Today in Music History: Happy Birthday, Sergio Mendes

Sergio Mendes
Sergio Mendes in 2014. (Omar Vega/Invision/AP, via NPR)

History Highlight:

Sergio Santos Mendes was born today in 1941, making him 78 today. Producer, composer, keyboardist and vocalist, his influence on the music industry has spanned five decades and continues to evolve through new collaborations and mediums. One of the most internationally successful Brazilian artists of all time, Mendes has recorded more than 35 albums, many of which went gold or platinum, and he's a three-time Grammy Award winner. He is known by his singles "The Look of Love," "The Fool on the Hill," and "Scarborough Fair" and his earlier single, "Mas Que Nada," marked the first time that a song sung entirely in Portuguese hit Billboard's Pop chart in the U.S.

Also, Today In:

1967 - The Monkees made music history when their second album, More Of The Monkees jumped from No. 122 all the way to No. 1 of the Billboard album chart in one giant leap, and it remained at No. 1 for 18 weeks. The release of More of the Monkees was timed to capitalize on the band's popularity thanks to their eponymous TV series. The album's sudden, soaring success caught even the band members by surprise.

1963 - In less than 10 hours, The Beatles recorded 10 new songs for their first album, plus four other tracks which would be the next two singles. John Lennon's vocal on the cover of The Isley Brothers' "Twist & Shout" was recorded in one take to complete the album.

1977 - David Bowie released "Sound and Vision" as a single, which was taken from his latest album Low. The song is notable for juxtaposing an upbeat guitar and synthesizer instrumental track with Bowie's minimalistic, withdrawn lyrics. The BBC used the song song on trailers at the time, providing considerable exposure, which was much needed as Bowie opted to do nothing to promote the single himself. It ultimately helped the song go to No. 3 on the U.K. charts.

1985 - At the fourth annual Brit Awards in London, The Police won Outstanding Contribution to British music. Also winning a couple Brit Awards that night was Prince, in the categories of Best International Act and of Best Soundtrack for Purple Rain.

1989 - Paula Abdul started a three-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Straight Up", the first of three No. 1s for Abdul that year.

1992 - Mötley Crüe fired their singer Vince Neil when he turned up for rehearsals claiming he had lost his passion for the band and was now more involved with racing cars.

2012 - Whitney Houston was found dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub. The coroner ruled the cause of death an accidental drowning.

2014 - Queen made U.K. chart history by becoming the first act to sell six million copies of an individual album. Their first Greatest Hits collection, which includes the hits "We Will Rock You" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" had extended its lead after being Britain's highest-selling album for several years. The Official Charts Company said one in three British families now owned a copy of the 1981 compilation.


Born on this day, Gerry Goffin, who, with his then-wife Carole King, wrote many big hits of the 1960s, including The Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow", The Drifters' "Up On The Roof", The Chiffons' "One Fine Day" and Herman's Hermits' "I'm Into Something Good". Goffin died in 2014 at the age of 76.

Sheryl Crow is 57.

D'Angelo is 45.

Brandy is 40.

Kelly Rowland is 38.

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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