1957, Al Priddy a DJ on US radio station KEX in Portland was fired after playing Elvis Presley’s version of ‘White Christmas’ The station management said, ‘it’s not in the spirit we associate with Christmas’.
1963, The Beatles recorded an appearance on the UK TV comedy program The Morecambe and Wise Show. The Beatles played ‘This Boy’, ‘All My Loving’, and ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and also participate in comedy sketches with Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. The program was broadcast on April 18, 1964.
1966, David Bowie released ‘Rubber Band’, his first single on the Deram label. It was part of a three-track audition tape Bowie’s new manager Kenneth Pitt used to persuade the label to sign him. Despite some good reviews in the music press, the single was a flop, once more failing to break into the UK charts.
1967, The Monkees album, ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd’ went to No.1 on the US album chart. It was their fourth album to sell over a million copies, following ‘The Monkees’, ‘More Of The Monkees’ and ‘Headquarters’.
1969, Cindy Birdsong of The Supremes was kidnapped at knifepoint by a maintenance man who worked in the building she lived in. She later escaped unharmed by jumping out of his car on the San Diego freeway. The kidnapper was arrested in Las Vegas four days later.
1976, The first day of the photo shoot for the forthcoming Pink Floyd Animals album cover took place at Battersea Power Station in London, England with a giant inflatable pig lashed between two of the structure’s tall towers. A trained marksman was hired ready to fire if the inflatable escaped, but was not needed on this, the first day. Unfortunately the following day the marksman hadn’t been rebooked, so when the inflatable broke free from its moorings, it was able to float away, eventually landing in Kent where it was recovered by a local farmer, reportedly furious that it had ‘scared his cows.’
1978, Rod Stewart was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’, the singers fifth UK chart topper. A plagiarism lawsuit by Brazilian musician Jorge Ben Jor confirmed that the song had been derived from his composition ‘Taj Mahal’. Stewart agreed to donate all his royalties from the song to United Nations Children’s Fund.
1978, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand’s ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’ was at No.1 on the US singles chart. A radio station engineer had spliced together Neil’s version with Barbra’s version and got such good response, the station added it to their playlist. When Neil Diamond was told about it, he decided to re-record the song with Streisand herself, and within weeks of its release, the single went to No.1 in the US and No.5 in the UK.
1982, US folk singer David Blue died of a heart attack aged 41 while jogging in New York’s Washington Square Park. Member of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue during the late 70s. He wrote ‘Outlaw Man’ covered by The Eagles on their 1973 Desperado album.
1983, MTV aired the full 14-minute version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video for the first time. Now regarded as the most influential pop music video of all time, in 2009, the video was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, the first music video to ever receive this honor, for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.
1995, Mariah Carey went to No.1 on the US singles chart with her duet with Boyz II Men ‘One Sweet Day’. It made Carey the first artist in history to have two consecutive single debut at No.1, ‘Fantasy’ being her first.
2000, Thieves broke into the London home Madonna shared with Guy Ritchie. The raiders forced their way in through a basement door then took a set of car keys before loading up Guy Ritchie’s car with some of the couple’s possessions and driving off.
2001, Singer Valerie Jones died aged 45. One-third of the sister group The Jones Girls, who sang back-up vocals with Lou Reed, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass and Betty Everett.
2002, Oasis singer Liam Gallagher was arrested and charged with assault after he Kung-Fu kicked a police officer. The incident happened at the Bayerischer hotel in Munich, the singer lost his two front teeth in the brawl and an Oasis minder was knocked out cold.
2003, Darkness singer Justin Hawkins was held for two hours at JFK Airport, New York after police mistook him for a wanted man with the same name and looks. The police only agreed to let him go after Justin’s fiance and manager Sue Whitehouse produced a tour schedule to prove that he was in England on July 4th when the crime was committed.
2006, David Mount the drummer with Mud died in London. They had the 1974 UK No.1 single ‘Tiger Feet’ (best-selling single of 1974). Plus 14 other UK Top 40 singles.
2006, 25 year old singer and actress Beyonce was set to earn more money than any other black actress for her performance in her latest film ‘Dreamgirls’. The musical based on the history of Diana Ross and The Supremes would earn the singer a £5m fee.
2006, Dutch singer Mariska Veres from Shocking Blue died of cancer at the age of 59. Had the 1970 US No.1 & UK No.8 single ‘Venus’, (later covered by girl group of Bananarama).
2007, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne made more than $800,000 for charity after they sold off some of their possessions from their former US home. Items sold included the family’s custom pool table for $11,250 and a pair of Ozzy’s trademark round glasses went for $5,250. The beaded wire model of the Eiffel Tower that adorned the kitchen fetched $10,000, while skull-adorned trainers worn by Ozzy sold for $2,625.
2008, American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a civil and human rights activist Odetta died of heart disease age 77. She influenced many of the key figures of the folk-revival of that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin. Time magazine included her song ‘Take This Hammer’ on its list of the 100 Greatest Popular Songs. Martin Luther King Jr. called her the queen of American folk music.
2009, Scottish songwriter, lyricist, vocalist, producer, pianist, and co-creator of The Alan Parsons Project Eric Woolfson died from kidney cancer age 64. Woolfson wrote songs for Marianne Faithfull, Frank Ifield, The Tremeloes, Marmalade, Dave Berry, and Peter Noone. Following the 10 successful albums he made with Alan Parsons, he sold over 50 million albums worldwide.
2012, Led Zeppelin received a prestigious award from Barack Obama for their significant contribution to American culture and the arts. Dressed in black suits and bow ties, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page were among a group of artists who received Kennedy Centre Honours at a dinner event at the White House. In his tribute to the band, Mr Obama said: “When Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham burst onto the musical scene in the late 1960s, the world never saw it coming.” The president thanked the former band members for behaving themselves at the White House given their history of “hotel rooms being trashed and mayhem all around”.
2013, Reggae singer Junior Murvin, best known for the 1976 hit song ‘Police and Thieves’, died in Jamaica aged 67. ‘Police and Thieves’ (produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry), was a hit in Jamaica and also took off in the UK where it found an audience with punk rock aficionados.
2013, Roger Taylor and Brian May opened the Queen Studio Experience – Montreux, an exhibition of Queen memorabilia at Mountain Studios in Switzerland, where they had recorded many classic tracks spanning seven albums and where Freddie Mercury recorded his last vocal. The exhibition would open to the public a day later.
2014, American saxophone player Bobby Keys died as a result of cirrhosis at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. Keys started touring at age fifteen with Bobby Vee and fellow Texan Buddy Holly and was best known as being the main saxophone player for The Rolling Stones. When on tour with the Stones, according to legend Keys filled a bathtub with Dom Perignon champagne and drank most of it. Keys appeared on albums by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Harry Nilsson, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, George Harrison, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and other prominent musicians.
2016, Duran Duran said they were “outraged and saddened” at losing a High Court fight to reclaim US rights to some of their most famous songs. The group had argued that US copyright laws gave them the right to call for a reversion of copyright after 35 years. ‘Girls on Film’, ‘Rio’ and ‘A View to a Kill” were among the disputed tracks.