25 Mar, 2024

March 25 in Music History

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March 25 in Music History

Today's birthdays:

Elton John, 77.

Sir Elton Hercules John is a British singer, pianist and composer. Acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his work during the 1970s and for his lasting impact on the music industry, his music and showmanship have had a significant impact on popular music.His songwriting partnership with lyricist Bernie Taupin is one of the most successful in history.

John was raised in Pinner and learned to play piano at an early age, winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied for five years. He formed the blues band Bluesology in 1962, but left in 1967 to embark on a solo career and met Taupin the same year. For two years, they wrote songs for other artists, and John worked as a session musician. In 1969, John released his debut album Empty Sky, and a year later formed the Elton John Band, also releasing his first hit single, "Your Song". John's critical success was at its peak in the 1970s, when he released a string of chart-topping albums both in the US and UK, which began with Honky Château (1972) and culminated with Rock of the Westies (1975). His success continued in the 1980s and 1990s, having several hit singles and albums in both decades, and he has continued to record new music since. John has also had success in musical films and theatre, composing music for The Lion King, Aida, and Billy Elliot the Musical. John's final tour, Farewell Yellow Brick Road (2018–2023), became the highest-grossing concert tour of all time. His life and career were dramatised in the 2019 biopic Rocketman.

John has more than fifty top-40 hits on the UK Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100, including nine number ones in both countries, as well as seven consecutive number-one albums in the US. He has sold over 300 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He is the most successful solo artist in the history of the US Billboard charts. His tribute single to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997", a rewritten version of his 1974 single, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling chart single of all time. In 2021, he became the first solo artist with UK Top 10 singles across six decades. Among John's numerous awards, he is one of 19 entertainers to win the EGOT, which includes an Emmy Award, five Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, and a Tony Award. He also won two Golden Globes, a Laurence Olivier Award, and the Kennedy Center Honor. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and is a fellow of The Ivors Academy. He was knighted by Elizabeth II for services to music and charity in 1998 and was appointed a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in 2020, being invested at Windsor Castle in 2021 by the Prince of Wales.

On this day today:

1942 - Aretha Franklin is born in Memphis, Tennessee. Franklin's brand of soul is rooted in the church, where she belts the gospel blues throughout her childhood in Detroit. Her first contract at Columbia Records does little to foster her talent, but a move to Atlantic in the late '60s establishes her reputation as The Queen of Soul when paired with producer Jerry Wexler and the famed musicians from Muscle Shoals.

Her seminal hits chart the highs and lows of romance, from toxic affairs in "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)" and "Chain Of Fools" to battle-of-the-sexes blowouts in "Respect" and "Think" to sweet declarations in "Baby, I Love You" and "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman." Under the helm of Clive Davis at Arista, she enjoys a career boost in the '80s and by 1987 she becomes the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1955 - The movie Blackboard Jungle is released, giving new exposure to the song "Rock Around The Clock," which is featured in the film. A few months later, the song becomes the first ever #1 rock song.

1966 - The Beatles show up for a photo shoot with photographer Robert Whitaker, who has butcher smocks, doll parts and raw meat waiting for them. The shoot results in their "butcher cover" photo used on the Yesterday And Today album before it is recalled.
1967 - How is the weather? Bright and sunny for The Turtles, who hit #1 in the US with "Happy Together."

1967 - The Who play their first live gig in the US at RKO 58th Street Theater in New York City.
1969 - Singer-songwriter Cathy Dennis, composer of the Britney Spears hit "Toxic," is born in Norwich, Norfolk, England.

1972 - America's first single, "A Horse With No Name," rides to #1 on the Hot 100, and the group's self-titled debut album also takes the top spot on the Albums chart. The group becomes one of the most successful acts of the decade, with subsequent hits "Sister Golden Hair," "Ventura Highway" and "Tin Man."
1972 - Deep Purple's album Machine Head is released in America. Most of it was recorded in their hotel after the Montreux Casino, where they planned to record it, burned down, a story told in the song "Smoke On The Water."

1983 - INXS play America for the first time, performing at The Spirit Club in San Diego to a crowd of 24 people. In May, they play to a more substantial crowd when they're on the bill at the US Festival.
1985 - Prince wins an Oscar for Best Original Score for the film Purple Rain.

1986 - Guns N' Roses sign with Geffen Records, which in addition to making sure the band records an album, has to keep them alive and out of jail, which is no easy task. It pays off when Appetite For Destruction goes on to sell over 18 million copies just in America.
1991 - Michael Jackson escorts Madonna to the Academy Awards. "Sooner Or Later (I Always Get My Man)," which she sang for the movie Dick Tracy, wins for Best Original Song.

1997 - Sixteen days after he was shot and killed, The Notorious B.I.G.'s second album, Life After Death, is released.
2000 - *NSYNC set a new world record after selling a million tickets in one day for the group's forthcoming tour, netting them over £25 million ($42.5 million).
2001 - At the Academy Awards, where she is nominated for Best Song from her movie Dancer In The Dark, Bjork wears a swan dress complete with a purse that looks like an egg, which she "lays" on the red carpet. Such bold fashion would not be seen again until Lady Gaga's emergence.
2003 - Linkin Park release Meteora, the follow-up to their smash debut, Hybrid Theory. The nu-metal album features the hit singles "Numb" and "Breaking The Habit."

2003 - Celine Dion begins her Las Vegas residency with the show A New Day... at Caesars Palace. With elaborate sets and a full dance troupe, it ushers in a new era of highly theatrical Vegas shows headlined by huge stars. Shania Twain, Elton John and Britney Spears all follow this path.
2007 - Elton John sets the record for the most performances at New York's Madison Square Garden when he performs there for the 60th time – on his 60th birthday.
2015 - Mariah Carey joins James Corden for the first installment of Carpool Karaoke.

2015 - One Direction fans freak out when Zayn Malik announces he is leaving the group.
2016 - Two weeks after Major Lazer made history as the first US act to perform in Cuba since democratic relations eased between the two countries, The Rolling Stones play their first-ever Cuba gig, performing a free show for 1.2 million fans at Havana's Cuidad Deportiva. The Stones spend around $7 million to finance the trip, which follows President Obama's historic visit to the island.
2022 - Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, 50, dies in Bogotá, Colombia, while on tour with the band.

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