4 Feb, 2024

February 4 in Music History

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February 4 in Music History

Today's birthdays:

Alice Cooper, 76.

Alice Cooper is an American rock singer whose career spans almost sixty years. With a raspy voice and a stage show that features numerous props and stage illusions, including pyrotechnics, guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, reptiles, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by many music journalists and peers to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock". He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock audiences.

Originating in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1964, "Alice Cooper" was originally a band with roots extending back to a band called the Earwigs, consisting of Furnier on lead vocals and harmonica, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, and Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar and backing vocals. By 1966, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar joined the three and Neal Smith was added on drums in 1967. The five named the band "Alice Cooper", and Furnier eventually adopted it as his stage pseudonym. They released their 1969 debut studio album with limited chart success. Breaking out with the 1970 single "I'm Eighteen" and the third studio album Love It to Death, the band reached their commercial peak in 1973 with their sixth studio album, Billion Dollar Babies. After the band broke up, Furnier legally changed his name to Alice Cooper and began a solo career in 1975 with the concept album Welcome to My Nightmare. Over his career, Cooper has sold well over 50 million records.

Cooper has experimented with a number of musical styles, mainly hard rock, glam rock, heavy metal, and glam metal, but also new wave (1980–1983), art rock on DaDa (1983), and industrial rock on Brutal Planet (2000) and Dragontown (2001). He helped to shape the sound and look of heavy metal, and has been described as the artist who "first introduced horror imagery to rock'n'roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre". He is also known for his wit offstage, with The Rolling Stone Album Guide calling him the world's most "beloved heavy metal entertainer". Away from music, Cooper is a film actor, a golfing celebrity, a restaurateur, and, since 2004, a radio disc jockey (DJ) with his classic rock show Nights with Alice Cooper.

Natalie Imbruglia, 49.

Natalie Jane Imbruglia is an Australian-British singer and actress. In the early 1990s, she played Beth Brennan in Neighbours. Three years after leaving the programme, she began a singing career with her cover of Ednaswap's song "Torn" which was a worldwide hit, and became one of the UK's Top Best Selling Single in 1997 as well as one of the longest charting number one song on the US Billboard Radio Songs Chart in 1998. Her debut album, Left of the Middle (1997) was a commercial success, certified multi-platinum in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia, and sold seven million copies worldwide, which furthermore secured her eight ARIA Awards, two Brit Awards, one Billboard Music Award, and three Grammy nominations between 1998 - 1999. Subsequent releases, including White Lilies Island (2001) and Counting Down the Days (2005) did not match commercial success of her debut, but still managed to perform well, especially in the UK where both albums were certified gold. As of 2021, Imbruglia has released six studio albums and has sold more than ten million copies worldwide.

Imbruglia has appeared in several films, including the 2003 release Johnny English and the 2009 Australian indie film Closed for Winter. She has modelled for several brands, such as L'Oreal, Gap, and Kailis. Amongst other philanthropic work, Imbruglia served as a longtime spokesperson for Virgin Unite and campaigns to raise awareness of obstetric fistula.

Kitaro, 71.

Kitaro, is a Japanese recording artist, composer, record producer, and arranger noted for his electronic-instrumental music, and is often associated with and regarded as one of the most prominent musical acts of new-age music. He won the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for Thinking of You (1999), with a record 16 nominations in the same category. He received a Golden Globe Award for the original score to Heaven & Earth (1993).

On this day today:

1959 - A day after the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, the Winter Dance Party tour continues in Sioux City, Iowa, with Fabian, Frankie Avalon and Jimmy Clanton as the new headliners and Waylon Jennings singing Holly's songs.
1966 - The Who play their first show as headliners, at the Astoria in Finsbury Park, England. Also appearing are The Fortunes and The Merseys.
1977 - American Bandstand gets a primetime special in honor of the show's 25th anniversary. The show features one of the first "all-star jams," as Chuck Berry is joined by Greg Allman, Junior Walker, The Pointer Sisters, Charlie Daniels and several others on a performance of "Roll Over Beethoven."
1977 - Fleetwood Mac release their landmark album Rumours. The LP sets a record for most weeks at #1 with 31, and becomes one of the best-selling albums of all time, with worldwide sales estimated at about 40 million.
1978 - The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive," which features in the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever, hits #1 in the US and stays there for four weeks.
1980 - The Ramones release their fifth album, End of the Century, produced by Phil Spector. Dee Dee Ramone claims Spector pulled a gun on him during the sessions.
1983 - Karen Carpenter of the Carpenters dies at age 32 of complications from anorexia.
1984 - Thanks to a music video that puts their flamboyant frontman Boy George on a Mississippi steamboat in the 1800s, the British band Culture Club hit #1 in America with "Karma Chameleon."
1989 - Thanks to radio-station rediscovery, Sheriff hit #1 in America with the ballad "When I'm With You," which peaked at #61 when it was first released in 1983. The band, which has been defunct since 1985, never get back together.
1997 - The Offspring return with their fourth studio album, Ixnay on the Hombre - the follow-up to their 1994 breakthrough album Smash and the band's first after signing to Columbia Records in 1996.
1998 - Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford comes out as gay in an interview with MTV. "I feel this is the moment to discuss it," he says. "A lot of homophobia still exists in the music world."
1999 - In a daring move, Rykodisc becomes the first music label to give its stamp of approval to MP3, the controversial Internet-based music distribution format that struck fear into the hearts of many music industry executives.
2002 - On the occasion of civil-rights activist Rosa Parks' 89th birthday, Stevie Wonder sings his song "Happy Birthday" to her at the premiere of her TV-movie biography The Rosa Parks Story. The song had originally been written by Wonder to help bring about a national Martin Luther King holiday.
2007 - Prince wows at the Super Bowl halftime show, closing with an otherworldly rendition of "Purple Rain" in the rain.
2008 - With digital delivery transforming the industry, some record companies package releases with additional goodies. The Virgin-owned Astralwerks label issues Laura Marling's debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, in what they call a "songbox" format, which includes a concert ticket and souvenirs representing each song along with the CD.
2008 - John Mellencamp becomes the first of many artists to accuse soon-to-be-Republican presidential nominee John McCain of using their music without authorization. McCain had been using the song "Our Country," and while he had the legal rights to do so, Mellencamp makes it clear he does not support McCain and asks that he refrain from using his music.
2010 - A judge rules that the flute riff of the Men at Work song "Down Under" plagiarizes another Australian classic: the 1932 song "Kookaburra."
2012 - About 100 dancers participate in a Soul Train-style line dance in Times Square as a tribute to the recently deceased founder of the show, Don Cornelius.
2012 - Adele becomes the first female British artist to have three #1 songs from the same album top the Billboard Hot 100 chart when "Set Fire to the Rain" hits the top spot, following "Rolling In The Deep" and "Someone Like You" from the album 21.
2015 - Post Malone, 19, uploads a demo of his song "White Iverson" on SoundCloud. It takes off, landing him a record deal and launching his career.
2016 - Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White dies at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
2017 - Black Sabbath play the final concert of their farewell tour at the Genting Arena in their English home city of Birmingham. Their final song of the night, "Paranoid," is streamed live on Facebook so fans around the world can witness the historic moment onstage.

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