This Day In Music | 2021

November 1

Happy birthday to Anthony Keidis, the lead singer and co-founder of the Red Hot Chili Peppers! 

He was born on this very day back in 1962.

Not only have the band’s albums dominated the music charts, but his autobiography, Scar Tissue, became a New York Times Best Seller too!

November 2

47 years ago, today, George Harrison made history by becoming the first member of The Beatles to appear on stage as a solo artist.

The tour began in Vancouver, Canada and it ran for 30 nights. 

It marked the beginning of the end for The Beatles. Isn’t it a pity? But All Things Must Pass

November 3

It was 44 years ago, when one of pop music’s least successful retirements of all time was announced. 

Elton John stood on stage at Empire Pool, in Wembley, London and said goodbye to his fans. 

This may come as a big surprise to those who have bought tickets to see him perform Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in 2022. 

Don’t worry, you won’t need a refund.

November 4

You might have thought him barking mad, but 45 years ago, today, The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations broke the British charts and would end the week as number one in the UK and the US!

The name Good Vibrations comes from Brian Wilson’s mother’s insistence that dogs were sensitive to the vibrations of people and would growl/bark at the bad vibrations.

November 5

50 years ago, today, one of the most famous phrases in music came into being. 

Elvis Presley was on tour in the United States and the first date was at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Minneapolis.

Once the show was over, Al Dvorin told the audience, “Elvis has left the building.”

He hadn’t, mind you, it was to get the crowd to quieten down so that The King could come back for an encore. 

November 6

On this day, 53 years ago, The Monkees tried to murder their own brand. The boy band famous for chirpy, happy songs like Daydream Believer, released a feature film called Head.

Instead of delivering lashings of fun for their teenage audience, it was full of images of horror from the Vietnam War and stuffed full of age-inappropriate guests. 

It was an absolute disaster and flopped big time at the box office.

November 7

15 years after Michael Jackson sang “Ben” and topped the pop charts as a youngster, another youngster scored their first Number 1.

Yes, and it’s 34 years old today, Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now was a smash success. 

What many people don’t know is that it’s a cover of a song originally performed by Tommy James & The Shondells.

November 8

Exactly 50 years ago, today, Led Zeppelin made an indelible mark on the history of rock music. They released their fourth album, Led Zeppelin IV, and it was a massive success.

Today, it has sold nearly 40 million copies! 

And the best known track on the album, Stairway to Heaven, has inspired generations of kids to pick up a guitar and learn to play.

November 9

Madonna may be a master of releasing musical hit after musical hit ever since she debuted in the charts but her box office career hasn’t always been as fortunate.

19 years ago, today, she was given the bad news that her movie Swept Away would not receive an international release because it had performed so badly in the United States. 

It currently sits at an incredible 5% on Rotten Tomatoes, so this was probably the right call.

November 10

You won’t believe it but the supergroup The Eagles had their fifth and final number one in the United States 42 years ago, today. 

The song was Heartache Tonight and while it wowed American audiences, it only broke the Top 40 elsewhere in the world.

November 11

This interesting fact makes us feel old. The Cars released My Best Friend’s Girl 43 years ago today. 

What made it special was it was the first ever single to have a picture printed directly onto the vinyl. Yes, vinyl. You can’t get an MP3 picture disc, sadly.

November 12

It’s been 20 years to the day since The Beatles, minus John Lennon, had their final face-to-face meeting. 

They visited George Harrison’s New York City Hotel, The Palace Court Hotel, and sadly, 2 weeks later, George passed away from a heart attack, far too young, at just 58. 

November 13

45 years ago, today, Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s The Night began an eight-week appearance in the number one slot of the US Charts.

What makes the song interesting, is that it had been banned from radio airplay in Rod’s native United Kingdom due to the scandalous nature of the lyrics.

It was, after all, a song about seducing a virgin. The female whispers on the song belong to the actress Britt Ekland who was dating Rod when he recorded it.

November 14

Happy 55th Birthday to Joseph “Run” Simmons. The founder of Run DMC, one of the world’s best known hip-hop acts.

