1974 - John Lennon made one of his final concert appearances when he joined Elton John on stage at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Lennon performed three songs; 'Whatever Gets You Thru The Night', 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.'
Just over two months prior, Lennon had released a new single entitled “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night”(including Elton John on keys and harmonies), which would go on to be his only #1 hit as a solo act.
While recording the track, Elton’s confidence about the single’s potential far exceeded Lennon’s. Playing off Lennon’s self-deprecating skepticism, John got him to agree to a bet: If the single reached #1 on the charts, Lennon had to promise to come play with him at one of his shows. Elton John’s 11/28/74 show at Madison Square Garden saw Lennon make good on that fateful bet.
1987 - R.E.M. had their first entry in the Top 10 on the U.S. singles chart with "The One I Love". The record has ironically become a popular dedication to loved ones (on radio and even at weddings) due to a misinterpretation of its refrain, "This one goes out to the one I love," and a failure to note the contradiction within the same verse: "A simple prop to occupy my time.
For a while, Stipe thought this was too brutal a song to record. He told Q magazine in 1992: "It's probably better that they think it's a love song at this point. T...I didn't want to record that, I thought it was too much. Too brutal. I think there's enough of that ugliness around."
Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
1991 - Nirvana recorded a performance for BBC TV music show Top Of The Pops in London. When asked to lip-sync 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' to a pre-recorded tape Kurt Cobain protested by singing an octave lower (he later confirmed he was imitating Morrissey from The Smiths), and attempted to eat his microphone at one point. He also changed some of the lyrics, exchanging the opening line "load up on guns, bring your friends," for "load up on drugs, kill your friends."
Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, turns 93 today. The founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy did what many people of his time believed could never be done: he brought Black music into millions of White Americans' homes, helping both Black artists and their culture gain acceptance, and opening the door for a multitude of successful Black record executives and producers. Though the music of Motown was not as raw or edgy as other R&B labels, such as Chess and Stax, the songs that were written, produced, and released from "Hitsville USA" comprise some of the most enduring, sophisticated, and popular music of our time. Influential artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Smokey Robinson were all discovered and their talents fostered by Berry Gordy. Motown groups like the Four Tops, the Supremes, and the Temptations are regarded as some of the best vocal groups ever to record. Even now, years after Gordy sold the company, the reputation of excellence he forged at Motown continues to stay with the famous label.
Randy Newman, who Paul McCartney once hailed as the greatest songwriter alive, is 80. An anomaly among early-'70s singer/songwriters, Randy Newman may have been slightly influenced by Bob Dylan, but his music owed more to New Orleans R&B and traditional pop than folk. Newman developed an idiosyncratic style that alternated between sweeping, cinematic pop and rolling R&B, which were tied together by his intelligently biting sense of humor. Where his peers concentrated on confessional songwriting, Newman drew characters, creating a world filled with misfits, outcasts, charlatans, and con men.
Since the 1980s, Newman has worked mostly as a film composer, where some of his most famous work reached the public through many Disney-Pixar animated films. This included all four Toy Story films, A Bug’s Life, both Monsters, Inc. films, and the first and third Cars films. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
Paul Shaffer is 74. He was a member of the Saturday Night Live band and the musical director for John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd whenever they recorded or performed as the Blues Brothers. Probably best known as the bandleader on the Late Show with David Letterman.
In 1982, he co-wrote "It's Raining Men" with Paul Jabara. It was number one on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts and in 1984, Shaffer played keyboards for The Honeydrippers, a group formed in 1981 by former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, on their only studio album, The Honeydrippers: Volume One.
Matt Cameron, drummer for Pearl Jam (formerly of Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog) is 61. At the age of thirteen, he and some friends played in a cover band called KISS, however, after a letter from the management of the rather better-known band Kiss, threatening the boys with legal action, they called it a day.
On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Live For Live Music, Allmusic, Song Facts and Wikipedia.