Bob Marley (1945-1981).
Robert Nesta Marley OM (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican reggae singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Considered one of the pioneers of the genre, his music fused elements of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, and he was renowned for his distinctive vocal and songwriting style. Marley's contribution to music irrefutably increased the visibility of Jamaican music worldwide, and made him a global figure in popular culture. Over the course of his career, Marley became known as a Rastafarian icon, and he infused his music with a sense of spirituality. He is also considered a global symbol of Jamaican music and culture and identity, and was controversial in his outspoken support for democratic social reforms. He also supported legalisation of cannabis, and advocated for Pan-Africanism. In 1976, Marley survived an assassination attempt in his home, which was thought to be politically motivated.
Born in Nine Mile, Jamaica, Marley began his professional musical career in 1963, after forming the group Teenagers with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, which, after several name changes, would become the Wailers. The group released its debut studio album The Wailing Wailers in 1965, which contained the single "One Love", a reworking of "People Get Ready"; the song was popular worldwide, and established the group as a rising figure in reggae. The Wailers released an additional eleven studio albums, and after signing to Island Records, the band's name became Bob Marley and the Wailers. While initially employing louder instrumentation and singing, the group began engaging in rhythmic-based song construction in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which coincided with Marley's conversion to Rastafari. Around this time, Marley relocated to London, and the group embodied their musical shift with the release of the album The Best of The Wailers (1971).
The group started to gain international attention after signing to Island, and touring in support of the albums Catch a Fire and Burnin' (both 1973). Following the disbandment of the Wailers a year later, Marley carried on under the band's name. The album Natty Dread (1974) received positive reception. In 1975, following the global popularity of Eric Clapton's version of Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff", Marley had his international breakthrough with his first hit outside Jamaica, with a live version of "No Woman, No Cry", from the Live! album. This was followed by his breakthrough album in the United States, Rastaman Vibration (1976), which reached the Top 50 of the Billboard Soul Charts. A few months after the album's release, Marley survived an assassination attempt at his home in Jamaica, which prompted him to permanently relocate to London. During his time in London he recorded the album Exodus (1977); it incorporated elements of blues, soul, and British rock and enjoyed widespread commercial and critical success. In 1977, Marley was diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma; he died as a result of the illness in 1981, shortly after baptism into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. His fans around the world expressed their grief, and he received a state funeral in Jamaica.
The greatest hits album Legend was released in 1984, and became the best-selling reggae album of all time. Marley also ranks as one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with estimated sales of more than 75 million records worldwide. He was posthumously honoured by Jamaica soon after his death with a designated Order of Merit by his nation. In 1994, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked him No. 11 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. and No. 98 on its list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time His other achievements include a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and induction into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame.
Axl Rose, 62.
W. Axl Rose (born William Bruce Rose Jr.; born February 6, 1962) is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known for being the lead vocalist and lyricist of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, and has been the band's sole constant member since its inception in 1985. Possessing a distinctive and powerful wide-ranging voice, Rose has been named one of the greatest singers of all time by various media outlets, including Rolling Stone, NME and Billboard.
Born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana, Axl Rose moved to Los Angeles, California in the early 1980s with his friend Jeffrey Isbell (Izzy Stradlin). This is where he became active in the local hard rock scene and joined several bands, including Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns. In 1985, he co-founded Guns N' Roses alongside Stradlin, with whom he had great success and recognition in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their first album, Appetite for Destruction (1987), has sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling debut album of all time in the U.S. with 18 million units sold. Rose’s high-profile relationships with Erin Everly and Stephanie Seymour in the late 80’s and early 90’s inspired multiple songs, including the number one hit “Sweet Child o' Mine”. However allegations of abuse by Rose caused significant controversy, as did the band’s next release G N' R Lies (1988) due to his inclusion of multiple slurs on the song “One in a Million”.
Guns N’ Roses’ next releases, the twin albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (1991), were widely successful; debuting at No. 2 and No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold a combined 35 million copies worldwide. Controversy followed Rose during the two-and-a-half-year Use Your Illusion Tour, with riots (including his arrest for inciting the Riverport Riot), rants against the media and bandmates between songs, and feuds with other artists including Metallica and Nirvana. The punk covers album "The Spaghetti Incident?" (1993) failed to match the success of previous albums, with Rose's cover of a Charles Manson song gaining notoriety.
After the tour, in 1994, Rose disappeared from public eye while Guns N’ Roses stalled on making a new album. The band started to fall apart due to personal and musical differences, primarily between Rose and lead guitarist Slash. By the time work on a new album was underway in 1998, only Rose and keyboardist Dizzy Reed remained from the previous tour lineup. In 2001, Rose, the only remaining original member, resurfaced alongside the new line-up of Guns N' Roses at Rock in Rio 3, and subsequently played the decade-long Chinese Democracy Tour to promote the long-delayed Chinese Democracy (2008), the most expensive rock album to ever be produced.
