17 April

Pick a Day


In Music History

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2020 Fiona Apple releases her fifth album, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, her first since 2012. The title is a reference to a line Gillian Anderson says in the TV series The Fall and is a metaphor for setting yourself free.

2018 Tina Turner's life story, already depicted in the 1993 film What's Love Got To Do With It, is adapted for the stage as Tina: The Musical, opens in London's West End. It opens on Broadway the following year.

2010 When Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros frontman Alex Ebert takes the stage at Coachella, he clumsily knocks a microphone stand into the crowd. A guy in the audience catches it with his forehead, and blood spills all over the place. Ebert, horrified, gives the guy his sportcoat and his shirt to staunch the bleeding, and performs the set topless. It proves a breakout performance for the band, whose song "Home" starts showing up everywhere.

2009 Brad Paisley and his wife, Kimberly Williams, welcome their second child, Jasper. His song "Today" is about this event.

2009 Davy Jones of The Monkees visits Bikini Bottom when he plays himself on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One."

2008 Danny Federici (organist, accordionist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band) dies at age 58 after three years of suffering with melanoma.

2007 Arcturus officially announces they are splitting up.

2003 Blues musician Earl King, composer of the standards "I Hear You Knocking" and "One Night," dies at age 69 of diabetes-related complications.

2000 "I Will Survive" singer Gloria Gaynor makes an appearance on Ally McBeal.

1997 Country singer Toby Keith and his wife Tricia welcome new arrival Stelen Keith Covel to the family.

1993 Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles marries screenwriter Jay Roach in Los Angeles.

1991 Jack Yellen, lyricist and screenwriter who wrote "Happy Days Are Here Again" (1929), dies in Concord, New York, at age 98.

1989 Neil Young releases an EP titled Eldorado. Released exclusively in Japan and Australia and recorded with a one-time backing band called The Restless, it contains three songs ("Don't Cry," "Eldorado" and "On Broadway") that will appear on Freedom six months later.

1982 "The seventh Commodore," long-time manager and dear friend Benny Ashburn, dies from a heart attack. Only a short time later Lionel Richie officially announces his departure from the group to pursue his solo career.

1980 Bob Marley performs at the Independence Day celebration in Salisbury, Zimbabwe.

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"Planet Rock" Introduces Electro And 808s To Hip-Hop


Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force release "Planet Rock," the first hip-hop hit with electronic elements and a rhythm powered by a Roland TR-808 drum machine. It's just the third rap song to reach the Hot 100, following "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang and "The Breaks" by Kurtis Blow.

The 808 was introduced in 1980 but didn't catch on. Unlike its successor, the Linn LM-1, it didn't use real drum samples, so its beats sounded machine-made and robotic - not what most producers were looking for. But when the New York DJ Afrika Bambaataa (Kevin Donovan) and his producer, Arthur Baker, got some time at Intergalactic Studio in New York City, they found a new use for the much-maligned unit, programming it to create the rhythm of "Planet Rock," an otherworldly hip-hop song with a futuristic feel. The track interpolates "Trans-Europe Express" by the German band Kraftwerk, who were on the vanguard of electronic music. The raps by The Soulsonic Force create a party vibe, with Bambaataa's "rock, rock, planet rock" refrain processed through a Lexicon PCM41 effects unit to make it sound like it's coming from space. Released on Tommy Boy Records, "Planet Rock" takes off in New York City and is certified Gold. The 808 becomes a staple of hip-hop production, making it possible to create rhythms without looping breakbeats or bringing in a band. Acts to use the 808 include LL Cool J and Run-D.M.C., both of whom take a cue from Bambaataa and use the word "rock" in their lyrics, inserting themselves into the genre as they also disrupt it. Had Bambaataa named the song "Planet Rap," who knowns if Run-D.M.C. would have crowned themselves "King of Rock" a few years later.



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