20 October

Pick a Day

20 OCTOBER

In Music History

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2016 Little Big Town release the single "Better Man," which they later reveal was written by Taylor Swift, marking the first time she pitched a song to another artist.

2011 John Mayer has throat surgery to treat a problem with his vocal cords, pushing back the release of his album Born and Raised.

2010 Lil Wayne, in prison on weapons charges, hits #1 in America with his album I Am Not a Human Being, recorded before he started serving his eight-month sentence.

2005 Jazz singer/pianist Shirley Horn dies of complications from diabetes at age 71.

2003 Amy Winehouse, 20, issues her first album, Frank, in the UK. It doesn't appear in America until 2007.

2002 A man identifying himself as Kid Rock's personal assistant is charged with felony and misdemeanor drug possession after a traffic stop on Rock's tour bus on the Florida Turnpike. Officers find a small amount of cocaine, two marijuana cigarettes, a glass pipe, and rolling papers on Kevin J. McMahon's person and in his luggage. He is released from jail on $16,000 bond.

2001 Raising money for victims of the September 11th attacks, Paul McCartney leads "The Concert For New York" in Madison Square Garden. Elton John, Billy Joel, David Bowie, The Who, and Eric Clapton all participate.

1999 A year after nearly dying from pneumonia, Johnny Cash finds himself battling the condition again. Cash is listed in serious condition at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.

1998 98 Degrees release their breakout album, 98 Degrees and Rising, featuring the hit singles "Because Of You" and "The Hardest Thing," as well as "True To Your Heart," a duet with Stevie Wonder from the Disney movie Mulan.

1997 Canned Heat guitarist Henry "The Sunflower" Vestine, age 52, dies of respiratory and heart failure in a Paris hotel room just after finishing a European tour with the band.

1996 Carly Simon is unable to perform due to stage fright, aboard the Queen Elizabeth II in New York.

1991 Country music singer Clint Black marries TV actress Lisa Hartman. The couple met when Hartman and her mother attended a New Year's concert Black gave in Houston.

1984 A-ha make their television debut, performing four songs – including an early version of their future #1 hit "Take On Me" - on Lordagssirkus, a program from their native Norway.

1980 U2 release their debut album, Boy, produced by Steve Lillywhite. It doesn't yield any hits but "I Will Follow" becomes one of their most popular songs.

1979 Bob Dylan makes his only appearance on Saturday Night Live, performing three songs from his Christian album Slow Train Coming.

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Madonna Releases Erotica

1992

Madonna releases Erotica, a concept album about the pleasures and pitfalls of sex and romance, a day before her controversial Sex book hits the market.

Erotica reunites Madonna with Shep Pettibone, her collaborator on "Vogue" and her Immaculate Collection. By the time they get down to business in his New York studio, she has already started work on her much-hyped Sex book, which captures the naked singer in various illicit scenarios meant to shock America out of its sexual repression. Both projects feature Madonna's alter ego, Dita Parlo, a mistress of desire named for a silent film actress. The album takes shape around the title track, when Madonna channels Dita with a throaty invitation to explore S&M. The accompanying video incorporates footage from the Sex sessions and is quickly banned by MTV, generating lots of buzz that sends "Erotica" to #3 on the pop chart. Another top 10 hit, "Deeper and Deeper," is a Spanish-inflected dance song about falling in love, and perhaps coming to terms with one's sexuality. "Bad Girl" finds Madonna at the mercy of her vices, with too many cigarettes and too many one-night stands, while the Peggy Lee burner "Fever" brings us back to the pleasure principle. Love is a healing salve in the tender ballad "Rain," contrasting the final single, "Bye Bye Baby," a hip-hop anti-love song aimed at the man who did her wrong. The most explicit lyrics are found in the double-entendre-laden "Where Life Begins," and the raunchy rap track "Did You Do It?" A somber note balances the album, as "In This Life" eulogizes all the friends Madonna lost to the AIDS epidemic. Erotica is eclipsed by the shadow of the controversial Sex book but still manages to peak at #2 on the albums chart. Years later, it's hailed as a dark masterpiece that paved the way for future female artists. Doug Wimbish of the band Living Colour noted, "She was bringin' it from her point of view as a woman, bringing it to the forefront for real. That set the template now for your Christina Aguileras, Britneys, Beyoncés. She paved the road for a lot of that. You can be nice and clean and then a freak. And there'll be a lot of money for you in it at the end!"

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