15 January

Pick a Day


In Music History

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2018 Gospel star Edwin Hawkins dies of pancreatic cancer at age 74. With his Northern California State Youth Choir, he recorded an album at his church to raise money to send them on a trip. When the radio station KSAN got a copy, they started playing "Oh Happy Day," a hymn he arranged. This led to a record deal, the choir was renamed The Edwin Hawkins Singers, and the song became the first traditional gospel tune to become a pop hit, reaching #4 in America and #2 in the UK.

2015 Kim Fowley dies of bladder cancer in Hollywood, California. The self-styled "Lord of Garbage" and founder of The Runaways was an infamous eccentric and was often sighted in his later days walking the Las Vegas strip with a cane, and his hair dyed green.

2011 Bluesman Fred Sanders Jr. dies of lung cancer at age 71.

2010 Charlie Daniels is rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke. Daniels recovers and is released from the hospital two days later.

2009 In Tupelo, Mississippi, Darius Rucker, once a headliner with his pop band Hootie & the Blowfish, joins Brad Paisley's tour, where he is third on the bill behind Paisley and Dierks Bentley. It's Rucker's first tour as a country artist; he's willing to do "everything the new guy does" to make it happen.

2005 Sheryl Crow, Christina Aguilera and Tim McGraw participate in a benefit for victims of the tsunami in Southern Asia.

2003 In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lou Rawls is arrested on one count of battery against his girlfriend.

1998 James Brown is admitted to a South Carolina hospital for addiction to painkillers.

1994 Ska music bubbles under in America as Billboard publishes a cover story called "Hunt for 'Next Big Thing' Unearths Ska Underground." Bands like No Doubt, Reel Big Fish and Sublime soon break through with ska-inflected sounds.

1994 Harry Nilsson, known by the mononym Nilsson, dies of heart failure at age 52, nearly one year after suffering a massive heart attack.

1993 Prolific lyricist Sammy Cahn, known for enduring tunes like "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," dies of heart failure at age 79.

1992 Johnny Cash, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Booker T. & the MG's, The Isley Brothers, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Sam & Dave, and The Yardbirds are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1992 Appearing on Entertainment Tonight, Brenda Lee criticizes the selections for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, noting the lack of female talent - such as The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick, and Connie Francis. She calls them "the women who pioneered rock and roll" and points out that they're just as important as the men.

1988 DJ/producer Skrillex is born Sonny Moore in Los Angeles.

1982 Harry Casey (the KC in KC and the Sunshine Band) is badly injured in a head-on collision in Hialeah, Florida. After a long rehab, he returns to action and lands another hit in 1984 with "Give It Up."

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New "Give Peace A Chance" To Protest Gulf War


On the United Nations deadline for Iraq to remove troops from Kuwait, a new version of "Give Peace A Chance" is released, with contributions from Iggy Pop, Tom Petty, LL Cool J and dozens of others.

The United Nations had been giving peace a chance since August 2, 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. When they set a deadline of January 15, 1991 for Iraq to leave the country, it signals that war is likely. Lenny Kravitz, a warrior for peace, considers writing a song to protest, but decides that the perfect song has already been written: John Lennon's 1969 anthem. Kravitz got tight with Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon in the summer of 1990 when he performed at the Liverpool tribute concert to honor John Lennon. Along with 15-year-old Sean, he re-writes the verses and summons support for the project. The collective is named the "Peace Choir" and includes Little Richard, Randy Newman, Adam Ant, Wendy & Lisa, MC Hammer and about 20 others who record bits for the song in video at locations set up in New York and Los Angeles. On a tight deadline, Kravitz cobbles together the song while the directors Paul Rachman and Nigel Dick (the man who did "Do They Know It's Christmas?") put together the video (some artists are left out for lack of room; others just get one word). On January 15, the song is released and goes into hot rotation on MTV and VH1. The next day, United Nations forces launch air strikes against Iraq, followed by a ground assault on February 24. On February 28, the UN announces that Kuwait has been liberated. The military action is successful, which takes the air out of the song. Still, it's released on home video, complete with a "making-of" documentary. In 2003, another Gulf War is waged, this one far more controversial and drawn out for years.



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