17 Feb, 2024

February 17 in Music History

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February 17 in Music History

Today's birthdays:

Ed Sheeran, 33.

Edward Christopher Sheeran is an English singer-songwriter. Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and raised in Framlingham, Suffolk, he began writing songs around the age of eleven. In early 2011, Sheeran independently released the extended play No. 5 Collaborations Project. He signed with Asylum Records the same year.

Sheeran's debut album, + ("Plus"), was released in September 2011 and topped the UK Albums Chart. It contained his first hit single "The A Team". In 2012, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. Sheeran's second studio album, × ("Multiply"), topped charts around the world upon its release in June 2014. It was named the second-best-selling album worldwide of 2015. In the same year, × won Album of the Year at the 2015 Brit Awards, and he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. A single from ×, "Thinking Out Loud", earned him the 2016 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.

Sheeran's third album, ÷ ("Divide"), was released in March 2017, and was the best-selling album worldwide of 2017. The first two singles from the album, "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill", broke records in a number of countries by debuting in the top two positions of the charts. He also became the first artist to have two songs debut in the US top 10 in the same week. By March 2017, Sheeran had accumulated ten top-10 singles from ÷ on the UK Singles Chart, breaking the record for most top-10 UK singles from one album. His fourth single from ÷, "Perfect", reached number one in the US, Australia, and the UK, where it became the Christmas number one in 2017. The world's best-selling artist of 2017, he was named the Global Recording Artist of the Year. Released in 2019, his fourth overall and first collaborative album, No.6 Collaborations Project, debuted at number one in most major markets, and spawned three UK number one singles, "I Don't Care", "Beautiful People", and "Take Me Back to London". His fifth studio album, = ("Equals"), topped the charts in most major markets in 2021. His sixth album, - ("Subtract"), was released on 5 May 2023, while his seventh album, Autumn Variations, was released on 29 September 2023 under his own record label, Gingerbread Man Records.

Sheeran has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling music artists. He has 101 million RIAA-certified units in the US, and two of his albums are in the list of the best-selling albums in UK chart history. In December 2019, the Official Charts Company named him artist of the decade, with the most combined success in the UK album and singles charts in the 2010s. As of April 2022, he is the most followed artist on Spotify. Beginning in March 2017, his ÷ Tour became the highest-grossing of all time in August 2019. An alumnus of the National Youth Theatre in London, Sheeran's acting roles include appearing in the 2019 film Yesterday, playing himself.

Billie Joe Armstrong, 52.

Billie Joe Armstrong (born February 17, 1972) is an American musician who is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the rock band Green Day, which he co-founded with Mike Dirnt in 1987. He is also a guitarist and vocalist for the punk rock band Pinhead Gunpowder, and provides lead vocals for Green Day's side projects Foxboro Hot Tubs, the Network, the Longshot and the Coverups. Armstrong has been considered by critics as one of the greatest punk rock guitarists of all time.

Armstrong developed an interest in music at a young age, and recorded his first song at the age of five. He met Dirnt while attending elementary school, and the two instantly bonded over their mutual interest in music, forming the band Sweet Children when the two were 14 years old. The band later changed its name to Green Day. Armstrong has also pursued musical projects including numerous collaborations with other musicians.

Armstrong's business ventures include founding Adeline Records to help support other bands in 1997, coinciding with the release of Nimrod. Adeline signed acts such as the Frustrators, AFI, and Dillinger Four. The record company shut down two decades later in August 2017. Armstrong also co-founded Oakland Coffee Works in 2015.

On this day today:

1940 - Gene Pitney is born in Hartford, Connecticut. He has a string of hits in the '60s, including "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" and "Only Love Can Break A Heart."
1960 - After a string of hits on Cadence Records, The Everly Brothers sign a 10-year contract with Warner Bros. Records which is reported at $1 million, a number likely inflated for publicity purposes.
1969 - Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash record some duets in Nashville, with "Girl From The North Country" eventually ending up on Dylan's Nashville Skyline album, for which Cash writes liner notes.
1972 - Pink Floyd perform "Eclipse" at the Rainbow Theatre in London. A year later, this music becomes the Dark Side Of The Moon album.
1973 - Free play their final live gig in Hollywood, Florida, as Simon Kirke and Paul Rodgers leave to form Bad Company.
1976 - The Eagles release Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), a collection of 10 songs from their first four albums. For a while, it is certified as the top-selling album in US history.
1978 - Kate Bush, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Britain, releases her debut album, The Kick Inside. The collection of art pop features the #1 UK hit single "Wuthering Heights."
1981 - Eric Clapton releases his seventh solo album, Another Ticket. The first version was rejected by his record company so Clapton started over with a new producer (Tom Dowd) and wrote new songs, including the hit single "I Can't Stand It."
1984 - The musical drama Footloose opens in theaters with a soundtrack featuring Kenny Loggins, Deniece Williams, and Sammy Hagar. Two songs from the movie - "Footloose" and "Let's Hear it For the Boy" - go to #1 in America.
1990 - Aerosmith appear on Saturday Night Live, performing "Monkey on My Back" and "Janie's Got A Gun," and also appearing in a Wayne's World skit where Tom Hanks plays their roadie.
1992 - Shakespears Sister release their second album, Hormonally Yours. Initially based on a B-movie called Cat-Women Of The Moon, it produces a huge hit with "Stay," a sci-fi single that spends eight weeks at #1 in the UK.
1998 - After a failed run on Elektra Records, Destiny's Child release their self-titled debut album on Columbia. The first single, "No, No, No," is a hit and introduces their crisp, punctuated vocal style.
1998 - Ani DiFranco fascination peaks as the singer ships 250,000 copies of her latest album on her own label, Righteous Babe Records. DiFranco's DIY business model has earned her a great deal of media coverage, as it proves that an artist doesn't need a major label to succeed.
2001 - Shaggy's album Hot Shot hits #1 in America, where it goes on to sell over 6 million copies. The most popular track is "It Wasn't Me," where Shaggy (in character) explains how deny it when caught cheating.
2004 - The Darkness win Brit Awards for Best British group, Best British Rock Act and Best British Album (Permission to Land). Busted wins for the British Breakthrough Award and takes Best Pop Act.
2005 - With Tommy Lee back in the band for the first time in five years, Mötley Crüe begin their Red, White & Crüe tour in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It's a circus theme, with clowns, fire-eaters and acrobats. For his drum solo, Tommy Lee and his rig go up on a trapeze and he performs from 30 feet in the air.
2010 - Mumford & Sons make their US TV debut on The Late Show with David Letterman.
2015 - "Because I Got High" singer Afroman is arrested for assault after punching a female fan who attempts to dance with him on stage at a show in Biloxi, Mississippi. Afroman, who doesn't see the woman until he turns around to clock her, blames his anxiety and says that he hadn't had time to take his meds when he went on stage.

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