This Day in Music History — September 17

1967 : Keith Moon of The Who rigs his bass drum to explode at the end of “My Generation” during the group’s appearance on CBS-TV’s Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, but doesn’t realize that the stage crew had already set the charge. The resulting explosion cuts Moon’s leg, singes Pete Townshend’s hair, and startles fellow guests Bette Davis and Mickey Rooney.

1983 : Vanessa Williams, who would become a popular actress and score a #1 hit with Save The Best For Last, becomes the first black Miss America. She gives up the title the next year after naked photos of her appear in Penthouse.

1998 : A 19-year-old named Amit Singh is removed from the plane after harassing the members of Hootie & the Blowfish on their flight from New York to Los Angeles.

1999 : Rapper Eminem is hit with a $10 million defamation lawsuit filed by his mother Debbie Mathers-Briggs. The suit charges that the rapper made defamatory remarks about his mother in several interviews, including that she was “pill-popping” and “lawsuit-happy.”

2009 : Avril Lavigne and Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley go their separate ways after being married since 2006.

This Day in Music History — September 4

1952 : Gladys Knight & The Pips form at a birthday party for her brother Bubba.

1965 : While The Who shop for a guard dog, their van and $10,000 worth of equipment is stolen.

1982 : Frank Zappa’s single “Valley Girl” reaches #32 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This marks the sole time Zappa charted in the Top-40 in the United States, despite being an international hit abroad and producing a career total of 62 albums in his lifetime.

2002 : Kelly Clarkson beats Justin Guarini to become the first winner of American Idol.

2007 : The Bob Dylan “biographical” movie, I’m Not There: Suppositions On A Film Concern Dylan, premieres at the Venice (Italy) Film Festival.

This Day in Music History — August 24

1967 : Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, drives his Lincoln Continental (not a Rolls Royce, as is often thought), into the swimming pool at the Holiday Inn in Flint, MI to celebrate his 21st birthday, earning the entire band a lifetime ban from the chain

1977 : Country legend Waylon Jennings is arrested for cocaine possession in New York City by federal agents, an event which will inspire his song “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got out of Hand?” The charges are later dropped.

1981 : John Lennon’s killer is given a sentence of 20-years-to-life in prison, where he will be denied parole five times over the next 27 years.

1989 : The Who perform a special 20th anniversary charity concert of their rock opera Tommy at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, featuring guests Elton John (as the Pinball Wizard), Patti Labelle (as the Acid Queen), Steve Winwood (as the Hawker), Phil Collins (as Uncle Ernie), and Billy Idol (as Cousin Kevin).

1990 : Sinead O’Connor refuses to perform at a show in New Jersey if the U.S. National Anthem is played, claiming she’s protesting a wave of music censorship. It causes a major media stink, with some radio stations banning her music.

2007 : During a routine medical exam in Gainesville, FL, Bo Diddley complains of dizziness and nausea and is admitted to a local hospital, where he is diagnosed as having had a heart attack. The rock legend had suffered a stroke only a few months earlier.

2008 : Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page perform during the closing ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at the National Stadium (also know as the Bird’s Nest.) The duo performed the Led Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love.

This Day in Music History — July 19

1966– Doing it his way, the 50-year-old Frank Sinatra marries the 20-year-old actress Mia Farrow in New York, causing a predictable media event. The marriage lasts just two years.

1977 : Steve Martin appears on The Muppet Show. He performs “Dueling Banjos” and makes balloon animals.

2008 Billy Joel plays the “Last Play at Shea” concert – the final show before Shea Stadium is closed down. Joel is joined on stage by Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, and The Who’s Roger Daltry.

2011  Rebecca Black, the world’s most ironic celebrity, cashes in on her worldwide viral Internet fame by launching her own record label, RB Records, and her first single on the label, “My Moment.” The song fails to get the same hipster fame her former single “Friday” did; “Friday” is reportedly still played for years to come.