1991 Billboard changes its methodology for determining the Hot 100, using SoundScan data to track record store sales and BDS information for radio plays. SoundScan, an electronic system that counts record sales when they are rung up, replaces record store reporting, which was typically done with phone calls. BDS is a Shazam-like service that identifies songs played by radio stations, which eliminates the need for stations to report their playlists. The first #1 on the revamped chart is "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss" by P.M. Dawn.
1977 Bing Crosby's last Christmas special airs. The program was recorded in September, and Crosby died that October. The show is remembered for Crosby's unusual duet with David Bowie, where they sing a modified version of "Little Drummer Boy," with Bowie singing the new "Peace On Earth" lyrics composed by the show's writers.
1974 Elton John's Greatest Hits album hits #1 in America, where it stays for the last five weeks of 1974 and first five of 1975.
1955 Billy Idol is born William Michael Albert Broad in Stanmore, Middlesex, England.
1940 Desi Arnaz marries Lucille Ball. The pair met on the set of the RKO musical Too Many Girls and eloped less than two months after the film's release.
1929 Dick Clark is born in Mount Vernon, New York. Dubbed the "world's oldest teenager," he becomes a cultural icon as the longtime host of American Bandstand and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.
2012 At the Uptown Theatre in Napa, California, 76-year-old Glen Campbell plays his final concert. It's the last stop on his Goodbye Tour, which began in September 2011 after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The tour runs much longer than expected, but when Campbell becomes disoriented during the show and struggles to get through eight songs, it becomes clear he can no longer perform.
2011 J. Blackfoot (of The Soul Children) dies of pancreatic cancer at age 65.
2011 Dubstep artist Skrillex is unexpectedly nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist - a first in Grammy history for a DJ.
2011 Robin Thicke's dad, actor Alan Thicke, publishes an article in The Huffington Post titled "Boomerology 101: Gangster Father," where he discusses Robin's success despite his "life as the son of a White Canadian Sitcom Dad, aka 'Street Cred Death.'"
2004 Linkin Park and Jay-Z release the collaborative EP Collision Course, which features mash-ups of the artists' songs. "Numb," from the nu-metal band's sophomore album, Meteora, is mixed with the rapper's Black Album track "Encore." The result, "Numb/Encore," wins the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2006 ceremony.
1998 Grant Gee's documentary Meeting People Is Easy, which follows Radiohead on their OK Computer tour, is released. The title is an ironic reference to the misanthropic nature of the band.
1997 The X-Files episode "The Post-Modern Prometheus" includes a Cher storyline and culminates in the main characters attending her concert. Cher couldn't appear in the episode (a lookalike was used), but three of her songs are featured: "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)," "Walking in Memphis" and "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves."
1996 "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" singer Tiny Tim (real name: Herbert B. Khaury) dies of a heart attack at age 64.
1985 "Separate Lives" by Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin hits #1. The song was written by Stephen Bishop and featured in the movie White Nights.
1983 Bad Religion release their second full-length studio album Into the Unknown.
1976 A live version of Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again" is released as a single with "Rita May" as the B-side.
Pink Floyd's album The Wall is released, seeing out the '70s in spectacular fashion as it sells over 13 million copies. The powerful concept album's themes of isolation and despair resonate with legions of fans, and it even spawns a #1 single - "Another Brick In The Wall (part II).
Roger Waters, the band's bass player, has gradually become the de facto leader of Pink Floyd since the success of The Dark Side of the Moon - the first album on which he penned all the lyrics. This new record is his brainchild: a semi-autobiographical concept album spread over two discs, dealing with alienation and the myriad stresses that come with success. The narrative details the descent into drug addiction and madness of a rock star. It introduces a number of the recurring themes in Waters' work: insanity, loneliness, and the futility of war (he lost his father during World War II). The concept for the record came about following an incident that took place during the 1977 Animals tour, when Waters' frustration at the inattentive audience spilled over and he spat at a heckler - making the band wish they could build a physical wall to separate themselves from the fans; something they actually did during the course of the shows of their 1980-81 world tour. Cracks are also beginning to appear off-stage, as the fraught album sessions see the band and their supporting musicians laying down the foundations of the album in separate studios - sometimes on different continents. Keyboard player Richard Wright is thrown out of the band before the record is finished, and Waters himself leaves after making their next album, The Final Cut (1983) - much of which is made up from outtakes and unused demos from The Wall sessions. In 1990, after the band's acrimonious split, Roger Waters goes on to perform the album live, in its entirety, with a raft of contemporary stars as the Berlin Wall is demolished - heralding the fall of Communism in Europe. He continues touring the album well into the 21st century and is even joined on stage by former bandmates David Gilmour and Nick Mason on stage in London during his 2011 tour.
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