20 January

Pick a Day

20 JANUARY

In Music History

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

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 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 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

1998 Bob McBride (lead singer for Lighthouse) dies of heart failure at age 51.

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.

1997 French electronic duo Daft Punk release their debut album, Homework in the UK (it is released in America on March 25). The record is a big hit in Europe but only reaches #150 in the USA. Both members, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, are music producers who use recording technology to combine house music with synthpop.

1996 Tori Amos makes her Saturday Night Live debut, performing "Caught A Lite Sneeze" and "Hey Jupiter" from her third album, Boys For Pele.

1988 The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Drifters, Bob Dylan, and The Supremes are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the third class. Mike Love of The Beach Boys gives a Ricky Gervais-at-the-Golden Globes-style speech, insulting many in attendance. Diana Ross skips the ceremony over a spat with fellow Supreme Mary Wilson.

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Melissa Etheridge, K.D. Lang and Janis Ian Come Out At Triangle Ball

1993

At the Triangle Ball, the first gay and lesbian inaugural ball, Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang and Janis Ian come out publicly, declaring that they are gay and in same-sex relationships.


Lang, Etheridge and Ian haven't been hiding their homosexuality, they just haven't announced it publicly. At the Triangle Ball, they get it out in the open, making it clear they are gay and proud of it. Held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the $100-per-person Triangle Ball is one of many celebrations accompanying Bill Clinton's inauguration as president of the United States. Clinton's support for ethnic diversity and gay rights earned him the suport of the gay community, and his rock 'n' roll sensibility (he plays the saxophone) appealed to many musicians (the MTV Rock and Roll Inaugural Ball is going on at the same time over at the Convention Center). For Etheridge, who worked on Clinton's campaign, it's a way to escape the informal "don't ask, don't tell" policy imposed by her record company, meaning she didn't have to deny that she was gay, but she couldn't declare it either, keeping songs like "Bring Me Some Water" gender neutral. But it's also something more: a chance to unite the gay community and help eliminate any stigma associated with it. It's also important in putting up a united front to combat AIDS. "It was very empowering," says Etheridge in an interview with Dan Rather. "And when we found that we could make a difference in our American government, in politics, it was enlightening." Janis Ian was talked into it by the leader of the Human Rights Campaign, who explained that many young people were committing suicide because they thought they were gay. Ian also realized that there were no publicly gay musicians she could emulate when she was starting out, and it was time to change that. Etheridge's next album, released in September, is called Yes I Am, a nod to her coming out. It sells 6 million copies in America, making her a household name. In 1997, Ellen DeGeneres comes out publicly, and over the next few years it becomes more common for high profile entertainers to do the same. The Triangle Ball goes down as a turning point. "Janis, k.d. and Melissa coming out made me feel like it was OK to be who I was," Kristen Ellis-Henderson of Antigone Rising tells Songfacts. "I'm just grateful to them for being brave enough."

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