2018 Gospel star Edwin Hawkins dies of pancreatic cancer at age 74. With his Northern California State Youth Choir, he recorded an album at his church to raise money to send them on a trip. When the radio station KSAN got a copy, they started playing "Oh Happy Day," a hymn he arranged. This led to a record deal, the choir was renamed The Edwin Hawkins Singers, and the song became the first traditional gospel tune to become a pop hit, reaching #4 in America and #2 in the UK.
2015 Kim Fowley dies of bladder cancer in Hollywood, California. The self-styled "Lord of Garbage" and founder of The Runaways was an infamous eccentric and was often sighted in his later days walking the Las Vegas strip with a cane, and his hair dyed green.
2011 Bluesman Fred Sanders Jr. dies of lung cancer at age 71.
2010 Charlie Daniels is rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke. Daniels recovers and is released from the hospital two days later.
2009 In Tupelo, Mississippi, Darius Rucker, once a headliner with his pop band Hootie & the Blowfish, joins Brad Paisley's tour, where he is third on the bill behind Paisley and Dierks Bentley. It's Rucker's first tour as a country artist; he's willing to do "everything the new guy does" to make it happen.
2003 In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lou Rawls is arrested on one count of battery against his girlfriend.
1998 James Brown is admitted to a South Carolina hospital for addiction to painkillers.
1994 Harry Nilsson, known by the mononym Nilsson, dies of heart failure at age 52, nearly one year after suffering a massive heart attack.
1994 Ska music bubbles under in America as Billboard publishes a cover story called "Hunt for 'Next Big Thing' Unearths Ska Underground." Bands like No Doubt, Reel Big Fish and Sublime soon break through with ska-inflected sounds.
1993 Prolific lyricist Sammy Cahn, known for enduring tunes like "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," dies of heart failure at age 79.
1992 Appearing on Entertainment Tonight, Brenda Lee criticizes the selections for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, noting the lack of female talent - such as The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick, and Connie Francis. She calls them "the women who pioneered rock and roll" and points out that they're just as important as the men.
1988 DJ/producer Skrillex is born Sonny Moore in Los Angeles.
1982 Harry Casey (the KC in KC and the Sunshine Band) is badly injured in a head-on collision in Hialeah, Florida. After a long rehab, he returns to action and lands another hit in 1984 with "Give It Up."
Stevie Wonder leads a rally in Washington to get Martin Luther King's birthday declared an official holiday. He performs his song "Happy Birthday," written for King, which becomes a rallying call for the movement.Read more
1994 Counting Crows are the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, performing "Mr. Jones" and "Round Here." The appearance sparks sales of their debut album and sends radio stations scrambling to add the songs to their playlists. Despite this breakthrough appearance, the band is never asked back for the show.
1991 On the United Nations deadline for Iraq to remove troops from Kuwait, a new version of "Give Peace A Chance" is released, with contributions from Iggy Pop, Tom Petty, LL Cool J and dozens of others.More
1972 Don McLean's "American Pie" hits #1 US for the first of four weeks. The single runs 8:36 - you have to flip the 45 over to hear all of it.
1967 Mick Jagger does as he's told and sings "let's spend the night together" as "let's spend some time together" when The Rolling Stones appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. Jagger rolls his eyes derisively when he sings the altered line.More
1961 The Supremes sign with Motown Records. Along with Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, there is a fourth member, Barbara Martin, who leaves a year later. All except Martin are under 18 (Ross is 16) and need parental consent, which is granted after label boss Berry Gordy and his sister, Esther, win over their parents.
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