1965, American disc-jockey Alan Freed died from uraemia and cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism at the age of 42. Freed called himself the “father of rock and roll”, appeared in the movies such as Rock Around the Clock and Don’t Knock the Rock. His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.
1967, The Monkees TV show was shown for the first time in the UK. The series followed the adventures of four young men (the Monkees) trying to make a name for themselves as rock ‘n roll singers. They went on to sell more than 75 million records worldwide and had international hits, including ‘Last Train to Clarksville’, ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’, ‘Daydream Believer’, and ‘I’m a Believer’.
1968, One Hit Wonders John Fred and the Playboy Band started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Judy In Disguise, (With Glasses)’, it made No.3 in the UK. The song was inspired by The Beatles ‘Lucy In The Sky’.
1969, Led Zeppelin appeared at the Wheaton Youth Center, Wheaton, during their first North American tour. Some reports suggest that only 55 fans attended this show, (if so, this would make it the smallest audience they ever played to). This show was on a Monday and the night of Richard Nixon’s inauguration. Zeppelin were paid $250 to appear.
1969, Bruce Springsteen had two of his poems published in the Ocean County College Literary Yearbook Seascapes. Springsteen was in his second semester at the Toms River, New Jersey College.
1972, On the first date of a UK tour at The Dome, Brighton, England, Pink Floyd attempted to premiere their new album The Dark Side of The Moon but due to technical problems this was abandoned after a performance of the track ‘Money’.
1982, During an Ozzy Osbourne concert in Des Moines, Iowa, a member of the audience threw a bat onto the stage. Stunned by the light, the bat lay motionless, and thinking it was a rubber fake, the singer picked it up and attempted to bite its head off. As he did this, the bat started to flap its wings and Ozzy soon realized it wasn’t fake but in fact a living thing. After the show Ozzy was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital for rabies shots.
1983, Def Leppard released their third studio album ‘Pyromania’ which featured new guitarist Phil Collen and was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The album has now sold over 10 million copies in the US.
1988, The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Yoko, Sean, and Julian Lennon all attend. Paul McCartney did not attend, sending instead a letter stating that continuing business differences with the other ex-Beatles was the reason for his absence.
1997, Ben and Jerry’s introduced ‘Phish food’, a new flavor of ice cream named after the rock group Phish. The ingredients were chocolate ice cream, marshmallows, caramel and fish-shaped fudge.
1999, Bill Albaugh drummer from the Sixties psychedelic group The Lemon Pipers died aged 53. The Lemon Pipers scored the 1967 US No.1 single ‘Green Tambourine’. The song has been credited as being the first bubblegum pop chart-topper and it was also the first US No.1 hit for the Buddah label.
2000, English bassist Ray Jones from The Dakotas died. They had the 1964 UK No.1 & US No.7 single ‘Little Children’ as Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas. In addition to backing Kramer, the group itself is best known for their instrumental single ‘The Cruel Sea’, that reached No.18 in the UK charts in July 1963. The track was re-titled ‘The Cruel Surf’ in the US, and was subsequently covered by The Ventures.
2000, Tourism chiefs in Liverpool were banned from putting up motorway signs saying ‘Liverpool, the Birthplace Of The Beatles because the Highways Agency thought the signs would distract motorists.
2001, A memorial service was held for Kirsty MacColl who was killed in a boating accident off the coast of Mexico in December 2000. Bono from U2 and Billy Bragg were among friends and fans that packed St Martin-in-the-fields church in London.
2002, George Harrison had the posthumous UK No.1 single with the re-release of the 1971 former No.1 ‘My Sweet Lord’. Harrison’s single replaced Aaliyah’s ‘More Than A Woman’, the only time in chart history that one deceased artist had taken over from another at No.1. ‘My Sweet Lord’.
2003, 8 Mile, starring Eminem toppled The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers from its four-week hold at the top of the UK box office. The story of a Detroit rapper took £4,440,334 at 423 cinemas in the UK and Ireland.
2006, American music executive Johnny Bienstock died of complications from heart disease aged 83. Owned Moss Rose Music, worked with Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Elvis Presley, The Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, Del Shannon and Meat Loaf.
2012, Etta James, most often remembered for her signature song, ‘At Last’, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart, died from complications of leukemia at the age of 73. She also placed nine other songs in the American Top 40, won three Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
2017, Sir Paul McCartney was suing Sony over control of The Beatles’ back catalogue. McCartney had gone to a US court, seeking to regain the publishing rights to 267 of the band’s classic songs. He had been trying to get them back since the 1980s, when Michael Jackson famously out-bid him for the rights. Jackson’s debt-ridden estate sold the songs to Sony in 2016.
Born On This Day January 20
1889, Born on this day, Leadbelly, (Huddi William Ledbetter), Blues musician, who wrote ‘Goodnight Irene’, ‘The Rock Island Line’, and ‘The Midnight Special’. He was once jailed for shooting a man dead during an argument over a woman. Leadbelly died on 6th December 1949.
