Avril Lavigne, 39.
Avril Ramona Lavigne is a Canadian singer and songwriter. She is considered a key musician in the development of pop-punk music, as she paved the way for female-driven, punk-influenced pop music in the early 2000s. Her accolades include eight Grammy Awards nominations, among others.
At age 16, Lavigne signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records. Her debut studio album, Let Go (2002), is the best-selling album of the 21st century by a Canadian artist. It yielded the successful singles "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi", which emphasized a skate punk persona and earned her the title "Pop-Punk Queen" from music publications. Her second studio album, Under My Skin (2004), became Lavigne's first album to reach the top of the Billboard 200 chart in the United States, going on to sell 10 million copies worldwide.
Lavigne's third studio album, The Best Damn Thing (2007), reached number one in seven countries worldwide and saw the international success of its lead single "Girlfriend", which became her first single to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Her next two studio albums, Goodbye Lullaby (2011) and Avril Lavigne (2013), saw continued commercial success and were both certified gold in Canada, the United States, and other territories. After releasing her sixth studio album, Head Above Water (2019), she returned to her punk roots with her seventh studio album, Love Sux (2022).
Lil Wayne, 41.
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. known professionally as Lil Wayne, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. He is regarded as one of the most influential hip hop artists of his generation, and is often cited as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Wayne's career began in 1995, when he was signed by rapper Birdman, joining Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label. From then on, he was the flagship artist of Cash Money Records before ending his association with the label in June 2018.
In 1997, Wayne was placed in a duo with label-mate B.G. and they recorded an album, True Story, released that year, although Wayne (at the time known as Baby D) only appeared on three tracks. Wayne and B.G. soon joined the Southern hip hop group Hot Boys, with Cash Money label-mates Juvenile and Turk in 1997; they released their debut album Get It How U Live! in October that year. The Hot Boys became popular following the release of the album Guerrilla Warfare (1999) and the song "Bling Bling".
Wayne's solo debut album, Tha Block Is Hot (1999), was his solo breakthrough. He reached further popularity with his fourth album Tha Carter (2004) and fifth album Tha Carter II (2005), as well as several mixtapes and collaborations throughout 2006 and 2007. His prominence in the music industry was solidified with his sixth album Tha Carter III (2008), with first-week sales of over one million copies in the US. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and included the consecutive hit singles "A Milli", "Mrs. Officer" (featuring Bobby V and Kidd Kidd), "Got Money" (featuring T-Pain), and "Lollipop" (featuring Static Major)—the latter became his first single to top the Billboard Hot 100.
In February 2010, Wayne released his seventh studio album, Rebirth, which experimented with rap rock and was met with generally negative reviews. A month later in March 2010, he began serving an 8-month jail sentence in New York after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident in July 2007. His eighth studio album I Am Not a Human Being (2010) was released during his incarceration, while his 2011 album Tha Carter IV was released following his release from prison. Tha Carter IV sold 964,000 copies in its first week in the United States. His twelfth studio album Tha Carter V was released in 2018 after multiple delays. Wayne's thirteenth album, Funeral, was released in early 2020.
Wayne has sold over 200 million records worldwide, including more than 25 million albums and 92 million digital tracks in the United States, making him one of the world's best-selling music artists. He has won five Grammy Awards, 11 BET Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards and eight NAACP Image Awards. On September 27, 2012, he became the first male artist to surpass Elvis Presley with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100, with 109 songs. Wayne also currently serves as the chief executive officer (CEO) of his own label, Young Money Entertainment.
Mitski Miyawaki, known mononymously as Mitski, is an American singer and songwriter. She self-released her first two albums, Lush (2012), and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business (2013), while studying studio composition at Purchase College's Conservatory of Music. The albums were originally made as her senior project. Her third studio album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek, was released in 2014 on the label Double Double Whammy.
Mitski signed with Dead Oceans in 2015 and released Puberty 2 (2016), Be the Cowboy (2018), and Laurel Hell (2022), the last of which made the top ten in several countries. In 2022, The Guardian dubbed her the "best young songwriter" in the United States. That same year, she co-wrote "This Is a Life" for the film Everything Everywhere All at Once, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Her seventh studio album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, was released in 2023.
On this day today:
1938 - Comedian Bob Hope premieres a new song, "Thanks For The Memory," on his eponymous NBC radio show.
1942 - In Passaic, New Jersey, Glenn Miller plays his last concert as a civilian. Ten days later he joins the Army, where he performs for troops. In December 1944, his plane disappears over the Atlantic Ocean.
