31 January

Pick a Day

31 JANUARY

In Music History

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2021 Capping a massive bender, Morgan Wallen yells the n-word at his (white) drinking buddy outside his home. It's caught on video and when it's released two days later, Wallen is dropped from most radio stations and banished from playlists on major streaming services. The controversy earns him a surge in streams and sales, keeping his Dangerous: The Double Album, which debuted at #1 in America on January 23, at the top for a total of 10 weeks.

2017 Deke Leonard of Man dies at age 72.

2017 John Wetton of King Crimson and Asia dies at age 67 after a battle with cancer.

2015 Neo soul singer D'Angelo makes his debut appearance on SNL, performing "Really Love" and "The Charade" from his latest album, Black Messiah. His band, the Vanguard, wore t-shirts with the slogans "Black Lives Matter" and "I Can't Breathe" in reference to the controversial deaths of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of white policemen in 2014. The singer also donned a hooded sweatshirt as a nod to Trayvon Martin, who suffered a similar fate in 2012.

2010 The Record Academy honors Leonard Cohen with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. During his acceptance speech, Cohen comments on his surprise at receiving a Grammy, joking that he "was always touched by the modesty of [the Recording Academy's] interest in my work."

2009 Dewey Martin (drummer for Buffalo Springfield) dies at age 68. The cause of death is unknown, but he had been suffering from health problems for the last few years.

2008 Britney Spears' family helps orchestrate an intervention that lands her in the psychiatric ward of UCLA's hospital. She's taken by ambulance, which gets a police escort and draws a frenzy of media attention. The next day, her father is named as her conservator, as a court rules that Britney cannot care for herself. She is released a few days later and starts getting her life back together. Later in February, her saga is detailed in Rolling Stone; she appears on the cover with the headline, "Britney Spears: Inside An American Tragedy."

2001 After Barry Mason, who co-wrote the Tom Jones hit "Delilah," tells The Sun that the song was inspired by a woman named Delia from Llandudno in North Wales, the UK newspaper asks readers to help track her down. The search is aborted when Mason's ex-wife - who co-wrote the song - calls in to explain that "Delia" does not exist, and that the name came from the story of Samson and Delilah.

1999 Cher sings the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami; Stevie Wonder performs at the halftime show.

1998 The Bruce Springsteen "Come Together" benefit concert, organized for the family of a New Jersey police officer killed in the line of duty, turns into an impromptu E Street Band reunion that also features Southside Johnny and other Jersey musicians.

1993 Michael Jackson performs with 3,500 local children at the Superbowl XXVII in Pasadena, California.

1989 Two months after his death, Roy Orbison's album Mystery Girl is released. Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Bono and George Harrison all contributed to the album; the lead single, "You Got It," gives Orbison his first US Top 10 hit since 1964 with "(Oh) Pretty Woman."

1988 Herb Alpert performs the US national anthem at Superbowl XXII in San Diego, California; Chubby Checker performs at the halftime show.

1982 Singer Helena Paparizou is born in Borås, Sweden.

1979 Bo Diddley opens up for punk band The Clash at the beginning of their first US tour.

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Garth Brooks Gives The NFL An Ultimatum

1993

With just 45 minutes to kickoff, Garth Brooks threatens to cancel his national anthem performance at Super Bowl XXVII when the NFL reneges on its promise to debut the video for his controversial protest anthem "We Shall Be Free."

From the outside, the challengers facing off at Pasadena's Rose Bowl stadium are the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys, but behind the scenes, another battle wages between Garth Brooks and the show's producers. The country singer wrote the gospel-tinged "We Shall Be Free" after he witnessed the furor of the LA Riots following the Rodney King verdict. But conservative country radio wasn't ready for an impassioned anthem about racial harmony, gay rights, and religious freedom. Many stations refused to play the single, which resulted in Brooks' first absence from the Country Top 10 (it peaked at #12). Meanwhile, Brooks is slated to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl, where the NFL agrees to air the music video prior to the event. Fearing backlash, they pull the plug at the last minute and Brooks storms out of the arena. After trying to rope in Jon Bon Jovi and other luminaries in attendance as a rush replacement, the producers relent and tell Brooks they'll air the clip if he follows through with his performance. He agrees, and both parties fulfill their obligations. All goes well in the end, but Brooks' ultimatum causes such a stir that it inspires a new requirement: All future Super Bowl renditions of the national anthem must be pre-recorded.

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