May 20


Today In Music History

1920 : Montreal Canada’s XWA broadcasts the first scheduled radio program in North America

1954 : Bill Haley and His Comets’ Rock Around The Clock is originally released. It stalls on the charts, but becomes a hit a year later when it is used in the movie Blackboard Jungle.

1957 : American crooner Andy Williams was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Butterfly’, the US singers only UK No.1 and the first of 40 hit singles from 1957 until 2002 on the UK chart.

1960 : The Silver Beetles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe, and Tommy Moore) played the first night of a short tour of Scotland backing singer Johnny Gentle, at Alloa Town Hall in Clackmannanshire. Three of the Silver Beetles adopted stage names: Paul McCartney became Paul Ramon, George Harrison was Carl Harrison, and Stuart Sutcliffe became Stuart de Stael.

1961 : Cliff Richard made his TV debut on the UK ITV show ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars.’

1964 : Rudy Lewis of The Drifters died aged 28 under mysterious circumstances the night before the group was set to record ‘Under the Boardwalk’. Former Drifters backup singer Johnny Moore was brought back to perform lead vocals for the recording session.

1966 : Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of the Who grew tired of waiting for John Entwistle and Keith Moon to arrive for their gig at the Ricky Tick Club in Windsor, England so they took to the stage with the bass player and drummer of the local band that opened the show. When Moon and Entwistle finally arrived in the middle of the set, a fight broke out, with Townshend hitting Moon on the head with his guitar. Moon and Entwistle quit the band, (and rejoined a week later).

1966 : Bob Dylan and The Band played at the ABC Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. Some members of the audience were unhappy with Dylan ‘going electric’, and attempted to overpower the band by playing their own harmonicas.

1966 : Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band play their first gig at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco

1967 : The Beatles new album ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ had a special preview on the Kenny Everett BBC Light program, ‘Where It’s At’, playing every track from the album, (except ‘A Day In The Life’ which the BBC had banned saying it might promote drug use with the line, “I’d love to turn you on”).

1967 : George Harrison visits the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for the first time

1967 : Jimi Hendrix signs with the Reprise label

1967 : The Young Rascals started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Groovin’, also a No.8 hit in the UK. The group named themselves after a US comedy TV show. ‘Groovin’ was also covered by Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Marvin Gaye.

1968 : BBC 2 TV aired a short play ‘The Pistol Shot’, featuring a young dancer called David Bowie.

1968 : The Beatles, armed with a bunch of new songs after their visit to India, met at George Harrison’s home in Esher, Surrey. They taped 23 new songs on George’s 4-track recorder, many of which would end up on The Beatles’ next two albums, (the White Album) and Abbey Road. The demos include: ‘Cry Baby Cry’, Revolution’, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Child of Nature’ (a Lennon song that became ‘Jealous Guy’).

1968 : Pete Townshend of The Who marries his first and only wife, Karen Astley, daughter of composer Ted Astley. The couple would divorce in 2000

1969 : Chicago singer Peter Cetera is attacked at a Dodgers-Cubs game at Dodger Stadium. Explaining the incident, Cetera said: “Four marines didn’t like a long-haired rock ‘n’ roller in a baseball park, and of course I was a Cub fan, and I was in Dodger Stadium, and that didn’t do so well. I got in a fight and got a broken jaw in three places, and I was in intensive care for a couple of days. With my jaw wired together, I actually went on the road, and I was actually singing through my clenched jaw, which, to this day, is still the way I sing.”

1969 : Led Zeppelin started three days of recording and mixing sessions at A&R Studios in New York City, which included the recording of Heartbreaker and various other parts for new tracks for the group’s forthcoming second album. The band were under pressure to finish sessions for their second album so they could release it in time for the Autumn market.

1970 : The final feature film involving The Beatles ‘Let It Be’ was premiered simultaneously in London and Liverpool a week after the film’s US release.

1970 : George Harrison meets producer Phil Spector at Abbey Road Studios to play demos of the songs which will appear on his debut album, “All Things Must Pass”

1972 : T Rex were at No.1 on the UK singles chart ‘Metal Guru’, the group’s fourth and final No.1. They also had the UK No.1 album with ‘Bolan Boogie’.

1977 : The stage show “Beatlemania” opens at the Winter Garden Theater, New York

1978 : Paul McCartney went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘With A Little Luck’, his sixth solo US No.1.

1978 : The Buddy Holly Story, starring Gary Busey, opens in Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas

1981 : Bruce Springsteen appeared at Bingley Hall, Stafford, England during a European tour.

1985 : Hall & Oates perform with Temptations Eddie Kendrick and David Ruffin at the reopened Apollo Theatre in Harlem. The concert is later released as “Live At The Apollo”

1989 : Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey’ by Ferry Aid started a three week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart. The song was recorded to raise funds for the Hillsborough Football victims, Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians all featured on the recording.

1995 : The Eagles’ Don Henley marries his first and only wife, model Sharon Summerall, in Malibu, with Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Jimmy Buffett, Sheryl Crow, and other celebs attending. At the reception, live music is provided by Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Sting

1997 : U2 caused traffic chaos in Kansas City, Missouri after they paid for traffic control to close down five lanes so they could shoot the video for ‘Last Night On Earth’. Apart from major traffic jams, a passing Cadillac crashed into a plate glass window trying to avoid a cameraman.

1997 : Foo Fighters released their second album ‘The Colour And The Shape’, the album was a Grammy nominee for Best Rock Album in 1998. Even though Foo Fighters are an American band, the word ‘Colour’ in the album title is always spelled with the British spelling. This was a nod to producer Gil Norton, who is British.

1998 : Tommy Lee of Motley Crue is sentenced to six months in jail and three years’ probation for kicking his soon-to-be ex-wife, Pamela Anderson, as she holds their infant son

1998 : The funeral of Frank Sinatra was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. Mourners in attendance included, Tony Bennett, Faye Dunaway, Tony Curtis, Liza Minnelli, Kirk Douglas, Angie Dickinson, Sophia Loren, Bob Newhart, Mia Farrow and Jack Nicholson.

1998 : Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward was taken to hospital in London after suffering a heart attack during a band rehearsal.

2001 : R.E.M. started a two-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Reveal’.

2003 : Soul singer James Brown was pardoned for his past crimes in the US state of South Carolina. Brown had served a two-and-a-half-year prison term after an arrest on drug and assault charges in 1988 was granted a pardon by the State Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. Brown, who appeared before the board, sang ‘God Bless America’ after the decision.

2006 : Hawthorne, California, dedicates a monument to their famous hometown sons: the three Wilson brothers of The Beach Boys.

2006 : Heavy metal monsters Lordi became Finland’s first ever Eurovision Song Contest winners after their song Hard Rock Hallelujah won in Athens. The band won the Eurovision public vote after singing their heavy rock anthem dressed in horror costumes.

2008 : The US Congress passed a resolution designating May 13th as Frank Sinatra Day to honor his contribution to American culture.

2009 : Michael Jackson delayed the opening four nights of his ‘This Is It’ UK tour at London’s O2 arena. Concert promoters AEG Live said the delay was necessary because the singer needed more time for dress rehearsals. The first show, on 8 July, was pushed back by five nights. Three other July dates would now not take place until March 2010.

2012 : Robin Gibb, one-third of the Bee Gees and a singer-songwriter who helped to turn disco into a global phenomenon by providing the core of the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, died from cancer aged 62. Bee Gees hits including: Massachusetts, I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You, How Deep Is Your Love and Stayin’ Alive, established their pop legacy by placing their falsetto harmonies at the center of the 70’s disco boom.

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