Today in Music History - Oct. 17

Today in Music History for Oct. 17:


In 1948, Montreal's "Pro Musica Society" presented its first chamber music concert, featuring the Stuyvesant String Quartet and clarinetist Clark Brody. The society has continued to present annual series of chamber music recitals.

In 1957, the movie "Jailhouse Rock," starring Elvis Presley, premiered in Memphis.

In 1960, "Dion and the Belmonts" announced they were going their separate ways only a year and a-half after their first big hit, "A Teenager in Love." Dion went on to even greater success as a solo act with such hits as "Runaround Sue," "The Wanderer" and "Ruby Baby." "The Belmonts," meanwhile, were less successful. Dion reunited with "The Belmonts" in 1967, and again in 1973 for a Madison Square Garden concert which was captured on the LP "Reunion."

In 1964, "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by the British group Manfred Mann reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The record was also No. 1 in Britain, and sold more than two million copies worldwide.

In 1967, the musical "Hair" made its premiere off-Broadway.

In 1968, Jose Feliciano released his controversial rendition of the American national anthem. He had originally performed it before a 1968 World Series game and was booed.

In 1969, the American Federation of Musicians finally allowed "The Kinks" to tour the United States after a three-year absence. The AFM had refused permission for the British group to perform in the U.S. after an unauthorized 1966 appearance on the TV show "Hullabaloo."

In 1969, the second "Led Zeppelin" album was released. It reached No. 1 two months later.

In 1972, pop singer Billy Williams, best known for his 1957 hit "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," died in Chicago at age 55.

In 1979, "Fleetwood Mac's" two-LP set "Tusk" was released. The album took two years and more than $1 million to record, and was only moderately successful saleswise.

In 1984, pioneering blues singer Alberta Hunter died at the age of 89. Although she began recording in the 1920s and had a hit in 1927 with "Beale Street Blues," Hunter achieved her greatest fame after she was rediscovered in the 1970's.

In 1990, the award-winning country duo "The Judds" announced they were breaking up because Naomi Judd had untreatable chronic hepatitis. Daughter Wynonna went on to a very successful solo career. The duo had sold more than six million albums since 1983. (Two years later Naomi declared she was cured. They reunited for special events and embarked on a farewell tour in 2011.)

In 1991, Tennessee Ernie Ford, the deep-voiced singer who took "Sixteen Tons" to the top of the pop and country charts in 1955, died in Reston, Va. He was 72. Ford's recording of the Merle Travis song became an anthem for coal miners with its famous phrase: "You load 16 tons, and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt." The popularity of "Sixteen Tons" led to a TV variety show for Ford, which ran on NBC from 1956-61. His hillbilly boogie recordings in the late '40s and early '50s influenced early rock 'n' roll artists. Ford also recorded a number of gospel albums, one of which, 1956's "Hymns," became the first country LP to sell a million copies.

In 1992, "Bon Jovi" played a surprise show at the RPM club in Toronto to promote the group's "Keep the Faith" album. About 1,500 people were treated to a 90-minute set.

In 1993, "Duran Duran" halted its comeback tour after lead singer Simon LeBon was diagnosed with a torn vocal chord. The tour resumed a month later.

In 1993, about 150 demonstrators showed up at the North York Performing Arts Centre in a Toronto suburb for the gala opening of "Show Boat." The demonstrators claimed the revival of the 1927 Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein musical was "racist hate propaganda."

In 1995, Rhino Home Video released the largest video boxed set ever -- 58 episodes of "The Monkees" on 21 cassettes.

In 1995, Sting's financial adviser, Keith Moore, was sentenced in London to six years in prison for stealing six million pounds from the British rock star. Most of the money was recovered.

In 1996, Chris Acland, the drummer for the British pop band "Lush," committed suicide. He was 30.

In 1997, rapper Warren G. filed suit in Los Angeles against Garth Brooks over the country star's use of a stylized, lower-case "g" logo on his most recent tour. The rapper claimed he had used a similar logo for years and that consumers might get confused. The dispute was settled out of court five months later.

In 1998, Marvin Gay Sr., who shot and killed his Grammy Award-winning son, Marvin Gaye, in 1984, died in Los Angeles at age 84. Gay shot his son during an argument outside the family's L.A. home. He pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to five years probation.

In 2008, Levi Stubbs, the lead singer for "The Four Tops," who possessed one of the most dynamic and emotive voices of all the Motown singers, died at the age of 72.

In 2009, the surviving members of TLC, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, performed together for the first time in seven years at the Justin Timberlake and Friends charity concert in Las Vegas. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes died in a car accident in 2002.

In 2009, Vic Mizzy, the songwriter who wrote the catchy theme songs to "The Addams Family" and "Green Acres" television shows, died at age 93. Mizzy got his start in vaudeville and wrote songs that were recorded by Dean Martin, Doris Day, Perry Como and Billie Holiday in the 1940s and '50s. His hits included "Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes," "My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time," and "With a Hey and a Hi and a Ho-Ho-Ho."

In 2014, 16 people fell 20 metres to their deaths when a ventilation grate collapsed during an outdoor concert in Seongnam, South Korea, by popular Asian girls' band "4Minute."

In 2015, Justin Timberlake, Sam and Dave, Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore, Charlie Rich, Alberta Hunter and drummer Al Jackson Jr. were all inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

In 2016, Japanese comedian Piko-Taro made Billboard Hot 100 singles chart history with the shortest song ever to crack the list. The 45-second "PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen)" made its debut at No. 77, mostly due to chart data now including online streams. The previous record-holder was "Little Boxes" by The Womenfolk at one minute two seconds, which peaked at No. 83 in 1964.

In 2017, Gord Downie, the poetic lead singer of The Tragically Hip whose determined fight with brain cancer inspired a nation, died at age 53. One of Canada's most revered singer-songwriters, Downie penned a steady stream of 1990s rock radio staples including "New Orleans is Sinking," "Blow at High Dough," "Courage," "Ahead By a Century" and "Bobcaygeon."


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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