Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  Feb. 21, 2003 at 2:45 AM
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(Feb. 22)

Today's birthdays include Oliver -- real name, Oliver Swofford -- who was born in 1945 (age 59). He had hits in 1969 with the songs "Good Morning Starshine" and "Jean." Also born today -- Michael Wilton, guitarist with Queensryche, in 1962 (age 42); and Sublime lead singer Brad Nowell in 1968.

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" entered the charts and began its rise to the top.

In 1968, "The Silent Sun" -- the debut single from Genesis -- was released.

Also in 1968, Marc Bolin's Tyrannosaurus Rex -- later shortened to T. Rex -- launched a concert tour in Manchester, England. David Bowie opened the show with a silent, one-man mime act.

In 1980, in a dispute with manager Malcolm McLaren, Adam Ant -- whose real name is Stuart Goddard -- was kicked out of the Ants. Adam formed a new Ants, while McLaren turned the original band into Bow Wow Wow.

In 1989, rap artists boycotted the Grammy Awards when they learned their awards would not be part of the TV coverage of the ceremonies.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to move a lawsuit against Chuck Berry from a Missouri state court to federal court. Berry was being sued by women who said he videotaped them using the bathroom at his restaurant near St. Louis. He contended the suit was racially motivated.

In 1995, Hole's "Live Through This" was named the best album of 1994 in the Village Voice's annual survey of rock critics.

In 1996, the female rap trio TLC led with four nominations for the 10th annual Soul Train Music Awards.

Also in 1996, Pointer Sister brother-in-law Jeffrey Bownes was sentenced to 240 hours of community service after being convicted of hitting his wife -- former group member Patricia "Bonnie" Pointer -- and her sister, June, during a Christmas Eve incident.

In 2000, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, the Impressions and actor Danny Glover took part in a tribute to Curtis Mayfield, who died the previous December.

Today's musical quiz:

"Heartbreak Hotel," written by Mae Boren Axton, was said to have been based on a true story. About what? Answer: About a suicide in a hotel room.


(Feb. 23)

Today's birthdays include guitarist Johnny Winter, older brother of Edgar, who was born in 1944 (age 59); Mike Maxfield, lead guitarist with Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, also in 1944 (age 59); Buffalo Springfield and Poco guitarist Rusty Young in 1946 (age 57); bassist Steven Priest of Sweet in 1950 (age 53); Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford in 1952 (age 51); Howard Jones in 1955 (age 48); and Japan's David Sylvian in 1958 (age 45).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1957, Porter Wagoner joined the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1978, Fleetwood Mac won a Grammy for the best album of 1977 with "Rumours."

In 1979, Dire Straits opened its first U.S. tour in Boston.

In 1986, news of a possible payola scandal broke involving independent record promoters suspected of buying radio time. 1

In 1991, Whitney Houston topped the U.S. singles charts with "All The Man That I Need." It was her ninth No.1 single in less than six years.

In 1993, Mick Fleetwood said a new Fleetwood Mac album was in the works, but that Stevie Nicks had left the group.

In 1994, a Los Angeles judge threw out a lawsuit filed by Martha Raye against Bette Midler. Raye's suit had accused Midler of stealing her life story for the 1991 movie "For The Boys."

Also in 1994, Bonnie Raitt attended an anti-nuclear rally in St. Paul, Minn.

And in 1994, B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen and Chris Isaak attended the official groundbreaking for the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In 1995, Michael Jackson made a rare public appearance at a San Diego, Calif., record industry convention to preview his upcoming album "HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1."

Also in 1995, the Temptations' Melvyn Franklin died of complications from diabetes. He was 52.

And in 1995, it was reported that Rolling Stone Charlie Watts paid $1 million for an Australian-bred Arabian stallion.

In 1996, Carlos Santana was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame.

In 1999, Rock the Vote presented its 1999 Patrick Lippert Awards to Neil Young, Wyclef Jean and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Also in 1999, Brian Setzer was given the 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Orville H. Gibson Awards in Los Angeles.

In 2000, Carlos Santana's top-selling album "Supernatural" won nine trophies at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Also in 2000, U2 lead singer Bono met in Rome with Italian leaders to discuss the campaign for the cancellation of the debts of the world's poorest nations.

