This Day in Music History — November 14

1961 : Before a show in Indianapolis, Ray Charles is arrested when marijuana and heroin are found in his hotel room. Charges are dropped on a technicality, but his drug problems were far from over.

1983 : Michael Jackson’s 14-minute film Thriller debuts at the Metro Crest Theater in Los Angeles. Directed by John Landis, the short film will become the most popular video in MTV history when the network begins airing it in December. Many of Jackson’s famous friends show up at the premiere, including Diana Ross, Eddie Murphy and Warren Beatty. The film gets a standing ovation and the crowd demands an encore, which is granted.

1987 : The long-since divorced Sonny and Cher perform “I Got You Babe” on Late Night with David Letterman. Cher flubs it a bit, but she and Sonny become very emotional doing their signature song.

1997 : Though it’s not a sell-out, The Bee Gees’ show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas still manages to gross a stunning $1,681,100. Tickets ranging in price from $50-$300 give the Arena its highest gross of the year.

2004 : Gwen Stefani performs on TV as a solo artist (No Doubt) for the first time when she takes the stage at the American Music Awards, where she sings “What You Waiting For.”

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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.