16 March

Pick a Day

16 MARCH

In Music History

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2020 Chris Martin takes to Instagram to perform a virtual concert in support of the World Health Organization as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold. It's the first of a series of "Together At Home" concerts done by a variety of artists.

2019 Surf rock pioneer Dick Dale dies at 81.

2017 Ed Sheeran launches his ÷ (Divide) tour in Turin, Italy. The trek lasts two-and-a-half years and breaks U2's record for highest-grossing tour, raking in $775.6 million on 255 dates. U2's 360 tour (2009-2011) took in $735.3 million.

2017 Ray Davies, frontman of The Kinks, is knighted for services to the arts by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.

2016 Frank Sinatra Jr., the only son of Frank Sinatra, dies of a heart attack at age 72 while on tour in Daytona Beach, Florida.

2016 First Lady Michelle Obama delivers the keynote address at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, promoting her "Let Girls Learn" initiative and launching the star-studded Diane Warren-penned anthem "This Is For My Girls."More

2013 Bobbie Smith of The Spinners dies of pneumonia and influenza at age 76.

2011 Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine collapses backstage at a concert in Russia. He was in extreme pain from kidney stones but insisted on performing six songs for the crowd before going to the hospital 30 minutes later.

2009 Songwriter Jack Lawrence dies at age 96 after he falls at his home in Redding, Connecticut. He co-wrote Frank Sinatra's first solo hit, "All or Nothing at All."

2008 Session drummer Ola Brunkert, who played on many ABBA recordings, dies at age 61.

2008 Daniel MacMaster (lead singer of Bonham) dies of a staph infection at age 39.

2007 Tupper Saussy of The Neon Philharmonic dies of a heart attack at age 70.

2005 Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Janie Coffey loses an action in England's High Court for copyright infringement in her claim that Madonna's song "Nothing Really Matters" infringed on a song Coffey had written earlier.

2002 Liza Minnelli takes her fourth trip down the aisle when she marries promoter David Gest in New York. Michael Jackson serves as best man and Elizabeth Taylor is matron of honor.

2000 Jay-Z and Beyoncé meet for the first time at MTV's Spring Break festival in Cancun, where both are performing (Bey with her group, Destiny's Child). They go on their first date two years later.

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Rapper Rides Onto Country Chart But Is Declared Ineligible

2019

"Old Town Road" by the rapper Lil Nas X makes the Country chart, but is removed the following week when Billboard declares it ineligible for the tally. The attention leads to a remix with Billy Ray Cyrus that goes to #1 on the genre-agnostic Hot 100.

Billboard has to designate which songs are eligible for their Country chart, which is usually pretty straightforward: if a song is distributed by a label's country imprint, it's considered a country song. But Lil Nas X isn't on a label: He uploaded the song to YouTube and TikTok in December 2018, and it was used in a number of memes that spread across the digital landscape. All these memes garnered enough streams of the song to push it onto some of Billboard's March 16, 2019 charts, including the Hot 100, where it places at #83. It is also deemed eligible for the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where unsigned rappers discovered on SoundCloud and other platforms often emerge, placing at #36. But the song has some twang, and also a cowboy theme, with Lil Nas taking his horse down to Old Town Road, so Billboard also places it at #19 on their Country chart, where Lil Nas rides alongside Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini. The following week, the song picks up more momentum; it climbs to #51 on the Hot 100 but vanishes from the Country chart, as Billboard decides it doesn't belong there after all. Billboard claims the song doesn't have enough country elements to qualify, but it's likely they cowed to pressure from the country music establishment, which doesn't like seeing an unsigned rapper on the chart. It's a setback for Lil Nas X, but ultimately a victory. Billy Ray Cyrus, who upset country music's applecart in the early '90s with "Achy Breaky Heart," tweets his support, telling Lil Nas, "Only Outlaws are outlawed. Welcome to the club!" Lil Nas X signs with Columbia Records, and Cyrus lends vocals to a remix that gives the song new life. On April 13 it tops the Hot 100, but remains ineligible for the Country chart.

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