Today in Music History: The Sugarhill Gang released 'Rapper's Delight'

Sugarhill Gang
Rap pioneers the Sugarhill Gang (left to right: Wonder Mike, Master G and Big Bank Hank) perform live circa 1979. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images, via NPR)

History Highlight:

Today in 1979, The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" was released. Although it was not the first single to feature rapping, it is generally considered to be the song that first popularized hip hop in the United States and around the world. The song's opening lyric, "I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie to the hip-hip-hop and you don't stop," is world-renowned. The song is ranked No. 251 in Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and No. 2 on both's and VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs.

Also, Today In:

1967 - Are You Experienced?, the first Jimi Hendrix record, entered the album charts.

1970 - Led Zeppelin displaced The Beatles as the UK's most popular band. The Fab Four had been tops since 1963. The poll was conducted by Melody Maker magazine.

1972 - Featuring the soon-to-be No. 1 single "Papa Was A Rolling Stone," All Directions by The Temptations entered the album charts.

1977 - Today in 1977, Pioneer Brit pop legend Marc Bolan of T. Rex died in an automobile crash in England. Bolan was one of the first pioneers of the glam rock movement of the 1970s.

1988 - Former Clash drummer Topper Headon was released from jail after serving 10 months of a 15-month sentence on a narcotics charge.

2006 - Bob Dylan was at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with Modern Times. The LP entered the U.S. charts at No. 1, making it Dylan's first album to reach that position since 1976's Desire, 30 years earlier.

2008 - Motown songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield died in Los Angeles from complications of diabetes and other illnesses. Whitfield collaborated with Barrett Strong on such hits as "I Heard It through the Grapevine," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "(I Know) I'm Losing You," "Cloud Nine," "War," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "Car Wash."

2013 - Jackie Lomax died at his home in England at age 69. He first gained notice as the vocalist and bass player with The Undertakers and was later one of the first artists to sign with The Beatles label, Apple, with George Harrison penning his single "Sour Milk Sea".

2018 - English musician and record producer Maartin Allcock died at age 61. He was a member of British folk rock band Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull and also played keyboards for The Mission.


B.B. King was born today in 1925.

Bilinda Butcher, vocalist and guitarist for My Bloody Valentine, is 59.

Singer-songwriter Richard Marx is 57.

Dave Sabo (aka "The Snake") of Skid Row is 56.

Salsa pop star Marc Anthony is 52.

Flo Rida (born Tramar Lacel Dillard) is 41.

Nick Jonas is 28.

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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