2013 Five days after three people were killed in bombings at the Boston Marathon, Neil Diamond makes a surprise appearance at Fenway Park, where he performs "Sweet Caroline" at the Red Sox game against the Kansas City Royals.
1999 At his concert at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Billy Joel announces his retirement from touring and recording pop music, as he wants to focus on classical music. His retirement doesn't last long; he returns to the stage in December. After sitting out most of 2000, he embarks on the Face to Face tour with Elton John in 2001.
1993 Looking to mimic the success of New Kids on the Block, entrepreneur Lou Pearlman sets out to create his own boy band. After auditioning hundreds of performers, he chooses five unknowns to be his Backstreet Boys.
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.
1976 George Harrison, who is good friends with Eric Idle, joins Monty Python on stage at the comedy troupe's show at New York's City Center. Dressed as a Canadian Mountie, Harrison joins the chorus for "The Lumberjack Song." No mention is made of Harrison's appearance, and few in the audience recognize him. The next night, Nilsson shows up to perform the same feat, but with disastrous results, as he falls into the audience and breaks his arm.
1974 The Soul Train theme song ("TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" by MFSB featuring The Three Degrees) hits #1 in America. MFSB, which stands for Mother Father Sister Brother, is a studio group established by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at Philadelphia International Records.
2020 Homebound during the coronavirus pandemic, Willie Nelson stages the "Come And Toke It" live stream to support efforts to legalize marijuana and free those incarcerated for it. Guests include Ziggy Marley, who does "One Love," and Kacey Musgraves, who performs "Slow Burn."
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.
2010 The stage adaptation of Green Day's American Idiot rock opera officially opens on Broadway, a year after its debut at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
2003 Jazz tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards dies at age 78.
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.
1999 Rapper Mase, 21, announces that he is retiring from music in order to "follow God." He returns with his third album, Welcome Back, in 2004.
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.
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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