13 May

Pick a Day

13 MAY

In Music History

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2019 Doris Day dies at 97.

2017 Portugal wins the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time when Salvador Sobral triumphs with the ballad "Amar Pelos Dois."

2016 Tower of Power play a California prison with former lead singer Rick Stevens, who served 36 years for a 1976 drug-related triple homicide.

2016 Kristian Bush of Sugarland appears on the TLC reality series Say Yes To The Dress, where he is flummoxed by bridal culture. While shooting the episode, he is asked to write a new theme song for the show, which he does with "Forever Now (Say Yes)."

2016 Blake Shelton releases "Straight Outta Cold Beer," the third promotional single for his If I'm Honest album.

2012 Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass guitarist for Booker T. and the MGs) dies in his sleep at age 70 while on tour in Tokyo.

2011 Jack Richardson (producer of Guess Who, Bob Seger) dies at age 81.

2008 Frank Sinatra gets his own stamp 10 years after his death. The 42 cent stamp features a young Sinatra in a snappy suit and fedora.

2008 The Turtles' Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, better known as "Flo and Eddie," sue Capitol Records for allowing Ice Cube to sample the group's 1972 song "Buzzsaw" for Cube's 1992 hit "Jackin' For Beats."

2008 Rapper Remy Ma is sentenced to eight years in prison for assault, weapon possession and attempted coercion in conjunction with the shooting of a woman outside a Manhattan nightclub.

2006 Johnnie Wilder Jr. (lead vocalist of Heatwave) dies at age 56 of complications from paralysis (due to a 1979 car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down).

2006 Ryan Vandeberghe announces that the Suicide Machines have broken up after 15 years.

2004 In an Australian radio interview, Gene Simmons of Kiss states of Islam: "This is a vile culture, and if you think for a second that it's willing to just live in the sands of God's armpit you've got another thing coming... they want to come and live right where you live and they think that you're evil." After a flood of angry calls from Muslims, Simmons claims he was speaking only of extremists.

2003 Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong pleads guilty to selling drug paraphernalia over the Internet.

2003 Michael Jackson sues Motown records for alleged nonpayment of Jackson 5 royalties and unauthorized usage of the group's music in TV commercials.

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Stevie Wonder Is Born

1950

Stevie Wonder is born Stevland Morris in Saginaw, Michigan.

Born six weeks premature, Wonder is kept alive in an incubator, but is rendered blind when he's exposed to too much oxygen. The condition doesn't hold him back. He shows his aptitude for music early on when he first touches the keys on a neighbor's broken-down piano. By the time he's 11 years old, he's recording his first two albums at Motown: The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie and Tribute to Uncle Ray. At 13, he becomes the youngest artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 when his single "Fingertips (Part 2)" hits #1. But the easy success of the early '60s grows harder by the end of the decade when Little Stevie's voice begins to change and he can no longer be marketed as a musical boy wonder. The '70s mark a turning point for the former child prodigy as he grows into his maturing sound and begins experimenting with synthesizers and electronic instruments. His albums aren't merely collections of singles, as is expected, but conceptual pieces that explore romantic, social, and political themes. Talking Book (1972) features the #1 hits "Superstition" and "You Are The Sunshine of My Life"; Innervisions (1973) boasts "Higher Ground" (#4) and "Living For The City" (#8); Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974) introduces "You Haven't Done Nothin'" (#1) and "Boogie On Reggae Woman" (#3); and the ambitious double album Songs In The Key Of Life brings forth the chart-topping singles "I Wish" and "Sir Duke" as well as the blissful track "Isn't She Lovely," an ode to his newborn daughter, Aisha. Wonder remains a radio staple in the ensuing decades with hits like "Lately," "Ebony and Ivory" (with Paul McCartney), "Part-Time Lover," and the star-studded charity singles "We Are The World" and "That's What Friends Are For." The worldwide chart-topper "I Just Called To Say I Love You" also earns Wonder an Academy Award for Best Original Song for its use in the 1984 movie The Woman In Red. Meanwhile, the singer is using his celebrity for a worthy cause. Since 1968, the year Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Wonder has been rallying for a federal holiday to honor the late civil rights leader. In 1981, he hosts the Rally for Peace Press Conference in Washington, D.C. - where he performs his King-inspired song "Happy Birthday" - which helps Martin Luther King Day become a reality in 1983. Although he doesn't achieve the same level of commercial success in the 21st century, Wonder is regarded as an innovator in pop and R&B and an overall legendary performer. But the singer says his music is just as much about teaching himself as it is about teaching others. "My music has always been a lesson for me," he tells Oprah Winfrey. "I'll write a song, then later think, 'Did that come from me?' It came from God through me."

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