Today in Music History: TLC releases 'FanMail'

TLC
TLC (from left to right, Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins, Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes and Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas) in the early-'90s. (Tim Roney/Getty Images, via NPR)

History Highlight:

Today in 1999, TLC released their third album, FanMail. It was a huge seller thanks to the tracks "No Scrubs" and "Unpretty," but caused friction among the trio, as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes felt she was being cast aside. The title of the album is a tribute to their fans who sent them fan mail during their hiatus (there was a five year gap between their second and third albums). FanMail debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200, selling 318,000 copies in its first week of release, and spent five weeks at No. 1.

Also, Today In:

1963 - The Chiffons' "He's So Fine" appeared on the pop chart for the first time, on its way to No. 1. George Harrison was sued years later for unconsciously plagiarizing the melody for his "My Sweet Lord."

1972 - After nearly five years of marriage, Priscilla Presley moved out of Elvis' California home and into a two-bedroom apartment near the Pacific Ocean. Their divorce would be finalized on Oct. 9, 1973.

1974 - Columbia Records released Billy Joel's Piano Man.

1978 - Fleetwood Mac's Rumours won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

1979 - Dire Straits began their first North American tour.

1980 - Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" reached No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it would hold that position for four consecutive weeks. The song was Queen's first No. 1 single in the United States. Queen frontman Freddy Mercury wrote the song as a tribute to Elvis Presley, and although Mercury typically composed music on the piano, he wrote "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on guitar — and he did it in about five to 10 minutes. "It was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords," Mercury told the press. "I couldn't work through too many chords and because of that restriction, I wrote a good song, I think."

1983 - Toto won six Grammys, including Album Of The Year for Toto IV, a record that included the hit singles "Africa" and "Rosanna."

1985 - Meat Is Murder by The Smiths went to No. 1 on the U.K. charts.

1985 - Stevie Wonder was arrested during an anti-apartheid demonstration outside the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C.; he was released after being questioned by police.

1993 - Little Richard received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy award.

1995 - Melvin "Blue" Franklin (bass singer for The Temptations) died at age 52. Franklin had long suffered with rheumatoid arthritis and developed diabetes in the '80s.

1999 - Eminem dropped his first major-label album, The Slim Shady LP. He quickly became the most controversial rapper in the game.

2000 - Santana won nine Grammys, breaking Michael Jackson's record for number of Grammys taken in one night. Santana's awards included Album Of The Year for Supernatural, while "Smooth" won the Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year prizes.

2003 - Nickel Creek won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album for the Alison Krauss-produced This Side.

2003 - Norah Jones emerged as the big winner at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards, earning five awards for her debut Come Away With Me and the single "Don't Know Why," including Best New Artist, Album Of The Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record Of The Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

2003 - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers bassist Howie Epstein died of complications due to drug use at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, NM. He was 47 years old.

2007 - Rockabilly singer Donnie Brooks died at age 71.

Birthdays:

Blues guitarist and singer Johnny Winter was born on this day in 1944.

Brad Whitford of Aerosmith is 69.

Howard Jones is 66.

Rob Collins of The Charlatans was born today in 1963.

Lars-Olof Johansson of The Cardigans is 48.

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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