Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  March 26, 2003 at 2:30 AM
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(March 26)

Today's birthdays include Rufus Thomas, whose early 1960s hits included "Walking the Dog" and "Funky Chicken." Thomas was born in 1917. Five Satins lead singer Fred Parris was born in 1936 (age 67); Diana Ross in 1944 (age 59); Richard Tandy of Electric Light Orchestra in 1948 (age 55); Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, also in 1948 (age 55); bassist Fran Sheehan of Boston in 1949 (age 54); Teddy Pendergrass in 1950 (age 53); country's Charly McClain in 1956 (age 47); Susanne Sulley of Human League in 1963 (age 40); and country singer/songwriter Kenney Chesney in 1968 (age 35).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1970, Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary pleaded guilty to "taking immoral liberties" with a 14-year-old girl.

In 1971, Emerson, Lake and Palmer recorded their version of Russian composer Moussorgsky's suite "Pictures at an Exhibition," live at Newcastle City Hall in England.

In 1975, Ken Russell's film version of The Who rock opera "Tommy" premiered in London.

In 1976, Paul McCartney's first live appearance in the United States in a decade was delayed three weeks when guitarist Jimmy McCulloch of Wings broke a finger in an accident in his Paris hotel room.

In 1977, "Less Than Zero" -- the debut single from Elvis Costello -- was released by the newly formed Stiff Records in London.

In 1980, Police played a one-night show in Bombay, India. The group was the first western pop band to perform in the Indian city in 10 years.

In 1986, Kerry McCarver Lewis -- the 23-year-old sixth wife of Jerry Lee Lewis, then 51 -- filed for divorce. The couple later reconciled.

In 1991, Black Crowes lead singer Chris Robinson said the band was dropped as the opening act for ZZ Top because of his on-stage remarks about commercial sponsorship of concerts. (Miller Brewing Company was sponsoring the ZZ Top tour.)

In 1992, a Boston judge dropped assault and battery charges against New Kid On The Block Jordan Knight, who had allegedly ordered his bodyguard to slug a heckler outside a nightclub the previous June.

In 1995, rapper Eric "Eazy-E" Wright died from AIDS only three weeks after being diagnosed. He was 31. Wright was the founder of the rap group NWA and of the Los Angeles-based Ruthless Records.

In 1998, a survey named Madonna the worst dressed at the 70th annual Academy Awards. The pop singer-turned-actress had styled her hair in blonde ringlets and wore a black dress with the decolletáge to her waist.

In 1999, rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard -- a.k.a. Russell Jones -- of the rap group Wu Tang Clan was arrested yet again, for the second time in 5 days and at least the fourth time in three months, this time in Harlem, N.Y. He was charged with driving without a license.

In 2000, country singer Faith Hill substituted for Whitney Houston during a medley of old Oscar-nominated songs at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards. The Los Angeles Times reported conductor Burt Bacharach fired Houston after a rehearsal in which the diva reportedly was unprepared and unresponsive to Bacharach's direction, but program publicist Jane Labonte said only that Houston was having problems with her voice during the rehearsal and wasn't sure she could perform.

Also in 2000, Kiss performed its own version of the Pepsi "Joy of Cola" jingle in a new commercial that debuted during the 72nd Academy Awards. Also in the spot: "Pepsi Girl" Hallie Eisenberg.

Also in 2000, Carly Simon performed the Beatles' song "Act Naturally" for a Blockbuster ad that aired for the first time during the Oscars telecast.

Today's musical quiz:

What was Kenney Chesney's major at East Tennessee State University? Answer: Advertising and marketing.

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