Today in Music History: Remembering Phife Dawg

Phife Dawg
Phife Dawg performs at the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on Sept. 29, 2012, in Atlanta. (Chris McKay | Getty Images for BET 2012)

History Spotlight:

Today in 2016, Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest died at the age of 45 from complications resulting from diabetes. Nicknamed "Five Foot Assassin" and "The Five Footer" as he stood at 5 feet 3 inches tall, he initially formed A Tribe Called Quest, then simply named Quest, with his childhood friend Q-Tip in 1985. They later expanded with the addition of Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and were a central part of the Native Tongues collective, gaining the most commercial success out of all the groups to emerge from it.

Also, Today In:

1956 - Carl Perkins was almost fatally injured in an automobile accident near Wilmington, Delaware, while on his way to New York City to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Perkins had to spend several months in the hospital. By the time he was well enough to resume his career, Elvis Presley had covered his hit "Blue Suede Shoes," and Perkins never really rebounded.

1969 - Two days after their wedding in Gibraltar, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their "Bed-in," inviting members of the media into their Amsterdam hotel room where they were promoting peace with songs, signs and dialogue. These events were outlined in the song "The Ballad of John and Yoko."

1976 - While campaigning for U.S. President, Jimmy Carter tells NARM (The National Association of Record Merchandisers) that he listened to Dylan, Grateful Dead, and Led Zeppelin while Governor of Georgia.

1978 - The Beatles' parody 'The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash' aired on NBC with Eric Idle, Neil Innes, etc. Coming out a full 4 years before This Is Spinal Tap, it was considered the first Rock Mockumentary.

1986 - Heart had the No. 1 Billboard hit with, "These Dreams."

1993 - Depeche Mode became the first alternative British band to go to No. 1. on the Billboard 200 album chart, with Songs of Faith and Devotion.

2001 - Loretta Lynn was hospitalized with pneumonia. She rebounded and published her second best-selling autobiography shortly after.

2001 - Singer Earl T. Beal with The Silhouettes died. The doo wop/R&B group's single "Get A Job" was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart and pop singles chart in 1958. The doo-wop revival group Sha Na Na derived their name from the song's lyrics. "Get A Job" is included in the soundtracks of the film American Graffiti, Trading Places and Stand By Me.

2005 - Rod Price, former member of Black Cat Bones and a founding member of Foghat passed away after suffering a heart attack. The 57-year-old English guitarist played on Foghat's 1976 U.S. single "Slow Ride".

2009 - Lady Gaga started a three-week run at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart with "Poker Face", her second U.K. chart topper and a No. 1 hit in over 20 countries.

2016 - Dave Grohl leapt to the defence of a teenage heavy metal band from Cornwall, England, after their local council said they were too loud. The Black Leaves of Envy were told they would have to stop practicing in a family garage after noise complaints from neighbors. Foo Fighters frontman Grohl wrote an open letter to the authorities after the band contacted the Cornwall Council asking them to "reconsider the restrictions".


Stephen Sondheim is 89. He has won an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer), eight Grammys, A Pulitzer and the 2015 Presidential Medal Of Freedom.

Keith Relf, lead singer of The Yardbirds, was born today in 1943.

Patrick Olive of Hot Chocolate is 72.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is 71.

Aaron Wright North, guitarist from Nine Inch Nails, is 40.

Happy Birthday to The Actual Wolf (aka Eric Pollard).

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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