ON THIS DAY IN MUSIC HISTORY: 4.5.21


1968 - With tensions high the night after Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, James Brown goes ahead with his concert at the Boston Garden, agreeing to televise the show to help keep calm in the city.

1977 - David Bowie and Iggy Pop perform together on Dinah Shore's daytime show on NBC. Some rock and roll television appearances can fall flat, in fact, the vast majority of them do. But there’s one moment that will live long in the memory as Iggy Pop was joined by David Bowie and smashed through a set on The Dinah! Show.

The dynamic duo had been living in Berlin when they were invited on to the show to not only perform some songs from Iggy’s Bowie-produced record, The Idiot, but to also promote the new album Lust For Life by answering some questions. One of her stranger questions, she asks about his tendency to slice himself on stage.

With all the concern of a fretting mother, Shore says: “You cut yourself with a bottle.” The audience laughs, Bowie laughs and Iggy Pop offered a vision of his most charming self and replies: “I’ve had treatment for that sort of thing.” {Photo credit VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

1980 - R.E.M. played their first ever gig when they appeared at St Mary's Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia. The show at this abandoned church was for a friend's birthday party. The band had no name at this point - according to Michael Stipe, they had considered "Twisted Kites" and "Cans of Piss" - but they settled on "R.E.M." after Stipe selected it at random from a dictionary. Fortunately.

1988 - Tracy Chapman's eponymous debut album is released. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic wrote, "Arriving with little fanfare in the spring of 1988, Tracy Chapman's eponymous debut album became one of the key records of the Bush era, while reviving the singer-songwriter tradition."

1994 - Kurt Cobain of Nirvana committed suicide by firearm at his home in Seattle. Strangely, like Jimi, Janis, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones, he was 27 when he died. Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in 1985 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene and grunge genre. Despite releasing only three full-length studio albums in their seven-year career, Nirvana has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and important rock bands of the modern era.

2002 - Layne Staley, lead singer of Alice in Chains, passed away at age 34. The band rose to international fame in the early 1990s during Seattle's grunge movement, and became known for Staley's distinct vocal style, which is known as one of the most memorable voices in the history of grunge music. He struggled for much of his adult life with depression and drug addiction, which ultimately resulted in his death.

2008 - Apple's iTunes overtook Wal-Mart to become the largest music retailer in the US.

2012 - Jim Marshall, inventor of the Marshall amplifier, died in London at age 88. His amplifiers and speakers known as 'Marshall stacks' were used by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and almost every other major rock guitarist in the '60s and '70s and by the next generation of guitarists as well, including Kurt Cobain, Eddie Van Halen and Slash.

Birthdays:

Agnetha Faltskog from ABBA is 70.

Christopher 'Kid' Reid (Kid N Play) is 57.

Mike McCready, lead guitarist for Pearl Jam, is 55.

Paula Cole is 53.

Pharrell Williams is 48.

On This day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts, Far Out Magazine, Allmusic, and Wikipedia.