Today in Music: a look back at pop music

By United Press International  |  May 18, 2003 at 2:30 AM
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(May 18)

Today's birthdays include composer-conductor Meredith Willson ("The Music Man") in 1902; band leader Tommy Tucker in 1908; R&B singer "Big Joe" Turner, who was born in 1911; Perry Como in 1912; Rodney Dillard of The Dillards in 1942 (age 61); Albert Hammond, who had a top-five hit in 1972 with "It Never Rains in Southern California," also in 1942 (age 61); Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys in 1948 (age 55); Yes's Rick Wakeman, and William Wallace of the Guess Who, both in 1949 (age 54); and country's George Strait in 1952 (age 51).

Today's musical milestones:

On this day in 1959, Wilbert Harrison's recording of the blues hit "Kansas City" topped the charts.

In 1963, the Beatles kicked off the group's third tour of Britain in a year -- this time co-headlining with Roy Orbison and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

In 1968, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, the Steve Miller Blues Band, Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin topped the bill at the Northern California Rock Festival in Santa Clara.

In 1978, "The Buddy Holly Story" -- starring Gary Busey -- premiered in Dallas.

In 1986, Kodak sponsored a Statue of Liberty benefit rock concert.

In 1987, Johnny Cash was released from a Council Bluffs, Iowa, hospital two days after stopping his show. The "Man in Black" was treated for exhaustion.

In 1992, Ozzy Osbourne announced he was giving up touring at the end of his tour, which was appropriately called the "No More Tours Tour." The rocker later changed his mind and resumed touring.

Also in 1992, recording tycoon David Geffen donated $1 million to the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York.

In 1993, Michael Bolton and Mariah Carey were named songwriters of the year at the BMI Pop Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Motown classic "When A Man Loves A Woman" was named song of the year.

Also in 1993, KISS members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Bruce Kulick were inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame.

In 1994, Barbra Streisand donated $25,000 to a Detroit inner-city school to help its struggling band program. Her recording label, Sony, said it'd match the gift.

Also in 1994, Madonna popped up -- unannounced -- on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

In 1995, former Education Secretary William Bennett and the chairwoman of the National Political Congress of Black Women, Delores Tucker, blasted Time Warner for its roster of "gangsta rap" artists.

In 1998, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers -- ASCAP -- named Dianne Warren its Composer of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time. Her tune "Unbreak My Heart" was named song of the year.

Also in 1998, Firehouse filed a class-action lawsuit in New York on behalf of more than 1,500 recording artists against Sony Music Entertainment. The suit claimed Sony had knowingly underpaid foreign royalties for as long as 30 years.

In 2000, Mick Jagger left the Cannes Film Festival after getting the news that his mom, Eva Jagger, 87, had died of heart failure following a month-long stay in a London hospital.

Today's musical quiz:

Barbra Streisand is only the second artist to have 40 "gold" albums. Who was the first? Answer: Elvis Presley.

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