15 December

Pick a Day

15 DECEMBER

In Music History

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2015 In an interview with the London commuter freesheet Metro, Carol Decker of T'Pau is asked if her autobiography gave her any insights into her personality. She replies: "It did actually. I'm a bit of a c***."

2014 After a 14-year hiatus, D'Angelo releases his third studio album, Black Messiah.

2009 The RIAA certifies 5 million ringtone sales of Lil Wayne's "Lollipop," making it the best-selling ringtone ever.

2001 Rufus Thomas - R&B, funk, and soul singer - dies of heart failure in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 84.

2001 Joe Walsh receives an honorary doctorate of music from Kent State University.

1988 For his interstate car chase and numerous drug, firearms, and assault offenses, James Brown is sentenced to six and one-half years in a South Carolina prison. He serves a little more than two.

1986 At the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the Grateful Dead play their first concert since frontman Jerry Garcia slipped into a diabetic coma six months earlier. With Garcia's heath scare, it was unclear if the band would continue, but Garcia reassures fans with the opening number, "Touch Of Grey," as he sings, "I will get by. I will survive."

1984 Olivia Newton-John marries Xanadu dancer Matt Lattanzi. They divorce in 1995.

1979 Jackie Brenston, R&B singer and saxophonist, dies of a heart attack in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 49. Recorded the original "Rocket 88" with Ike Turner.

1977 The Who perform a secret concert for fan club members at London's Shepperton Studios. The show is filmed for Jeff Stein's upcoming Who documentary The Kids Are Alright.

1973 Jermaine Jackson marries Hazel Gordy, daughter of Motown founder and head Berry Gordy, Jr.

1973 Charlie Rich's "The Most Beautiful Girl" hits #1 for the first of two weeks.

1969 John Lennon makes his last stage appearance in England when he performs with the Plastic Ono Band at the UNICEF "Peace For Christmas" charity concert in London. George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Keith Moon join him on stage.

1967 The Who release The Who Sell Out.

1967 In Paris, the members of The Beach Boys have their own audience with guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

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Dr. Dre Releases The Chronic

1992

Dr. Dre releases his debut solo album, The Chronic, a G-funk landmark featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg.


In 1991, Dre was the hottest producer in rap, thanks to his work with N.W.A. That year, he formed Death Row Records with Suge Knight, a burly boss who used to play for the Los Angeles Rams. When the little-known rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg signed on (introduced by Dre's stepbrother Warren G), Dre featured him on the title track from the Deep Cover where Snoop memorably rhymed about a "187 on an undercover cop," making him a hot commodity. Along with Warren G, Nate Dogg and a few other Death Row artists, he is all over The Chronic, his mellow flows the perfect topline for Dre's squishy beats.

"Chronic" is kind of bubonic marijuana, which the guys smoked so much, it became the album title. Weed was plentiful, but money wasn't - all the better for songs about life on the streets. Dre is the mastermind, piecing the tracks together with whatever is called for - flutes, keyboards, strings - but mostly drums and big bass grooves. And samples. Lots of samples. Mostly from '70s R&B and funk tracks.

The album is so original it gets its own genre: G-Funk. The sound is copied for most of the decade, forming what becomes known as gangsta rap. Death Row becomes wildly successful but gets out of control fast. In 1996, Dre leaves and forms another label, Aftermath. In 1998, he signs a promising rapper named Eminem and a year later unleashes him with The Slim Shady LP.

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