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1978 - The Police released 'Roxanne' as the first single from their debut album Outlandos d'Amour. The song was written from the point of view of a man who falls in love with a prostitute. The title came from the name of the character in the play Cyrano de Bergerac, which Sting saw on an old poster which was hanging in a hotel foyer in Paris, France where the group had been staying.

1990 - Bonnie Raitt has her first #1 album, Nick Of Time. The previous decade had seen a number of setbacks: a failed relationship, dropped by her label, coupled with drugs and alcohol. But she cleaned up and retreated to a cabin in California to work on music.

Raitt was determined for the songs to reflect where she was in life, not where she used to be. "You can get tepid and sugary with your writing," she told Q magazine. "Or you can come to grips with things like relationships, as opposed to being single. How to keep a marriage vital. How to be dangerous even though you're straight, have quit drinking and can't stay up all night – those are issues about cynicism, about depression, about getting older, period, and what that does to your body and outlook."

2020 - Acclaimed singer-songwriter John Prine dies at 73 after coming down with coronavirus.

One of the most celebrated singer/songwriters of his generation, John Prine was a master storyteller whose work was often witty and always heartfelt, frequently offering a sly but sincere reflection of his Midwestern roots, writing about the lives of ordinary people in a remarkable and perceptive way. While Prine's songs were most often rooted in folk and country flavors, he was no stranger to rock & roll, R&B, and rockabilly, and could readily adapt his rough but expressive voice to his musical surroundings. Prine never scored a major hit of his own, but his songs were recorded by a long list of well-respected artists, many of them celebrated songwriters themselves.

As Bob Dylan said in 2009: “Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mind trips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs.” (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)


Billie Holiday was born today in 1915. Nicknamed “Lady Day,” Holiday was the once-in-a-generation voice that defined songs like “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child.” She influenced countless jazz and pop music artists, and still stands out as an icon.

Ravi Shankar was born today in 1920. A master of the sitar as well as a famous experimenter with its classical forms, Ravi Shankar was probably the world's best-known Indian musician. His disciples included George Harrison and Philip Glass.

Drummer and founding member of the Grateful Dead Bill Kreutzmann is 77. While he may have been hidden behind a drum kit, Bill Kreutzmann spent 30 years stretching and surpassing the percussive limits of music as a drummer for the infamous jam band. Paired with drummer Mickey Hart, the two "Rhythm Devils" kept Deadheads spinning in time to the band's vast vault of tunes and their own creations.

Florian Schneider-Esleben of Kraftwerk was born on this day in 1947. As a member of Kraftwerk, their radical and prophetic approach to purely electronic pop music has been referenced by an extraordinary number of artists from the mid-'70s onward, including David Bowie's Berlin trilogy, synth pop, and Neue Deutsche Welle, as well as later U.S. developments such as electro, techno, and house.

Dallas Taylor was born in Denver on this day in 1948. His credits include CSN&Y, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Buddy Guy, and Jimi Hendrix.


John Oates of Hall & Oates is 75. Although he's played on, penned songs for, and/or produced other artists' recordings, singer/guitarist John Oates is best known as one-half of one of rock's most successful duos of all time, Hall & Oates.

For awhile, he lived in Woody Creek (he now spends most of his time in Nashville) where he had a rescue ranch, housing llamas, emus, alpacas and peacocks.

His neighbor? Hunter S. Thompson.

"He made his presence known before we even bought the place with a blast of shotgun pellets that rained all around us. Welcome to the neighborhood! With that kind of start, things could only go up, and go up they did."

Grammy award winning American singer/songwriter Janis Ian is 72. She went to No. 1 in 1975 with her song "At Seventeen".

On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, American Songwriter, Allmusic, Aspen Daily News, Song Facts and Wikipedia.


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