Their chart achievements include It’s Like That and their duet with Aerosmith Walk This Way.

What you might not know about Run is that he’s also a Christian Minister and his flock know him as Revered Run!

November 15

63 years ago today, a band called Johnny and The Moondogs appeared on a British TV star search program and they were so penniless that they missed their chance to be called back on stage as they’d had to go home to another city to sleep.

Why should you care? Well, you know Johnny and The Moondogs as The Beatles. Yes, the world’s greatest ever band was once unable to afford a hotel room in Manchester in the 1950s.

November 16

The Jimmy Hendrix Experience went to number one and earned a truck load of notoriety on this day in 1968. 

The album Electric Ladyland, which contains the classic All Along The Watchtower, was the reason. 

Jimmy was appalled to find out it had been released with a “naked lady” cover and many record shops deemed the sleeve pornographic and turned the album cover inside out to sell it!

November 17

Why Do Fools Fall In Love? Was a hugely profitable song for everybody but Jimmy Merchant and Herman Santiago of the band, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, that had performed it.

That changed 39 years ago, today, when a country gave them an award of $4 million for missed royalties! 

You can bet they sang about that when they got home.

November 18

Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam as he has converted to Islam, has always experimented with religion and on this day, 49 years ago, he was at number one in the United States with Catch Bull at Four.

It was inspired by a series of Buddhist Poems known as Ten Bulls of Zen which are meant to offer guidance on reaching Enlightenment.

November 19

The smash hit Baby Love by The Supremes dominated the charts from the Number 1 slot on both sides of the Atlantic 57 years ago, today.

What made it unusual was that The Supremes had achieved the feat of being the first ever all-girl band to capture the top slot in the British charts!

November 20

It’s been 66 years, to this very day, since Bo Diddley pulled off one of the very first acts of rock n roll rebellion on The Ed Sullivan Show.

He’d been booked to play his song Sixteen Tons but once he stood on stage, he abandoned the plan, and sang his eponymous song Bo Diddley, instead. 

He didn’t get away with it, he was banned from the show for life for his brief act of defiance.

November 21

If you want to feel the power of inflation in the music scene then 66 years ago, on this day in 1955, you’d be shocked to hear that RCA Records was coming under fire for their incredible purchase of an artist’s recording contract.

The sum involved? $35,000. The artist? The King himself, Elvis Presley. 

Yes, the world’s biggest solo artist in history was signed for a measly $35,000. 

We can’t see Adele or Taylor Swift getting out of bed for that, now. 

November 22

Proving that not all rock stars are selfish individuals, Alice Cooper, who’s single Poison had recently topped the charts, did two fans an incredible solid 30 years ago, today.

He heard that Patrick and De Ann Kelly were going to lose their home and that they’d painted Alice’s stage face on the wall to help sell it. 

Alice Cooper sprang into action and began signing autographs at the house to raise money for the couple to keep it, instead.

November 23

It’s been 16 years, exactly, since the nation of Canada and the rapper 50 Cent squared off against each other.

The MP for Toronto, Dan McTeague, worked tirelessly to prevent the superstar from entering the country because he claimed that Fiddy “promoted gun violence through his work.”

Turns out Canadians like rap more than Dan and the tour went ahead, regardless.

November 24

Rock music’s greatest loss took place on this day, 30 years ago. It was the day that Freddie Mercury, at the age of 45, lost his battle against AIDS and died at his home in London.

This would inspire a global tribute concert to raise money for combating the disease and Metallica opened with their cover of Queen’s Stone Cold Crazy!

November 25

It was More Than A Feeling that led Tom Scholz of Boston to take Brad Delp’s (the late lead singer of the band) ex-wife to court in a defamation suit. 

He’d claimed that she’d alleged that he was to blame for Delp’s suicide.

But 6 years ago, today, a court ruled that he had no case and the lawsuit was dismissed.

