17 October

Pick a Day


In Music History

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2020 Directed by Spike Lee, the film version of David Byrne's American Utopia, which ran on Broadway from October 2019 to February 2020, debuts on HBO. Many of the songs from Stop Making Sense, the concert film Byrne did with the Talking Heads, are also in this one, but a showstopper is a cover of Janelle Monáe's "Hell You Talmbout," which ties into the Black Lives Matter movement.

2017 To commemorate the 28-year anniversary of Selena's self-titled debut album, Google Doodle pays tribute to the late singer, who was murdered by her ex-fan club president in 1995, with an animated video about her rise to fame. The clip features her hit single "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom."More

2017 Gord Downie, leader of the Canadian band The Tragically Hip, dies at 53 after a battle with cancer.

2010 Blues scholar Stephen Calt dies in Queens, New York, at age 62.

2008 The Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs dies at age 72.

2007 Teresa Brewer, known for the 1953 hit, "Till I Waltz Again with You," dies of progressive supranuclear palsy at age 76.

2007 The state of California announces that Dionne Warwick owes nearly $2.67 million in back taxes.

2007 A section of Detroit's West Grand Boulevard (the original home of Motown Records) is renamed "Berry Gordy, Jr. Boulevard" after the Motown founder.

2006 Stevie Wonder receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

2004 At the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Music Awards, Jet dominates the competition, winning awards for six of their seven nominations, including Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group and Breakthrough Artist. During the ceremony Nic Chester performs as a member of the Australian super-group The Wrights.

2002 The International Bluegrass Music Awards honors Down from the Mountain as Album of the Year. The collection is comprised of artists featured on the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack to the Coen Brothers movie O Brother Where Art Thou?, including Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, John Hartford, and Ralph Stanley (of The Stanley Brothers). Dan Tyminski, who sang lead on the Soggy Bottom Boys' "Man Of Constant Sorrow" for the movie, also wins Male Vocalist of the Year.

2002 Country musician Bashful Brother Oswald (real name Beecher Ray Kirby) dies in Madison, Tennessee, at age 90. Popularized the use of the resonator guitar.

2001 Composer Jay Livingston dies in Los Angeles, California, at age 86. Known for his work with songwriting partner Ray Evans, including the Doris Day hit "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)."

2000 Limp Bizkit go to Times Square in New York City to celebrate the release of their third album, Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water. They appear on MTV's TRL and sign autographs for some of the 2000 fans who show up to greet them, before heading to the hip-hop station Hot 97 for an interview with Funkmaster Flex. Like their previous album, Significant Other, it debuts at #1 in America.

1999 Steel guitarist Tommy Durden, who co-wrote Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel," dies at age 79.

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Billy Joel Releases Storm Front


Billy Joel releases the album Storm Front, with his enduring hit "We Didn't Start The Fire."

Joel, who was about to turn 40, was already feeling contemplative the day Sean Lennon (John and Yoko's son) and his friend visited him in the studio. Lennon's 21-year-old pal was complaining about the problems his generation had inherited and claimed Joel couldn't possibly understand because he grew up in the boring '50s, where nothing of note occurred. Joel was flabbergasted by the accusation and scribbled out a list of newsworthy events from his four decades of life. Strung together in a rapid-fire rap against a droning melody, the resulting song was a kind of chronicle of the Cold War years in America. Released as the first single from Storm Front, "We Didn't Start The Fire" is a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a staple in history classrooms across the country. The album, which reaches #1 in America, also includes "The Downeaster Alexa," a song about the plight of disenfranchised fishermen on Joel's native Long Island; "I Go To Extremes," an apology for the singer's intense mood swings; "Leningrad," a testament to an unlikely friendship between boys on opposite sides of the Cold War; and "Shameless," a Hendrix-inspired rock tune made famous by Garth Brooks a couple years later. "We Didn't Start The Fire" reignites in 2020, when Twitter users have fun rewriting the lyrics to reflect the tumultuous COVID-19 era.



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