Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  April 6, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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(April 6)

Today's birthdays include country's Merle Haggard, who was born in 1937; Michelle Phillips, formerly of the Mamas and the Papas, in 1944 (age 59); reggae star Bob Marley was born in 1945; Hot Chocolate drummer Tony Connor in 1947 (age 56); Air Supply's Ralph Cooper in 1951 (age 52); and Housemartins bassist Stan Cullimore in 1962 (age 41).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Paramount Pictures signed Elvis Presley to a three-picture deal just five days after his first screen test.

In 1957, Perry Como scored his only No. 1 hit during the rock and roll era with "Round and Round." Como had scored eight chart-toppers between 1945 and 1954 but his popularity was eclipsed by rock and roll.

In 1968, Syd Barrett -- lead guitarist and founder of of Pink Floyd -- quit the band.

In 1971, the Rolling Stones unveiled the "lips" logo for the band's record label.

In 1974, "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones" -- with a quadrophonic soundtrack -- premiered in New York.

Also in 1974, California Jam -- a festival featuring the Eagles, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath -- opened.

In 1979, Rod Stewart married Alanna Hamilton -- George Hamilton's ex-wife -- in the Beverly Hills, Calif., home of Tina Sinatra. The marriage ended by 1984.

In 1983, Danny Rapp -- lead singer with Danny and the Juniors -- committed suicide.

In 1984, the film "This is Spinal Tap" opened in New York.

Also in 1984, Thomas Dolby made his U.S. concert debut in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

In 1985, singer/songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan -- who had a series of hit singles in the early 1970s -- won his lawsuit against his manager, Gordon Mills, whom he accused of not paying royalties. O'Sullivan was awarded $2 million.

In 1987, "singing cowboy" Gene Autry became the first person ever honored with FIVE stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Also in 1987, Hank Williams Jr. was named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.

In 1990, the manager of the rock band Bon Jovi was sentenced to three years probation on drug charges.

Also in 1990, the "Godfather of Soul" James Brown was transferred from a Georgia prison -- where he was serving a six-year sentence for a variety of charges -- to a minimum-security facility, where he counseled drug abusers.

In 1992, George Harrison performed his first full-length concert in Britain since 1969, when he had played with the other Beatles on the roof of Apple Records in London.

In 1993, an out-of-court settlement was reached in former KISS drummer Peter Criss's lawsuit against the Star tabloid, which had published a story claiming he was a homeless alcoholic "bum."

Also in 1993, LaToya Jackson avoided an IRS auction by paying the back taxes on her interest in her parents' home in Encino, Calif.

In 1994, Elton John and Billy Joel announced plans for a joint summer tour.

In 1997, Michael Jackson's 3D musical space movie "Captain EO" had its final performance at the Tomorrowland Theater at Disneyland.

In 1998, singer Tammy Wynette -- the "first lady of country music" -- died in her sleep at her Nashville home. She was 55.

Also in 1998, Wendy O. Williams, lead singer of 1980s punk band Plasmatics, died from a self-inflected shotgun wound. Her body was found in the woods near her Connecticut home. Williams was 41.

And in 1998, R. Kelly was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in Chicago after he refused to turn down the music blasting from his sports utility vehicle.

And in 1998, Lollapalooza co-owner Ted Garner told USA Today that the traveling rock festival was off for that summer -- because he couldn't sign any headlining acts.

In 1999, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan announced plans to tour together for the first time. PaulBob'99 kicked off June 6, 1999, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Also in 1999, Johnny Cash made an unannounced appearance at his tribute concert in New York City. He performed his classic hit "Folsom Prison Blues." Other artists at the tribute included Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, U2, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris and Wyclef Jean.

In 2000, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish was among the hundreds of Confederate flag opponents who gathered at the South Carolina Capitol building in Columbia to urge state lawmakers to take down the Civil War-era banner flying atop the Statehouse dome.

In 2001, Eminem picked up two awards at the 11th annual Detroit Music Awards. The show featured a performance by the rapper's group D-12.

Also in 2001, Melissa Etheridge, Paula Cole, the Bangles and Sarah McLachlan were among the artists who performed at a Rock for Choice Show in Hollywood. The concert raised money for the Feminist Majority's Campaign to Save Roe v. Wade.

Today's musical quiz:

Reportedly, the Chinese soldiers guarding the crew of the U.S. Navy surveillance plane that landed on Hainan Island a year ago asked the Americans for the lyrics to this song. What? Answer: "Hotel California" by the Eagles.

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