4 February

Pick a Day


In Music History

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2017 Black Sabbath play the final concert of their farewell tour at the Genting Arena in their English home city of Birmingham. Their final song of the night, "Paranoid," is streamed live on Facebook so fans around the world can witness the historic moment onstage.

2016 Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White dies at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

2013 Reg Presley (lead singer The Troggs) dies of lung cancer, coupled with a series of strokes, at age 71.

2013 Jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd (of The Blackbyrds) dies at age 80.

2013 R&B singer Darlene McCrea (of The Cookies) dies.

2009 Lux Interior (of The Cramps), real name: Erick Lee Purkhiser, dies of aortic dissection at age 62.

2008 John Mellencamp becomes the first of many artists to accuse soon-to-be-Republican presidential nominee John McCain of using their music without authorization. McCain had been using the song "Our Country," and while he had the legal rights to do so, Mellencamp makes it clear he does not support McCain and asks that he refrain from using his music.

2008 Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart resurrect Grateful Dead for a benefit concert in support of presidential hopeful Barack Obama in San Francisco.

2008 With digital delivery transforming the industry, some record companies package releases with additional goodies. The Virgin-owned Astralwerks label issues Laura Marling's debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, in what they call a "songbox" format, which includes a concert ticket and souvenirs representing each song along with the CD.

2007 Razorlight members Johnny Borrell and Carl Dalemo clash onstage at a gig in Lyon. The concert is halted, but the band returns to finish the set.

2002 On the occasion of civil-rights activist Rosa Parks' 89th birthday, Stevie Wonder sings his song "Happy Birthday" to her at the premiere of her TV-movie biography The Rosa Parks Story. The song had originally been written by Wonder to help bring about a national Martin Luther King holiday.

1999 In a daring move, Rykodisc becomes the first music label to give its stamp of approval to MP3, the controversial Internet-based music distribution format that struck fear into the hearts of many music industry executives.

1997 The Offspring return with their fourth studio album, Ixnay on the Hombre - the follow-up to their 1994 breakthrough album Smash and the band's first after signing to Columbia Records in 1996.

1989 Thanks to radio-station rediscovery, Sheriff hit #1 in America with the ballad "When I'm With You," which peaked at #61 when it was first released in 1983. The band, which has been defunct since 1985, never get back together.

1987 Liberace dies of AIDS-related pneumonia at age 67.

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Ramones Album Produced By Phil Spector Released


The Ramones release their fifth album, End of the Century, produced by Phil Spector. Dee Dee Ramone claims Spector pulled a gun on him during the sessions.

Looking for a hit, the Ramones' label, Sire, teamed them up with Spector, the notorious "wall of sound" producer responsible for The Righteous Brothers hits and George Harrison's first solo album. But when the sessions began, Spector showed signs of madness and paranoia, which was particularly troubling because he was also armed with pistols holstered under each arm. He kept the band working deep into most nights, sometimes making them play the same notes over and over, a perfectionism ill suited for punk rock. According to Dee Dee, Spector drew a gun on him one night when he tried to leave, which unsettled even his bandmates, who had seen their share of depravity. They get through it, but The Ramones are not happy with the results. End of the Century isn't a bomb - it reaches #44 in the US, higher than any other Ramones album - but many fans find it fabricated and uninspired, costing them in credibility. Johnny Ramone feels about it the same way Paul McCartney felt about Let It Be, the Beatles album Spector produced that McCartney later re-did without his orchestrations and flourishes. In 2003, Spector shoots and kills a woman at his home, for which he is convicted of second-degree murder. "I'm surprised that he didn't shoot someone every year," Johnny writes in his autobiography.



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