Today in Music History: Happy Birthday, John Prine

John Prine performs on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0950 -- Pictured: Musical guest John Prine performs on October 29, 2018. (Andrew Lipovsky/NBC)

History Highlight:

Happy 73rd birthday to John Prine who was born today in 1946. Prine has been going strong in the country/folk scene since the 1970s (after his stint in the U.S. armed forces, and as a mailman in Chicago). He didn't let his battle with squamous cell cancer in the late '90s stop his momentum, as he released the award-winning album Fair & Square in 2005 which featured his gravelly vocals. And we were lucky enough to see him perform with Justin Vernon at the 2017 Eaux Claires festival when he presented the John Prine Songbook.

Also, Today In:

1956 - Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender" entered the U.S. chart for a 19 week stay, peaking at No. 1 for 5 weeks. The song was an adaptation from the tune of "Aura Lee" (or "Aura Lea"), a sentimental Civil War ballad.

1902 - The Gibson Mandolin guitar company was formed.

1962 - The BBC somehow determined that "Monster Mash," by Bobby "Boris" Pickett was offensive and banned it from their airwaves.

1970 - The Carpenters were at No. 2 on the U.S. singles chart with "We've Only Just Begun." The song was originally written for a TV commercial advertising a bank.

1970 - Neil Diamond went to No.1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Cracklin' Rosie", his first No.1 as an artist.

1970 - Black Sabbath were at No. 1 on the U.K. chart with their second album Paranoid.

1978 - Joe Perry and Steve Tyler from Aerosmith were injured after a cherry bomb was thrown on stage during a gig in Philadelphia. The group performed behind a safety fence for the rest of the tour.

1979, - The Rose, a film loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin, with Bette Midler portraying the Janis-like title character, was screened for the first time in L.A.

1981 - The Police went to No. 1 on the U.K. album chart with Ghost In The Machine, the band's third No. 1 album.

1985 - Luciano Pavarotti's 1976 Christmas album 0 Holy Night becomes the first classical album certified Platinum, with sales of over a million copies in America.

1987 - Whitesnake went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Here I Go Again", a No. 9 hit in the U.K.

1997 - Davy Jones sings "Daydream Believer" to Melissa Joan Hart on the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch episode "Dante's Inferno."

1997 - Jimmy Osmond, who is the youngest of the singing Osmond family, welcomes his second child, Zachary, who is the 50th grandchild of George and Olive Osmond, the parents of the nine Osmond siblings.

1999 - A charity auction selling Elvis Presley's belongings was held at The Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. A wristwatch sold for $32,500, a cigar box $25,000, an autographed baseball sold for $19,000, and a 1956 Lincoln Continental sold for $250,000.

2001 - Under pressure to change their name because of letter attacks using anthrax germs, the metal band Anthrax issues a press release explaining they will not. "In light of current events, we are changing the name of the band to something more friendly, 'Basket Full Of Puppies,'" they state. "Actually, just the fact that we are making jokes about our name sucks."

2002 - Twelve protesters dressed as monkeys picketed outside the north Wales holiday home of former Stone Roses singer Ian Brown. The demonstrators argued Brown was selling the five-bedroom house, in the small village of Llithfaen on the Llyn Peninsula for an inflated price which local people could not afford. The monkey costumes worn by the anonymous protesters referred to the name of Brown's recent solo album Unfinished Monkey Business.

2006 - 21-year-old Lily Allen, who had gained fame in her native England, played for the first time in the United States, performing at the Hiro Ballroom in New York City.

2007 - Radiohead took an innovative approach with the release of their seventh studio album, In Rainbows, by offering it as a pay-what-you-want download. Most people paid nothing for the download, but the album still fared well.

2009 - Pearl Jam went to No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with Backspacer, the group's ninth studio album.

2010 - R&B/soul singer Solomon Burke died on an airplane at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Though the cause of death was not known, the singer had long struggled with his health, and his doctor suspected he had a pulmonary embolism.

2013 - Paul McCartney and his band surprised New Yorkers by performing songs from his "New" album in a short impromptu free concert to roughly 3,000 people on a long truck parked in the middle of Times Square.

2014 - Taylor Swift was named Billboard's Woman of the Year 2014, making her the first artist to receive the award twice. The award goes to the female artist who "has shaped and inspired the music industry with her success, leadership and innovation" over the last year.

2015 - Tenor saxophone player Steve Mackay who worked with the Stooges, Violent Femmes, Snakefinger, Commander Cody and others died at the age of 66.


The jazz great Thelonious Monk was born today in 1917.

David Lee Roth is 65.

Eric Martin of Mr. Big is 59.

Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet is 58.

Mike Malinin of Goo Goo Dolls is 52.

Mya (of 'Lady Marmalade' fame) is 40.

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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