Today's musical quiz:

Name the 1970s Sweet tune that was featured in the 1992 movie "Wayne's World." Answer: "Ballroom Blitz."


(Feb. 24)

Today's birthdays include Paul Jones, formerly with Manfred Mann, who was born in 1942 (age 61); Nicky Hopkins -- superstar keyboard sessionman and touring "guest artist" with the Rolling Stones, The Who, John Lennon, Jeff Beck and so on -- in 1944; and Rupert Holmes and Steve Miller Band bassist Lonnie Turner, both in 1947 (age 56).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1967, Robert Stigwood signed the Bee Gees to a five-year management contract.

In 1990, Milli Vanilli won three Grammy Awards. Later in the year, it was revealed the duo -- Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan -- hadn't sung a note and was forced to give back the best new artist award.

In 1992, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled two versions of its proposed Elvis Presley stamp -- the first showing a young 1950s Elvis and the second a '70s Las Vegas-era Elvis. The fans would get to vote on which one would be issued in 1993 as part of the "Legends of America" music series. They picked the young Elvis.

In 1993, Eric Clapton took home six Grammys from the annual awards ceremony. The soundtrack to "Beauty and the Beast" won five.

In 1994, "Papa" John Creach -- the violinist who toured with Jefferson Starship in the '70s -- died of natural causes. He was 76.

In 1998, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee was arrested after his wife -- former "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson Lee -- told police he'd attacked her during an argument at their Malibu, Calif., home.

Also in 1998, Elton John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in London.

In 1999, hip-hop singer Lauryn Hill won five awards from the 41st annual Grammy Awards. Madonna and Celine Dion each took home four. The list of winners -- like the nominations -- was dominated by women.

Today's musical quiz:

The Kinks wrote a song in honor of keyboard sessionman Nicky Hopkins. What was the title? Answer: "Session Man."


(Feb. 25)

Today's birthdays include country singer Faron Young, who was born in 1932; former Beatle George Harrison in 1943; Elkie Brooks in 1945 (age 58); Bay City Rollers guitarist Stuart Wood in 1957 (age 46); and Mike Peters, singer and guitarist with The Alarm, in 1959 (age 44); and Justin Jeffre of 98 Degrees in 1973 (age 30).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1957, Buddy Holly recorded "That'll Be The Day" with his new backing band, The Crickets, at a studio in Clovis, N.M.

In 1965, the Beatles began filming the group's second motion picture. Originally called "Eight Arms to Hold You," it was released as "Help!"

In 1983, Toto won in six categories at the 25th annual Grammy Awards.

Also in 1983, Peter Paul and Mary reunited for a European tour -- their first since 1967.

In 1984, Van Halen's "Jump" became the band's first No.1 single.

In 1986, Whitney Houston and Phil Collins were the big winners at the annual Grammy Awards, but Bruce Springsteen was shut out.

In 1989, despite having died of a heart attack the previous December, Roy Orbison had participated in both albums that occupied the top two spots on the Billboard Top-200 album chart -- his own "Mystery Girl" and "Volume One," the debut offering from The Traveling Wilburys.

In 1992, Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable," her high-tech duet with her late father, swept the 34th annual Grammy Awards, winning six awards -- seven, if you count the producer-of-the-year award that went to the album's producer.

In 1994, MCA sued Glenn Frey, claiming he owed the label several albums.

Also in 1994, Disney announced that Michael Jackson's 3D movie "Captain Eo" was being replaced in the fall with a new movie at the Walt Disney World Epcot Center.

In 1997, Bonnie Raitt was honored as the best female guitarist in the rock and blues fields at the Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards in New York. Eddie Van Halen was named the best male rock guitarist and Tracey Chapman the best female acoustic guitarist.

Also in 1997, a Los Angeles judge ordered Snoop Doggy Dogg's bodyguard, McKinley Lee, jailed after he allegedly continued to harass his former girlfriend.

And in 1997, James Brown popped the question to his talk-show host girlfriend Rolanda Watts during a taping of her show. She declined to give an answer right away.

