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Today In Music History

November 23 in Music History: Happy Birthday, Alison Mosshart

Jamie Hince (L) and Alison Mosshart of The Kills perform onstage during day one of the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, weekend two at the Empire Polo Club on April 22, 2016, in Indio, Calif.
Jamie Hince (L) and Alison Mosshart of The Kills perform onstage during day one of the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, weekend two at the Empire Polo Club on April 22, 2016, in Indio, Calif.Mike Windle/Getty Images for Coachella

November 23, 2022

History Highlight:

Alison Nicole Mosshart was born on this day in 1978, making her 44 today. Her first band was a Florida punk band called Discount which started in 1995 and disbanded in 2000. She then co-founded the Kills with British guitarist Jamie Hince in 2000 in London, where she was known by her stage name "VV". Then one fateful day in 2009, Jack White lost his voice and The Raconteurs asked Alison Mosshart whom they were touring with to fill in on some songs. Thus began the supergroup the Dead Weather, formed by Jack White, along with Jack Lawrence and Dean Fertita. In that band, Mosshart's stage name is "Baby Ruthless." In 2020, Jill talked to Alison in a zoom call about staying creative while at home. If you have any questions about how to fix pencil sharpeners, call on Alison.

Also, Today In:

1889 - The world's first jukebox was installed at San Francisco's' Palais Royale Saloon. The machine was originally called the "nickel-in-the-slot player" by Louis Glass, the entrepreneur who installed it. The machine, built by the Pacific Phonograph Company, featured four stethoscope-like tubes attached to an Edison electric phonograph fitted inside an oak cabinet, meaning four different listeners could be plugged into the same song simultaneously. The machine became known as a "jukebox" later, although the origin of the word remains a bit vague.

1936 - Blues musician Robert Johnson began his first recording sessions. The recording session was held in San Antonio, Texas, in room 414 of the Gunter Hotel, which Brunswick Records had set up as a temporary recording studio. In the ensuing three-day session, Johnson played 16 selections, and recorded alternate takes for most of these. Johnson reportedly performed facing the wall; although some have suggested this indicated Johnson's shyness, guitarist Ry Cooder speculates that Johnson played facing a corner to enhance the sound of the guitar. Among the songs Johnson recorded in San Antonio were "Come On In My Kitchen," "Kind Hearted Woman Blues," "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and "Cross Road Blues." The first to be released were "Terraplane Blues" and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down," probably the only recordings of his that Johnson, who died in 1938, would live to hear. "Terraplane Blues" became a moderate regional hit, selling 5,000 copies.

1956 - Sheet-metal worker Louis Balint was arrested after punching Elvis Presley at a Hotel in Toledo, Ohio. Balint claimed that his wife's love for Elvis had caused his marriage to break up. He was fined $19.60 but ended up being jailed because he was unable to pay the fine.

1970 - George Harrison released "My Sweet Lord," his first single as a solo artist. The spiritual tune went to No. 1 in the U.S. and U.K.

1970 - Cat Stevens releases his fourth album, Tea For The Tillerman. It's his breakthrough in the US, where "Wild World" becomes his first hit.

1974 - Billy Swan started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with his only hit, "I Can Help." The song was a hit throughout most of Europe and was particularly successful in Norway, and it also reached No. 1 in Australia.

1974 - The Rolling Stones scored their fifth U.S. No.1 album with It's Only Rock 'N Roll. The album was the last Stones album for guitarist Mick Taylor.

1985 - American blues artist Big Joe Turner died of a heart attack at age 75. Among the songs written by Turner was "Shake Rattle and Roll," a bit hit for Bill Haley and His Comets.

1991 - Michael Bolton scored his second U.S. No. 1 single with his version of the Percy Sledge song, "When A Man Loves A Woman."

1991 - Queen frontman Freddie Mercury issued a statement confirming he has AIDS and calling for help in fighting the disease. "I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me," he wrote. "However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease." Mercury died the next day.

1993 - Snoop Dogg releases his highly anticipated debut album, Doggystyle, on Death Row records. Produced by his label boss, Dr. Dre, it goes straight to #1 in the US.

1994 - Singer-songwriter Tommy Boyce took his own life. With Bobby Hart, Boyce formed the prolific songwriting duo Boyce and Hart, whose hits included Gary Lewis and the Playboys' "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," and the Monkees' "Last Train To Clarksville" and "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone."

2002 - Rush performed the final concert of their tour in support of Vapor Trails at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. This concert would be released on DVD the following year as the acclaimed Rush in Rio.

2003 - Jay-Z started a three-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with The Black Album.

2006 - Jazz singer Anita O'Day died of a cardiac arrest at age 87.

2007 - Bono and The Edge from U2 made a surprise appearance at a charity gig, playing four songs for 250 people at the Union Chapel in north London. The concert was part of Mencap's Little Noise Sessions, with proceeds going to help those with learning disabilities.

2008 - Fifteen years after their last album, Guns N' Roses released Chinese Democracy in the U.S., exclusively via Best Buy. Nine years previously, Geffen Records had reportedly paid Axl Rose $1 million to finish the album, with a further $1 million if he handed it in to them by March 1, 1999.

2015 - Cynthia Robinson, trumpet player and founding member of Sly & the Family Stone, died at age 71. That's her saying, "Get on up and dance!" in "Dance To The Music."

2015 - Taylor Swift dominated the American Music Awards, winning three prizes, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year. One Direction was named favorite group and artist of the year, for the second year in a row and Ariana Grande was the surprise winner of best female, beating Taylor Swift.

2019 - Accounts showed that Guns N' Roses Not In This Lifetime tour had raked in more than half a billion dollars during its three-year run grossing $584.2 million. The tour, which kicked off in 2016, sold 5,371,891 tickets, making it the third highest-grossing tour, according to Billboard Boxscore.


Betty Everett, who had a big hit with "'The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)", was born today in 1939.

Alan Paul of Manhattan Transfer is 73.

Bruce Hornsby is 68.

Tommy Marth, late saxophone player with the Killers, was born today in 1978.

Miley Cyrus is 30.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Song Facts and Wikipedia.