Today in Music History: Prince begins his 'Controversy' tour

Prince Controversy Album cover
Prince's album 'Controversy' was released on October 14, 1981 (Courtesy Warner Brothers)

History Highlight:

Today in 1981, Prince played the first night on his 56-date North American "Controversy" tour at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pa. The tour included Zapp and Roger and The Time as an opening act. The typical setlist on this tour was a "greatest hits" of the Prince and Dirty Mind albums, along with a smattering of new material from Controversy.

Today In:

1955 - Bo Diddley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show television show. The show had requested Diddley sing his version of "Sixteen Tons," but when he appeared on stage, he sang his own song, "Bo Diddley," resulting in him being banned from further appearances on the show.

1961 - Bob Dylan started recording his debut album over two days at Columbia Recording Studios in New York.

1967 - Strawberry Alarm Clock went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Incense And Peppermints."

1968 - The Monkees' film Head opened in six U.S. cities. Reviews were harsh and the picture was a box-office disaster.

1971 - Isaac Hayes started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Theme from Shaft." The following year, the song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song with Hayes becoming the first African American to win that honor (or any Academy Award in a non-acting category), as well as the first recipient of the award to both write and perform the winning song. Fun fact: in 2000, Hayes told National Public Radio that he had only agreed to write and record the Shaft score after Shaft producer Joel Freeman promised him an audition for the lead role (which was given to Richard Roundtree). Hayes never got the chance to audition, but kept his end of the deal anyway.

1973 - During a concert at San Francisco's Cow Palace, Who drummer Keith Moon collapsed onstage after someone spiked his drink with horse tranquilizer. An audience member, 19-year-old Scot Halpin, filled in for the final three songs of The Who's set.

1976 - Paul Simon hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live, where he performed live with George Harrison on "Here Comes The Sun" and "Homeward Bound." He opened the show dressed as a turkey (in honor of Thanksgiving) and performed part of "Still Crazy After All These Years," before telling the audience, "When the turkey concept was first brought up, I said there's a very good chance I'm going to end up looking stupid."

1991 - The Rolling Stones signed a three-album deal with Virgin Records for $45 million, making it the biggest recording contract up to that time.

2002 - Former Ultravox member Midge Ure was fined the equivalent of more than $800 by magistrates in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England — hometown of The Current's Mark Wheat — after Ure admitted driving without due care and attention. The court heard that Ure was involved in a minor accident in Norfolk while driving his Chrysler to a gig.

2007 - Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke admitted he was among the thousands of people who paid nothing to download the band's latest album In Rainbows. Speaking to BBC 6 Music's Steve Lamacq, Yorke said, "There wasn't any point. I just move some money from one pocket to the other."

2007 - The debut album from Amy Winehouse, Frank, was finally released in the US eight months after her second album, and three years after its British release.

2016 - Ariana Grande wins Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards

More Birthdays:

Jim Horn, American saxophonist, woodwind player and session musician is 80. He played on solo albums of Beatles members, flute and sax on the Beach Boy's Pet Sounds, and flute on the Rolling Stone's Goats Head Soup.

Norman Greenbaum, known for his one-hit wonder, "Spirit in the Sky," is 78.

Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers was born today in 1946.

Guitarist Joe Walsh is 73. He has been a member of three successful rock bands: James Gang, Eagles, and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.

Mike D of the Beastie Boys is 55.

Future - rapper, songwriter and record producer - is 37.

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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