17 December

Pick a Day

17 DECEMBER

In Music History

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2010 Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, dies in a hospital in Arcata, California, at the age of 69, from complications associated with multiple sclerosis.

2010 Blues singer Robin Rogers dies of liver cancer at age 55 while her new album, Back in the Fire, climbs the blues chart.

2006 Denis Peyton (saxophonist, guitarist for The Dave Clark Five) dies of cancer at age 63.

2001 Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl divorce after 15 years of marriage. They share three daughters: Taylor, August, and Allie.

1999 Actor/country singer Rex Allen dies at age 78 when he's accidentally run over by his caregiver.

1999 Jazz saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. suffers a fatal heart attack after performing on CBS's Saturday Early Show. He was 56.

1997 MP3.com goes online, allowing independent artists to make their music available for download. It goes public in 1999 but runs into legal problems when posting music by major-label acts. In 2001, it's sold to Vivendi, which sells it in 2003 to CNET, which is just interested in the domain name.

1986 The Doobie Brothers reunite for a benefit concert in Palo Alto, California, which leads to a reunion tour and album.

1986 Wayne Newton wins a $19.2 million suit against NBC News, which had erroneously linked the singer to organized crime.

1982 Blues musician Big Joe Williams dies in Macon, Mississippi, at age 79. Known for hits of the '30s and '40s, such as "Baby, Please Don't Go" and "Crawlin' King Snake."

1972 Craig "DJ Homicide" Bullock (of Sugar Ray) is born in Pasadena, California.

1970 Andy Williams records "Theme From Love Story."

1970 The Beach Boys play a Royal Command Performance for Princess Margaret at London's Royal Albert Hall.

1969 Thanks to play on freeform FM radio stations, Chicago Transit Authority's self-titled debut album goes Gold, eight months after its release. For their next album, the band shortens their name to Chicago.

1969 Tiny Tim marries Miss Vicki Budinger on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The program receives the second largest ratings of any show up to that time.

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Elvis Costello Goes Rogue On SNL

1977

Elvis Costello gets banned from Saturday Night Live when he abruptly halts his performance of "Less Than Zero" and plays the searing "Radio Radio" instead.


When the Sex Pistols are denied entry into the US, it leaves producers of Saturday Night Live scrabbling for a replacement as musical guest. Local favorites the Ramones decline the gig, so they turn to Elvis Costello, who is touring the US in support of his first album, My Aim Is True. Costello is expected to play his UK single "Less Than Zero," but after starting the song, he abruptly stops the performance and tells the crowd, "I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but there's no reason to do this song here," indicating that "Less Than Zero," a song about a British politician nobody in America has heard of, is not appropriate. Costello then launches into an unreleased song called "Radio Radio," a scathing attack on radio stations that have become homogenized and profit-driven. This stunt gets him banned from Saturday Night Live, but becomes one of the most memorable moments in the show's history and a defining moment of Costello's career, as he shows that he is willing to defy the media in the interest of his art. It's not without precedent: Jimi Hendrix aborted "Hey Joe" when he appeared on the British show Happening for Lulu in 1969, playing "Sunshine Of Your Love" instead to honor Cream. All is forgiven by 1989, when the ban is lifted and Costello is welcomed as the musical guest on the March 25 show hosted by Mary Tyler Moore. Ten years later, he does a send-up of the incident when during the SNL 25th Anniversary show, he interrupts the Beastie Boys performance and leads them through a reprise of "Radio Radio."

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