In 2012, Rose was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Guns N' Roses, though he requested exclusion from the Hall. Rose’s longstanding public feud with Slash ended when Slash and bassist Duff McKagan rejoined Guns N’ Roses in 2016 for the record-breaking Not in This Lifetime... Tour. Also in 2016, Rose toured with AC/DC as a fill-in vocalist for two dozen shows. The NITL tour lineup of Guns N' Roses continued touring in 2020, as well as occasionally released new singles.
Rick Astley, 58.
Richard Paul Astley (born 6 February 1966) is an English singer. He rose to fame through his association with the production trio Stock Aitken Waterman; releasing the 1987 album Whenever You Need Somebody, which sold 15 million copies worldwide. His debut single "Never Gonna Give You Up" was a No. 1 hit in 25 countries, winning the 1988 Brit Award for Best British Single. His 1988 single "Together Forever" became his second song to top the US Billboard Hot 100 and was one of his eight songs to reach the Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart. The title track, "Whenever You Need Somebody", was also a No. 1 hit in seven countries.
In 1988 Astley followed up his debut album with Hold Me In Your Arms which achieved Platinum and Gold certifications internationally. The lead single "She Wants to Dance with Me" became a worldwide Top 10 hit. In 1991 Astley left Stock Aitken Waterman and moved his musical direction towards soul, which he explored on his subsequent albums. His 1991 single "Cry for Help" was Astley's last single to reach the Top 10 in either the US or UK. In 1993 he retired from music to focus on spending time with his partner and raising their daughter. He returned to the music industry in 2000 and released 50 to celebrate his 50th birthday in 2016, with the album debuting in the UK at No. 1. His most recent studio album Are We There Yet? was released in 2023.
By the time of his brief retirement, Astley had sold approximately 40 million records. worldwide, Astley has occasionally worked as a radio DJ and a podcaster. Astley became an Internet phenomenon in 2007 when the music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" became integral to the Rickrolling meme, and his performance career was revitalised by the meme's popularity. A year after the Rickrolling meme began, Astley was voted "Best Act Ever" by Internet users at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008. His song "Never Gonna Give You Up" reached 1 billion views on YouTube in July 2021, becoming the fourth 1980s song to reach this milestone.
On this day today:
1950 - Natalie Cole is born in Los Angeles, California, to crooner Nat King Cole and former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer Maria Hawkins Cole.
1965 - The Righteous Brothers' yearning "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'," written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and produced by Phil Spector, hits #1 in America.
1976 - Just hours after finishing the soundtrack for It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown, longtime Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi dies suddenly of a heart attack (or a possible aortic aneurysm) at age 47. At the jazz pianist's funeral, Charlie Brown music is played over the church's sound system.
1984 - At the Sweetwaters South Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand, Talking Heads play their last concert, a messy set that is cut short after just a few songs. They release three more albums but perform together again just once: in 2002 when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1987 - Featuring a title song written by Bruce Springsteen, the movie Light of Day hits theaters. The film stars Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox as leaders of a struggling band called The Barbusters.
1998 - Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson dies of lung cancer at 51. Wilson sang lead on the group's hits "Good Vibrations," "God Only Knows," and "Kokomo."
1998 - Austrian singer-songwriter Falco (Hans Hölzel) dies in a car crash while under the influence of cocaine and alcohol, just two weeks shy of his 41st birthday.
1998 - Blues Brothers 2000 opens in theaters. James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Erykah Badu are among the musicians to appear in the film.
2003 - 50 Cent drops his major-label debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', a joint release on Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. It includes two #1 hits: "In Da Club" and "21 Questions."
2007 - 50 Cent drops his major-label debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', a joint release on Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. It includes two #1 hits: "In Da Club" and "21 Questions."
2011 - Gary Moore (guitarist for Thin Lizzy) dies of a heart attack at age 58.
2011 - Christina Aguilera messes up a line of the US national anthem when she performs it at the Super Bowl. Instead of "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming," Aguilera sings: "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming." Aguilera later said of the mistake: "I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."
2013 - Rihanna accompanies Chris Brown to his probation hearing stemming from when he assaulted her in 2009. They are back together as a couple; she is spotted blowing kisses his way.
2016 - Panic! at the Disco top the US albums chart for the first time when Death of a Bachelor goes to #1. The group stalled at #2 with their 2008 release, Pretty.Odd.
2018 - Ozzy Osbourne announces his No More Tours 2 tour, billed as his "final global tour." Ozzy first retired from touring in 1992 with his original No More Tours tour.