1924, Born on this day, Slim Whitman, American country singer, (1955 UK No.1 single ‘Rose Marie’, 1977 UK No.1 album ‘Red River Valley’). He died of heart failure on June 19, 2013 surrounded by family at Orange Park Medical Center in Orange Park, Florida aged 90.
1933, Born on this day, Ron Townson, The 5th Dimension, (1969 US No.1 & UK No.11 single ‘Aquarius’). Died on 3rd August 2001.
1942, Born on this day, Billy Powell, vocals, The O’Jays, (1973 US No.1 & UK No.9 single ‘Love Train’). Powell died on 26th May 1982.
1943, Born on this day, Rick Evans, singer, Zager and Evans, (1969 US & UK No.1 single ‘In The Year 2525’).
1945, Born on this day, English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Eric Stewart who with the Mindbenders had the 1966 UK No.2 single ‘Groovy Kind Of Love’. With Hotlegs the 1970 UK No.2 single ‘Neanderthal Man’ and as a member of 10cc the 1975 UK No.1 & US No. 2 single ‘I’m Not In Love’ plus 10 other Top 30 hits). Stewart co-owned Strawberry Studios in Stockport, England from 1968 to the early 1980s. He also collaborated with Paul McCartney extensively in the mid-1980s, playing on or co-writing songs for McCartney’s solo albums Tug of War (1982), Pipes of Peace (1983), Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984), and Press to Play (1986).
1946, Born on this day, Jimmy Chambers, singer, Londonbeat, (1990 UK No.2 & 1991 US No.1 single ‘I’ve Been Thinking About You’).
1947, Born on this day, George Grantham, drums, Poco, (1979 US No.17 single ‘Crazy Love’).
1948, Born on this day, Mel Pritchard, drummer with the British progressive rock band, Barclay James Harvest. He died on 28 January 2004 aged 56.
1952, Born on this day, Paul Stanley, guitarist and singer with American hard rock band KISS who had 1976 US No.11 album Rock and Roll Over which spent 26 weeks on the chart and the 1987 UK No.4 single ‘Crazy Crazy Nights’. Kiss have been awarded 24 gold albums to date, the most of any American rock band – selling more than 40 million albums. Stanley established The Starchild character for his KISS persona.
1952, Born on this day, Ian Hill, English musician, best known as the bassist of the heavy metal band Judas Priest who have released over 15 studio albums.
1959, Born on this day, American guitarist and singer-songwriter, Rusty Anderson, best known as the accompanying lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s tours since 2001. Anderson has also worked with Gwen Stefani, Steven Tyler, Richie Sambora, Regina Spektor, Dido, Cat Stevens, Miley Cyrus, Eros Ramazzotti, Nelly Furtado and Meat Loaf.
1965, Born on this day, Heather Small, singer, M People, (1993 UK No.2 single ‘Moving On Up’ plus over 15 other UK Top 40 singles).
1969, Born on this day, Nicholas Allen Jones, Manic Street Preachers, (1996 UK No.2 single ‘A Design For Life’ 1998 UK No.1 album ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’).
1969, Born on this day, Tina O’Neill, drummer, from English alternative rock group We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It who had the 1989 UK No.11 single ‘International Rescue’.
1971, Born on this day, Gary Barlow, vocals, piano, songwriter, Take That (1995 UK No.1 single ‘Back For Good’ plus eight other UK No.1 singles, 1993 UK No.1 album ‘Everything Changes spent 78 weeks on the UK chart). Solo, (1996 UK No.1 single ‘Forever Love’). Written songs for Donny Osmond Charlotte Church, Bryan McFadden and Atomic Kitten. Re-formed Take That without Robbie Williams in 2006 for a sold-out European tour. Topped the UK singles and album charts simultaneously for the first time in their career when the single ‘Patience’ and album ‘Beautiful World’ both reached No.1 in Dec 2006.
1977, Born on this day, Sid Wilson, American DJ, keyboardist and pianist, best known as the turntablist of the Grammy Award-winning band Slipknot. Outside Slipknot, Wilson has made a following in Japan as a jungle musician, under the pseudonym DJ Starscream.
1979, Born on this day, Rob Bourdon, drums, Linkin Park, (2002 US No.2 & UK No.4 single ‘In The End’, 2002 US No.2 & 2001 UK No.4 album ‘Hybrid Theory’).
1979, Born on this day, Will Young, singer, UK TV’s Pop Idol winner, (2002 UK No.1 single ‘Anything Is Possible / Evergreen’).
1981, Born on this day, Nathan Connolly, from Northern Irish rock band Snow Patrol, who scored the 2006 UK No.1 album Eyes Open and the 2006 UK No.6 single ‘Chasing Cars.