1996 Spice Girls release their debut single, "Wannabe," in the UK. It shoots to #1, setting Spice-mania in motion. The single is released in the US in January 1997, and climbs to the top spot there as well.
1981 The Go-Go's release their debut album, Beauty and the Beat. It reaches #1 in the US, becoming the first by an all-girl band to do so.
1972 Bill Withers' "Lean On Me" hits #1 in America. The song endures as a message of compassion and goodwill; in 1989 it is used as the theme to the movie Lean On Me, about a troubled school and its no-nonsense principal.
1954 Dewey Phillips at WHBQ in Memphis becomes the first DJ to play an Elvis Presley song when he spins "That's Alright Mama" on his Red Hot & Blue show. The switchboard lights up, so Phillips keeps playing the song, giving Elvis some prime publicity early in his career.
2011 Troubadours: The Rise Of The Singer-Songwriter is screened by the BBC.
2003 A tooth from the mouth of Elvis Presley, once the property of former girlfriend Linda Thompson, goes up for auction on eBay. Along with a lock of his hair and a gold record, it fetches over $100,000.
2002 Michael Jackson unleashes a sudden tirade on the music industry, accusing several music execs of racism and calling Sony head Tommy Mottola in particular "very, very, very devilish."
1998 The Smithsonian and Library of Congress agree to house the music and film archives of Frank Sinatra.
1997 Weezer fan club founders Mykel Allan, 31, and her sister Carli, 29, are killed along with their younger sister, Trysta, in a car accident in Colorado on the way back from one of the band's shows. The girls, who had befriended many up-and-coming Los Angeles-based bands, are honored through many tribute songs, including Weezer's "Mykel and Carli" and Jimmy Eat World's "Hear You Me."
1992 Garth Brooks and wife Sandy welcome their first child, daughter Taylor Mayne Pearl Brooks.
1978 The Clash's Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon are arrested on drunk and disorderly charges following a concert at The Apollo in Glasgow, Scotland.
1974 David Bowie releases David Live, recorded at Tower Theater in Philadelphia. It is Bowie's first official live album.
1971 A mini-riot during a Mott The Hoople concert prompts London's Royal Albert Hall to temporarily ban rock groups from the venue.
1970 Beck is born Bek David Campbell in Los Angeles, California. He adopts the surname Hansen from his mom, former Andy Warhol protege Bibbe Hansen.
1969 Singer/actress Marianne Faithfull, girlfriend of Mick Jagger, attempts suicide with barbiturates while on the set of the film Ned Kelly (also starring Mick). She is dropped from the cast of the movie, eventually recovers, and when awaking from her coma, tells friends that "wild horses couldn't drag me away." The Rolling Stones song "Wild Horses" is built around that phrase.
1965 The Dave Clark Five's first movie, Having A Wild Weekend, opens in London. (For American audiences, it's entitled Catch Us If You Can, after their hit of the same name.)
1962 Joan Osborne is born in Anchorage, Kentucky.
New Mexico's Roswell Daily Record reports an alien aircraft has crashed near a local ranch with the headline "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer In Roswell Region." In the coming decades, extraterrestrials and flying saucers invade several songs, including David Bowie's "Starman," Megadeth's "Hangar 18," and Radiohead's "Subterranean Homesick Alien."
Although the Air Force explains the UFO was actually a downed weather balloon, the Roswell Incident spurs numerous conspiracy theories about alien activity and government cover-ups, providing plenty of material for songwriters looking to venture beyond love songs. The story opens: The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer. It goes on to give an account by a rancher who witnessed the craft: It looked oval in shape like two inverted saucers, faced mouth to mouth, or like two old type washbowls placed, together in the same fashion. The entire body glowed as though light were showing through from inside, though not like it would inside, though not like it would be if a light were merely underneath. The next day, the paper reports that the unidentified object was, in fact, a weather device. Many doubt this report, believing it's a cover-up as part of a government conspiracy. One of the first songs to beam on board comes in 1956 with "The Flying Saucer," a War of the Worlds tale by the novelty duo Goodman and Buchanan. David Bowie makes aliens and space a theme of his various personas, but some artists approach it earnestly, including Sammy Hagar, who recounts his UFO encounter in "Silver Lights." In the 2010s, Tom Delong of blink-182 becomes a top alien investigator.
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