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Today in Music History - Sept. 15

The Canadian Press logoThe Canadian Press 2021-09-15

Today in Music History for Sept. 15:


In 1903, Roy Acuff, the King of Country Music, was born in Maynardsville, Tenn. The songs he made famous during the 1930s and '40s became symbols of country music to audiences all over the world. Acuff joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1938, becoming the first singing star of the Opry as opposed to the string bands that predominated in the early years. Acuff's name remained synonymous with the Opry throughout his life, and his home and two museums are on the grounds of Opryland, the giant amusement park and entertainment complex outside Nashville. Acuff and his "Smoky Mountain Boys" held their first recording session for Columbia in 1936. One of the songs to come out of the session was the gospel number "The Great Speckle Bird," which became Acuff's first big hit. Another song from that first session was "Wabash Cannonball," which by 1942 had sold one million copies and remains the song most associated with Acuff. He became the first living member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1962. He died Nov. 23, 1992, in Nashville.

In 1915, Canadian folklorist Ernest Gagnon died in Quebec City at the age of 80. He was a pioneer in the compilation of French Canadian folk songs. His "Chansons populaire du Canada," published between 1865 and 1867, is credited with rescuing French Canadian folklore from oblivion.

In 1928, jazz alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, was born in Florida. Although his work in the 1950s with Miles Davis received critical acclaim, it wasn't until the following decade when he formed his own group that Adderley achieved commercial success. He suffered a stroke and died on Aug. 8, 1975.

In 1948, Vernon Dalhart, whose 1924 recording of "The Prisoner's Song" was the biggest-selling non-Christmas record of the pre-rock 'n' roll era, died at age 65. Dalhart recorded "The Prisoner's Song" for no less than 28 labels under numerous pseudonyms. Total sales of all versions were estimated at $25 million.

In 1962, "Sherry'' by "The Four Seasons" was the No. 1 record on the Billboard Hot 100. "Sherry'' remained at the top of the chart for five weeks, becoming their first million-seller.

In 1969, "Deep Purple" recorded "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The work was composed by "Deep Purple" keyboards player, Jon Lord. The album failed to sell.

In 1969, Ed Sullivan released "The Sulli-Gulli," his first and only rock record. He was hoping it would create a new dance.

In 1974, bass guitarist Gary Thain of the rock group "Uriah Heep" suffered a near-fatal electric shock during a concert in Dallas. Thain later complained that the other band members didn't care what happened to him, and early in 1975 was invited to leave the group. Thain died of a drug overdose six months later, on March 19, 1976.

In 1980, jazz pianist Bill Evans, whose introverted, romantic approach influenced such later artists as Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, died at age 51.

In 1980, David Bowie opened on Broadway in the title role of Bernard Pomerance's play "The Elephant Man." The production had already played in Denver and Chicago.

In 1983, jazz and salsa percussionist Willie Bobo died of cancer at the age of 49. Bobo was also a regular on the first Bill Cosby television show.

In 1984, "Relax" by "Frankie Goes to Hollywood" was on the British chart for the 43rd week. That was the longest streak since Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me" lasted 56 weeks in 1967-68.

Video: Today in History for September 15th (The Canadian Press)


In 1987, the "Grateful Dead" received their first platinum record -- signifying one million copies sold in the U.S. -- for "In the Dark."

In 1988, the Amnesty International Human Rights Now tour, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Peter Gabriel, played Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Country-rocker k.d. lang was added to the lineup.

In 1990, Steve Miller's song "The Joker" hit No. 1 in Europe, 16 years after it had hit No. 1 one in the U.S. The song saw newfound popularity after it had been used in a Levi jeans commercial.

In 1993, James Brown was on hand in Steamboat Springs, Colo., as officials dedicated "The James Brown Soul Centre of the Universe Bridge." But some residents objected to the new name, and no sign was erected on the bridge.

In 1993, Michael Jackson played to a half-empty stadium in Moscow as part of his "Dangerous" world tour. Bad weather and tickets costing up to two months' average wages helped keep fans away. And those that did show up had to suffer through freezing drizzle and a fuzzy sound system.

In 1994, a recording made by John Lennon on the day he met Paul McCartney sold at a London auction for the equivalent of C$156,000. EMI Records bought the scratchy five-minute recording that had sat in a bank vault for more than 30 years. Lennon's group, "The Quarrymen," recorded "Baby Let's Play House" and "Puttin' on the Style" on July 6, 1957, at a church social in Liverpool. Lennon was 16 years old at the time.

In 1997, 4,500 people jammed Royal Albert Hall in London for a benefit concert to help the people of the British colony of Montserrat. Elton John, Sting and Paul McCartney were among the stars who performed. More than half the Caribbean island's 11,000 residents had fled in the wake of a volcanic eruption.

In 2003, Madonna's first children's book "The English Roses" went on sale. It was published in 42 languages in more than 100 countries.

In 2004, guitarist Johnny Ramone of The Ramones died of prostate cancer in his home in Los Angeles. He was 55.

In 2008, Richard Wright, a founding member of "Pink Floyd," died at age 65. He met "Pink Floyd" members Roger Waters and Nick Mason at college and joined their early band "Sigma 6." Along with the late Syd Barrett, the four formed "Pink Floyd" in 1965. He wrote "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Us and Them" from Pink Floyd's 1973 "The Dark Side of the Moon." He left the group in the early 1980s to form his own band but rejoined "Pink Floyd" for their 1987 album "A Momentary Lapse of Reason."

In 2010, former "Pink Floyd" frontman Roger Waters kicked off his "The Wall" tour in Toronto, performing the influential 1979 prog-rock record for the first time since his 1990 concert to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 2010, singer Sara Bareilles scored her first No. 1 album as her sophomore release, "Kaleidoscope Heart," topped the Billboard 200 Album chart with only 90,000 copies sold. It marked just the fifth time a No. 1 album sold less than 100,000 units.

In 2010, Alphonsus (Arrow) Cassell, a soca musician who won global fame with his 1982 hit "Hot Hot Hot," died of complications from brain cancer at his home on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. He was 60.

In 2011, a mural of pianist Oscar Peterson was unveiled on the side of a building at the corner of Saint-Jacques and Des Seigneurs streets in the Little Burgundy area of Montreal where the jazz great grew up. It's located across the street from the Oscar Peterson Park.

In 2012, singer Annie Lennox married Dr. Mitch Besser in London on a boat on the Thames River.

In 2019, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ric Ocasek died at 75. Ocasek was found unconscious and unresponsive at his apartment in New York City. The Cars frontman's lanky, sunglassed look defined a rock era with chart-topping hits like "Just What I Needed,'' "Drive," and "Good Times Roll." Ocasek wrote a dozen top 40 hits as the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and songwriter for the band, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. New York City's Chief Medical Examiner says Ocasek died from natural causes - more specifically, cardiovascular disease with emphysema as a contributing factor. His ex-wife Paulina Porizkova posted a statement on Instagram that Ocasek had been recovering from surgery and that he had been doing well.


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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