Today in Music History: Diana Ross goes solo

Diana Ross in a 1976 publicity photo
Diana Ross in a 1976 publicity photo (Motown Records)

History Highlight:

Today in 1970, Diana Ross made her first performance as a solo act when she appeared in Framingham, Massachusetts. Her self-titled solo debut included her signature songs, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", the latter becoming Ross's first number-one solo single. After many successful years of solo albums, specials and performances (including being the first African American woman to co-host the Academy Awards) Ross left Motown Records after being with the company for 20 years and signed with RCA who provided her a $20 million, seven-year recording contract that gave her complete production control of her albums, which at the time was music history's most lucrative recording deal.

Also, Today In:

1965 - Bob Dylan's single "Subterranean Homesick Blues" was released in the U.S.

1965 - David Bowie made his TV debut with The Manish Boys on a U.K. program called "Gadzooks! It's All Happening" when they performed their single "I Pity The Fool". The song was originally recorded by Bobby Bland in 1961 for Duke Records. In The Manish Boys version, Jimmy Page plays the guitar solo. Bowie later used this guitar riff in two different songs, first on "The Supermen" from 1971 and second on "Dead Man Walking" from 1997.

1966 - Bob Dylan recorded "Just Like A Woman" for his Blonde On Blonde album at Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.

1969 - The Small Faces split up after singer Steve Marriott announced he was leaving the band. Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenny Jones linked up with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart and formed The Faces.

1973 - Paul McCartney was fined $170 for growing cannabis at his farm in Campbeltown, Scotland. McCartney claimed some fans gave the seeds to him and that he didn't know what they would grow.

1975 - Olivia Newton-John went to No.1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Have You Ever Been Mellow", the singer's second U.S. No.1.

1986 - Whitney Houston went to No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with her self-titled album. It spent a total of 14 weeks at the No. 1 position.

1990 - Cher won the worst dressed female, and worst video for "If I Could Turn Back Time", in The Rolling Stone Magazine awards. Donny Osmond won the most unwelcome comeback award.

2003 - Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler was injured when the Honda motorbike he was riding was involved in a collision with a car. The singer and guitarist suffered a broken collarbone and six broken ribs in the accident.

2008 - China was set to impose stricter rules on foreign pop stars after Bjork caused controversy by shouting "Tibet, Tibet" at a Shanghai concert after a powerful performance of her song "Declare Independence".

2016 - English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician, Sir George Martin died at age 90. He worked as EMI records in-house record producer and became known as the "fifth Beatle". Martin produced all but one of The Beatles albums giving him 30 No. 1 hit singles in the U.K. and 23 No. 1 hits in the U.S. He also produced many other acts including: Matt Monro, Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, The Fourmost, Jeff Beck, Ultravox, Kenny Rogers, UFO, Cheap Trick, Elton John and Celine Dion. Martin received a Knighthood in 1996.

Birthdays:

George Michael "Micky" Dolenz, singer and drummer for The Monkees, is 73.

Singer/songwriter Carole Bayer Sager is 71.

Peter Gill, drummer of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, is 54.

Shawn Mullins is 50.

Gareth "Gaz" Coombes, lead singer for Supergrass is 42.

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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