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Today In Music History

December 1 in Music History: Happy Birthday, Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe - Age of Pleasure Tour with special guests Jidenna, Flyana Boss and Nana Kwabena at the Armory, in Minneapolis on Monday, September 11, 2023.
Janelle Monáe - Age of Pleasure Tour with special guests Jidenna, Flyana Boss and Nana Kwabena at the Armory, in Minneapolis on Monday, September 11, 2023. Sara Fish for MPR

December 01, 2023

History Highlight:

Today in 1985, Janelle Monáe was born, making her 38 today. She is an American singer, rapper and actress. Monáe's publicly debuted in 2007 with a conceptual EP titled Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). In 2011, she was featured as a guest vocalist on fun.'s single "We Are Young", which achieved major commercial success, topping the charts of more than ten countries. In 2016, she made her theatrical film debut in Hidden Figures as NASA mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson. Monáe's third studio album, Dirty Computer, also described as a concept album, was released in 2018 to widespread critical acclaim; it was chosen as the best album of the year by several publications, and it earned her two nominations at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.

Also, in:

1957 - Buddy Holly and the Crickets appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan Show', performing 'That'll Be The Day' and 'Peggy Sue'. Sam Cooke was also a guest on the same show performing 'You Send Me'.

1958 - The Teddy Bears were at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "To Know Him is to Love Him." The title of the Phil Spector song came from words on his father's tombstone.

1958 - Life magazine becomes the first major publication to print the phrase "teen idol" when they use it to describe their cover subject, Ricky Nelson.
1973 - The Carpenters went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Top Of The World", their second U.S. No. 1.

1971 - John Lennon releases "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" in the US.

1976 - The Sex Pistols appear on the Today program on London regional TV as a last-minute substitute for Queen. After being goaded by host Bill Grundy, they swear repeatedly, including the dreaded "F" word, shocking sensitive viewers.

1983 - Neil Young was sued by Geffen Records because his new music for the label was "not commercial in nature and musically uncharacteristic of his previous albums."

1987 - A Kentucky teacher lost her appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court over getting fired for showing Pink Floyd's film "The Wall" to her class.

1989 - Christmas Vacation, starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo, hit theaters in the U.S., with a theme song written by the powerhouse songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and sung by Mavis Staples. Last year, speaking to Jill Riley, D’Angelo said about her role in this film, “That role was in honor of my own mother. I was a wild person, Jill. I was wild, so wild that honestly, I swear to god it was an acting challenge to play Ellen. It was so far from the way that I lived my life.“

1990 - Whitney Houston went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "I'm Your Baby Tonight", her 8th U.S. No. 1 and the first for writers and producers Reid and Babyface.

1990 - "Ice Ice Baby" became the No. 1 single on the U.K. Singles Chart. "Ice Ice Baby" was initially released as the B-side to the rapper's cover of "Play That Funky Music", and became the A-side after U.S. DJs started playing it.

1992 - Duran Duran released the single "Ordinary World" earlier than planned after radio airplay created a huge demand. The song reached No. 3 in the U.S., their biggest hit in the country since "Notorious" in 1986.

1993 - Ray Gillen died at age 34. He was best-known for his work with Badlands, in addition to his stint with Black Sabbath in the mid-1980s and recording most of the vocals on Phenomena's Dream Runner album.

1997 - Kenny G set a new world record when he held a note on his saxophone for 45 minutes and 47 seconds. (The record has since been broken by Geovanny Escalante, who held a note for 1 hour, 30 minutes and 45 seconds, using a technique that allows him to blow and breathe at the same time).

2011 - Hanson announced they would be selling “Mmmhops” beer".

2013 - Australian artist, cartoonist, songwriter and film-maker Martin Sharp died from emphysema at age 71. Sharp was called Australia's foremost pop artist. His psychedelic posters of Bob Dylan, Donovan and others, rank as classics of the genre. Martin co-wrote one of Cream's best known songs, “Tales of Brave Ulysses”, created the cover art for Cream's Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire albums, and in the 1970s became a champion of singer Tiny Tim.

2016 - Drake was named Spotify's most-streamed artist of 2016, with his single 'One Dance' the site's biggest song of the year.

2020 - South Korea, which required men to enlist in the military by the time they turn 28, passed a law to defer service for K-pop stars who have "elevated the country's cultural influence around the world" until age 30. This kept BTS intact, as one of the performers turned 28 three days later.


Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult is 79.

John Densmore, drummer from The Doors, is 79.

Singer/actress Bette Midler is 78.

Brad Delson, guitar player from Linkin Park is 46.

Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots is 35.

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