Today in Music History for March 25:
In 1942, Aretha Franklin, dubbed "Lady Soul" for her million-selling records in the 1960s, was born in Memphis. By age 14, Aretha was a featured performer with her father’s gospel caravan. After four unsuccessful years at Columbia Records, which tried to make her a jazz singer, Aretha switched to Atlantic Records and soul music in 1966. Her first session yielded "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You," which topped the R&B chart and reached No. 9 on the pop chart. By the end of 1967, Franklin was the top R&B artist due to such hits as "Respect" and "Baby I Love You." Aretha Franklin’s hits have continued for more than two decades. They’ve included 1982’s "Jump to It," and three 1985 hits from the "Who’s Zoomin’ Who?" album. "Freeway of Love" was No. 1 for five weeks, the title track peaked at No. 2, and "Another Night" reached No. 9.
In 1960, Ray Charles recorded "Georgia On My Mind" in New York.
In 1961, Elvis Presley performed what would be his last live show in seven years — a benefit concert in Hawaii. He instead concentrated on his movie career.
In 1964, British acts made up the entire top-10 in their native country for the first time. No. 1 was "Can’t Buy Me Love" by "The Beatles."
In 1965, guitarist Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton in "The Yardbirds," the influential British group that laid the groundwork for the heavy metal groups of the ’70s. Clapton quit because the band turned toward more commercial material.
In 1967, "The Who" made their U.S. debut in New York in a week-long rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza promoted by disc jockey Murray (the K) Kaufman. The band was virtually unknown in America at the time.
In 1967, "Happy Together" by "The Turtles" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group had 17 chart records from 1965-69.
In 1970, on his 23rd birthday, singer Elton John played his first career public performance, at London’s Revolution Club.
In 1976, Phyllis Major, the wife of singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, committed suicide. Much of the music on Browne’s album, "The Pretender," displays his despair. It was Browne’s first million-selling album.
In 1979, the Rex Smith TV movie "Sooner or Later," was aired. Smith’s "You Take My Breath Away" became a top-10 hit.
In 1980, "The Police" became the first Western rock band to perform in Mumbai.
In 1980, conductor-pianist Walter Susskind died in Berkeley, Calif., at age 66. He appeared frequently with the Toronto Symphony, CBC Symphony and Canadian Opera Company in the ’50s and ’60s.
In 1983, Motown’s 25th anniversary TV special was taped in Pasadena, Calif. The show featured reunions of both "The Supremes" and "The Jackson Five," and the debut of Michael Jackson’s "moonwalk." An estimated 47 million people — the largest audience ever to view a music special — watched NBC’s subsequent airing of the concert. But viewers did not see at least one sour note — when Mary Wilson attempted to hug Diana Ross during the reunited "Supremes’" rendition of "Someday We’ll Be Together." Ross pushed her away.
In 1985, "Prince" won the Best Original Score Oscar for "Purple Rain." Stevie Wonder’s "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from "The Woman in Red" won for Best Song. Wonder dedicated his Academy Award to Nelson Mandela, prompting the South African government to ban his music.
In 1989, fire destroyed a recording studio on Chuck Berry’s Missouri farm. The lost items included a tape of 13 unreleased Berry songs.
In 1990, drummer Tommy Lee was cited in Augusta, Ga., for mooning an audience during a "Motley Crue" concert.
In 1995, "The Tragically Hip" made their debut on NBC’s "Saturday Night Live, " two days before winning Juno awards for entertainer and group of the year. The Kingston, Ont., band was introduced by another Kingston native — actor Dan Aykroyd. They performed "Grace, Too" and "Nautical Disaster," both from their album "Day for Night."
In 1995, singer Eddie Vedder of "Pearl Jam" was rescued after a riptide carried him offshore in New Zealand.
In 1996, reclusive record producer Phil Spector complained in a fax to "Entertainment Weekly" magazine about efforts to record an album with Celine Dion. He said the sessions collapsed because people around the Canadian pop star "were more interested in controlling the project."
In 2001, Bob Dylan won the Oscar for best song for "Things Have Changed" from the film "Wonder Boys." Dylan’s first response was "Oh good God, this is amazing."
In 2002, at the Academy Awards, Randy Newman won an Oscar for best original song for "If I Didn’t Have You" from "Monsters, Inc." He had been nominated for an Oscar 16 times and had never won up to that point.
In 2003, Celine Dion launched her Las Vegas show "A New Day." There were over 700 shows and it ran until Dec. 15, 2007.
In 2006, country music legend Buck Owens died at his home in Bakersfield, Calif. He was 76. He had a string of more than 20 No. 1 records and had a highly visible TV career as co-host of "Hee Haw" from 1969 to 1986.
In 2009, Dan Seals, who was England Dan in the pop duo "England Dan and John Ford Coley" and later had a successful country career, died of complications from lymphoma. He was 61. With "England Dan and John Ford Coley," Seals had hits including "I’d Really Love to See You Tonight" and "Nights Are Forever," both in 1976. His country hits in the ’80s and ’90s included "Bop," "You Still Move Me," "Love on Arrival," and a duet with Marie Osmond, "Meet Me in Montana."
In 2010, Cuban-born and Grammy award-winning singer Gloria Estefan mounted the stage at the end of a march she spearheaded that drew tens of thousands of demonstrators in Miami’s Little Havana to support Cuban dissidents. The marchers gathered in support of the Ladies in White, a group of Cuban mothers and wives of 75 dissidents arrested in a 2003 government crackdown there.
In 2011, website BlueBeat.com, which sold digital copies of songs for 25 cents apiece by artists like "The Beatles," "Coldplay" and Lily Allen, agreed to pay record companies EMI, Capitol Records and Virgin Records America, $950,000 to settle a lawsuit.
(The Canadian Press)