Today in Music History: 'American Idiot' opens on Broadway

american idiot
Tony Award-winning actor John Gallagher, Jr. as the lead character, Johnny. (Paul Kolnik, NPR)

History Highlight

2010 - The stage adaptation of Green Day's American Idiot rock opera officially opened on Broadway, a year after its debut at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California. Though it's fun to picture the band playing roles in the show, Green Day did not officially appear in the production, aside from Billie Joe Armstrong occasionally stepping in as the role of "St. Jimmy" throughout the run. The musical was nominated for Best Musical in the Tonys, and won two 2010 Tony Awards: Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Best Lighting Design of a Musical. In 2011, the Broadway cast recording won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

Also, Today In:

1949 - Phil Spector's father committed suicide when Phil was nine years old. The title of the song, "To Know Him Is To Love Him," which Phil Spector wrote for the Teddy Bears, comes from the inscription on his father's headstone.

1957 - Elvis Presley started an eight-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "All Shook Up." It went on to be the biggest single of 1957, selling more than two million copies.

1968 - Deep Purple made their live debut at a gig in Taastrup, Denmark.

1971 - Five friends at San Rafael High School in California coined the term "4:20" as a euphemism for smoking pot. April 20 became a popular day to spark one up, as did 4:20 p.m. Note that the Boston song, "Smokin'," clocks in at 4 minutes, 20 seconds, and if you multiply the title numbers in Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women," No. 12 and No. 35, you get 420, dude!

1974 - MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother) and the Three Degrees started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "TSOP, (The Sound Of Philadelphia)", featuring a lush blend of strings and horns in the Philadelphia soul style. The song, considered the first disco song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, was written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff as the theme for TV's Soul Train.

1980 - Actor and comedian George Burns, at age 84, became the oldest person to have a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when "I Wish I Was 18 Again" peaked at No. 49. Burns's previous charting record had been in 1933.

1987 - A record store in Callaway, Fla., was forced to close down and a part-time clerk was arrested after selling a copy of 2 Live Is What We Are by 2 Live Crew to a 14-year-old boy. Officials had deemed the recording obscene because of its explicit lyrics.

1990 - Janet Jackson was given a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame at the start of "Janet Jackson week" in Los Angeles.

1992 - "A Concert For Life" took place at Wembley Stadium in London to honor Queen singer Freddie Mercury and to raise AIDS awareness. Acts appearing included Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), David Bowie, Mick Ronson, James Hetfield, George Michael, Seal, Paul Young, Annie Lennox, Lisa Stansfield, Robert Plant, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen of Def Leppard, and Axl Rose and Slash of Guns n' Roses.

1993 - Aerosmith released their 11th studio album, Get A Grip, which would become their best-selling album to date with sales of more than 20 million.

2000 - Robert Plant appeared at Disney's Theatre of the Stars in Orlando, Fla., to leave his handprints outside the theater.

2011 - Gerard Smith (TV On The Radio) lost his battle with lung cancer. He was only 36.


Legendary American mambo master Ernesto Antonio "Tito" Puente was born on this day in 1923. He is often credited as "The Musical Pope" and "The King Of Latin Music."

Luther Vandross was born on this day in 1951.

Craig Frost of Grand Funk Railroad is 69.

Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh was born today in 1971.

Stephen Marley of Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers is 45.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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