June 29, 1992 Spurred by controversy over the song "Cop Killer," President George H. W. Bush speaks out against "those who use films or records or television or video games to glorify killing law enforcement officers."
May 31, 1985 The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) sends its first letter to the RIAA requesting a ratings system for albums and concerts. The group is led by Tipper Gore, the wife of Senator Al Gore, so the record industry takes it seriously, and cuts back on their metal budgets. The end result is warning stickers on albums containing offensive lyrics.
August 9, 1983 22-year-old Thomas Reilly is shot and killed by a British soldier in Belfast. He was a friend of the band Spandau Ballet, and sold merch on their True tour. His death would inspire the band's song "Through The Barricades" and the Bananarama song "King Of The Jungle."
November 6, 1979 Running on a platform that includes making businessmen wear clown suits, Jello Biafra of the punk band Dead Kennedys comes in fourth in his run for mayor of San Francisco. Dianne Feinstein is the winner.
June 7, 1979 President Jimmy Carter decrees June as Black Music Month, which Barack Obama changes to African American Music Month in 2009.
June 24, 1978 Jackson Browne and Pete Seeger perform in Seabrook, New Hampshire, to protest a nuclear reactor planned for the site. It's one of the first "no nukes" rallies where musicians get involved, and it leads to a more organized effort: Musicians United For Safe Energy (MUSE), which also involves Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor. The Seabrook plant is built, but efforts to build more are thwarted, as opposition to nuclear power becomes more vociferous.
December 5, 1976 Two days after he is shot in an assassination attempt, Bob Marley performs at the Smile Jamaica concert, which he organized in an effort to promote peace in the country. The concert becomes more of a political event after the shooting, which was carried out by a political party who saw Marley as a threat. About 80,000 Jamaicans attend the concert, where Marley takes the stage for 90 minutes.
April 30, 1975 The Vietnam War ends with the fall of Saigon. Many returning veterans suffer ill effects, which is the subject of the song "Still in Saigon" by The Charlie Daniels Band.
March 14, 1972 California Governor Ronald Reagan grants a pardon to Merle Haggard, absolving him of his 1957 burglary that sent him to prison for three years.
January 20, 1969 James Brown performs at Richard Nixon's Inaugural Ball, even though he endorsed Nixon's opponent, Hubert Humphrey. Nixon is wildly unpopular in the black community, but Brown stands by him, supporting him in his successful 1972 re-election campaign.
December 29, 1966 Gary Lewis, whose band Gary Lewis and the Playboys charted seven Top 10 hits the previous two years, enters the Army. He serves in Korea and Saigon but never sees action. Lewis is the son of Jerry Lewis, but never considered using his connections to dodge the draft. Said Gary: "I got my draft notice, and the first thing that popped into my mind was Elvis did it, I'm doing it. That's all there is to it."
November 23, 1963 On the BBC program That Was The Week That Was, Millicent Martin performs "In The Summer Of His Years," which was written in haste after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
November 6, 1960 Days before he's elected as the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy is a houseguest at Frank Sinatra's home in Palm Springs. After Kennedy leaves, the guest room boasts a new bronze plaque that reads: "John F. Kennedy slept here November 6th and November 7th 1960."
March 12, 1943 The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra debuts Aaron Copland's "Fanfare For The Common Man," a stirring anthem with rousing percussion and solemn horns composed in response to the US entrance into World War II.
August 20, 1940 In exile in Mexico, Leon Trotsky is attacked with an ice pick by Stalinist agent Jaime Ramón Mercader del Río. Trotsky dies of brain injuries the next day in a Mexican hospital. His assassination is immortalized in The Stranglers' song "No More Heroes."
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