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Today In Music History

March 16 in Music History: Happy Birthday, Nancy Wilson

Musician Nancy Wilson of Heart attends The "Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways" New York Premiere at Ed Sullivan Theater on October 14, 2014 in New York City.
Musician Nancy Wilson of Heart attends The "Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways" New York Premiere at Ed Sullivan Theater on October 14, 2014 in New York City.Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

March 16, 2023

History Spotlight:

Today in 1954, Nancy Wilson was born - making her 69 today. Wilson rose to fame alongside her older sister Ann as a guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist in the rock band Heart. Wilson has been lauded for her guitar playing, noted for its blending elements of flamenco and classical guitar styles with hard rock. In 2016, Gibson ranked Wilson the eighth-greatest female guitarist of all time. She is the lead vocalist in the song "These Dreams", which became Heart's first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2013, Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Heart.

Also, today in:

1945 - The #1 song in America is "Rum and Coca-Cola" by The Andrews Sisters. It's a sanitized cover of a calypso song about American servicemen in Trinidad who get drunk and solicit prostitutes.

1959 - William Jonathan Drayton Jr., better known by the stage name Flavor Flav, was born. Rising to fame as a member of the hip-hop group Public Enemy, he is known for popularizing the role of the hype man and for yelling "Yeah boy!" and "Flavor Flav!" during performances. If you don't know him from his hip-hop career, you might know him as the star of several VH1 reality series, including The Surreal Life, Strange Love, and Flavor of Love.

1964 - The Beatles set a new record for advance sales in the U.S. with 2.1 million copies of their forthcoming single "Can't Buy Me Love."

1968 - Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" hits #1, becoming the first-ever posthumous #1 hit. Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967.

1970 - Tammi Terrell passed away at the age of 24 due to complications from brain cancer. In her short time on Earth, Terrell became a star singer for Motown Records during the 1960s, best known for her duets with Marvin Gaye such as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By." She had eight unsuccessful surgeries before succumbing to the illness.

1971 - Grammy Award winners included Simon & Garfunkel, who won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year for "Bridge Over Troubled Water"; and The Carpenters, who won Best New Act and Best Vocal Performance.

1974 - Barbra Streisand started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with "The Way We Were," her second U.S. No. 1.

1974 - Elvis Presley played the first of four nights at the Midsouth Coliseum in Memphis, Tenn. This marked the first time Elvis had played in Memphis since 1961.

1985 - David Lee Roth peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart with his debut solo release, the EP Crazy from the Heat, which went on to go platinum in the U.S.

1989 - MTV launched a contest to give away Jon Bon Jovi's childhood home.

1992 - During a Metallica concert at the Orlando Arena in Orlando, fans dangled an usher by his ankles from a balcony as trouble broke out during the concert. Metallica would be fined $38,000 for repairs and cleaning after the audience trashed the arena.

1999 - Pearl Jam's debut album Ten is certified Diamond for sales of over 10 million copies in America.

2002 - Liza Minnelli took her fourth trip down the aisle when she married promoter David Gest in New York. Michael Jackson served as best man, and Elizabeth Taylor was matron of honor.

2010 - ABBA was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, along with Genesis and The Hollies. ABBA's Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad accepted their trophies at a ceremony in New York.

2012 - A series of medical issues forced Morrissey to cancel the rest of his planned concerts in the U.S. The 53-year-old Morrissey had already called off 21 gigs that year due to poor health.

2017 - Blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter James Cotton died from pneumonia aged 81. Cotton worked in Howlin' Wolf's band in the early 1950s. In 1955, he was recruited by Muddy Waters to come to Chicago and join his band. In 2006, Cotton was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

2019 - Country singer Justin Carter died after being accidentally shot during the filming of a music video at his apartment in Woodlands, an area north of Houston. The singer had just released a song titled “Love Affair” a week earlier.

2019 - Dick Dale died of heart failure at the age of 81. He was known as the “King of the Surf Guitar.” He created and developed what many call the “surf music” style. Dale worked closely with Fender to produce custom-made amplifiers, including the first-ever 100-watt guitar amplifier. His song “Misirlou” featured over the opening credits to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.

2020 - Chris Martin takes to Instagram to perform a virtual concert in support of the World Health Organization as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold. It's the first of a series of "Together At Home" concerts done by a variety of artists.


Songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, best known for penning the tune "Mr. Bojangles," was born on this day in 1942.

Matt Irving of Manfred Mann was born today in 1950.

Michael Bruce, guitarist with the Alice Cooper Band, is 75.

Flavor Flav is 64.

Alex Lee, guitarist who has worked with Goldfrapp, Suede, Placebo, Strangelove and The Blue Aeroplanes, is 53.

Andy Dunlop, lead guitarist of Travis, is 51.

Wolfgang Van Halen, song of Eddie Van Halen, and bassist Van Halen from 2006 to 2020, is 32.

Jhené Aiko is 35.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.