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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Liz Phair Is Born


Liz Phair is born in New Haven, Connecticut; she is raised by her adoptive parents in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Winnetka, Illinois. She becomes a '90s indie-rock icon with her debut album, Exile In Guyville, a feminist treatment of the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St.

Phair attends Oberlin College, a prestigious liberal arts school in Ohio, as an Art History major but soon begins writing songs in her spare time. She's shy about performing in front of others, so she crafts her tunes on an unplugged electric guitar, bending her head close to the instrument to hear the strings. She credits her unusual chords and off-beat playing style to her self-conscious strumming at Oberlin. Back home in Chicago, she's more interested in selling paintings than making music, but still manages to record a handful of pop songs that pair girlish vocals with shocking lyrics. The Girly Sound tapes are a precursor to her debut album, Exile In Guyville, an unflinching look at sex and love from a female perspective. Phair envisions the project as a response to the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St., but the songs are inspired by a specific breed of male found in small-town music scenes, "a mafia of music lovers who were representing 'alternative' but I found them to be oppressive," she tells NPR. She uses the Stones as a sounding board for her frustration, whether it's confronting a cheating lover in "6'1," her answer to "Rocks Off," trying to satisfy her urges in "Flower," a jab at "Let It Loose" that has her proclaiming, "I want to be your blowjob queen," or rising above all the drama in "Stratford-On-Guy," a loose take on "Shine A Light." When Exile In Guyville is released through the indie label Matador Records, it causes a stir with its frank expression of female sexuality, made especially jarring when its songstress looks like a normal pretty girl from the suburbs. "Thirty years ago, that's not what people expected women to say," Phair recalls to The Independent in 2018. "If I was going to say that stuff, I ought to have tons of piercings and be really pissed off. It was like your neighbor: the girl next door who you wave to on the school bus broke out with this inner life that was turbulent and simmering with resentment and loneliness. It was like seeing the girl next door go nuclear." Phair releases a couple more albums in the vein of Guyville, with Whip-Smart and Whitechocolatespaceegg solidifying her reputation as a feminist rock icon. But she courts a different kind of controversy with her major label release, Liz Phair, in 2003. The album is a slick pop effort designed to propel her into the mainstream and pairs her with the production team The Matrix, the creators of teen pop fare from the likes of Britney Spears and Hilary Duff. The breezy single "Extraordinary" indeed introduces Phair to a new fanbase, but largely alienates the old one, who slam her for selling out. Critics are equally unkind and brand their former indie-rock darling a failure. As for Phair, she says the self-titled release, like Guyville, is just one of many facets to her personality and she's not afraid to explore any of them. Besides, she wouldn't be Liz Phair without a bit of controversy. "This is so me, you know?" she told Yahoo! Music. "Getting in trouble. Always getting in trouble." Photo: Elizabeth Weinberg



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