In 1998, Bob Dylan and his son, Wallflowers lead singer Jakob Dylan, took home five awards between them from the 40th annual Grammy Awards. Veteran singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin won record and song of the year for "Sunny Came Home," while the best new artist award went to Paula Cole.

Also in 1998, members of Oasis and their entourage reportedly misbehaved during a flight from Hong Kong to Australia. Cathay Pacific Airways later banned Liam Gallagher from the airline after the rocker allegedly threatened to stab a pilot.

In 1999, Placebo and Stabbing Westward launched a co-headlining tour in Pittsburgh.

Today's musical quiz:

Of the four members of the "super-group" known as The Traveling Wilburys, two are now dead. Roy Orbison is one. Who's the other? Answer: George Harrison.


(Feb. 26)

Today's birthdays include Antoine "Fats" Domino, who was born in 1928 (age 75); Johnny Cash in 1932 (age 71); Poco guitarist Paul Cotton in 1943 (age 60); Bob "The Bear" Hite of Canned Heat was born in 1945; Mitch Ryder, whose real name is William Levise Jr., also was born in 1945 (age 58); pop singer Sandie Shaw in 1947 (age 56); Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain in 1950 (age 53); Bronski Beat's John Jon in 1961 (age 42); and Erykah Badu in 1972 (age 31).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1965, Jimmy Page released his only pre-Led Zeppelin solo single -- titled "She Just Satisfies."

In 1977, Bukka White -- real name, Booker T. Washington -- died at age 70.

In 1983, Michael Jackson's album "Thriller" reached No.1 on the Billboard Top-200 album chart, where it remained for 37 weeks.

In 1990, Cornell Gunter of the Coasters was shot to death while sitting in his car in Las Vegas. He was 53.

In 1994, Dr. Hook -- real name, Ray Sawyer -- was arrested on drug charges in Jackpot, Nev., after the police found marijuana in his motel room.

In 1996, an Irish newspaper reported Michael Jackson was considering moving to Ireland.

In 1997, producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and The Beatles each won three awards at the 39th annual Grammy Awards in New York.

Also in 1997, Michael Jackson testified via videotape in a lawsuit filed by five former employees of his Neverland Ranch. The workers claimed they were fired or forced to quit because they cooperated with the probe into child molestation accusations against the pop star. Jackson told the court he was not involved in the day-to-day operations at his estate. The employees would lose their suit.

Today's musical quiz:

Who was the inspiration for Johnny Cash's 1969 hit "A Boy Named Sue"? Answer: Reportedly, a judge in South Dakota named Sue Hicks. Cash recorded the song at California's San Quentin Prison.


(Feb. 27)

Today's birthdays include Eddie Gray, guitarist with Tommy James and the Shondells, who was born in 1948 (age 55); Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel in 1951 (age 52); Michael Bolton in 1953 (age 50); Journey guitarist Neal Schon in 1954 (age 49); Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith in 1957 (age 46); Lynyrd Skynyrd's Johnny Van Zant in 1959 (age 44; Paul Humphreys of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in 1960 (age 43; and Roderick Clark, formerly with Hi-Five, in 1973 (age 30).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1955, Billboard magazine reported that for the first time, the recently introduced seven-inch 45-rpm single had outsold the heavier 10-inch 78-rpm.

In 1956, yodeling country singer Slim Whitman started his first British tour.

In 1967, Pink Floyd released its debut single -- and first hit -- "Arnold Layne" in Britain. The song reportedly was based on an actual incident about a man who stole women's underwear from laundry lines.

In 1970, the Jefferson Airplane was fined $1,000 for singing the so-called "f"-word onstage in Oklahoma City. The city was enforcing an ordinance enacted a year earlier after the Doors' Jim Morrison allegedly exposed himself during a concert in Miami.

In 1977, Keith Richards was arrested in a Toronto hotel by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who allegedly found an ounce of cocaine in his possession. Later that year, the Rolling Stone would be sentenced to play a benefit concert.

In 1991, soul singer James Brown was paroled from a South Carolina corrections facility. He'd served less than three years of a six-year sentence imposed after he was convicted of trying to run over two police officers during a 1988 car chase.

Also in 1991, the British coroner ruled the Jan. 7 death of Def Leppard guitarist Steve "Steamin'" Clark was due to an accidental drug overdose.

