Today in Music: a look back at pop music

United Press International

(March 15)

Today's birthdays include producer Arif Mardin, who was born in 1932 (age 71); Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh in 1940 (age 63); Mike Love of the Beach Boys in 1941 (age 62); Sly Stone, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, and David Costell of Gary Lewis and the Playboys, both in 1944 (age 59); War guitarist Howard Scott in 1946 (age 57); guitarist Ry Cooder in 1947 (age 56); Dee Snider of Twisted Sister in 1955 (age 48); Steve Coy of Dead or Alive, and Terence Trent D'Arby, both in 1962 (age 41); Rockwell, whose real name is Kenneth Gordy, son of Motown's Berry Gordy, in 1964 (age 39); and Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath in 1968 (age 35).


Today's musical milestones:

In 1954, the Chords recorded "Sh-boom," a song with a lighthearted melody and nonsensical lyrics, and kicked off the new era of "doo-wop" music.

In 1955, an obscure Fats Domino opened the door to stardom when he recorded "Ain't That a Shame."

In 1956, Col. Tom Parker became Elvis Presley's personal manager.

In 1957, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers arrived in Britain for a tour.


In 1958, Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army.

In 1966, Roger Miller won six Grammys, giving him a total of 11 in two years.

In 1972, a Los Angeles radio station played the Donny Osmond song "Puppy Love" for 90 minutes non-stop. Police were called to the station by listeners thinking something was wrong. Nope.

In 1975, Marc Bolan's group T-Rex disbanded.

In 1980, the Clash film "Rude Boys" opened in London.

Also in 1980, Phil Lynott's third volume of poetry -- "A Collected Work of Phil Lynott" -- was published.

In 1984, Liverpool, England, named the surviving Beatles "freemen" -- the city's highest honor.

In 1987, Barbara Mandrell was named All-Around Female Entertainer by the People's Choice Awards.

In 1994, Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton each took home two awards from the eighth annual Soul Train Music Awards.

In 1995, Paul McCartney announced that the surviving Beatles had recorded some new songs, which would be released at year's end, along with the TV documentary "The Beatles Anthology."

Also in 1995, Mick Jagger and "Forrest Gump" producer Steve Tisch announced they'd formed a film production company, to be known as Lip Service.


And in 1995, Madonna told a Los Angeles radio station that she'll star in the title role of the movie version of "Evita."

In 1999, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Curtis Mayfield, the Staple Singers, the late Dusty Springfield and the late Del Shannon were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony in New York City.

Today's musical quiz:

In 1978, Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott was among the artists who recorded a rock music version of this sci-fi classic novel. What? Answer: H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds."


(March 16)

Today's birthdays include Jerry Lewis, who had a hit song in 1956 with "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby," born in 1926 (age 77); Jerry Jeff Walker in 1942 (age 61); Alice Cooper guitarist Michael Bruce in 1948 (age 55); Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel in 1951 (age 52); and Nancy Wilson of Heart in 1954 (age 49).

Today's musical milestones:

The Beatles' smash album "Can't Buy Me Love," largest advance-selling record in history with 2.1 million advance orders placed around the world, was released on this day in 1964.


In 1968, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by the late Otis Redding topped the Billboard Hot-100 singles chart.

Also in 1968, singer Tammi Terrell -- best known for her duets with Marvin Gaye -- died of brain cancer following a series of operations. She was only 24.

In 1971, Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" captured six Grammy Awards --including record, album and song of the year.

In 1974, the Grand Ole Opry held its first show in the new Opry house at Opryland USA. On hand: President Nixon.

In 1975, London's historic Rainbow Theater closed its doors following a show that featured Procol Harum, John Martyn and Kevin Coyne.

In 1977, A&M Records tore up its contract with the Sex Pistols only a week after signing the band with much hoopla.

In 1991, seven members of Reba McEntire's band were killed in a plane crash in Southern California.

Also in 1991, a boy was born to rocker Eddie Van Halen and his wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli. They named him Wolfgang.

In 1995, rapper Eazy E -- real name Eric Wright -- announced he had AIDS. He died a few weeks later.


In 1997, Courtney Love told a London newspaper that she planned to sell the Seattle mansion where her husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, killed himself in April 1994. The singer said Cobain's ever-present fans had robbed her and her young daughter of privacy.

In 1998, Donna Summer made her debut at New York's Carnegie Hall at a benefit concert for the Gay Men's Health Crisis.

In 1999, the Recording Industry Association of America unveiled the Diamond Award to recognize record sales of 10-million units.

In 2000, Carlos Santana revealed in Rolling Stone magazine how he had been sexually molested as a child for almost two years.

