10 September

Pick a Day

10 SEPTEMBER

In Music History

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2020 Alicia Keys performs "Lift Every Voice And Sing" at the NFL season opener between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. The league has ordered the song, considered the "Black national anthem," played before every game in Week 1. The NFL cracked down on players who refused to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" after Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the song in 2016, a stance that is out of touch with the Black Lives Matter movement.

2019 John Cooper of Skillet releases the graphic novel Eden, which follows the band's adventure through a dangerous post-apocalyptic world to find a mysterious paradise.

2015 Craig David breaks his hiatus with a guest slot on BBC Radio 1Xtra during a takeover by spoof garage and grime collective Kurupt FM, made popular by the BBC mockumentary People Just Do Nothing (also featuring grime MCs Big Narstie, Stormzy and MC Vapour). The session goes viral and helps launch David's comeback alongside the rising grime scene.More

2013 Apple announces iTunes Radio, a streaming service that is essentially a competitor to Pandora, creating radio stations based on a particular song, artist or genre.More

2010 Linkin Park release their fourth studio album, A Thousand Suns, an apocalyptic-themed concept album that finds the rap-rockers exploring electronic rock on singles like "The Catalyst" and "Waiting For The End."

2010 Delta bluesman Foster "Mr. Tater" Wiley dies in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 63.

2009 Nine Inch Nails completes its Wave Goodbye Tour at Los Angeles' Wiltern Theater, with Trent Reznor declaring that the band is done performing live for "the foreseeable future." The band maintains its hiatus for roughly four years, returning on July 26, 2013, with their Twenty Thirteen Tour.

2008 Abingdon Street in Peoria, Illinois, is designated "Fogelberg Parkway" after their native son Dan Fogelberg. The street is where the events of his song "Same Old Lang Syne" took place.

2001 Jo Dee Messina releases "Bring On The Rain," which becomes an anthem of grief and resilience after the terrorist attacks the next day.

1996 Neil Peart employs some jazz-influenced traditional drum grips on Rush's 16th studio album, Test for Echo. It's the last album the band releases before the death of Peart's daughter, followed ten months later by the passing of his wife, leads the band to take a six-year recording hiatus.

1996 Blues guitarist Lee Baker (of Lee Baker & The Agitators) is murdered at age 53, along with his elderly aunt, in Memphis, Tennessee.

1984 Matthew Followill (lead guitarist for Kings Of Leon) is born Cameron Matthew Followill in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

1975 PBS airs the special The World Of John Hammond, celebrating the Columbia Records executive who signed Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to the label. Dylan performs three songs in tribute.

1974 Randy Newman releases Good Old Boys, a concept album about a Redneck in the Deep South.

1973 The BBC, predictably, bans The Rolling Stones' single "Star Star," better known as "Starf----r."

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Debuts

1990

Starring a young rapper named Will Smith, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air debuts on NBC. Smith hones his acting skills during his six seasons on the show, which features guest appearances by his musical partner, DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Smith is 21 when the show debuts, but he is known for playing a high schooler. In 1986, he and Jazzy Jeff released their first single, "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble," which despite some adult themes (the girl sure is trouble: she takes his wallet and screams rape), set the jovial tone that made them very popular with the younger crowd, but also acceptable to adults. The video, directed by Scott Kalvert (who makes The Basketball Diaries in 1995), established their signature look: vibrant colors, white walls covered with unobjectionable graffiti, shifting scenes with abstract set pieces, fisheye view, spurts of fast motion. Kalvert used the same style in their 1988 video for "Parents Just Don't Understand," which was their breakout hit, earning lots of exposure on MTV. That video was proof of concept for Will Smith, proving that he could do quite well in front of a camera, and that he could pull off the character. The husband-and-wife showrunners Andy and Susan Borowitz pitched the show to NBC, the network that was enjoying tremendous success with The Cosby Show. Like Cosby, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is about a wealthy black family, but with Smith, sent from Philadelphia for an affluent upbringing, as the focal point. Smith really is from Philly, but the story about moving to Bel-Air with his aunt and uncle is concocted for fish-out-of-water comedy. The show earns respectable ratings, scarfing up lots of young viewers as it airs opposite MacGyver and Evening Shade. Concurrently, Will and Jeff keep their music career going with the album Homebase, released in the summer of 1991. They leave their juvenile songs behind, but keep it light, scoring their biggest hit with the breezy "Summertime" a hip-hop take on the disco hit "Ring My Bell." But their most successful song, by miles, is the theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Smith rapping the open was part of the pitch for the show. A huge fan of TV comedies, he had no trouble crafting lyrics that fleshed out the concept in clever fashion ("Yo homes, smell ya later"). Jazzy Jeff, a respected producer/DJ in the rap game, put together the beat; they had it done in less time than it takes to watch an episode. The show lasts six seasons, and far longer in syndication. In the summer of 1996, about a month after the last episode airs, Smith stars in Independence Day, the biggest film of the year. He becomes one of the most bankable and beloved movie stars, with starring roles in Men in Black (1997), Ali (2001) and Hitch (2005). DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince won a rap Grammy in 1989 for "Parents," demonstrating tremendous crossover appeal but also exposing a rift between their whimsical hip-hop and harder-edged rap from groups like Public Enemy and LL Cool J. But on the show, Smith isn't a professional rapper: he's a student. By frontlining a successful major-network TV series, he opens doors for other rappers who make the transition to TV and film.

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