Home Day In Music History This Day In Rock History: Jan 20th

This Day In Rock History: Jan 20th


  • 1965, American disc-jockey Alan Freed died from uraemia at the age of 42. Freed called himself the “father of rock and roll”, appeared in the movies such as ‘Rock Around the Clock’  and Don’t Knock the Rock. His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.
  • 1966, The Spencer Davis Group were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Keep On Running’.
  • 1967, The Monkees TV show was shown for the first time in the UK. The series followed the adventures of four young men (the Monkees) trying to make a name for themselves as rock ‘n roll singers.
  • 1968, One Hit Wonders John Fred and the Playboy Band started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Judy In Disguise, (With Glasses)’, it made No.3 in the UK. The song was inspired by The Beatles ‘Lucy In The Sky’.
  • 1969, Led Zeppelin appeared at the Wheaton Youth Center, Wheaton, during their first North American tour. Some reports suggest that only 55 fans attended this show, (if so, this would make it the smallest audience they ever played to). This show was on a Monday and the night of Richard Nixon’s inauguration. Zeppelin were paid $250 to appear.
  • 1969, Bruce Springsteen had two of his poems published in the Ocean County College Literary Yearbook Seascapes. Springsteen was in his second semester at the Toms River, New Jersey College.
  • 1972, On the first date of a UK tour at The Dome, Brighton, England, Pink Floyd attempted to premiere their new album The Dark Side of The Moon but due to technical problems this was abandoned after a performance of the track ‘Money’.
  • 1975, The US Top 5 singles: No.5, Stevie Wonder,’Boogie On Reggae Woman’, No.4, Ohio Players, ‘Fire’, No.3, Barry Manilow, ‘Mandy’, No.2, Neil Sedaka, ‘Laughter In The Rain’, No.1, The Carpenters, ‘Please Mr Postman’.
  • 1982, During an Ozzy Osbourne concert in Des Moines, Iowa, a member of the audience threw a bat onto the stage. Stunned by the light, the bat lay motionless, and thinking it was a rubber fake, the singer picked it up and attempted to bite its head off. As he did this, the bat started to flap its wings and Ozzy soon realized it wasn’t fake but in fact a living thing. After the show Ozzy was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital for rabies shots.
  • 1982, Stiff Little Fingers played the first night of an 11-date tour at The Tower in Hull, promoting their new 4-track EP. The press ads said, ‘Pay no more than £1.10, more cuts than Maggie Thatcher.’
  • 1983, Def Leppard released their third studio album ‘Pyromania’ which featured new guitarist Phil Collen and was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The album has now sold over 10 million copies in the US.
  • 1985, Foreigner had their only UK No.1 single with ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’. London-born Mick Jones wrote the song.
  • 1988, The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Yoko, Sean, and Julian Lennon all attend. Paul McCartney did not attend, sending instead a letter stating that continuing business differences with the other ex-Beatles was the reason for his absence.
  • 1990, Michael Bolton started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘How Am I Supposed To Live Without You’, the singers first No.1 and the first No.1 single of the 90’s in the US.
  • 1996, Bobby Brown was fined $1,000 (£560), sentenced to two years probation and ordered to attend anger management classes after assaulting a security guard.
  • 1997, Ben and Jerry’s introduced ‘Phish food’, a new flavor of ice cream named after the rock group Phish. The ingredients were chocolate ice cream, marshmallows, caramel and fish-shaped fudge.
  • 1999, Bill Albaugh drummer from the 1960’s psychedelic group The Lemon Pipers died aged 53. The Lemon Pipers scored the 1967 US No.1 single ‘Green Tambourine’. Albaugh died on 20th Jan 1999 at the age of 53.
  • 2000, Ray Jones, bass player with Billy J Kramer and the The Dakotas died. They had the 1964 UK No.1 & US N0.7 single ‘Little Children’.
  • 2001, A memorial service was held for Kirsty MacColl who was killed in a boating accident off the coast of Mexico in December 2000. Bono from U2 and Billy Bragg were among friends and fans that packed St Martin-in-the-fields church in London.
  • 2002, George Harrison had the posthumous UK No.1 single with the re-release of the 1971 former No.1 ‘My Sweet Lord’. Harrison’s single replaced Aaliyah’s ‘More Than A Woman’, the only time in chart history that one deceased artist had taken over from another at No.1. ‘My Sweet Lord’.
  • 2002, Stereophonics started a two-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with their second No.1 ‘Just Enough Education To Perform.’
  • 2006, American music executive Johnny Bienstock died of complications from heart disease aged 83. Owned Moss Rose Music, worked with Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Elvis Presley, The Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, Del Shannon and Meat Loaf.
  • 2012, Etta James, most often remembered for her signature song, ‘At Last’, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart, died from complications of leukemia at the age of 73. She also placed nine other songs in the American Top 40, won three Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Born on this day:

