7 February

Pick a Day

7 FEBRUARY

In Music History

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2012 Alicia Keys and Nas join Jay-Z at the second of two charity concerts he holds at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The concerts raise $3.5 million for the United Way and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.

2009 Jazz singer Blossom Dearie dies in her sleep at age 84.

2000 Rapper Big Pun, real name Christopher Lee Rios, dies at age 28 of a heart attack and respiratory failure.

2000 Dave Peverett (original lead vocalist for Foghat, guitarist for Savoy Brown) dies of cancer at age 56.

1997 Sarah McLachlan marries her drummer, Ashwin Sood, in Negril, Jamaica.

1994 Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski dies of cancer at age 81.

1993 Neil Young records a live set on MTV's Unplugged. Fraught with trouble due to Young's displeasure over the performances of his backing band, it's still released as an album later that year.

1990 Primus release their first studio album, Frizzle Fry. Their mashup of progressive, punk and alternative is a winner, earning them an ardent fanbase that takes to affectionately screaming "Primus Sucks!" at concerts.

1989 The Georgia State Representative Billy Randall introduces a bill to make Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" the official state rock song. It doesn't pass.

1981 ABC begins airing the first installment of the mini-series Elvis and Me, based on ex-wife Priscilla Presley's book of the same name.

1980 Twelve days before his death, Bon Scott goes to the UFO concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.

1979 Stephen Stills records the first major-label album using all-digital equipment, but it's never released, which means that Ry Cooder's Bop Till You Drop will get the honor.

1976 Elvis Presley records "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain."

1976 Paul Simon lands his first #1 American hit as a solo artist when "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover" claims the top spot. It's no "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon calls it a "nonsense song," but listeners love it and it stays on top for three weeks.

1974 The Love Unlimited Orchestra's "Love's Theme" and their album Under the Influence of Love Unlimited are certified gold.

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Garth Brooks Is Born

1962

Garth Brooks is born Troyal Garth Brooks in Luba, Oklahoma; he's raised in Yukon, Oklahoma.


Entertaining is in Brooks' blood. His mom, '50s-era country singer Colleen Carroll, orchestrates weekly family talent nights that foster his love of performing. By the time he starts singing in public, he has collected a range of influences from singer-songwriters James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg to arena rockers Queen and Kiss. But when he hears George Strait for the first time, he knows he wants to become a country star. If the reaction from local bar crowds throughout Oklahoma is any indication, his dream will surely become a reality. Brooks thinks going to Nashville will be easy. Going is easy, staying is not. He lasts one day. An executive at ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), gives him a dose of reality. Brooks recalls: "[He said] You got your choice: You either starve as a songwriter or get five people together and go out and starve as a band." Brooks, whose degree in advertising and marketing from Oklahoma State University makes him a shrewd negotiator throughout his career, returns to Nashville in 1985 and by 1989, he releases his debut eponymous album. The hit singles "The Dance" and "If Tomorrow Never Comes" place him firmly among his traditionalist country idols, but Brooks is about to usher in a new era in country music. With slick production and pop-leaning melodies, "New Country" is aimed at the masses: Pop music in a cowboy hat. Brooks' second album, No Fences, is a crossover hit, landing at #3 on the Billboard 200, thanks to his bold selection of tunes, including a cover of Billy Joel's power ballad "Shameless" and the rollicking blue-collar anthem "Friends In Low Places." Brooks shakes up Nashville's notoriously conservative big wigs when he portrays an abusive husband in the music video for "The Thunder Rolls." (He'll do it again by championing equality and gay rights with "We Shall Be Free"). No matter – he's already a phenomenon. His third album, Ropin' The Wind, is the first country album to ever debut at #1 on the Billboard 200, a feat he will match with nearly every subsequent release throughout the decade. Fans flock to his concerts, high-octane extravaganzas that have more in common with rock shows than typical laid-back country fare. Aside from an ill-fated project as rock alter ego Chris Gaines in 1999, Brooks rarely makes a misstep. By 2015, he's sold more than 70.5 million albums in the US, making him the best-selling artist in the country since the advent of SoundScan tracking in 1991. Brooks isn't as steady in his personal life. His 15-year marriage to college sweetheart Sandy Mahl, which results in three daughters, is punctuated by numerous infidelities on his part and finally dissolves in 2001. He marries fellow country singer Trisha Yearwood in 2005.

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