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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Stevie Wonder Headlines First Official MLK Day

1986

After years of campaigning to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday, Stevie Wonder commemorates the occasion with a star-studded concert celebration in Washington, D.C.

The idea for the national holiday, which is observed on the third Monday of January each year, falling near King's January 15th birthday, was presented just four days after his assassination in 1968. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced legislation to honor the civil rights leader's legacy, but it took many years for Congress to warm up to the plan. When President Jimmy Carter called for a vote on the issue nearly a decade later, the bill was shot down by five votes in the House, despite several states already adopting the holiday. "This was the first holiday around a national figure who is not a president, and who is African American," noted Michael Honey, author of Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign. "Many in Congress did not want to recognize an African American that was thought of as a troublemaker by some in his day." The defeat rankled Stevie Wonder, a major supporter of the cause who toured around the country to bolster the campaign. He penned the anthem "Happy Birthday" in honor of King and performed it at the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981. After Congress was deluged with petitions in excess of six million signatures, President Ronald Reagan officially announced the holiday was signed into law in 1983. It takes another three years for the first celebration out of Washington, but it's a big one. Wonder enlists Quincy Jones as music director and stages an all-star televised gala at the Kennedy Center that kicks off simultaneous concerts in New York and Atlanta. Wonder is joined by Bob Dylan for a performance of the anti-apartheid song "The Bell For Freedom Still Rings," before the pair invites folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary in a singalong of "Blowin' In The Wind." Other guests include Diana Ross, The Pointer Sisters, Neil Diamond, Amy Grant, and Tom Petty. For showrunner Quincy Jones, it's an honor to be a part of the event, but the night is special for a different reason. Jones - who worked in the music business for decades as a musician, songwriter, and producer for the industry's hottest acts - is confronted by the breadth of his legacy. He explained in a 2018 interview with The Vulture: "After the performance, we went to a reception, and three ladies came over: The older lady had Sinatra at the Sands, I arranged that; her daughter had my album The Dude; and then that lady's daughter had Thriller. Three generations of women said those were their favorite records. That touched me so much." For years, some states hold out on observing a day straight-up devoted to King, either by giving the day an alternate name or combining it with other holidays. It's officially celebrated by all 50 states in 2000.

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