  • 1889, Born on this day, Leadbelly, (Huddi William Ledbetter), Blues musician, who wrote ‘Goodnight Irene’, ‘The Rock Island Line’, and ‘The Midnight Special’. He was once jailed for shooting a man dead during an argument over a woman. Leadbelly died on 6th December 1949.
  • 1924, Born on this day, Slim Whitman, American country singer, (1955 UK No.1 single ‘Rose Marie’, 1977 UK No.1 album ‘Red River Valley’). He died of heart failure on June 19, 2013 surrounded by family at Orange Park Medical Center in Orange Park, Florida aged 90.
  • 1933, Born on this day, Ron Townson, The 5th Dimension, (1969 US No.1 & UK No.11 single ‘Aquarius’). Died on 3rd August 2001.
  • 1942, Born on this day, Billy Powell, vocals, The O’Jays, (1973 US No.1 & UK No.9 single ‘Love Train’). Powell died on 26th May 1982.
  • 1945, Born on this day, Eric Stewart, guitar, keyboards, vocals, Mindenders, (1966 UK No.2 single Groovy Kind Of Love’), Hotlegs, (1970 UK No.2 single ‘Neanderthal Man’), 10cc, (1975 UK No.1 & US No. 2 single ‘I’m Not In Love’ plus 10 other Top 30 hits).
  • 1946, Born on this day, Jimmy Chambers, singer, Londonbeat, (1990 UK No.2 & 1991 US No.1 single ‘I’ve Been Thinking About You’).
  • 1947, Born on this day, George Grantham, drums, Poco, (1979 US No.17 single ‘Crazy Love’).
  • 1948, Born on this day, Mel Pritchard, Barclay James Harvest, 8 UK Top 40 albums from 1974-87.
  • 1952, Born on this day, Paul Stanley, guitar, vocals, KISS who had 1976 US #11 album ‘Rock and Roll Over’ which spent 26 weeks on the chart. Plus the 1987 UK #4 single ‘Crazy Crazy Nights’. Kiss have been awarded 24 gold albums to date, the most of any American rock band – selling more than 40 million albums.
  • 1952, Born on this day, Ian Hill, bass, Judas Priest, (1980 UK No.12 single ‘Living After Midnight’, 1980 UK No.4 album ‘British Steel’).
  • 1959, Born on this day, American guitarist and singer-songwriter, Rusty Anderson, best known as the accompanying lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s tours since 2001. Anderson has also worked with Gwen Stefani, Steven Tyler, Richie Sambora, Regina Spektor, Dido, Cat Stevens, Miley Cyrus, Eros Ramazzotti, Nelly Furtado and Meat Loaf.
  • 1969, Born on this day, Nicholas Allen Jones, Manic Street Preachers, (1996 UK No.2 single ‘A Design For Life’ 1998 UK No.1 album ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’).
  • 1971, Born on this day, Gary Barlow, vocals, piano, songwriter, Take That (1995 UK No.1 single ‘Back For Good’ plus eight other UK No.1 singles, 1993 UK No.1 album ‘Everything Changes spent 78 weeks on the UK chart). Solo, (1996 UK No.1 single ‘Forever Love’). Written songs for Donny Osmond Charlotte Church, Bryan McFadden and Atomic Kitten. Re-formed Take That without Robbie Williams in 2006 for a sold-out European tour. Topped the UK singles and album charts simultaneously for the first time in their career when the single ‘Patience’ and album ‘Beautiful World’ both reached No.1 in Dec 2006.
  • 1979, Born on this day, Rob Bourdon, drums, Linkin Park, (2002 US No.2 & UK No.4 single ‘In The End’, 2002 US No.2 & 2001 UK No.4 album ‘Hybrid Theory’).
  • 1979, Born on this day, Will Young, singer, UK TV’s Pop Idol winner, (2002 UK No.1 single ‘Anything Is Possible / Evergreen’).
  • 1981, Born on this day, Nathan Connolly, Snow Patrol, (2006 UK No.1 album ‘Eyes Open’, 2006 UK No.6 single ‘Chasing Cars’).

Photos: Getty


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