 1998, Boz Scaggs' 21-year-old son died of an apparent drug overdose in San Francisco.

In 1999, rapper-turned-actor Will Smith hosted the star-studded America's Millennium Gala at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In 2000, Dick Clark rang in the New Year for the 29th consecutive time from New York's Times Square. ABC added two hours to "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," putting Clark on the air for three-and-a-half hours, including -- for the first time ever -- a primetime start for the show.

Also in 2000, Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson and his longtime girlfriend, actress Kate Hudson, tied the knot in a ceremony in Aspen, Colo.

Today's musical quiz:

Only one other person besides Dick Clark has ever hosted "American Bandstand." Who? Answer: Donna Summer, doing so in 1979.


(Jan. 1)

Today's birthdays include Country Joe McDonald, who immortalized the "fish" cheer during the original Woodstock festival, was born in 1942 (age 60); Morgan Fisher, formerly of Mott the Hoople, in 1950 (age 52); and rapper Grandmaster Flash in 1958 (age 44).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1953, Hank Williams Sr. died of a heart attack en route to a show in Canton, Ohio. He was 29.

In 1956, Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" was released.

In 1960, Johnny Cash played the first of many free concerts behind bars when he entertained the inmates of San Quentin Prison in California.

In 1962, the Beatles failed an audition with Decca Records.

In 1963, the Beatles opened a five-day tour of Scotland to promote the band's first single "Love Me Do."

In 1964, the British TV show "Top of the Pops" premiered, featuring the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield and the Dave Clark Five.

In 1979, someone threw a firecracker onstage at a Cleveland New Year's Eve party, slightly injuring Bruce Springsteen.

In 1980, Cliff Richard was given an MBE -- Member of the Order of the British Empire. He'd later be knighted.

In 1982, John Coughlan, Status Quo's drummer since the band's beginning 20 years earlier, left the group, saying, "I just want to play some different music."

In 1984, Alexis Korner, "father of the British blues," died of cancer at age 55.

In 1991, composer Buck Ram, longtime mentor to The Platters, died at age 83.

In 1995, Rod Stewart was treated at a hospital following a New Year's Eve concert at Copacabana Beach near Rio, Brazil. The rocker later blamed his exhaustion on too much rich food and a soccer game he played just before the show. Brazilian officials reported that Stewart's show set the record for the biggest open-air concert ever, attended by 3.5 million people.

Also in 1995, blues singer Ted Hawkins died of a stroke at age 58.

In 1997, Michael Jackson was number two on the "Losers of the Year Top-10 List" released by the New York-based International Losers Club.

In 1999, the Brian Setzer Orchestra performed a New Year's night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In 2000, George Harrison was released from a London hospital, two days after being stabbed by an intruder who'd broken into his home.

In 2001, Guns 'N Roses celebrated the New Year by unveiling songs from their upcoming album during a show at the House of Blues in Las Vegas. It was the band's first live performance in more than seven years.

Today's musical quiz:

Whom did Decca Records sign instead of the Beatles? Answer: The Tremeloes.


(Jan. 2)

Today's birthdays include the late Roger Miller, who was born in 1936; and Ten Years After keyboardist Chick Churchill in 1942 (age 60).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1963, the Beatles returned from what turned out to be the band's final stay in Hamburg, West Germany.

In 1969, U.S. customs officials in Newark, N.J., confiscated the entire shipment of the John Lennon-Yoko Ono album "Unfinished Music No.1 -- Two Virgins," which featured a full frontal photograph of the naked couple on the album's cover. Copies of the album were allowed into the United States only after Tetragrammaton Records agreed to wrap them in plain brown paper before putting them on sale.

In 1973, when Robert Plant's car broke down, he and Jimmy Page were forced to hitchhike in the rain to that night's show in Sheffield, England.

In 1974, singing cowboy Tex Ritter died of a heart attack in a Nashville jail where he was trying to bail out a member of his band. He was 67.

In 1975, the Georgia State Department of Corrections honored the Allman Brothers Band, naming the band the Outstanding Community Organization of the Year.

In 1979, Sid Vicious -- former bassist with The Sex Pistols -- went on trial in New York City for killing his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.

In 1980, Larry Williams -- who had a couple of hits in 1957, including "Bony Moronie" -- died at age 44, an apparent suicide.

In 1993, Chicago-based blues singer Valerie Wellington died of an aneurysm after falling ill before a performance. She was 34.

In 1996, the husband of former Pointer Sisters singer Patricia "Bonnie" Pointer pleaded innocent to spousal battery. The charges stemmed from a Christmas Eve incident at sister June Pointer's Hollywood house.

Today's musical quiz:

Early in his career, how did Roger Miller make a living? Answer: He worked as a bellhop at a Nashville hotel, as a drummer for Faron Young and a fiddler for Minnie Pearl.


(Jan. 3)

Today's birthdays include the late Victor Borge, who was born in 1909; Beatles producer George Martin in 1926 (age 76); Van Dyke Parks in 1941 (age 61); Stephen Stills in 1945 (age 57); John Paul Jones, bass player/keyboardist with the Yardbirds and, later, Led Zeppelin, in 1946 (age 56); and Ross the Boss, of the Dictators and also Manowar, in 1954 (age 48).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1967, Beach Boy Carl Wilson rejected his draft notice, opening a five-year court battle he'd eventually win.

In 1970, the Beatles recorded what would become their last song together as a group, "I Me Mine." This doesn't count the two "new" Beatle songs on "The Beatles Anthology, Volume 1."

Also in 1970, Davy Jones announced he was leaving the Monkees.

In 1974, Bob Dylan opened his first tour in eight years with The Band. The road trip kicked off in Chicago.

In 1987, Diahann Carroll and Vic Damone tied the knot in Atlantic City, N.J. It was the fourth marriage for both.

In 1994, Wilson Pickett reported to a New Jersey jail to begin serving a one-year sentence for hitting a man while driving drunk.

In 1996, Madonna testified at the Los Angeles trial of the man accused of stalking and threatening her. The man had been arrested after being shot and wounded by a security guard at the singer's Hollywood Hills estate in May of 1995.

In 1997, former E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons was arrested and charged with domestic abuse after his girlfriend said he beat her a month earlier at a friend's house in the Florida Keys.

In 2001, it was reported that the lead guitarist for 10,000 Maniacs, Rob Buck, had died of liver failure in Pittsburgh. He was 42 and had last performed with the band two months earlier at a rally for Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Today's musical quiz:

What was so shocking about the cover of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono album "Two Virgins"? Answer: The cover photo featured Lennon and Ono in the nude.

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