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Today In Music History

September 19 in Music History: Happy Birthday, Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Saracourtesy First Avenue

September 19, 2023

History Highlight:
Tegan and Sara Quin are 43. The twin sisters, who just played First Avenue last week, were born in Alberta, Canada where they started making punk rock music together as teenagers. Since then, the duo has released ten studio albums, starting with "Under Feet Like Ours" in 1999, followed by a string of successful releases including "The Con" and "Love You to Death." They have also contributed to various soundtracks, like The Lego Movie’s "Everything Is Awesome!!!", which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2015. Their most recent album, Crybaby, was released in October 2022. As openly queer artists, Tegan and Sara have also been outspoken advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and visibility. 

Also, Today In: 

1960 - Former chicken plucker Chubby Checker went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "The Twist". 

1966 - John Sebastian and The Lovin' Spoonful's well-timed "Summer in the City," their first No. 1 hit, earned them a Gold record. 

1968 - The great Easy Rider bugs-in-your-teeth Harley-riding anthem, "Born to Be Wild" by John Kay and Steppenwolf was a giant hit, scoring the band a Gold record on this day. It is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the second verse lyric "heavy metal thunder" marks the first use of this term in rock music (although not as a description of a musical style). 

1970 - Diana Ross started a three-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". It was the singer's first solo No. 1 since leaving The Supremes. 

1979 - James Taylor, Jackson Browne, The Doobie Brothers, Graham Nash and Bonnie Raitt perform at Madison Square Garden for the first of five "no nukes" concerts. 

1973 - Gram Parsons, at only 26, died of an overdose. A member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, he has attained legendary status in the Americana world in the years since. Fun fact: It is said that Parson developed an interest in country music while attending Harvard University, which he was admitted to not based on his grades but on the basis of a strong personal essay. 

1981 - Simon and Garfunkel reunited before nearly half a million fans in Central Park. The 22-song set wound up to be a best-selling album and an HBO special. 

1981 - The Rolling Stones album Tattoo You started a nine-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. chart, the band's ninth U.S. No. 1. 

1985 - Frank Zappa, John Denver and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister testify at a Senate hearing where the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) argue for a ratings system on music. The musicians explain that this is censorship, but the PMRC wins a victory and warning labels are ordered on albums containing explicit lyrics. 

1987 - The Grateful Dead hit #10 on the US Hot 100 with "Touch Of Grey," the only hit song for the band. 

1988 -  Erasure release "A Little Respect." 

1991 - Michael Jackson was a guest voice on The Simpsons, where he played a mental patient Homer befriends named Leon Kompowski. 

1992 - Radiohead filmed the video for their new single "Creep" during a show at the Venue, in Oxford, England. During its initial release, "Creep" was not a chart success. However, upon re-release in 1993, it became a worldwide hit. 

1997 - The pitch-correction software Auto-Tune hits the market and soon becomes ubiquitous in recording studios, especially after Cher hits #1 with her Auto-Tuned "Believe." 

1999 - The Dixie Chicks become the first country group to top the Billboard albums chart when Fly debuts at #1. 

2003 - A week after his death at the age of 71, country legend Johnny Cash is bestowed with artist, song and album of the year awards at the Americana Music Awards ceremony in Nashville. 

2004 - Celine Dion extended her Las Vegas show for another year. Dion was reportedly being paid $100 million for the original three-year run of five 90-minute concerts a week. 

2004 - Country singer Skeeter Davis, known for the 1962 crossover hit "The End of the World," dies of breast cancer at age 72. 

2008 - Drummer Earl Palmer died. He worked with The Beach Boys, Little Richard ('Tutti Frutti'), Frank Sinatra, Ike And Tina Turner ('River Deep, Mountain High'), The Monkees, Fats Domino ('I'm Walkin'), Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, The Righteous Brothers ('You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'), Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Buckley, Little Feat and Elvis Costello. 

2008 - Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM are seriously injured when the plane they are riding in hurtles off the end of a runway in South Carolina and hits a highway embankment. 

2010 - John Lennon's son Julian told the press that he has ended his long-running feud with his half-brother Sean and his step-mother Yoko Ono, which started after the former Beatle was murdered in December, 1980. The trio battled in court for a share of the singer's estate, but Julian now said "Things are good between us. Whenever I'm in New York, we all get together." 

2016 - Tom Waits and wife/collaborator Kathleen Brennan, along with John Prine, receive the PEN Lyric Award Prize, given in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 


Beatles manager Brian Epstein was born today in 1934. 

Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers was born today in 1940. 

(Mama) Cass Elliot of The Mamas and the Papas was born today in 1941. 

Producer and singer Daniel Lanois is 72. 

Nile Rodgers of Chic is 71. 

Lita Ford of The Runaways is 65. 

Tegan and Sara Quin are 43. 

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