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Entertainment: Today in Music History - Sept. 13

Fall TV season serves up what viewers want: sci-fi, fantasy

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Today in Music History for Sept. 13:

In 1925, singer-songwriter Mel Torme, nicknamed "The Velvet Fog," was born in Chicago. He was known as one of the great male jazz singers of his generation. He also composed the music for "The Christmas Song." He died on June 5, 1999.

In 1941, Canadian rock singer David Clayton-Thomas was born in Surrey, England. He began playing guitar in his late teens during time spent in Ontario prisons. As Sonny Thomas, he formed "The Fabulous Shays," who had two Canadian hits in 1965, "Walk That Walk" and "Out of the Sunshine." He then formed "The Bossmen," one of the first rock bands to include jazz elements in their music. They had a hit in 1966 with "Brainwashed." Thomas went to the U.S. in 1966, and from 1968-72 was the lead singer for "Blood, Sweat and Tears." He sang on many of their hits, such as "Spinning Wheel," "And When I Die" and "You Make Me So Very Happy." He rejoined "Blood, Sweat and Tears" in 1974 and was with them until 1976. In 1978, he reformed the band in Toronto with local musicians. In 1996, he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

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In 1959, Elvis Presley first met his future wife, 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, while stationed in West Germany with the U.S. Army. They married in 1967, but divorced in 1973.

In 1960, the U.S. House of Representatives officially made the practice of payola illegal -- in which record companies paid disc jockeys to play certain records. The congressional investigation into payola caused the downfall of pioneer disc jockey Alan Freed, who did more than any other deejay to bring rock 'n' roll to a mass audience. Freed was fined $300 and given a suspended sentence in 1962 after pleading guilty to two counts of commercial bribery. He was blackballed by the radio industry, and died a broken man on Jan. 20, 1965, at age 42.

In 1965, a son, Zak, was born to "Beatles'" drummer Ringo Starr and his wife, Maureen.

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In 1969, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and "The Plastic Ono Band" played their first gig at the "Toronto Rock 'N' Roll Revival." It was Lennon's first concert performance in three years, and the appearance was documented in the album "Live Peace in Toronto, 1969."  "The Plastic Ono Band" consisted of Lennon and Eric Clapton on guitars, Klaus Voorman on bass and Alan White of "Yes" on drums. Also on the bill at the "Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival" were Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Gene Vincent.

In 1974, Stevie Wonder played the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, N.Y., his first concert appearance since a near-fatal auto accident a year earlier.

In 1975, "The Guess Who," fronted by Burton Cummings, performed together for the last time, at the Montreal Forum. Several reconstituted versions, including the original lineup, of "The Guess Who" have played in concert since then.

In 1977, conductor Leopold Stokowski died in England at age 95. He was conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra for 24 years, ending in 1936, and in 1940 served as musical supervisor for Walt Disney's classic film "Fantasia." Stokowski also had much to do with improving the techniques for recording classical music.

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In 1979, Swedish pop group "ABBA" began their first North American tour, in Edmonton. Their personal appearances were infrequent, partly because of the difficulty of reproducing their multi-tracked recordings on stage.

In 1985, rock vocalist Sting of "The Police" began a solo tour in San Diego to promote his album "Dream of the Blue Turtles."


Video: Today in History for September 10th (The Canadian Press)

In 1986, CKND-TV in Winnipeg broadcast the Canadian Country Music Awards nationally for the first time.

In 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur died in a Las Vegas hospital, six days after he was wounded in a drive-by shooting on the city's casino strip. He was 25. Shakur was hit by four bullets as he rode in a car driven by the head of Death Row Records, Marion (Suge) Knight, who suffered a minor wound. No one was ever charged. Shakur was one of rap music's most notorious and successful artists, selling millions of copies of such albums as "All Eyez on Me" and "If I Die 2Nite." He also had numerous troubles with the law, serving time for assault, weapons violations and sex abuse. Two months after Shakur's death, a witness to the Las Vegas shooting was gunned down in a housing project in Orange, N.J. Yafeu Fula was a member of Shakur's backup group, "The Outlaws Immortalz." He was in the car behind Shakur when the rapper was shot.

