5 January

Pick a Day


In Music History

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2019 The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne marries Katy Weaver in his hometown of Oklahoma City. The wedding itself takes place inside a plastic bubble like the one Coyne uses to surf crowds.

2017 Babymetal guitarist Mikio Fujioka dies from injuries resulting from a December 30 fall from an observation deck.

2016 Guns N' Roses confirm that Slash and Duff McKagan, who have not performed with the band since 1993, will join them for their headline set at Coachella. They later announce a full tour with Slash and McKagan.

2015 Good Charlotte's Benji Madden marries actress Cameron Diaz. Nicole Richie and Drew Barrymore are among the bridesmaids.

2010 Record producer Willie Mitchell, who ran Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, dies of a cardiac arrest at age 81.

2009 Sam "The Bluzman" Taylor dies of complications from heart disease in Islandia, New York, at age 74.

2005 Danny Sugerman, second manager for The Doors who wrote a number of books about the band, dies of lung cancer at age 50.

2005 Amerie releases "1 Thing."

2004 Ray Davies of The Kinks is shot in the leg when he pursues two men who snatched his girlfriend's purse. He sings about it on his 2018 track "The Big Guy."

2003 Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong is arrested for drunk driving in Berkeley, California, after he is caught speeding in his BMW convertible and blows a .18.More

2003 Little Richard guest stars on the "Special Edna" episode of The Simpsons.

2002 With the Pittsburgh Steelers down 24-7 in a playoff game against the Cleveland Browns, they play "Renegade" by Styx, which fires up the crowd and impels them to a comeback win. The song becomes a regular feature at Steelers home games, played in the second half when the team needs a boost.

1998 Ken Forssi (original bassist for Love) dies of a brain tumor in Tallahassee, Florida, at age 54.

1991 Madonna's "Justify My Love," a new song included on her compilation album The Immaculate Collection, goes to #1 in America, her ninth topper on the tally. The song, co-written by Lenny Kravitz, gets a lot of attention thanks to its video, which was banned by MTV and subsequently released on home video.

1981 DJ/producer Deadmau5 is born in Niagara Falls, Canada. His birth name is Joel Zimmerman; he takes the name Deadmau5 (pronounced "Deadmouse") as his chatroom handle after claiming to find a dead mouse in his computer.

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Beyonce Sings "At Last" For Obamas, Angers Etta James


Beyoncé serenades Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, at the Neighborhood Ball as the couple shares their first dance together as president and first lady of the United States. The choice of song, Etta James' signature hit "At Last," throws the blues singer into a fit of rage aimed at Beyoncé.

Just a month before the Neighborhood Ball celebrating Obama's inauguration, Beyoncé gave an acclaimed performance as soul legend Etta James in the musical biopic Cadillac Records. Among other songs, Beyoncé recorded James' 1961 hit "At Last" for the soundtrack and won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance and a place on the Hot 100 at #67. None of this seemed to bother James, who greeted Beyoncé warmly at the film's premiere. But when the Obamas ask Beyoncé to sing "At Last" to accompany their special moment at the inauguration ball, James explodes. "I can't stand Beyoncé. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol' president day... singing my song that I've been singing forever," James says at a Seattle concert after a tirade against Obama and his "big ears." James later backpedals on her comments, saying the whole thing was a joke (though some point to an Alzheimer's diagnosis as the cause for her erratic behavior) and she thinks the president is "handsome" and "cool." She was just a little hurt that she was "left out of something that was basically mine, that I had done every time you look around." But "At Last" isn't really James' song, either. The ballad was written for the 1941 musical film Orchestra Wives, and was originally recorded by Glenn Miller and his orchestra, with vocals from Ray Eberle and Pat Friday. The highest-charting pop version came in 1952 from trumpeter Ray Anthony, whose rendition landed at #2. As far as we know, neither Miller, Eberle, Friday, or Anthony threatened to "whup ass" when James covered the tune in 1960, nearly 20 years after the original, and called it her own. It was an important song for James, though, bringing her another #2 R&B hit and crossing over to the pop chart at #47. And James is correct in the sense that hers is the quintessential version. Her passionate vocals elevate the song to romantic heights, making it perfect for tender film scenes and weddings… but apparently not inaugurations.



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