7 June

Pick a Day

7 JUNE

In Music History

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2012 Bob Welch, Fleetwood Mac's guitarist from 1971–1974, dies of suicide at age 66.More

2011 Def Leppard release their first ever live album: Mirrorball.

2008 Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones make a surprise appearance to jam with Foo Fighters during their Wembley Stadium gig in London. The one-night-only supergroup plays "Rock And Roll" and "Ramble On."

2007 Rancho Mirage, California, names a street after one-time resident Dean Martin.

1994 Stone Temple Pilots release their second album Purple, which goes to #1 in America and sells over 6 million copies on the strength of the tracks "Big Empty," "Vasoline" and "Interstate Love Song."

1994 Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane/Starship is sentenced to 200 hours of community service on charges of pointing a loaded gun at police who responded to reports of a disturbance at her home on March 5th.

1993 Ground is broken for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

1991 Spike Lee's film Jungle Fever debuts in theaters. It boasts a soundtrack written and produced by Stevie Wonder and features Queen Latifah's acting debut. The rapper plays a waitress who snubs the interracial couple played by Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra.

1985 The movie Perfect debuts in theaters, starring John Travolta as a Rolling Stone reporter who falls for aerobics instructor Jamie Lee Curtis. While the drama is a dud with critics, it portrays Rolling Stone as more than a music magazine – which is exactly what its editor-in-chief Jann Wenner hoped. More

1984 The film Ghostbusters is released. Its theme song bears similarities to Huey Lewis's "I Want a New Drug." Ghostbusters theme writer Ray Parker, Jr. and Huey settle out of court.

1982 Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion opens for public tours.

1979 President Jimmy Carter decrees June as Black Music Month, which Barack Obama changes to African American Music Month in 2009.

1975 John Denver scores his third US #1 hit with "Thank God I'm A Country Boy."

1974 Terry "T-Low" Brown (of Next) is born in Minnesota.

1971 Don McLean records "Vincent."

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Prince Changes Name To Unpronounceable Symbol

1993

On his 35th birthday, Prince changes his name to an unpronounceable symbol, making him, literally, an icon.


Prince signed his first record contract at age 18 in 1977 when he made a deal with Warner Bros. Records that gave him lots of creative freedom and ensured that he would produce his own material. The arrangement worked out well for both sides, with Warners funding his experimental whims and making loads of money in the process. In 1992, Prince extended the contract in a deal that paid him $10 million for every album selling over 5 million copies, as his previous effort, Diamonds & Pearls, did. But while his label was looking for focused attention on every album in an effort to maximize revenue, Prince wanted to empty the vault, releasing lots of material. When Warners rejected this strategy, Prince made his beef very public, appearing with the word "Slave" scrawled across his face. Since the label owned the "Prince" output, he decided to change his name to something they couldn't control. Prince announces the name change in a statement that reads, "It is an unpronounceable symbol whose meaning has not been identified. It's all about thinking in new ways, tuning in 2 a new free-quency." Since the symbol cannot be rendered on a keyboard, Warner Bros. sends out floppy discs to media outlets with the digital image. Some publications use it, but most refer to him as "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince." Some fans fudge it like this: O(+> As for the symbol, it started out as a mashup of the male and female signs (♂ ♀), first appearing within the first "9" on the 1999 album cover (1982), then on his motorcycle in his 1984 movie Purple Rain. It showed up again on the Graffiti Bridge album cover in 1990. This symbol could not be copyrighted, so Prince hired a Minneapolis design studio, HDMG, to tweak the glyph, adding a horn-like figure across it, giving it a unique identifier. He copyrighted this version and used it as the title of his 1992 album, then as his name (although legally, he is still Prince Rogers Nelson). In 1999, he talks about the name change in an interview with Larry King: "I had to search deep within my heart and spirit, and I wanted to make a change and move to a new plateau in my life. And one of the ways in which I did that was to change my name. It sort of divorced me from the past and all the hangups that go along with it. We had some issues that were basically about ownership of the music and how often I was supposed to record and things like that. We got along otherwise." In 2000, he goes back to "Prince" when his contract with Warner Bros. expires. (Here's a look at how the symbol itself evolved.)

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