1989 "Wild Thing" by Tone Loc becomes the first rap single certified Platinum, with sales of over a million.
1976 David Bowie opens his US tour with a new persona: The Thin White Duke. He's dressed in a black-vested suit with slicked-back hair. Bowie later described the persona as "a nasty character indeed."
1960 Frank Sinatra launches the first fully artist-owned label, Reprise Records (pronounced "repreeze"), so he can own his own masters. Some of his cohorts, including Dean Martin and Rosemary Clooney, join the label, which is sold to Warner Brothers in 1963, where it becomes home to a number of famous acts, including Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Green Day.
2015 Former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight is rushed to the hospital after pleading not guilty in his connection with a fatal hit-and-run just days before. His friend Terry Carter was killed in the incident and actor Cle Denyale Sloan was injured during an altercation over the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Knight faces charges of murder and attempted murder, along with two counts of hit-and-run.
1997 David Bowie releases the electronica-influenced album Earthling, including the Grammy-nominated song (Best Male Rock Vocal Performance) "Dead Man Walking," and the paranoia-tinged track "I'm Afraid Of Americans," featuring Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
1990 Sean Kingston is born in Miami.
1986 The Firm release Mean Business, their second and final album.
1981 At The Who concert at the Rainbow Theatre in London, Pete Townshend drinks four bottles of brandy onstage, and instead of playing, mouths off to the crowd. His bandmates just keep playing without him. Months later, Townshend gets treatment for his alcoholism but turns to drugs, once again putting his life in danger. In early 1982, he rehabs again and finally gets sober.
1980 Studio 54 throws one last bash with A-list regulars Diana Ross, Andy Warhol and Richard Gere before the owners, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager go to jail for tax evasion.
1979 The Blues Brothers' album Briefcase Full of Blues hits #1 in the US - not bad for two comedians (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) who formed the duo for Saturday Night Live.
1979 "Y.M.C.A." by The Village People goes to #2 in America, where it stays for three weeks, unable to overtake fellow disco stalwarts "Le Freak" and "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?." In many other territories, including Australia, Canada and the UK, the song goes to #1.
1978 Harry Chapin, who has started an organization to fight hunger called World Hunger Year, meets with US President Jimmy Carter to discuss the project.
1978 The TV-movie Dead Man's Curve, the first to deal with the tragic Jan & Dean story, premieres on ABC.
1973 Elton John's reptilian rocker "Crocodile Rock" hits #1 in America for the first of three weeks, giving him his first chart-topper in that country.
1971 Lynn Anderson's "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden" is certified Gold.
1969 Beatles John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr hire Allen Klein as the group's new manager, against the express wishes of Paul McCartney, who preferred his father-in-law Lee Eastman. The dissension would prove to be the deciding factor in the group's breakup a year later.
The musicians were heading to Fargo, North Dakota, on a small private plane leaving Clear Lake Iowa, where they had performed as part of the 24-city "Winter Dance Party" tour. They had been travelling by bus, but it got so cold that Holly chartered the plane, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza. Shortly after takeoff, the plane goes down; it is snowing and poor visibility likely leads to the crash. Tommy Allsup and Waylon Jennings, also on the tour, are spared by sheer luck: Allsup lost a coin flip for a seat on the plane to Valens, and Jennings let Richardson have the other seat. Losing these musical luminaries drastically alters the rock and roll landscape; the "rock era" had begun about four years earlier, and with Elvis Presley in the Army, there are few stars to propel it forward (the British Invasion would revive the genre). Holly, 22, the headliner on the tour, was a rising star with a #1 hit under his belt ("That'll Be The Day"). Valens, 17, was one of the hottest new artists at the time, with the song "Donna" on the charts. Don McLean, who was a teenager at the time, would call it "The Day the Music Died" in his 1971 hit "American Pie."
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