November 26

You wouldn’t believe it but it’s been 27 years, exactly, to the day that Boyz II Men finished their 14th week at Number One with I’ll Make Love To You.

This was equal to the longest run at the top of the American charts in history matching the run by I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston.

November 27

No fleas on Mick. At least, that’s what Mick Jagger’s solicitor told a British court on this day 57 years ago.

The Rolling Stones frontman was in court for driving offences when his legal representative offered these immortal words:

“The Duke of Marlborough had longer hair than my client and he won some famous battles. His hair was powdered, I think because of fleas. My client has no fleas.”

November 28

It’s a sad thing, but 47 years ago today, John Lennon, the legendary ex-Beatle, made his final appearance on stage anywhere in the world

It was at Madison Square Gardens in New York and he partnered up with Elton John. 

They sang, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, I Saw Her Standing There and Whatever Gets You Thru The Night

November 29

Whitney Houston ruined 1,000 weddings on this day in 1997. How? Well, the singer had been paid $1 million for a private gig and, of course, she’d been delighted by the idea.

Then, she discovered that the gig was, in fact, a wedding ceremony for the religious cult, The Moonies, and would see 1,000 couples married while she sang, I Will Always Love You.

The singer found out and ditched the gig with just two hours to go before the event. 

Surprisingly, The Moonies were pretty chill about it and didn’t sue, they just asked for a refund!

November 30

It’s been 39 years to the very day since Michael Jackson’s seminal work, Thriller, was released. 

In the years following, it became the world’s greatest selling pop album and shifted more than 66 million copies!

It spent an incredible 37 weeks at number one on The Billboard charts and has spent 485 weeks in total on the chart!

December 1

It was a bad day at the office for the superstar Neil Young on this day in 1983. Geffen Records served him with a lawsuit over his release Everybody’s Rockin’

It was his shortest ever record, clocking in at a scant 25 minutes, and featured a bunch of rockabilly tunes (including cover versions).

As his label, they were not impressed and said that it was “not commercial in nature and musically uncharacteristic of his previous albums”. 

It ended fine, with Geffen eventually dropping the suit and apologizing for their behavior.

December 2

You may never have heard of Al Priddy but on this day in 1957, music cost him his job.

His crime? To play Elvis Presley’s cover of White Christmas on the radio for KEX in Portland.

His disgusted management team told the press that it simply wasn’t in the spirit of what “we associate with Christmas.”

And here we were thinking that older music was less controversial than today’s.

December 3

The Rolling Stones gig at the Memorial Hall in Sacramento, California on this day 56 years ago, was electrifying for all the wrong reasons.

Instead of knocking out Gimme Shelter and their other hits, Keith Richards was knocked out by a short circuit between his guitar and the mic stand.

December 4

Happy Birthday to Jay Z who was born on this day in 1969. He’ll be celebrating the day with his lovely wife Beyonce. 

And between them, they’re now worth $1.5 billion between them. 

His share is $1 billion, brought about by hits like Hard Knock Life and Heartbreaker (with Mariah Carey, no less).

December 5

It’s been 34 years since Belinda Carlisle’s smash hit Heaven Is A Place on Earth topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. 

It was her first solo record since leaving the Go-Go’s.

The video for the song is noteworthy because it was directed by Diane Keaton, the Academy-Award winning actress. 

December 6

The band Steam got lucky on this day 42 years ago, when a song that Gary De Carlo recorded but decided he didn’t want and gave to them.

It made them a one-hit wonder and gave them the top slot on the Billboard charts. 

The song? Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

Gary really misjudged this one, as it would also be a hit for the British girl group Bananarama several years later.

December 7

This day in 1967 was when Otis Redding recorded his smash hit (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay

Sadly, he never knew it. 

Three days later, the soul legend would be dead in a plane crash. 

Apparently, the whistling outro had been intended as a joke but due to the plane crash it was left in rather than being re-recorded.

December 8

The most shocking thing to happen in music during the 1980s, took place 41 years ago, today.

John Lennon exited his home in New York, the Dakota Building, and a young man, Mark Chapman, shot him five times 

John was declared dead just before midnight. 

