1969 - Simon & Garfunkel hosted their first television special, Songs of America, which caused controversy when it showed footage of Robert Kennedy's funeral and the Vietnam War, which led to their original sponsor to disassociate itself from the special.
“Songs of America” was originally sponsored by the Bell Telephone Company, but the execs there got cold feet when they saw what they’d paid for—legend has it that they looked at the footage of JFK, RFK and MLK during the (powerful!) “Bridge Over Troubled Water” segment (approx 12 minutes in) and asked for more Republicans! (Not assassinated Republicans, just more Republicans...you know, for balance!) The special was eventually picked up by CBS. It was killed in the ratings by an ice skating presentation.
1977 - Bing Crosby's last Christmas special airs. The program was recorded in September, and Crosby died that October. The show is remembered for Crosby's unusual duet with David Bowie, where they sing a modified version of "Little Drummer Boy," with Bowie singing the new "Peace On Earth" lyrics composed by the show's writers.
1979 - Pink Floyd released The Wall, The powerful concept album's themes of isolation and despair resonated with legions of fans, and it even spawned a No. 1 single - "Another Brick In The Wall (part II)”. The story revolves around the fictional Pink Floyd's isolation behind a psychological wall. The wall grows as various parts of his life spin out of control, and he grows incapable of dealing with his neuroses. It also marked the last time Waters and Gilmour would work together as equal partners. (Photo credit JOHN D MCHUGH/AFP via Getty Images)
2003 - A block of East 2nd Street in New York City was officially renamed Joey Ramone Place. It is the block where Joey once lived with band mate Dee Dee Ramone and is near the music club CBGB, where the Ramones played their first gigs. In 2010, it was reported that "Joey Ramone Place," was New York City's most stolen sign. The sign has since been moved to 20 feet above ground level.
Dick Clark was born in 1929.
Deep Purple and Rainbow bassist Roger Glover is 76.
June Pointer of the Pointer Sisters was born today in 1953.
Guitarist Shuggie Otis is 68. Shuggie composes the 1977 crossover hit "Strawberry Letter 23" for The Brothers Johnson. In 1974, he turned down an offer (via Billy Preston) to replace Mick Taylor in The Rolling Stones. "I was so excited about my own music coming out that nothing really appealed to me about wanting to be in anybody's group."
William Michael Albert Broad — better known as Billy Idol —is 66. First achieving fame in the ‘70s London punk rock scene as the lead singer of the group Generation X. Legend has it that his stage name "Billy Idol" was inspired by a teacher's description of him as "idle".
John Ashton, guitar player for the Psychedelic Furs, is 64.
Cherie Currie, solo artist and former lead vocalist of the Runaways, is 62.