Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  Jan. 11, 2003 at 2:30 AM
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(Jan. 11)

Today's birthdays include singer-turned-pro golfer Don Cherry, who had a hit in 1956 with "Band of Gold," was born in 1924 (age 79); Clarence Clemons, with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, in 1942 (age 61); country singer Naomi Judd in 1946 (age 57); Sha Na Na's Denny Greene in 1949 (age 54); Vicky Peterson of the Bangles in 1960 (age 43); and Mary J. Blige in 1971 (age 32).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1928 Bing Crosby sang the lead as Paul Whiteman and his orchestra recorded the hit song "Old Man River" from the musical "Showboat." Crosby left Whiteman the next year and went on to become the best selling recording artist of his day.

In 1964, "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash became the first country album to top the U.S. pop album chart.

In 1969, Jethro Tull released its debut album, titled "This Was."

In 1977, Keith Richards was convicted of cocaine possession and fined $1,300.

In 1980, the Pretenders' self-titled first album was released.

In 1984, Michael Jackson collected a record 12 Grammy nominations for his "Thriller" album and the singles from it. 13 years later, producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds would tie that record.

Also in 1984, a BBC disc jockey announced he would no longer play Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax" due to the song's alleged sexual content. The action led to a complete BBC ban of the single.

In 1987, Frankie Goes To Hollywood opened its farewell tour in Manchester, England.

In 1988, "So Emotional" became the sixth straight No. 1 single for Whitney Houston -- following "Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know," "The Greatest Love of All," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" and "Didn't We Almost Have It All."

In 1990, Paul McCartney performed Beatles songs to the delight of the audience at London's Wembley Arena. Previously, he'd generally avoided playing anything associated with the Fab Four.

In 1992, Paul Simon opened his tour of South Africa in Johannesburg. He was the first international star to visit the country since the United Nations lifted a cultural ban.

Also in 1992, thieves broke into the Miami Beach mansion of rapper Vanilla Ice and stole $100,000 worth of stuff. Police arrested three suspects a week later and recovered most of the missing items.

In 1993, rap artists Bell Biv DeVoe and Whodini accused New York cops of police brutality after they say they were pulled from cars and beaten by white officers investigating an East Harlem supermarket robbery.

In 1994, pop singer-turned-politician Sonny Bono announced he was running for Congress on the Republican ticket. He won and represented the Palm Springs, Calif., area in the U.S. House until his death in January 1998.

In 1996, Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., needed 11 stitches to close a gash on his face after colliding with another skier near Big Bear Lake, Calif.

In 1998, Garth Brooks was named Favorite Male Musical Performer, and Whitney Houston and Reba McEntire tied for Favorite Female Musical Performer at the 24th annual People's Choice Awards.

Also in 1998, bad weather unplugged the Rolling Stones' concert in Montreal, as a winter storm cut power to most of the city and ice pierced the roof of the Olympic Stadium.

In 1999, rapper/actor Will Smith, Canadian pop singer Celine Dion and country superstar Garth Brooks were the big winners at the 26th annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Also in 1999, a New York judge found rappers Sean "Puffy" Combs and Dwight "Heavy D" Myers liable for a deadly stampede at a charity event they'd organized in 1991. The judge ruled that the rappers and the state of New York were each 50-percent responsible for mishandling the event and ordered a trial to assess the damages against the rappers.

In 2000, a newspaper in Hilo, Hawaii, (the Tribune-Herald) reported a security guard at Keahole-Kona International Airport found about half an ounce of marijuana in a bag that pop superstar Whitney Houston was carrying. Security officers tried to detain Houston but she walked away -- and her flight to San Francisco was gone by the time police arrived at the scene.

Today's musical quiz:

What was the original name of the Bangles? Answer: The Bangs.

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