This Day in Music History — December 21

1968 : Janis Joplin makes her solo concert debut in Memphis at an event for the Stax/Volt record label. The Stax house band Booker T. & The MG’s also plays.

1970 : Elvis Presley meets President Nixon in the Oval Office at the White House, where the iconic picture of the two shaking hands is taken.

1991 : Bohemian Rhapsody goes back to #1 on the UK charts after the death of Freddie Mercury, and stays there for five weeks. In America, the song would get new life the next year when it was used in the movie Wayne’s World.

1996 : En route to a White House dinner with the Clintons, Tony Bennett suffers a ruptured hernia and is rushed to the hospital.

2005 : Elton John and his partner David Furnish take part in a civil ceremony (gay marriage was not legal in England) to make their union official. Guests at the ceremony, which takes place in Windsor, England, include George Michael, Sharon Stone, and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.

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This Day in Music History — December 4

1956 : At Sun Studio in Memphis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis jam together on a few tunes. Johnny Cash shows up later to get in the picture and complete what will become known as the “Million Dollar Quartet.”

1969 : Jay-Z is born in housing projects in Brooklyn – something he will remind us of many times in his raps.

1971 : During a Frank Zappa concert, the Montreaux Casino in Switzerland catches fire when someone fires a flare gun, inspiring Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water.” Deep Purple were there to record their album Machine Head the following day, but ended up using the Grand Hotel and including the song as a last-minute addition.

1980 : Led Zeppelin makes it official: they will not continue after the death of their drummer John Bonham. They never fully reform, but do play some shows with Jason Bonham filling in for his father.

1993 : Frank Zappa dies of terminal prostate cancer at age 52 in Los Angeles, California.

This Day in Music History — November 29

1959 : The GRAMMY Awards show is televised nationally for the first time.

1966 : Elvis hears Tom Jones’ version of Green Green Grass Of Home on the radio just outside Little Rock, and calls the radio station to hear it several times. Elvis would eventually cover the song.

1979 : Paul Simon hits his record label, CBS, with two lawsuits in an attempt to break his contract.

2001 : George Harrison succumbs to lung cancer at age 58. His final hours are spent with his wife, son, and musician Ravi Shankar at his side.

2003 : In front of a crowd of 40,000+ at Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, The Corrs make their first concert appearance as part of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 campaign to raise AIDS awareness in Africa. Alongside artist like Bono, Beyonce and Peter Gabriel they help raise money for the Nelson Mandela Foundation for AIDS.

 

This Day in Music History — November 26

1954 : On tour, Elvis Presley sends a telegram to his parents: “Hi babies, here’s the money to pay the bills, don’t tell no one how much I sent I will send more next week. There is a card in the mail. Love Elvis.”

1989 : MTV’s Unplugged series premieres with an episode featuring Squeeze. Jules Shear hosted the first season.

2001 : At the Queen’s Royal Command Performance in London, Elton John, Cher and Donny Osmond perform.

2002 : Actor and major Elvis fan Nicolas Cage divorces Lisa Marie Presley after less than four months, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

2011 : Sugarland’s lead vocalist, Jennifer Nettles, marries her boyfriend of two years, Justin Miller, at a chapel in the foothills of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains.

This Day in Music History — November 25

1966 : The Jimi Hendrix Experience plays their first UK show at the Bag O’Nails in London.

1975 : Deep in debt, Elvis Presley takes out a $350,000 loan from the National Bank of Commerce in Memphis, TN. His Graceland estate is put up as collateral.

1976 : At the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, The Band plays their last concert, which is filmed by Martin Scorsese and released as the classic concert movie The Last Waltz. Guest performers include Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond,Van Morrison, and Neil Young.

1998 : Spin magazine editor Craig Marks tells police that shock rocker Marilyn Manson’s bodyguards pinned him against a wall and hauled him up into the air. Marks claims he was invited backstage to talk with Manson after the artist performed at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Manson allegedly threatened Marks. “He said `You know I can kill you, your family and everyone you know,'” Marks claims.

2005 : Country music makes itself comfortable all around New York when the Country Music Association holds its 39th annual CMA Awards show at Madison Square Garden.

This Day in Music History — November 8

1957 : Elvis Presley’s third movie, Jailhouse Rock, opens nationally. It had a premiere a few weeks earlier at the Memphis theater where Elvis was once an usher.

