1996 J-Bird Records, the first Internet record label, opens for business, offering previews using Real Audio and Shockwave. Clients include Mitch Ryder and Billy Squier, but the label folds a few years later.
1995 "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Hot 100. The song appears on the soundtrack to the film Waiting To Exhale, which stars Houston.
1989 Thanks to a video that gets Alice Cooper his first significant spins on MTV, "Poison" hits #7 - the rocker's first Top 40 hit in nine years.
1976 Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The Staple Singers, Ronnie Hawkins, and Dr. John join The Band for The Last Waltz, a farewell concert for the ages.More
1960 Amy Grant is born in Augusta, Georgia. The Christian singer makes a controversial transition to secular music with the #1 pop singles "The Next Time I Fall" (a 1986 duet with Peter Cetera) and "Baby Baby."
2015 Alicia Keys begins her two-episode stint as Skye Summers on the hip-hop-centered TV series Empire.
2013 Gary dos Santos, known as the "Mayor of Strawberry Fields," dies at age 49 after a battle with leukemia. Dos Santos ruled over the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park, dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. He helped keep order and decorum in the area, arranged flowers at the memorial, and greeted tourists who came by.
2013 Beastie Boys sue the toy company GoldieBlox for running an online ad featuring little girls singing an altered version of their song "Girls" (the group has never allowed their songs to be licensed for advertising). The suit is settled on March 19, 2014, with GoldieBlox issuing an apology and making a donation to charity.
2011 Blues musician Coco Robicheaux dies in New Orleans, Louisiana, at age 64.
2008 A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!, the soundtrack to the Christmas comedy special of the same name starring Stephen Colbert, is released on iTunes. Most of the songs featured on the album were written by comedy writer David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger, who is the bass player for Fountains of Wayne. The album will go on to win the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
2006 Mexican banda music singer Valentin Elizalde is gunned down in his car after a concert performance, presumably by a gang of drug traffickers, at age 27. Elizalde often sang narcocorridos, "drug ballads" that have been compared to gangster rap.
2005 Country music makes itself comfortable all around New York when the Country Music Association holds its 39th annual CMA Awards show at Madison Square Garden.
2003 Meat Loaf undergoes surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat.
1999 Clint Black is on hand to help the Salvation Army launch its annual holiday fundraising drive. Black entertains during the third annual "National Kettle Kick-off," a half-time event at the Dallas Cowboys' football game.
1997 Blues singer and guitarist Fenton Robinson dies of complications from brain cancer in Rockford, Illinois, at age 62. Known for his signature song, "Somebody Loan Me a Dime" (1967).
1997 The original Zombies lineup -- Rod Argent on organ, Colin Blunstone on vocals, Paul Atkinson on guitar, Chris White on bass, and Hugh Grundy on drums -- reunites onstage for the first time in 30 years at London's Jazz Cafe, performing two songs only: "She's Not There" and "Time Of The Season" to promote their new box set Zombie Heaven.
1997 Garth Brooks releases Sevens.
1997 2Pac's R U Still Down? (Remember Me) is released posthumously.
1988 Having successfully completed their stint in an Arizona rehab clinic for alcoholism, Ringo Starr and his second wife, actress Barbara Bach, return to England.
1984 In London, Bono, George Michael, David Bowie, Jody Watley, Paul McCartney and a passel of other stars record vocals for "Do They Know It's Christmas?," the first big all-star charity single. Released a week later (in time for Christmas), it becomes a holiday favorite and raises over $14 million for famine relief in Africa.
In her first film role, Whitney Houston plays a pop diva under the protection of Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. The highlight of the movie is Houston's rendition of "I Will Always Love You," which hits #1 three days after the movie's release.
Houston originally wanted Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" for the film's climax, but changed her mind when she found out it was used in Fried Green Tomatoes a year earlier. Costner, who also produced The Bodyguard, suggested Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." He enlisted David Foster to tailor a soulful version for the tender goodbye between the pop star and her bodyguard. The song is one of five hits from the movie's soundtrack, including "Queen Of The Night," "I'm Every Woman," "Run To You," and "I Have Nothing" - the latter two are nominated for Oscars for Best Original Song. The soundtrack, which goes on to become the best-selling soundtrack of all time, wins the Grammy Award for Album Of The Year. The Bodyguard took years to hit the screen. It was intended as a star vehicle for Diana Ross and Steve McQueen in the '70s, but never got off the ground until Costner rallied for Houston decades later. The film receives mixed reviews, but gives the singer a boost to pursue an acting career, with roles in Waiting To Exhale and The Preacher's Wife.
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