19 April

Pick a Day

19 APRIL

In Music History

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2019 The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Flyers pull Kate Smith's version of "God Bless America" when it is revealed that she sang racist songs in the 1930s, including "That's Why Darkies Were Born" and "Pickaninny Heaven."

2012 Greg Ham, multi-instrumentalist with the band Men At Work, best known for playing the saxophone on "Overkill" and "Who Can It Be Now," and the flute on "Down Under," dies of a heart attack at his home in Melbourne, Australia at age 58.

2009 The Flaming Lips celebrate Earth Day with a performance on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

2004 A stage musical version of the Elvis Presley film Jailhouse Rock opens in London.

2003 Good Charlotte's "The Anthem" peaks at #43 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2003 Motown choreographer Cholly Atkins dies of pancreatic cancer at age 89 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

2002 "Jeepster" by T. Rex becomes the first song successfully identified by Shazam in a pre-launch version of the service that requires the user to call a number and receive a text message with the name of the song.

1999 James Darren begins a five-episode stint on the primetime soap opera Melrose Place as an unscrupulous millionaire named Tony Marlin.

1997 Eldon "El Duce" Hoke (drummer, lead singer of The Mentors) dies at age 39 after being struck by a train in Riverside, California. The coroner's report calls the cause of death a "misadventure."

1993 Los Angeles session musician Steve Douglas (Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan) dies at age 54 of heart failure.

1990 The TV movie Summer Dreams: The Story Of The Beach Boys airs on ABC.

1982 Simon & Garfunkel reunite for a world tour, but split up again in the midst of it.

1980 The Specials become the first ska band to guest on Saturday Night Live, where they play "Gangsters" and "Too Much Too Young." Their energetic performance wows the crowd but fails to break ska music in America.

1980 Blondie's "Call Me," a song about a prostitute written for the film American Gigolo, hits #1 in America.

1975 The Raspberries split up.

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Nas Releases Illmatic

1994

Nas releases his landmark debut album Illmatic at the age of 20, helping revive the flagging New York City rap scene and birth the era of lyricism. It goes on to be widely accepted as one of the greatest rap albums of all time.

After hitting the scene with a potent opening verse on Main Source's 1991 track "Live at the Barbeque," Nas teams up with MC Serch in a quest to find a recording contract. Turned down by Russell Simmons' Def Jam Recordings, the Queensbridge MC finds a home at Columbia Records and begins recording his debut album with Serch as executive producer. MC Serch calls in various producers to work with Nas. Among them is DJ Premier, who immediately clicks with the young rapper. Q-Tip, Pete Rock and Large Professor are also on board. The album is rushed by Columbia as the songs start to appear on bootleg mixtapes which make their way to college radio stations. The result is a landmark LP of 10 songs, with just one rapper other than Nas - the Brooklyn rhymer AZ, who appears on the track "Life's a Bitch." The album depicts Nas' troubled life living in the inner city: gang rivalries, crippling poverty and drug violence. A gifted writer, he paints vivid pictures of his world with a level of lyricism unheard of at the time. His unique delivery, complex rhyme patterns and clever wordplay earns wide acclaim from the unforgiving hip-hop press, with many critics hailing the album as a masterpiece - The Source gives Illmatic a five-mic rating, a near impossible feat at the time. Illmatic shakes up the entire rap game, inspiring future generations of MCs to pick up the mic and current rappers to step up their games.

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