20 April

Pick a Day

20 APRIL

In Music History

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2019 Michelle Branch marries Patrick Carney of The Black Keys.

2018 The Swedish DJ Avicii (Tim Bergling) dies at 28.

2017 The Main Ingredient lead singer Cuba Gooding Sr. dies at age 72. His son is the actor Cuba Gooding Jr.

2011 Indie rocker Gerard Smith (of TV on the Radio) dies at age 36 of lung cancer.

2003 Jazz tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards dies at age 78.

2002 Ashanti snags the top spot on the Hot 100 with her single "Foolish," and also goes to #1 with her self-titled debut album. The #2 song is "Always On Time," her collaboration with Ja Rule.More

2002 Pop singer Alan Dale ("(The Gang that Sang) Heart of My Heart") dies at age 76. Also known for playing a rock 'n roll singer in the 1956 film Don't Knock the Rock, featuring Alan Freed, Little Richard, The Treniers, and Bill Haley & His Comets.

2001 Italian composer Giuseppe Sinopoli dies of a heart attack at age 54 while conducting the Verdi opera Aida at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Germany.

1994 Barbra Streisand begins her first tour since 1966, performing in London.

1993 Shania Twain's self-titled debut album is released. It's an impressive debut, establishing her in the world of country music. Her next three releases, produced by her husband Mutt Lange, make her a pop superstar.

1992 Blues singer and guitarist Johnny Shines dies at age 76 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

1992 The remaining members of Queen hold the "Concert For Life" at Wembley Stadium in London, raising money for AIDS awareness in honor of their fallen frontman Freddie Mercury. David Bowie, Elton John, Guns N' Roses and George Michael all perform.

1991 Steve Marriott (guitarist, vocalist for The Small Faces, Humble Pie) dies in a house fire, possibly caused by a cigarette, at age 44.

1991 John Fogerty marries his second wife, Julie Lebiedzinksi, in Elkhart, Indiana. The couple met at a party following one of his concerts in 1986. "Suddenly the crowd parted, and there was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen in my life," Fogerty said.

1985 The Commodores land their first (and only) post-Lionel Richie hit with "Nightshift," which reaches #3 in the US. The song is a tribute to Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye.

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4/20 Becomes A Day Of Reefer Madness

1971

Five friends at San Rafael High School in California coin the term "4:20" as a euphemism for smoking pot. April 20th becomes a popular day to spark one up, as does 4:20 pm. Note that the Boston song "Smokin'" clocks in at 4 minutes, 20 seconds, and if you multiply the title numbers in Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 And #35," you get 420. Dude!


4/20 is a celebrated day in stoner culture, and there are almost as many tales about the origin of the term "420" as there are strains of the green stuff. Some people swear that it comes from the Bob Dylan song "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35," because if you happen to be sitting around doing math while you're high, you'll realize that multiplying 12 and 35 gets you 420. The fact that the chorus is a gleeful "Everybody must get stoned!" helps perpetuate the myth, but a myth is all it is.

Deadheads are known for their love of the herb, but they didn't coin the term. The Boston song "Smokin'" clocks in at 4 minutes, 20 seconds, and while that's a killer coincidence, that's not where 420 starts either. It has nothing to do with police codes or the birth or death dates of any rock legends, and it definitely doesn't originate with any historical events that we wish we could forget.

Here's the truth: In the late 1970s, a group of teens at San Rafael High School in Northern California discover a mutual love of the sticky sweet herb. Since toking up in the halls is frowned upon even in the liberal '70s, the students - who call themselves the Waldos because they like to lean on walls - have to wait until after school to get high, so they meet up at 4:20 every day to smoke the devil's lettuce. 420 soon becomes a not-really-secret euphemism for getting stoned, and decades later, it becomes a solid part of our cultural lexicon.

In perhaps the most fitting commemoration of the number 420, legendary stoners Snoop Dogg (whose "Up In Smoke Tour" ended on 4/20/2000) and Willie Nelson record the song "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" on 4/20/2009, in - where else? - Amsterdam.

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