Chapman said his motivation for the shooting was to “steal” John’s fame and that he had been plotting to murder many different celebrities until the opportunity with the ex-Beatle had presented itself.

December 9

43 years ago, today, Chic began a legendary seven-weeks at the top of the Billboard Singles Chart with Le Freak.

What most people don’t know is that the original lyrics had been inspired by two of the band being refused entry into a nightclub.

They hadn’t been “freak out”, as on the release, but rather, “fuck off!”

December 10

Punk and New Wave fans will celebrate the opening of the legendary CBGB Club (it stands for Country, Blue Grass, and Blues) on this day in 1973, in New York.

As you might expect, founder Hilly Kristal, had a different kind of audience in mind to the one that they found. 

But bands like Television, Blondie, The Ramones, etc. all made huge impacts on the music scene with live appearances at CBGB. 

December 11

Sam Cooke once marvelled What A Wonderful World but sadly, things turned out to be less wonderful on this day in 1964. 

He was shot and killed in front of the Hacienda Hotel in L.A. 

His manager, Bertha Franklin, said she’d done it in self-defense. 

Cooke’s body was found dressed only in a sports jacket and shoes, nothing else.

And the courts eventually decided that this was a “justifiable homicide”.

An ignominious end for a superstar.

December 12

It’s been 29 years since the world’s biggest selling soundtrack album was released. 

It was, of course, Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard

It spent twenty weeks in the top slot on the Billboard albums chart and has sold over 44 million copies!

December 13

Diana Ross, the former Supremes star and solo singer of Chain Reaction, will look back on this day, 52 years ago with nothing but unhappiness.

She left her two pet dogs in her dressing room at the Latino Casino in Philadelphia to take to the stage and when she returned, they were dead. 

They’d eaten cyanide that had been left out by the hotel’s pest control team. 

She sued for $27,500.

December 14

Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell was laid to rest on this day 17 years ago. 

He was buried in Arlington, Texas. 

He was murdered, while live on stage with his band Damage Plan, by a mentally ill former-US-marine. 

He was shot 5 times in the back of the head.

December 15

The Sex Pistols found themselves unable to enter the United States on this day in 1977.

Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones were refused entry, reasonably, on account of their criminal convictions.

But Paul Cook and Sid Vicious, found that making songs such as Anarchy in the UK, had left them stained with “moral turpitude” and as such, were also denied entry.

December 16

They don’t make them like ZZ Top Bassist, Dusty Hill, any more. 

On this day in 1984, Dusty accidentally shot himself in the gut when his gun slid off the trunk of his car and landed on the floor, discharging itself.

Instead of calling for an ambulance, he used his own Legs and drove to the hospital himself to get it fixed.

It turned out fine.

December 17

On this day, in 1982, Karen Carpenter would appear for the very last time on stage as the lead singer of The Carpenters.

No more would fans be able to hear classics such as Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft live.

She was suffering from a then, barely understood, condition known as anorexia nervosa and it would claim her life, of a heart attack, less than 3 months later.

December 18

Happy Birthday to Billie Eilish, who was born on the 18th of December, 2001. 

Her album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? made her a legend of the British music scene as she was the youngest ever female solo artist to reach Number 1 on the UK album charts!

She’s often controversial but always brilliant. Have a good one, Billie!

December 19

Michael Jackson’s Thriller went on to break another record on this day in 2015. 

It became the first ever album to break the 30 million sales barrier in the United States!

The Eagles are not far behind with their Greatest Hits 1971-75 album which has sold 29 million copies but Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volume I and II has only sold 23 million, by comparison!

December 20

While many people were getting ready for the festive season, on this day in 1967, Joan Baez the singer of Diamonds and Rust was preparing to go to jail.

They’d been arrested at an anti-war demonstration and the courts decided that 45 days in jail would be the appropriate punishment. 

In the end, she was let out for the New Year and only served 11 days. 

She said, “I went to jail for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war.”

