12 July

Pick a Day

12 JULY

In Music History

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2007 Rod Stewart is awarded the CBE Order of the British Empire by Prince Charles in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

2004 Sugarland's debut single, "Baby Girl," is released. It goes to #2 on the Country chart and stays on the tally for a remarkable 46 weeks.

2000 London's Trafalgar Square unveils a sculpture of John Lennon, created by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward, which also features a handgun twisted into an unusable shape.

1998 "Battle of New Orleans" songwriter Jimmy Driftwood dies of a heart attack at age 91.

1992 After a European tour, Axl Rose is arrested at JFK airport in New York, charged with inciting a riot at a Guns N' Roses show in St. Louis the previous year. He gets two years' probation and a $50,000 fine.

1983 U2 guitarist The Edge marries his high school girlfriend Aislinn O'Sullivan. They welcome three daughters before separating in 1990.

1983 Chris Wood (flute and sax player for Traffic) dies of pneumonia at age 39.

1979 Soul singer Minnie Riperton, known for her hit "Lovin' You," dies of breast cancer at age 31. Her daughter, Maya Rudolph, is 6 years old.

1976 R&B singer-songwriter Tracie Spencer is born in Waterloo, Iowa. Shortly after signing to Capitol Records in 1988, at age 12, she releases the hit singles "Hide and Seek" and "Symptoms of True Love."

1971 Radio stations start running a Coke commercial called "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke," sung by The New Seekers. It is later used a TV commercial showing young people from around the world singing on a hillside. The New Seekers later record a full version of the song as "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing," which becomes a huge hit.

1970 The local band Fritz opens for Janis Joplin at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in California. The lead singer in Fritz is Stevie Nicks, who is awestruck watching Joplin perform. Nicks credits Joplin for showing her how to connect with an audience from the stage.

1969 A week before the moon landing, "In The Year 2525" by Zager and Evans, a bleak sci-fi song where humankind gradually destroys itself, hits #1 in the US. It stays at #1 for six weeks.

1968 Micky Dolenz of The Monkees marries the model Samantha Juste, who is the "disc girl" on the BBC show Top Of The Pops. Dolenz, who met her on the show, wrote some of The Monkees song "Randy Scouse Git" about her. They divorce in 1975.

1967 John Petrucci, guitarist for the progressive metal band Dream Theater, is born in Long Island, New York.

1965 The Beach Boys release "California Girls." Musically, it's one of group leader Brian Wilson's favorite compositions, with an introduction that combines country and classical influences.

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Chaos Ensues At Ill-Fated Disco Demolition Night

1979

It's "Disco Demolition Night" at Comiskey Park, where the White Sox and Tigers are playing a doubleheader. The plan is to blow up a bunch of disco albums between games, but it goes horribly wrong when fans become unruly and rush the field, forcing the White Sox to forfeit the second game.

The White Sox aren't having a very good season, but not all hope is lost. At least when it comes to ticket sales. Mike Veeck, the team's promotions director, figures he can capitalize on the burgeoning anti-disco trend to fill out a couple thousand more seats in the stadium for the White Sox/Tigers doubleheader. Disco exploded worldwide two years earlier with the premiere of Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta as an aspiring dancer who shows off his moves to the beat of a groovy Bee Gees soundtrack. As radio stations begin to favor disco over rock, spinning tunes from the Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, and KC & The Sunshine Band, rock fans look for ways to rebel against the polyester genre. One rock fan in particular leads the pack. Chicago DJ Steve Dahl was fired from a local radio station that switched to a disco format and found a home at a rival rock station, where he encourages listeners to fight "the dreaded musical disease known as DISCO." When Veeck hears of Dahl's intention to blow up disco records at a mall, he invites him to do it at Comiskey Park. Dahl spreads word of the disco inferno: Any fan that shows up with a disco record will be admitted for .98, a nod to sponsoring station 97.9 WLUP-FM, and can watch Dahl destroy the collection on the field. As a result, over 50,000 people show up for the game, most of them rock fans eager to watch disco die a fiery death. Veeck didn't hire enough security to cover such an onslaught, and thousands of fans rush the field when Dahl triggers the explosion. Not only does the demolition blow a hole in the grass, but fans do their own damage by climbing poles, pulling up bases, storming the dugout, and setting fire to more records. Needless to say, it's game over for the White Sox, who are forced to forfeit the second game. For some, the melee represents more than a hatred of disco. Because the genre has its roots in gay culture and is often performed by African American artists, accusations of homophobia and racism are hurled at those involved, mostly young white males. Disco Demolition Night goes down in history as the beginning of the end of disco…for a few decades. The disco sound comes back to life in the '10s when hitmakers Nile Rodgers (of Chic) and Giorgio Moroder return to the fold. Moroder, the music producer who helped transform Donna Summer into a disco queen, and Rodgers collaborate with Daft Punk on their disco-infused Random Access Memories album, which lands the group multiple Grammy wins, including Album of the Year - proof that disco is, dare we say, stayin' alive.

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