Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  April 25, 2003 at 2:30 AM
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(April 25)

Today's birthdays include Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus, who was born in 1945 (age 58); Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival also in 1945 (age 58); Left Banke keyboardist Michael Brown in 1949 (age 54); the Average White Band's Steve Ferrone in 1950 (age 53); and Andy Bell of Erasure in 1964 (age 39).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1956, Elvis Presley's first hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," topped the national pop music charts.

In 1968, the Beatles refused to play a benefit show for the British Olympic Fund, even though Queen Elizabeth was to attend. Said Ringo Starr, "We don't do benefits."

In 1970, members of Pacific Gas and Electric Company -- an inter-racial rock band -- were pelted with beer cans and forced to flee from a racist crowd in Raleigh, N.C.

Also in 1970, Otis Spann -- Chicago blues session player and a regular in Muddy Waters' band -- died of cancer at age 40.

In 1974, Pamela Courson -- girlfriend of the Doors' Jim Morrison -- died from a heroin overdose.

In 1977, Elvis Presley's concert in Saginaw, Mich., was taped. The recording turned out to be Presley's last. Three of the songs later appeared on the posthumous Presley album "Moody Blue."

Jazz musician Dexter Gordon dies on this day pn 1990. The Los Angeles saxophone player became an influential jazz musician and led his own groups starting in 1945. In 1986, he played a jazz musician in the critically acclaimed 1986 film "Round Midnight."

.In 1981, Paul McCartney's band Wings broke up.

In 1987, Roy Orbison headlined an "Oil Aid" benefit in Midland, Texas.

In 1993, members of the Grateful Dead helped pay for a liver transplant for San Francisco psycheldelic artist Stanley "Mouse" Miller, who created the band's skull-and-roses logo.

In 1994, Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys was sentenced to 200 hours community service for beating up a TV cameraman during a November 1993 memorial service for actor River Phoenix.

Also in 1994, Snoop Doggy Dog was named rap solo artist of the year and A Tribe Called Quest won the group of the year award at the first annual Source Hip-Hop Awards in New York.

And in 1994, Prince Charles went backstage to visit Barbra Streisand after her London concert.

In 1996, the Stone Temple Pilots cancelled a series of free shows in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles -- citing lead singer Scott Weiland's drug problems. The band said Weiland was under a doctor's care at a medical facility.

Also in 1996, it was reported that Michael Jackson had bought a 15th-century French castle about 100 miles south of Paris.

In 1997, U2 kicked off its "PopMart" tour in Las Vegas.

Also in 1997, Warren Haynes and Allen Woody announced they were quitting the Allman Brothers Band to devote their full attention to their new group, Gov't Mule.

And in 1997, Grand Funk Railroad was in New York for the first of three concerts benefitting Bosnia Relief. The shows launched the band's world tour.

In 1998, singer, actress and breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John joined thousands of other people at Detroit's Race for the Cure benefit.

In 1999, R&B singers Rogers and Zapp (brothers Roger Troutman, 47, and Larry Troutman, 54) died in an apparent murder/suicide. The police in Dayton, Ohio, said Roger was found shot near the family music studio, while Larry was found in his car that had crashed into a tree. He had suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Also in 1999, Paul Simon sang "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?" -- the lyrics from the Simon and Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson" -- as the New York Yankees honored the legendary ballplayer at New York's Yankee Stadium.

In 2000, R&B singer Mya's second album, "Fear of Flying" (on University Entertainment/Interscope Records), was released. Guest artists on the CD include TLC's Left Eye, Beenie Man, Jordan Knight and Jadakiss of the LOX.

Today's musical quiz:

The 1970s movie "A Star Is Born" starred Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. But reportedly, this actor/musician wanted to play the role that ultimately went to Kristofferson. Who? Answer: Elvis Presley. Not landing the part is said to have sent "The King" into a deep depression.

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