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 — November 15

1968 : Janis Joplin performs her last gig with Big Brother and the Holding Company at New York’s Hunter College.

1990 : German producer Frank Farian admits that Milli Vanilli (Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan) didn’t actually sing on the album Girl You Know It’s True. A scandal ensues and the duo are stripped of the Best New Artist Grammy.

2000 : Michael Abram, the Liverpool native who broke into George Harrison’s home and stabbed him in an incident earlier in the year, is found not guilty by reason of insanity at Oxford Crown Court. Abram is ordered confined to a mental hospital for an indefinite period of time.

2005 : Alabama, Glen Campbell and DeFord Bailey are inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the Country Music Association Awards in New York.

This Day in Music History — October 10

1970 : The head of the FCC issues a statement in rebuttal to Vice President Spiro Agnew’s complaint that radio stations were playing too many songs about drugs. The statement reads: “If we really want to do something about drugs, let’s do something about life… The song writers are trying to help us understand our plight and deal with it. It’s about the only leadership we’re getting. They’re not really urging you to adopt a heroin distribution program, Mr. Vice President.”

1977 : An audience member throws an M-80 firecracker on stage at an Aerosmith show at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. The explosion injures lead singer Steven Tyler’s cornea and guitarist Joe Perry’s hand. The next year, Tyler is hit in the face with a bottle when they play the arena.

1979 : The film The Rose, a thinly-veiled biopic of Janis Joplin starring Bette Midler, premieres in Hollywood.

2001 : Embracing the internet at a time when broadband was rare, U2 webcasts a show from their Elevation tour in South Bend, Indiana for free on U2.com.

This Day in Music History — October 4

1961 : Bob Dylan debuts at Carnegie Hall, playing for a grand total of 53 fans.

1970 : Janis Joplin is found dead at the Landmark Hotel in Los Angeles after a heroin overdose. She was just 27.

1996 : The major motion picture That Thing You Do!, which deals with a fictional 1964 band attempting to break big, and starring Tom Hanks and Liv Tyler, opens in US theaters.

2000 : Dixie Chicks are the big winners at the CMA Awards, taking Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year (for Fly), Vocal Group of the Year and Video of the Year for “Goodbye Earl.”

2007 : Respected music publication, Pitchfork give Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago a complimentary review (and a score of ‘8.1’) leading to huge record label interest.

This Day in Music History — September 21

1968 : Janis Joplin announces her upcoming departure from her band Big Brother & the Holding Company, which observant listeners had decried as too amateurish for her talents.

1980 : Bob Marley, who had refused treatment for a spreading melanoma due to his religious beliefs, collapses while jogging in New York’s Central Park and is hospitalized. Two nights later he performs the next date on his North American tour, the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, but it sadly proves to be his last.

2004 : Cat Stevens, known as Yusuf Islam since the late Seventies, is stopped from entering the US after his name is erroneously found on a terrorism watch list.

2011 : R.E.M. announce that they’re calling it quits after more than 30 years. In a post on their website, the band members write, “To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

This Day in Music History — August 12

1958 : On “compassionate leave” from the Army, Elvis Presley travels to Memphis’ Baptist Memorial hospital to be by the side of his mother, Gladys, who is quickly deteriorating from acute hepatitis.

1966 : The Beatles begin the US leg of their last tour, playing a date at the International Amphitheater in Chicago, IL.

1967 : Fleetwood Mac make their stage debut at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor, England, alongside such acts as Donovan, Cream, The Small Faces, and Chicken Shack, featuring a young Christine Perfect (later known as Christine McVie).


1970
: At Harvard, Janis Joplin performs what would be her final concert, ending with a version of Gershwin’s Summertime.

1994 : Woodstock 2 – officially “Woodstock ’94,” begins in Saugerties, New York with Sheryl Crow, Todd Rundgren and The Violent Femmes performing. The festival is a success, drawing a crowd of about 350,000.

2008 : The man who shot and killed John Lennon, Mark David Chapman, is denied parole for the 5th time.

This Day in Music History — August 8

1970 : Christine McVie plays her first gig with Fleetwood Mac at a show in New Orleans. The band’s first female member, she played on some of their albums before she was asked to join full-time.

1970 : At Philadelphia’s Mount Lawn Cemetery, Janis Joplin purchases a headstone for her idol, Bessie Smith, the famous African-American Blues singer who died from injuries suffered in a 1937 car crash – after being refused at a whites-only hospital. (Bessie’s widower refused to purchase a stone for her.)

1986 : David Crosby (The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) is released from prison after serving only eight months of his original five-year sentence for cocaine and firearms possession.


2000
: The first gathering of the Juggalos takes place in Novi, Michigan at the Expo Center. This becomes an annual event for cult fans of the Horror-Rap group Insane Clown Posse. While the first event only lasted two days and was basically an extended concert, the event has transformed over the years into a full-on festival with concerts by many bands and artists, contests, games, wrestling, and other attractions – sort of a Lollapalooza for the Underground/Indie Rap/Hip-Hop genre. The annual tradition has now settled on Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, as their permanent location, and attracts as many as 20,000 attendees every year.

2011 : While on tour with Maroon 5 and Train, Gavin DeGraw is attacked by a group of men on a New York City street. He suffers a broken nose and is taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.