December 21

Michael Jackson’s Thriller holds many records but on this day in 1985, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA took one of them away.

It became the second-longest lasting album in history to spend consecutive weeks in the Billboard Top 10 Albums. 

Born in the USA managed an impressive 79 weeks. 

But it has nothing on the number 1 slot, The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews which stayed there for an amazing 109 weeks!

December 22

Mountain’s founding member, Leslie West, passed away of a heart attack at the age of 75 on this day in 2020. 

You’ve almost certainly heard their song Mississipi Queen but you may not know that they are considered to be one of the most influential bands in the development of the heavy metal scene!

December 23

Geezer Butler proved that Black Sabbath certainly aren’t War Pigs in their private lives on this day in 2005.

He heard that a penguin named Toga had been stolen from a zoo and was at risk of dying if not promptly returned.

So, the big hearted bass player reached into his pocket and offered a £5,000 ($8,000-ish) reward for its safe return.

December 24

It’s Christmas Eve and may we wish all those that celebrate this holiday a Merry Christmas?  

In 1945, this happy day also saw the birth of one of rock’s most influential musicians, Lemmy of Motorhead. 

He also played in Hawkwind and worked as a Roadie for Jimi Hendrix!

But it’s the Ace of Spades for which he will always be remembered by fans.  

Sadly, Lemmy passed away in 2015, of an aggressive cancer.

December 25

It was on this day, in 1954, that, fittingly, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas entered the Billboard Pop Charts for, umm… the eleventh time. 

This version of White Christmas is considered by many to be the absolutely definitive version and it has sold in excess of 100 million copies, nearly half of them sold as singles.

The only single to outsell Bing’s version of White Christmas was the re-release of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind to mourn the passing of the UK’s Princess Diana.

December 26

The legendary producer Phil Spector was born on this day in 1939. 

He had a hit record of his own as part of the group The Teddy Bears which went to number 1, To Know Him Is To Love Him

He worked with The Ramones, The Beatles, Ike and Tina Turner, Harry Nilsson, Cher and many more.

Yet, he’s not best remembered for his work. 

But for his part in the shooting of Lana Clarkson, an aspiring actress at his home in 2003.

In 2009, he was convicted of her murder and he died in prison at the age of 81 in January, 2021.

December 27

In 1990, on this day, Chuck Berry of Johnny B Goode fame, got his own slice of infamy.

A waitress at his restaurant chain, named umm… Chuck Berry, alleged he’d been recording women in the bathrooms.

Two hundred more women agreed and they got together and sued him.

The case never came to court as Berry settled with 59 of the plaintiffs paying out $1.2 million in cash.

December 28

On this day in 1983, Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, the only real surfer in the band, took his final dive.

He’d been hanging out with friends and after a few beers, he decided to make a dive that he’d made fine a couple of times previously, but he never surfaced. 

And Ronald Reagan decided that one of the creators of Surfin USA deserved a burial at sea, something that is usually reserved only for Naval servicepeople.

December 29

Aretha Franklin, the singer of the smash hit I Say A Little Prayer, probably did say a prayer on this day in 2001.

That’s because she’d have been asking God to help her win the lawsuit she filed against the Florida Star newspaper, which she said had falsely claimed she was battling alcoholism.

She was asking for $50 million but we assume it was settled out of court as we can’t find out what happened with the case.

December 30

Happy Birthday to Patty Smith who was born on this day in 1946. 

You have to check out a copy of her 1976 album Horses which is considered to be one of the greatest records of its time.

And you’ve almost certainly had a boogie to her hit single, Because The Night, but you may not know that it was co-written with Bruce Springsteen!

December 31

Firstly, may we wish you all a Happy New Year and we hope that next year will be wonderful for you and your family. 

We suspect, however, that you won’t be having as good a New Year’s Eve as George Michael did back in 2006.

He was paid an incredible £1.5 million (approx. $2 million) to play at a private party for a Russian billionaire and 300 guests.

We think we’d have had Faith if our paychecks looked like that.