20 January

Pick a Day

20 JANUARY

In Music History

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2022 Meat Loaf dies at 74. His 1977 album Bat Out Of Hell is one of the best-selling albums of all time; its 1993 sequel, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, contains the #1 hit "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)."

2021 Garth Brooks sings "Amazing Grace" at the inauguration of Joe Biden at the request of incoming First Lady Jill Biden. Brooks explains his performance is not a political statement, but "a statement of unity."

2021 At Joe Biden's inauguration, Lady Gaga sings the national anthem and Jennifer Lopez belts out "This Land Is Your Land" before he is sworn in. At night, Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Demi Lovato, and Tim McGraw all perform on a socially distanced concert special capped by a massive fireworks display on the National Mall as Katy Perry belts out, of course, "Firework."

2021 On his last day in office, President Donald Trump pardons Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty to weapons charges. Days before the election, the rapper was photographed with Trump and tweeted his support.

2019 Marking the 37th anniversary of that time he bit the head off a bat, Ozzy Osbourne's official store releases a plush bat with a detachable head.More

2015 Edgar Froese (drummer for Tangerine Dream) dies of a pulmonary embolism at age 70 in Austria.

2013 Bob Engemann (of The Lettermen) dies of complications from heart bypass surgery at age 77.

2011 Appearing on the Bravo show Watch What Happens Live, Tiffany talks about dating Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block in the '80s, and inadvertently outs him, saying, "He became gay later."More

2009 Bon Iver releases Blood Bank, a four-track EP and follow up to the hugely-successful For Emma, Forever Ago. The song "Woods," which features on the EP, will go on to be sampled by Kanye West on his track "Lost in The World."

2009 David "Fathead" Newman, a jazz and R&B saxophonist who played alongside Ray Charles, dies at age 75 of complications from pancreatic cancer.

2009 Kid Rock, Kanye West and Fall Out Boy perform at President Barack Obama's inauguration, playing the Youth Ball, which is broadcast live on MTV. Obama headlines, making a speech where he hypes the crowd with his "Yes We Can" slogan. Rock and West later throw their support to the next president: Obama's ideological opposite, Donald Trump.

2001 With the debut Lifehouse album climbing the charts, lead singer Jason Wade marries his longtime girlfriend, Braeden.

1999 Bill Albaugh (drummer for the psychedelic pop group The Lemon Pipers) dies at age 53.

1998 With the release of their debut single, "I Want You Back," *NSYNC emerges as a rival to Backstreet Boys, who are taking America by storm.

1998 Dawson's Creek, a coming-of-age drama following a group of North Carolina teens, debuts on The WB with Paula Cole's hit "I Don't Want To Wait" as its theme song.More

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Etta James Dies

2012

Etta James dies at age 73 of leukemia complications.

Los Angeles-born Jamesetta Hawkins began singing gospel music at the age of 5, but the church couldn't hold her for long. By the time she was a teen, she was dabbling in doo wop and forming a girl group called the Creolettes. She caught the attention of talent scout Johnny Otis, who spun her first name into her new moniker: Etta James. Otis produced James' first R&B chart-topper, "The Wallflower." The song put her on the R&B map and proved the 15-year-old singer wasn't an innocent ingénue, but a streetwise woman-child who could sell tunes with adult themes and handle sexual innuendo. But James truly found her sound at Chess Records, where an 18-year stint (starting in 1960) yielded a string of modern blues and R&B hits that combined her raw vocals with unbridled passion, whether in the soaring ballad "At Last" or the grit-edged soul of "Tell Mama" and "I'd Rather Go Blind." James' personal life was just as tumultuous as any narrative from her songs. While she continued to chart with funkier hits in the '70s like "Losers Weepers" and even opened for fellow Chess acquisitions The Rolling Stones, a heroin addiction forced her out of the spotlight and into various rehab centers for the next 10 years. In the meantime, her husband, Artis Mills (with whom she had two sons), was serving a 10-year prison sentence for possession after the couple was caught with the drug. A cleaned-up James resurfaced in the mid-'80s and by 1993 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recorded her Grammy Award-winning album Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday. She gained even more notoriety from younger audiences when Beyoncé portrayed her in the 2008 film Cadillac Records, in part a semi-autobiographical look at James' tenure at Chess Records. Acts like Avicii ("Levels") and Flo Rida ("Good Feeling") also sampled James' hit "Something's Got A Hold On Me" into their own hit songs. But it was a difficult decade for James, who was diagnosed with both Alzheimer's disease and leukemia, the latter illness killing her at age 73.

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