Today's musical quiz:

President Nixon performed at the opening of the Grand Ole Opry House. True or false? Answer: True. Nixon played three songs on the piano and also played with a yo-yo on stage like Opry star Roy Acuff.


(March 17)

Today's birthdays include Nat "King" Cole, who was born in 1919; John Sebastian, who was with the Lovin' Spoonful before going solo, and Them drummer Patrick McCauley, both in 1944 (age 59); War drummer Harold Brown in 1946 (age 57); Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham in 1951 (age 52); country singer Susie Allanson in 1952 (age 51); and Level 42 keyboardist/singer Mike Lindup in 1959 (age 44).


Today's musical milestones:

One of radio's earliest shows, "The A&P Gypsies," featuring folk music with a Russian influence, debuted on this date in 1924.

In 1962, Alexis Korner's Blues Inc. debuted at the Ealing Club in London with future Rolling Stone Charlie Watts on drums. Within weeks, Mick Jagger and Jack Bruce would join the group -- Jagger as a vocalist and Bruce on bass.

In 1968, the Bee Gees made its U.S. television debut -- performing "To Love Somebody" and "Words" on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

In 1973, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album first entered the Billboard Top-200 album chart -- and has hardly left it since.

In 1978, "American Hot Wax" -- the biopic about disc jockey Alan Freed -- premiered.

In 1982, Samuel George Jr., lead singer of the Capitols, was stabbed to death at age 39. The Capitols -- a Detroit trio -- had a top-10 hit in 1966 with the song "Cool Jerk."

In 1987, Boy George met Princess Diana at a London disco.

Also in 1987, fire damaged the San Diego, Calif., home of Jim Croce's widow, Ingrid.


In 1990, Prince began filming "Graffiti Bridge," the follow-up to his movie "Purple Rain."

Also in 1990, former Blind Faith bassist Ric Grech died at age 44.

In 1994, Michael Jackson's mother testified before a Los Angeles grand jury investigating whether to bring criminal charges of child molestation against her pop star son. No charges were ever filed.

In 1996, a British newspaper (the London Sun) reported that Michael Jackson had purchased a French castle near EuroDisney outside Paris.

In 1997, filming began on the first motion picture ever shot inside Graceland. It starred Harvey Keitel as a man who claims to be Elvis Presley and Bridget Fonda as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator.

In 1998, "Van Halen 3" -- featuring new vocalist Gary Cherone -- was released.

Also in 1998, Ice Cube kicked off a promotional tour to push the film "The Player's Club" as well as the soundtrack CD.

And in 1998, rapper C-Bo -- a.k.a. Shawn Thomas -- was sentenced to two more months in jail in Sacramento, Calif., after testing positive for marijuana. That was a violation of his probation.

Today's musical quiz:


Country singer Susie Allanson appeared in the film version of what Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera? Answer: "Jesus Christ Superstar."


(March 18)

Today's birthdays include country singer Charley Pride, who was born in 1938 (age 65); soul singer/songwriter Wilson Pickett in 1941 (age 62); drummer Barrie Wilson of Procol Harum in 1947; singer/actress Irene Cara in 1959 (age 44); singer/actress Vanessa Williams in 1963 (age 40); and rapper/actress Queen Latifah in 1970 (age 33).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1957, Bill Haley and the Comets arrived back in the United States following a world tour, during which the band performed for more than half-a-million fans.

In 1965, members of the Rolling Stones earned their "bad boys" reputation when they were fined for urinating in front of a public filling station after a concert in Essex, England.

In 1970, Country Joe MacDonald was convicted of public obscenity for leading the audience at a Worcester, Mass., concert in his "fish" cheer, which spells out the so-called "f" word.

In 1978, an estimated quarter-of-a-million people turned out to hear Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Foreigner and Santana -- among others -- perform at the California Jam 2, held at a racetrack near Los Angeles.


In 1982, Teddy Pendergrass was paralyzed when his Rolls Royce smashed into a tree in Philadelphia. He reportedly was attempting to avoid a collision with another vehicle when he lost control of his car.

In 1986, Little Richard pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges related to his car accident the previous October. The musician had smashed his speeding sports car into a phone pole in West Hollywood. He suffered a broken leg.

In 1988, Ike Turner was convicted of cocaine possession in Santa Monica, Calif.

In 1992, Donna Summer received the 1,952nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1993, Lindsey Buckingham, of Fleetwood Mac fame, launched his first tour in 11 years -- and his first-ever as a solo artist -- with a concert in Chicago.

In 1995, a 17-year-old boy accused Hole lead singer Courtney Love of punching him out during a concert in Orlando, Fla. The charges were later dropped.

In 1996, prosecutors in Los Angeles said they wouldn't retry rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg on voluntary manslaughter charges in the August 1993 shooting death of a reputed gang member.

