Today in Music History: Happy Birthday, Amy Ray

The Indigo Girls
Amy Ray, left, and Emily Saliers, right, of the Indigo Girls. (Photo by Frank Ockenfels)

History Spotlight:

Amy Elizabeth Ray was born today in 1964, making her 55 today. Best-known as one half of the folk duo The Indigo Girls, she also has a solo career and has released six albums under her own name, and founded record company Daemon Records. The Grammy Award-winning Indigo Girls go way back to elementary school where they met, they released their first full-length album in 1987, and have released more than 20 albums over the last 32 years.

Also, Today In:

1954 - Bill Haley recorded 'Rock Around the Clock' at Pythian Temple studios in New York City.

1963 - Bob Dylan performed his first major solo concert at the Town Hall in New York City. Dylan played a 24 song set including "Blowin' In The Wind", "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", "Highway 51" and "Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie".

1966 - In an eerie recreation of the duo's single from the year before, Jan Berry of Jan & Dean crashed his Corvette into a parked truck on Beverly Hills' Whittier Drive, near a stretch of road in Los Angeles known as Dead Man's Curve. Berry suffered paralysis and extensive brain damage, and required four years of rehabilitation to be able to talk and a full decade in order to perform live again. See digital producer Luke Taylor's personal story on this very topic.

1968 - The outspoken Frank Zappa performed at a dinner for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, who are the people who give us the Grammys. Zappa says the event was "a load of pompous hokum" and told the audience, "All year long you people have manufactured this crap, now for one night you're gonna have to listen to it!"

1969 - The 5th Dimension started a six week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In." The tune is a medley of two songs written for the 1967 musical Hair. The single topped the American pop charts and was eventually certified platinum in the U.S. Instrumental backing was provided the Wrecking Crew, and the song listed at No. 66 on Billboard's "Greatest Songs of All Time."

1973 - The film "That'll Be The Day" premiered in London, featuring David Essex, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Billy Fury and Dave Edmunds.

1973 - In one of the show's most memorable moments, Stevie Wonder played a funky, 7-minute live version of "Superstition" on Sesame Street.

1975 - The legendary Josephine Baker died in France at the age of 68. An American-born French dancer, jazz and pop music singer, and actress, Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture - Zouzou (1934). Baker refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States and is noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.

1975 - David Bowie announced his second career retirement, saying, "I've rocked my roll. It's a boring dead end, there will be no more rock 'n' roll records from me."

1983 - R.E.M. release their debut album, Murmur. Critics loved the album and though the band experienced drama with their label and producer changes during the recording process, they debuted a new quiet, introverted side of the first wave of alternative rock in the United States.

1988 - Sonny Bono was elected mayor in his hometown of Palm Springs, California. He would hold the position until 1992.

1995 - Two weeks after Selena's death, George W. Bush (then governor of Texas) declared "Selena Day" in Texas.

1999 - Backstreet Boys released "I Want It That Way."

2008 - Lou Reed married his third wife, the conceptual artist Laurie Anderson. The couple, who had been together since the early '90s, decided to get married the previous day, so they met at a friend's house in Boulder, Colorado and held the ceremony in the backyard.

2016 - A U.S. court ruled that Led Zeppelin founders Robert Plant and Jimmy Page must face trial in a copyright row over the song "Stairway to Heaven". The copyright infringement action had been brought by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, who played on the same bill as Led Zeppelin in the 1960s, and claimed he should be given a writing credit on the track.


One of our favorite musical oddballs, Tiny Tim was born today in 1932.

Herbie Hancock is 79.

Steppenwolf frontman John Kay is 75.

Alex Briley, the "G.I." from The Village People is 72. He did, however, dress as a sailor for the band's "In The Navy" video.

Former teen heartthrob David Cassidy (The Partridge Family) was born today in 1950. He passed away in November 2017.

Vince Gill is 62.

Will Sergeant, the only constant member of Echo & The Bunnymen, is 61.

Art Alexakis of Everclear is 57.

Rob Baker of The Tragically Hip is 57.

Alessandro Venturella of Slipknot is 35.

Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco is 32.

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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