2 March

Pick a Day

2 MARCH

In Music History

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2014 20 Feet From Stardom, a film about backup singers featuring Darlene Love and Lisa Fischer, wins the Oscar for Best Documentary. Love gets a standing ovation when she sings part of her acceptance speech.

2008 Canadian blues rocker Jeff Healey dies of cancer at age 41 in Toronto, Canada.

2008 Nine Inch Nails release their sixth album, an almost entirely instrumental Ghosts I-IV, as a free digital release - a concept they will revisit with their next album, The Slip, in July. Physical copies are sold at a regular price a few months after the digital releases.

2004 All Saints' Natalie Appleton gives birth to a son, Ace Billy Howlett. The father is her husband Liam Howlett (of The Prodigy).

2003 Hank Ballard, whose song "The Twist" became a national sensation when Chubby Checker recorded it, dies of throat cancer in Los Angeles, California, at age 75.

1991 Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" peaks at #6 on the US chart, thanks to an instrumental version featured in the David Lynch film Wild at Heart.

1987 The Trio album, a collaboration between Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, is released. The album had been planned since 1979 - it was worth the wait, selling over 4 million copies and winning the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

1983 The first CD players are released in America, along with 16 albums on CD.

1977 Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin is born in Whitestone, Exeter, Devon, England.

1977 The Barry Manilow Special airs on ABC-TV.

1974 Gladys Knight & The Pips win Grammys for "Neither One of Us" (Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group or Chorus) and "Midnight Train To Georgia" (Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group).

1974 Olivia Newton-John wins the Grammy for Best Female Vocal Country Performance for "Let Me Be There." Country veterans are miffed, but reach full outrage when she takes the CMA award for Female Vocalist of the Year.

1971 Rapper Method Man is born Clifford Smith in Long Island, New York.

1968 Cat Stevens begins a three-month hospital stay after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.

1967 The Supremes record "Reflections" and "The Happening."

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Spinal Tap Explodes Into Theaters

1984

This Is Spinal Tap is released in theaters, chronicling the hapless heavy metal band with exploding drummers and an amp that goes to 11. It leaves some in laughter and some in tears. Ozzy Osbourne is just confused.

Directed by Rob Reiner - best known as Meathead from All in the Family - the film follows the mishaps of an outfit of aging rockers dubbed Spinal Tap as they tour and promote their album Smell the Glove. The group is not only comically inept but absurdly pretentious, with delusions of grandeur far exceeding their actual talent. This is actually the second appearance of the band, the first having been in 1979 on a sketch comedy pilot titled The T.V. Show. The film is a double parody, poking fun not only at rock bands but also at documentaries and, most especially, "rockumenteries." The humor, however, is lost on a good part of the audience. Despite the credits clearly stating that the band is fictional, as well as cameos from well-known actors Billy Crystal and Patrick Macnee, many moviegoers believe it's about a real band. The confusion is encouraged by the performances of Spinal Tap actors Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Christopher Guest, who all manage to maintain a straight-faced believability throughout the story, even during the movie's most absurd moments. The misunderstanding may hurt sales and delay the film's eventual cult status, as many are left wondering why a movie would be made about a band that no one has heard of. Many of the day's real musicians get the joke but find it painfully close to reality. U2's The Edge "weeps" in recognition of what he sees. Tom Waits sheds tears as well because of the movie's "realism." Ozzy Osbourne, meanwhile, is among those confused. He believes Spinal Tap is a real band, noting that they "seemed quite tame compared to what we [Black Sabbath] were up to." The film is written by Rob Reiner, but so much of its content has been improvised by Spinal Tap "members" McKean, Shearer, and Guest that they are all also given writing credits. In a case of life imitating art imitating life, the band ends up reuniting in 1992 on an album titled Break Like the Wind. Several drummers try out for the band, including the legendary Mick Fleetwood, who does so in a fireproof suit. Footage from one of their 1992 shows makes up the bulk of the material on the 1994 film The Return of Spinal Tap. There will be years and years of songs and public appearances, as well as a feud culminating with a tense public showdown with Metallica, who "clearly" stole the all-black-album-cover idea from Tap's Smell the Glove. Metallica isn't the only band influenced by Spinal Tap: Here are 10 other acts that have had multiple Spinal Tap moments.

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