1947 - Meat Loaf is born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas.
1962 - Martha Reeves and the Vandellas record "I'll Have To Let Him Go."
1964 - In their national TV debut, The Beach Boys appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing "I Get Around."
1973 - The syndicated music show Don Kirshner's Rock Concert debuts with a performance by The Rolling Stones, making their first appearance on US television in six years. Fittingly, they play "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll."
1975 - John Denver's "I'm Sorry" hits #1, giving him his second chart-topper of the year, following "Thank God I'm A Country Boy."
1976 - After appearing on the The Porter Wagoner Show for seven years, Dolly Parton gets her own TV variety show, Dolly!, which premieres on ABC. The show lasts one season; Parton returns in 1987 with another variety show, this time unexclaimed: Dolly.
1976 - Ringo Starr releases Ringo's Rotogravure.
1979 - While performing (ominously) "Better Off Dead" at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, Elton John collapses at his piano and is rushed offstage. He returns 15 minutes later to finish the show, citing "exhaustion" as the cause of his collapse.
1980 - Kurtis Blow becomes the first rapper to perform on national television when he does "The Breaks" on Soul Train. Host Don Cornelius is flummoxed. "It doesn't make sense to old guys like me," he tells Kurtis in the interview segment.
1984 - Alphaville releases "Forever Young."
1986 - Cliff Burton (Metallica's second bassist) dies in a bus crash in Sweden during Metallica's Damage Inc. tour in support of the Master of Puppets album. Burton, age 24, is asleep in his bunk when the bus skids off the road. He is thrown from the window and crushed when the vehicle rolls over him.
1986 - The Beatles' re-released version of "Twist And Shout" peaks at #23 thanks to its use in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
1990 - Marvin Gaye receives a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street.
1993 - With punk rock pushing into the mainstream, Danzig re-release "Mother," originally issued five years earlier on their debut album. The song earns airplay on rock radio and MTV, and pushes into the pop charts, going to #43 in the US.
1994 - The Dave Matthews Band release their first album, Under The Table and Dreaming. The band is road-tested, with a huge fanbase in the Virginia area, where they have been playing live since 1991. They earn a legion of new fans when the tracks "What Would You Say" and "Ants Marching" get airplay across America, helping the album sell over 6 million copies.
1995 - With gangsta rap drawing negative publicity, Time Warner sells their share of Interscope Records to the founders, Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field. The next release is Dogg Food by Tha Dogg Pound, which goes to #1 in America.
1997 - Bob Dylan plays "Knocking On Heaven's Door" and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" for Pope John Paul II and an audience of 300,000 at the World Eucharist Congress in Bologna, Italy. For the 77-year-old Pope, it's a chance to connect with young people, and the pontiff does so by invoking Dylan's song "Blowin' In The Wind" during his sermon. Dylan's invite is not without controversy, as the future Pope Benedict fears the "rock prophet" and his music are at odds with the Roman Catholic faith.
1997 - At the Star Lake Amphitheater in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, INXS play their last show with Michael Hutchence, who is found dead in his hotel room two months later. The last song is "Suicide Blonde."
2000 - U2, whose video for "Where The Streets Have No Name" comes from a rooftop concert, play another roofie, this time atop the Clarence Hotel in Dublin to play their new songs "Beautiful Day" and "Elevation" for air on Top Of The Pops.
2004 - Legendary rock producer Phil Spector, best known for creating the "Wall Of Sound" on hits like The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," is indicted for the February 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson at his estate in Alhambra, California.
2007 - In Charlotte, Van Halen kick off their North American tour, bringing David Lee Roth back into the fold for the first time since 1985. Their new bass player is Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's 16-year-old son.
2008 - Pink earns her first solo #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with "So What" from her fifth studio album, Funhouse. It holds the position for one week.
2016 - Bruce Springsteen publishes his autobiography, Born To Run. He started working on it after his 2009 performance at the Super Bowl halftime show.
2019 - Metallica postpone their WorldWired tour so frontman James Hetfield can go back to rehab. Hetfield has struggled with addiction throughout the band's career.
2022 - Lizzo plays a few notes from a crystal flute once owned by US President James Madison at her concert in Washington, DC. The instrument, made in 1813, is on loan from the Library of Congress, which is drawing attention to their flute collection, the largest in the world. "It's like playing out of a wine glass," Lizzo says.