1964 : Judy Garland and Liza Minelli perform together at the London Palladium, a performance recorded for American television and the LP Live At The London Palladium.

1968 : Diana Ross leaves The Supremes to begin her solo career, and is replaced by Jean Terrell.

1994 : Sonny Bono, half of Sonny and Cher and former mayor of Palm Springs, California, is elected to the US House of Representatives, representing the 44th district in California.

2004 : Brad Paisley, Chris DuBois, Neil Thrasher, and Emmylou Harris and EMI Music Publishing are the top honorees at the 42nd Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards, held at Nashville’s Opryland Hotel.

This Day in Music History — October 26

1935 : The NBC Radio show Lux Radio Theatre presents its newest find — a 12-year-old girl singer named Judy Garland.

1965 : The Beatles are awarded Members of the British Empire (MBE) medals from Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace. John Lennon claims they smoked marijuana in the bathroom before receiving the awards, although George Harrison said it was just tobacco. Harrison and Paul McCartney put the awards on their jackets for the Sgt. Pepper album cover; Lennon sent his back in 1969.

1980 : Paul Kantner of Jefferson Starship is taken to LA’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after he (correctly) suspects he’s having a brain hemorrhage. His wife initially doesn’t believe him, but eventually calls the hospital’s front desk, requesting “would you please get an ambulance for this asshole?”

1993 : Michael Jackson is awarded a patent for the system that allows him to lean in unnatural angles during performances of “Smooth Criminal.” To recreate the video on stage, Jackson and his dancers wore special shoes that they could insert into pegs set up on stage for the famous lean.

2010 : Keith Richards releases his autobiography, which is called Life. His drug use is a big topic – here’s a quote: “I loved a good high. And if you stay up, you get the songs that everyone else misses because they’re asleep.”

This Day in Music History — October 25

1983 : “Islands in the Stream,” written by The Bee Gees, becomes a #1 Pop hit in a duet by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

1996 : The first Ozzfest is held as a two-day festival in Phoenix, Arizona and Devore, California.

1997 : During a concert in Flint, Michigan, Johnny Cash tells the crowd he has Parkinson’s Disease after he falls over trying to pick up a guitar pick. The crowd thinks he’s joking, but Cash’s manager confirms it in a statement two days later.

2000 : Billy Ray Cyrus lends his support to two causes when his tour bus stops in 16 different locations on Nashville’s Music Row throughout the day to collect food for Second Harvest Food Bank’s Harvest 2000; and later the same night, headlines a concert benefiting the charity

2006 : Forbes announces that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain is now the Top-Earning Dead Celebrity, beating out Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, George Harrison, Ray Charles, and Bob Marley.

This Day in Music History — October 24

1937 : Cole Porter is involved in an horrific accident. While riding his horse at Locust Valley, New York, the animal falls and rolls over onto him crushing his legs. He will spend the rest of his life in constant pain.

1980 : The Guinness Book of World Records presents Paul McCartney with a special rhodium album for being the best-selling songwriter in the history of recorded music, having written 43 platinum songs and sold over 100 million records.

1992 : End Of The Road by Boyz II Men ties Elvis Presley’s Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog as the longest-running #1 single when it reaches its 11th week at the top. It would spend 2 more weeks at #1, but lose the record 3 months later when Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You stays for 14 weeks.

2008 : Jennifer Hudson is struck by tragedy after her brother, mother and nephew are murdered in Chicago. The man eventually arrested for the crime is Hudson’s brother-in-law, William Balfour.

2012 : R&B singer Bobby Brown is arrested in Los Angeles, California, for a DUI ticket – after a similar incident in March of the same year in which he’d pleaded ‘no contest’ and agreed to attend rehab. This time he is released on bail.

This Day in Music History — October 21

1976 : Keith Moon plays what is to be his final show with The Who, a concert at the Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

1992 : Elvis’ first grandson, Benjamin Storm, is born to Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough.

1992 : Madonna’s book Sex is released. Everything about it is shocking: the $50 price, the Mylar wrapping, the metal covers, and especially the images inside. Steven Meisel’s photos show the singer naked in various erotic scenes, and a few celebrities show up as well, including Isabella Rossellini, Naomi Campbell and Vanilla Ice.

2003 : David Gest, recent ex-husband of Liza Minelli, sues the singer for $10 million, alleging physical and emotional cruelty.