1973 - NBC debuts The Midnight Special rock variety show, its response to ABC's popular In Concert series. The first host: Helen Reddy. The Midnight Special was noted for featuring musical acts (everyone from Chuck Berry, to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Blondie, and even Robert Fripp) performing live, which was unusual since most television appearances during the era showed performers lip-synching to prerecorded music. The program also featured occasional performances of comedians such as Richard Pryor, Andy Kaufman, and George Carlin.
1973 - Elvis Presley meets Muhammad Ali in Las Vegas. The two exchange gifts, and Ali later says, "I felt sorry for him because he didn't enjoy life the way he should. He stayed indoors all the time. I told him he should go out and see people."
1976 - Genesis released 'A Trick Of The Tail', their seventh album and the first to feature drummer Phil Collins as full-time lead vocalist following the departure of original vocalist Peter Gabriel. After auditioning over 400 vocalists, which saw Collins teaching the potential lead singers the songs, the band decided that Collins should be the new vocalist.
The album returns the group to the fanciful fairy tale nature of its earlier records and proved to longtime fans that Genesis could possibly thrive without its former leader in tow.
1979 - Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose in New York City. There had been a party to celebrate Vicious' release on bail pending his trial for the murder of his former girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, the previous October. Party guests, said that Vicious had taken heroin at midnight.
1993 - Willie Nelson agreed to pay $9 million of the $16.7 million he owed the Internal Revenue Service. His accountants, Price Waterhouse, had not been paying Nelson's taxes for years, and in addition to the unpaid taxes, Nelson's situation was exacerbated by weak investments he had made during the early 1980s. his album, Who Will Buy My Memories (The IRS Tapes), a collection of demos, outtakes and stripped down recordings, was released to help pay for his IRS debts.
2011 - The White Stripes split up after six albums, ending their run as one of the most successful rock duos. They specifically denied any artistic differences or health issues but cited "a myriad of reasons ... mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band".
Graham Nash is 81. Graham Nash played a pivotal part in at least two of the major musical movements of the classic rock era. He started his professional career as a member of the Hollies, a pioneering British Invasion group who defined a specific segment of '60s harmony-laden guitar pop. Once he left the band, he joined forces with Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and David Crosby of the Byrds to form the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash, (and later Neil Young) a trio that helped usher in the transition from hippie folk-rock to the reflective singer/songwriters of the '70s. Nash entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for LUTB)
Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from Allmusic, This Day in Music, Song Facts and Wikipedia.