Also in 1996, Aaron Neville performed a concert for inmates at Louisiana's Angola St. Prison.


In 1997, a jury in Santa Maria, Calif., ruled in favor of Michael Jackson in a lawsuit filed by five former Neverland Ranch workers. The ex-employees contended they'd been fired after cooperating with the investigation into the child molestation allegations against Jackson.

Also in 1997, "Nine Lives" -- Aerosmith's first studio album in four years -- was released.

And in 1997, slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. -- a.k.a. Christopher Wallace -- was laid to rest following a private funeral and a motorcade through the streets of Brooklyn, N.Y., where he grew up. The rapper had been killed in Los Angeles nine days earlier in a drive-by shooting that remained unsolved.

In 1999, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed in public for the first time in 10 years at the Asbury Park Convention Center in New Jersey. The show was the first of two benefitting local community groups.

Today's musical quiz:

No flash in the pan, "Fame's" Irene Cara also sang the title track for this 1980s dance movie. What? Answer: "Flashdance."


(March 19)

Today's birthdays include guitarist Paul Atkinson of the Zombies, who was born in 1946 (age 57); Pointer Sister Ruth Pointer also in 1946 (age 57); Bay City Rollers drummer Derek Longmuir in 1952 (age 51); the B-52s Ricky Wilson in 1953; and Terry Hall of the Specials in 1959 (age 44).


Today's musical milestones:

In 1957, Elvis Presley purchased "Graceland," a stately colonial mansion on what was then the outskirts of Memphis.

In 1958, setting the stage for future heavy metal groups, guitarist Link Wray's instrumental "Rumble" was released.

In 1970, Rolling Stone magazine revealed that the opening words of Lennon and McCartney's "Come Together" were the same as lyrics in Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me" -- "Here come old flat top/He come groovin' up slowly..."

In 1974, Jefferson Starship -- a revamped, updated Jefferson Airplane fronted by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick -- launched its first tour.

In 1976, guitarist Paul Kossoff -- a founding member of Free -- died in his sleep from a heart attack on a flight from London to New York. He was 26.

Also in 1976, Uriah Heep bassist Gary Thain died from a drug overdose.

In 1982, Randy Rhoads -- Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist -- was killed during a flying prank gone awry in Orlando, Fla. He was a passenger aboard a plane that -- while buzzing Osbourne's tour bus -- clipped a wing and crashed. Rhoads was 25.

In 1984, Duran Duran played to a full house at New York's Madison Square Garden.


In 1988, The Cult drummer Les Warner left the group when its members decided to relocate to Los Angeles.

In 1993, drummer Jeff Ward -- who had performed with Ministry and also with Nine Inch Nails -- killed himself.

In 1995, former Giant Records President Charles Minor was shot to death, allegedly by an ex-girlfriend. Minor was 46.

In 1996, at a London news conference, members of the Sex Pistols announced plans for a 20th anniversary reunion tour.

Also in 1996, Michael Jackson and Saudi Prince Al Walid announced a deal to create an international multi-media entertainment company.

And in 1996, "The Beatles Anthology 2" was released in the United States.

In 1999, the Boston Globe reported that a $1.2 million agreement in principle had been reached in a woman's lawsuit against Everclear, the Paradise nightclub in Boston and two members of the New England Patriots football team. The woman allegedly had been injured when the players dove off the stage during a 1997 concert at the nightclub by the rock band.

Also in 1999, the Dallas Morning News reported that House Majority leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, had tried to get Dallas's Reunion Arena to cancel a Marilyn Manson concert. However, arena management refused, saying it could not cancel a legal contract.


And in 1999, rapper Master P donated $250,000 to the New Orleans Catholic Archdiocese to save the school he attended.

Today's musical quiz:

Before achieving fame on their own, how did the Pointer Sisters help pay the bills? Answer: Ruth, Anita, Bonnie and Ruth Pointer did work as backing singers for such artists as Grace Slick and Boz Scaggs.


(March 20)

Today's birthdays include country singer and actor Jerry Reed in 1937 (age 65); Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake and Palmer fame and also of Asia, in 1951 (age 51); Jimmy Vaughan of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and the older brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, also in 1951 (age 51); and former Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom in 1961 (age 41).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1935, "Your Hit Parade" debuted on the radio.

In 1968, Eric Clapton and Buffalo Springfield members Neil Young, Richie Furay and Jim Messina were arrested at a private home in Los Angeles. They were charged with "being in a place where it is suspected that marijuana is being used."


In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married at the British Consulate in Gibraltar. Beatles assistant Peter Brown gave the bride away.

In 1970, David Bowie married Angela Barnett in Bromley, England.

In 1971, Janis Joplin posthumously topped the Billboard Hot-100 singles chart with "Me and Bobby McGee."