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In 1997, the Francis Winspear Centre, a $40 million concert hall, opened in Edmonton. The 10-day opening festival included concerts by jazz greats Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Irish folk legends "The Chieftains" and a joint performance by the Edmonton and Calgary symphonies.

In 1998, Melanie Brown, also known as "Scary Spice" of the "Spice Girls," married dancer Jimmy Gulzar in England. The couple had a child the following March. They divorced in 2000.

In 2009, Johnny Reid won five trophies at the Canadian Country Music Association awards, including Album of the Year for "Dance With Me." Reid also won for Video of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, the Fans' Choice Award and Songwriter of the Year for "A Woman Like You." "Doc Walker" won the Group Award, Crystal Shawanda took the Female Artist of the Year and Dean Brody was given Single of the Year for "Brothers." Tara Oram won the Rising Star Award.

In 2009, the MTV Video Awards began on a more sombre note with Madonna introducing a poignant, tender tribute to the late Michael Jackson. During the show, rapper Kanye West had yet another awards show meltdown. Taylor Swift, who became the first country artist to win an MTV award, was on stage accepting her award for Best Female Video for "You Belong to Me," when West jumped on stage and took the microphone from Swift and protested her win, saying Beyonce should have won instead for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)."  When Beyonce later won Video of the Year for that song, she brought Swift back on stage to have her finish her acceptance speech. Among the highlight performances of the night was P!nk's trapeze act while singing "Sober."

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In 2010, rap icons Eminem and Jay-Z performed at the new Yankee Stadium, the first musical concert since it opened in 2009. Beyonce, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Drake, 50 Cent, and Chris Martin of "Coldplay" were among the musical guests.

In 2011, former "Beatle" Paul McCartney was named MusiCares Person of the Year, citing not only his music but his charitable side also. The annual event celebrates a legend in the days leading up to the Grammy Awards with an array of music stars paying tribute by singing their songs, and the honoree sometimes performs as well.

In 2011, Wilma Lee Cooper, who teamed with her husband Stoney Cooper, to become a top country duo for three decades, died of natural causes at her home in Sweetwater, Tenn. She was 90. She earned the title "The First Lady of Bluegrass." She and her husband began recording in the late 1940s, then performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry from 1957 until his death in 1977. She continued as a solo singer on the show until 2001 when she had a stroke.

In 2011, Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Bob Seger ended his time as an iTunes holdout when downloads of the concert albums "'Live' Bullet" and "Nine Tonight" appeared on iTunes and Amazon.com. He said his remaining catalogue would "come out in dribs and drabs."

In 2015, Gord Bamford repeated as Male Artist of the Year and for Single of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards in Halifax. He also won Songwriter of the Year. For his first CCMA ever, former Default rocker-turned country singer Dallas Smith won the coveted Album of the Year award for "Lifted." Jess Moskaluke won Female Artist of the Year for the second year in a row, while Johnny Reid claimed the Fans' Choice Award for the sixth time in the past seven years.

In 2015, Gary Richrath, a former guitarist for the classic rock band REO Speedwagon who also co-wrote the group's hit song "Take It on the Run," died at age 65. He was a member of the band when it released its self-titled debut in 1971 until 1989.

In 2019, rock star Eddie Money died in Los Angeles, just a few weeks after he announced he had stage 4 esophageal cancer. He was 70. The husky-voiced, blue collar performer was known for such hits as "Two Tickets to Paradise" and "Take Me Home Tonight." Born Edward Joseph Mahoney, Money grew up in a family of police officers and was training in law enforcement himself before he rebelled and decided he'd rather be a singer.

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(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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