Today in Music History - Feb. 3

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Today in Music History for Feb. 3:


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In 1809, composer Felix Mendelssohn, a devout Lutheran, was born in Hamburg in present-day Germany. His Elijah oratorio is considered second only to Handel’s Messiah by many critics.

In 1949, Terry Black, the Canadian singing sensation who burst onto the scene in the 1960s at the age of 15, was born in Vancouver. His single “Unless You Care” became a Canadian hit in 1964 and went on to become a top seller in the United States, making him one of the first Canadians to have a hit record in the U.S. The record helped him win the Male Vocalist of the Year category at the Maple Music Awards, the forerunner of the Junos. He had other hit records, but his solo career ended in 1970 when he married Laurel Ward and the two became a duo act, releasing several singles in the 1970s. He died on June 28, 2009, a year after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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In 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died when their small plane crashed in a cornfield near Mason City, Iowa. Following a Feb. 2 show in Clear Lake, Iowa, the trio decided to fly to Fargo, N.D., for a concert the following night instead of travelling by bus with the other musicians on their tour. The plane crashed shortly after taking off from Mason City, killing the three musicians and the pilot. At the time of his death, Holly was considered a close rival to Elvis Presley. He was only 22 years old when he died, but his music and style had a tremendous impact on the development of rock ‘n roll. Valens, who was only 17 at his death, had such hits as “Donna” and “La Bamba.” Richardson, a Texas-born disc jockey who moonlighted as a pop star and songwriter, is best remembered for his 1958 hit “Chantilly Lace.” He also wrote “Running Bear” for Johnny Preston. Holly’s spot in the Fargo show was taken by the then-unknown Bobby Vee, starting his rise to stardom. The deaths of Holly, Valens and Richardson became known as “the day the music died,” a phrase from Don McLean’s 1972 million-selling tribute, “American Pie.”

In 1967, Jimi Hendrix recorded “Purple Haze” in London. It was released in March in the U.K. as a follow-up to his first British single “Hey Joe.”

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In 1967, British record producer Joe Meek shot and killed his landlady, then himself. Meek, an important figure in early British rock ‘n’ roll, was 37.

In 1968, Paul McCartney recorded “Lady Madonna” at the Abbey Road studios. The record is credited to “The Beatles,” but McCartney played with unknown session musicians.

In 1969, “The Beatles,” over the objections of Paul McCartney, hired manager Allen Klein to try to straighten out the tangled financial affairs of the group’s Apple Corps Ltd. The mismanagement that plagued the company was one of the main reasons for “The Beatles” breakup a year later.

In 1971, country singer Lynn Anderson was awarded a gold record for her recording of Joe South’s “Rose Garden,” which topped both the country and pop charts.

In 1978, “Dead Man’s Curve,” a made-for-TV movie about surf-rockers Jan and Dean, aired on ABC.

In 1982, the city of Memphis declared “Bar-Kays Day” in honour of the band that began as Otis Redding’s backup group.

In 1987, the University of California at San Diego cancelled a rap concert by the “Beastie Boys” because of fears of violence.

In 1989, on the 30th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death, “Bobby Vee and the Crickets” played a memorial concert before 1,700 fans in Fargo, N.D.

In 1989, Academy Award-winning composer and conductor Lionel Newman died in Los Angeles of a heart attack at age 72. He won an Oscar in 1969 for best musical adaptation on the film “Hello Dolly.”

In 1990, Jesse Winchester, one of Canada’s most celebrated songwriters, walked off stage 30 minutes into a concert in Atlanta. Several days later, he announced his retirement from the concert circuit.

In 1990, Quebec teen heartthrob Roch Voisine won the Best International French-Language Album award at a ceremony in Paris.

In 1993, singer Gloria Estefan got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with about 400 fans and family members on hand.

In 1995, Dasean Cooper, “J-Dee” of the rap group “Da Lench Mob,” was sentenced in Torrance, Calif., to 29 years to life in prison for shooting to death his girlfriend’s roommate.

In 1996, “Blues Travelers'” “Run-Around” was on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart for the 46th straight week, breaking the record held by Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is)” and Crystal Waters’ “100 Per Cent Pure Love.” (Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” holds the current record at 87 weeks, on the chart between 2012-14.)

In 1999, singer Gwen Guthrie, whose “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But the Rent” topped the R&B chart in 1986, died in Orange, N.J., of cancer. She was 48.

In 2002, James Blackwood, the last founding member of “The Blackwood Brothers Quartet” and one of the giants of Southern gospel music, died in Memphis of complications of a stroke. He was 82.

In 2003, authorities arrested producer Phil Spector at his mansion in suburban Los Angeles. The body of actress Lana Clarkson had been found in the foyer. The first trial in 2007 was declared a mistrial. In April 2009, the jury in the second trial convicted him of second-degree murder and he was later sentenced to 19 years in prison.

In 2004, saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus, a former member of “The Doobie Brothers” who had performed with “Steely Dan” since 1993, died of a heart attack on a commercial flight from New York City. He was 58.

In 2007, “The Dixie Chicks” won five Grammys, including Album of the Year for “Taking the Long Way.” The album had been largely ignored by country music stations.

In 2009, steel guitarist Tom Brumley died in San Antonio at age 73. He played with “Buck Owens and the Buckaroos” from 1963 to 1969 and also played on Rick Nelson’s “Live at the Troubador” album in 1969. During the previous decade, he performed with artists such as Chris Isaak, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, Reba McEntire, Rod Stewart and Martina McBride.

In 2020, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performed together at the Super Bowl half-time show in Miami. 


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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