1979 - James Taylor, Jackson Browne, The Doobie Brothers, Graham Nash and Bonnie Raitt perform at Madison Square Garden for the first of five "no nukes" concerts.
The Three Mile Island meltdown has swayed public opinion against nuclear power, and MUSE sets out to cement the sentiment with an entire week of concerts. Performers over the five days include Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Khan, Peter Tosh, Jesse Colin Young, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Poco, Gil Scott-Heron, and Ry Cooder.
The concerts are distilled into a triple album called No Nukes: The Muse Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future and also a documentary film called No Nukes.
1985 - Frank Zappa, John Denver and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister testify at a Senate hearing where the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) argue for a ratings system on music. The musicians explain that this is censorship, but the PMRC wins a victory and warning labels are ordered on albums containing explicit lyrics.
1987 - The Grateful Dead hit #10 on the US Hot 100 with "Touch Of Grey," the only "hit" song for the band.
The song is about the band aging gracefully. According to Dead drummer Mickey Hart, Robert Hunter wrote the lyric as a pick-me-up. "When he wrote 'Touch Of Grey,' we were struggling," Hart said. "But it became an anthem to us. It perked us up."
Beatles manager Brian Epstein was born today in 1934. As the title of his biography suggests, Brian Epstein is widely regarded as "the man who made the Beatles." And, though he obviously had a well-spring of talent to work with, it is not unreasonable to credit Epstein with much of the group's early success.
Through the mid-'60s Epstein was utterly devoted to the Beatles. He controlled their booking, publicity, and launched their movie career with the influential A Hard Days Night and Help! movies. Yet, in 1966, after a harrowing tour of the Far East, both the Beatles and their manager decided to put an end to touring. With a large portion of Epstein's duties now irrelevant, his focus and organization began to fade and he retreated into a private world of loneliness.
Just three months after his beloved Beatles changed the face of pop music with Sgt. Pepper's, Brian Epstein was found dead in his home, the victim of a drug overdose. Such was the importance of his presence to the group that later John Lennon remarked that he knew the Beatles had had it once Brian died.
(Mama) Cass Elliot was born today in 1941. Best-known as one of the singers of the renowned '60s psychedelic pop outfit the Mamas & the Papas. Although the group would only remain together for a few short years, their impact on the rock music world was great, resulting in such classic hit singles as "California Dreamin'," "Monday Monday," and "I Saw Her Again," among others.
Producer and singer Daniel Lanois is 72. One of the most distinctive and celebrated producers of his time, Daniel Lanois is also a gifted composer and solo artist; whether performing his own material or helming records for the likes of U2, Bob Dylan, and Peter Gabriel, the hallmarks of his singular aesthetic remain the same. Noted for his unparalleled atmospheric sensibilities, Lanois has continuously pursued emotional honesty over technical perfection, relying on vintage equipment and unorthodox studio methods to achieve a signature sound both viscerally powerful and intricately beautiful.
Nile Rodgers of Chic is 71. Nile Rodgers' contribution to popular music has been extremely significant, so much more than the signature "chucking" style he developed as a brilliant rhythm guitarist. The musician penned some of the most progressive and popular songs of the disco era with Chic, who topped the Billboard Hot 100 with "Le Freak" and the hip-hop catalyst "Good Times," and released platinum albums such as C'est Chic (1978) and Risqué (1979). He has since produced dozens of hits, over several decades, for a wide variety of other artists, including Diana Ross' "Upside Down," David Bowie's "Let's Dance," Madonna's "Like a Virgin," and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," and has remained an inspiration for aspiring musicians born long after disco's supposed death. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for (RED))
1973 - Gram Parsons, at only 26, died of an overdose.
He is the father of country-rock. With the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the songwriter pioneered the concept of a rock band playing country music, and as a solo artist he moved even further into the country realm, blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other. While he was alive, Parsons was a cult figure that never sold many records but influenced countless fellow musicians, from the Rolling Stones to the Byrds. In the years since his death, his stature has only grown, as numerous rock and country artists build on his small, but enormously influential, body of work.
His coffin was stolen by two of his associates, manager Phil Kaufman and Michael Martin, a former roadie for The Byrds, and was taken to Cap Rock in the California desert, where it was set alight, in accordance to Parson's wishes. The two were later arrested by police.
On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Allmusic, Song Facts and Wikipedia.