1999 The Dixie Chicks become the first country group to top the Billboard albums chart when Fly debuts at #1. More
1991 Michael Jackson is a guest voice on The Simpsons, where he plays a mental patient Homer befriends named Leon Kompowsky.
1990 Eddie Vedder is selected as lead vocalist of what will become Pearl Jam after Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready hear his demo tape where he added vocals to three instrumental tracks the band had recorded.
1984 At a whistle-stop in Hammonton, New Jersey, campaigning president Ronald Reagan praises singer Bruce Springsteen, saying: "America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts; it rests in the message of hope in songs so many young Americans admire: New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen. And helping you make those dreams come true is what this job of mine is all about." This leads to widespread criticism in the press because Springsteen's recent hit, "Born In The U.S.A.," is in fact a bitter cry of outrage at how poorly the United States treats its veterans, which Reagan had apparently mistaken for a straight-forward patriotic anthem - an easy mistake to make if you listen to the chorus only and not the lyrics.
1973 Gram Parsons of The Byrds dies at age 26 after taking a shot of liquid morphine in his room at Joshua Tree Inn. Parsons had been recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, but relapsed during his trip to Joshua Tree National Park. "He was clean and took a strong shot," his friend Keith Richards says. "It's the one mistake you don't want to make."
1960 Chubby Checker's version of "The Twist" goes to #1 in America, while the original version by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters reaches its peak chart position of #28. Checker's version tops the chart again in 1962.
1952 Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers is born in New York City.
2014 James Blunt marries Sofia Wellesley, granddaughter of the 8th Duke of Wellington, at a private ceremony in Majorca, Spain.
2012 The Dave Matthews Band sees their album Away From the World debut at #1 on the Billboard albums chart. This continues the band's unbroken winning streak of six #1 albums on the Billboard 200.
2012 Fiona Apple is arrested when her tour bus is stopped in the West Texas town of Sierra Blanca, the same place where Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg were previously busted. Border patrol agents find four grams of hash on the bus, which Apple says is hers. She spends a night in jail before being released on bail.
2009 Roc Raida (of X-Ecutioners) dies of a heart attack at age 37, weeks after sustaining a Krav Maga-related injury.
2009 Arthur Ferrante, half of the piano-playing duo Ferrante and Teicher, dies at age 88.
2008 Ten years after getting arrested for lewd behavior in a Los Angeles public bathroom, George Michael is arrested on drug charges in a restroom north of London. "I want to apologize to my fans for screwing up again, and to promise them I'll sort myself out," the singer says. "And to say sorry to everybody else, just for boring them."
2006 Saxophonist Danny Flores (writer of The Champs' "Tequila") dies of complications from pneumonia at age 77.
2004 Country singer Skeeter Davis, known for the 1962 crossover hit "The End of the World," dies of breast cancer at age 72.
2003 Australian country singer Slim Dusty, real name David Gordon Kirkpatrick, dies of kidney and lung cancer at age 76.
2003 Jazz saxophonist Frank Lowe dies of lung cancer at age 60.
2003 A week after his death at the age of 71, country legend Johnny Cash is bestowed with artist, song and album of the year awards at the Americana Music Awards ceremony in Nashville. Cash wins Song of the Year for his cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" and Album of the Year for American IV: The Man Comes Around, the fourth in a series produced by Rick Rubin.
2000 It's "Kenny Chesney Day" in the singer's hometown of Luttrell, Tennessee. Chesney returns to Gibbs High School, where the faculty tells stories about his exploits.
Auto-Tune is the brainchild of research engineer Andy Hildebrand, founder of Antares Audio Technologies. Designed to correct vocal pitch in real time, the device is a godsend for producers who don't want to waste hours coaxing a perfect take from their artist. On its lower setting, the program is a discreet tool that perfectly tunes off-key vocals. Maybe it could have stayed a well-kept secret in the music industry, but someone had to crank it up. Cher's 1999 comeback hit, "Believe," uses Auto-Tune's extreme setting to create a robotic distortion effect that still preserves some of her natural voice. The song hits #1 in the US and UK and prompts a number of artists to mimic the new "Cher effect," including Kanye West, who popularizes the use of Auto-Tune in hip-hop. But still more musicians resent the advent of Auto-Tune, which sacrifices the rawness of an imperfect performance for the cold artificiality of a perfectly manipulated vocal. By 2009, the software has transformed pop music - for better or for worse. Jay-Z even laments its ubiquity on his single "D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)." Despite their protests, most artists have used the device at one time or another. An anonymous Grammy Award-winning producer told TIME magazine in 2009: "Let's just say I've had Auto-Tune save vocals on everything from Britney Spears to Bollywood cast albums. And every singer now presumes that you'll just run their voice through the box." In 2013, Auto-Tune is still going strong, and singers are hard-pressed to prove they can really sing when the software is even used to correct vocals during live performances. But is Auto-Tune evil? That's the question The Verge asked Hildebrand that same year. He replied: "I just make the car. I don't drive it down the wrong side of the road."
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