In 1987, Boy George pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana charges in a London court. He was released on a "conditional discharge."

Also in 1987, Kenneth Threadgill -- patriarch of the Austin, Texas, music scene who gave Janis Joplin her start -- died at age 78.

In 1991, Michael Jackson signed another contract with Sony in a deal estimated to be worth more than $1 billion.

Also in 1991, a Los Angeles jury awarded Peggy Lee $3.8 million in her lawsuit against Disney for not sharing with her the profits from the videotape sales of "Lady and the Tramp." Lee did four character voices and wrote six songs for the animated film, and was paid $3,500.

And in 1991, the four-year-old son of Eric Clapton was killed when he fell from the window of his mother's 53rd-floor New York City apartment.


In 1994, Madonna won the worst actress Razzie Award for the third time, for her film "Body of Evidence."

In 1996, the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences announced the 1997 Grammy Awards would be held at New York's Madison Square Garden -- marking the first time the show was being staged in an arena setting.

In 1998, a federal jury in Springfield, Mo., cleared Tony Orlando of sexual harassment and discrimination charges in a lawsuit filed by two of his former backing singers at the Yellow Ribbon Theater in Branson.

Today's musical quiz:

The 1973 Rolling Stones song "Angie" is about whom? Answer: David Bowie's wife at the time, Angela.


(March 21)

Today's birthdays include Rose Stone, keyboardist with Sly and the Family Stone, who was born in 1945 (age 57); Roger Hodgson, formerly with Supertramp, in 1950 (age 52); Stylistics lead singer Russell Thompkins Jr. in 1951 (age 51); KC and the Sunshine Band drummer Robert Johnson in 1953 (age 49); and Walt Stocker, formerly with The Babys, in 1954 (age 48).

Today's musical milestones:

In 1952, the first rock 'n' roll concert -- the Moondog Coronation Ball -- was held in the Cleveland Arena.


In 1955, Big Maybelle recorded "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" in New York.

In 1956, Carl Perkins' career was derailed when he was injured in a car accident en route to perform on Perry Como's TV show. Perkins' brother, Jay, was killed in the crash.

In 1961, the Beatles played Liverpool's Cavern Club for the first time.

In 1969, one day after their wedding, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began the first of their two "Bed-Ins for Peace" at the Amsterdam Hilton.

In 1970, the Guess Who single "American Woman" was released.

In 1976, David Bowie and Iggy Pop were arrested on marijuana possession charges at New York's Rochester hotel. The case was later dropped.

In 1984, Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats married actress Britt Eklund.

In 1987, Journey was named Outstanding Group of the Year at the 10th annual Bay Area Music Awards. John Fogerty took home the Musician of the Year award.

Also in 1987, Dean Paul Martin -- "Dino" of the '60s trio Dino, Desi and Billy and Dean Martin's son -- was killed when his Air National Guard jet crashed in the San Bernardino Mountains in California.


In 1988, Ike Turner was sentenced to five years' probation after pleading guilty to cocaine possession charges in a Pasadena, Calif., courtroom. It was the musician's second drug conviction in a week.

Also in 1988, Ziggy Marley -- son of the late reggae star Bob Marley -- released his "Conscious Party" album.

And in 1988, Hank Williams Jr. was named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.

In 1993, the "Beauty and the Beast" soundtrack, k.d. lang, Billy Ray Cyrus and U2 were winners at the Juno Awards, Canada's version of the Grammys.

In 1994, Bruce Springsteen won the best song Oscar for his "Streets of Philadelphia" from the movie "Philadelphia."

Also in 1994, rocker Mitch Ryder announced he would donate royalties from his new song "Mercy" to "Dr. Death" Jack Kevorkian's campaign to permit assisted suicide in Michigan.

In 1995, REM drummer Bill Berry left a Lausanne, Switzerland, hospital 19 days after undergoing brain surgery to repair an aneurysm.

Also in 1995, Elton John's "Made in England" album was released.

In 1996, it was announced that Sheryl Crow would accompany first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to visit U.S. peacekeeping troops in Bosnia.


In 1997, Snoop Doggy Dogg was sentenced to three years' probation after pleading guilty to being an ex-felon in possession of a gun. The charges stemmed from an arrest on July 21, 1993.

In 1999, Elton John's 7th annual Oscar night fundraiser in West Hollywood raised more than $300,000 for his AIDS charity.

In 2000, 'N Sync broke the record for sales when the group's second CD, "No Strings Attached," sold 1.1 million copies in its first day of release.

Today's musical quiz:

Who was the Beatles' drummer when they first played Liverpool's Cavern Club? Answer: Pete Best. He was replaced the following year by Ringo Starr.

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