In 1996, Emmylou Harris was honored with the lifetime achievement award at the Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards luncheon.

In 1997, 44 people were injured when a lighting tower collapsed under the weight of fans during a Deep Purple concert in Santiago, Chile. The show resumed after the ambulances left.

In 1998, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee was released on bond after pleading innocent to charges he beat his wife, former "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson Lee, during argument at their Malibu, Calif., home three days earlier.

In 1999, Nancy Sinatra joined the Ventures on stage at the House of Blues in Hollywood for a performance of her 1960s hit "These Boots Are Made for Walking."

Today's musical quiz:

Where did the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd get the name for their band? Answer: The band was named after a high school gym teacher named Leonard Skinner. The rockers had gone to high school together.


(Feb. 28)

Today's birthdays include Marty Sanders of Jay and the Americans and country singer Joe South, who were both born in 1940 (age 63); the late Brian Jones, co-founder and guitarist for the Rolling Stones before leaving the band, was born in 1942; Barbara Acklin in 1943 (age 60); Cindy Wilson of the B-52s, Tears for Fears keyboardist Ian Stanley, and Level 42 drummer Phil Gould, all in 1957 (age 46); and Breathe's Marcus Lillington in 1967 (age 36).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1968, Frankie Lymon died from a heroin overdose. He was 25. 12 years earlier, his group -- Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers -- had a top-10 hit with "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?"

In 1970, Led Zeppelin performed in Copenhagen as "The Nobs." That's because Eva von Zeppelin -- a descendant of the turn-of-the-century German count who designed the first rigid airship -- had threatened to sue if the band appeared using the family moniker in Denmark.

In 1974, pop singer Bobby Bloom killed himself at age 28. Four years earlier, his single "Montego Bay" made the top 10.

In 1977, the Sex Pistols resolved the bickering between frontman Johnny Rotten and bassist Glen Matlock by firing Matlock.

In 1984, Michael Jackson won seven Grammy Awards.

In 1994, Daily Variety reported that members of the Eagles were reuniting for a tour and possibly an album. The report was right on both counts.

In 1995, MTV and Rock The Vote honored Queen Latifah and Pearl Jam for their help in motivating young adults to register to vote.

In 1996, Alanis Morissette was a big winner at the 38th annual Grammy Awards, taking home four trophies. Seal won three awards.

Also in 1996, Brazilian newspapers reported that singer/model/actress Grace Jones, age 42, had married her 21-year-old Turkish bodyguard in Rio.

In 1997, a Los Angeles judge sentenced Death Row Records CEO Marion "Suge" Knight to nine years in prison for violating his probation by taking part in a Las Vegas hotel brawl the previous September. Knight had pleaded no contest in the 1992 assault on two rappers as part of deal that'd kept him out of jail.

In 2000, Bruce Springsteen kicked off another leg of his reunion tour with The E Street Band in State College, Penn. The road trip wrapped up with a five-night stand at New York's Madison Square Garden in June.

Today's musical quiz:

He sang that the "Lord have mercy on a boy from 'Down in the Boondocks'." Who? Answer: Singer/songwriter Joe South.

Topics: Adrian Smith, Alanis Morissette, B.B. King, Bette Midler, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Jones, Bruce Springsteen, Buddy Holly, Carlos Santana, Celine Dion, Charlie Watts, Chuck Berry, Curtis Mayfield, Danny Glover, David Bowie, Eddie Van Halen, Elizabeth II, Elton John, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Glen Matlock, Glenn Frey, Grace Jones, Howard Jones, Jakob Dylan, James Brown, Jeff Beck, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Page, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, Johnny Rotten, Justin Jeffre, Keith Richards, Madonna, Martha Raye, Michael Bolton, Michael Jackson, Mick Fleetwood, Neil Young, Papa John, Paul Jones, Phil Collins, Porter Wagoner, Queen Latifah, Rolanda Watts, Salvatore "Toto" Riina, Steve Harley, Steve Miller, Stevie Wonder, Suge Knight, T. Washington, Tommy James, Tommy Lee Jones, Whitney Houston, Wyclef Jean
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