April 17, 2015
In 1943, Canadian pop singer Bobby Curtola was born in Port Arthur, Ont. (now Thunder Bay). A teen idol in Canada during the early ’60s, Curtola also made his mark internationally in 1962 with the hits “Fortune Teller” and “Aladdin.”
In 1950, Tony Bennett made his first recording, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Bennett had used the song, from the 1934 movie “Moulin Rouge,” to audition for Columbia Records. The record began Bennett’s 40-plus years with Columbia. He hit No. 1 the following year with “Because of You.”
In 1960, rock ‘n’ roll singer Eddie Cochran died of severe head injuries following a car crash on his way to the London airport following a British tour. The other passengers, rocker Gene Vincent and Cochran’s fiancee, Shari Sheeley, were seriously injured. Cochran was only 21, and had just begun to realize his potential. His two biggest hits were 1957’s “Sittin’ in the Balcony” and 1958’s “Summertime Blues.”
In 1970, country star Johnny Cash refused to perform “Okie from Muskogee” at U.S. President Nixon’s request because it wasn’t his song. He performed “A Boy Named Sue” instead.
In 1970, Paul McCartney released his first solo album, “McCartney.”
In 1971, saxophonist and singer Carmen Lombardo died in Miami at the age of 67. He performed with his brother Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians from the band’s beginning in 1923 until 1970. Carmen Lombardo was also a prolific songwriter, providing the Royal Canadians with such hits as “Coquette,” “Sweethearts on Parade” and “Boo-Hoo.”
In 1974, Vinnie Taylor of the rock ‘n’ roll revival group “Sha Na Na” died of a heroin overdose. He was 25.
In 1977, “Led Zeppelin” fans stormed Miami’s Orange Bowl in a riot over tickets.
In 1980, reggae musician Bob Marley played at Zimbabwe’s Independence Day ceremonies, later calling it the greatest honour of his life. A little more than a year later, Marley died of brain and lung cancer.
In 1983, musician-producer Felix Pappalardi was shot and killed by his wife in New York City. He was 44. His first claim to fame was as a producer for “The Youngbloods,” Joan Baez and “Cream.” He later became bass guitarist for the rock group “Mountain,” which had a 1970 hit with “Mississippi Queen.”
In 1986, a truck containing equipment belonging to the Canadian rock band “Honeymoon Suite” was stolen in New Jersey. They had to borrow instruments from the group “Heart” to play their next gig. When the truck was finally recovered, only the band’s costumes and drum kit remained.
In 1987, “Bruce Hornsby and the Range” entertained an estimated 60,000 people at a free beach concert in Pensacola Beach, Fla. Officials say the crowd was well-behaved, contrary to predictions by residents who wanted to ban the annual Spring Break bash.
In 1987, Carlton Barrett, drummer for Bob Marley’s backup group, “The Wailers,” was shot and killed outside his home in Kingston, Jamaica. Barrett’s widow, along with her lover and another man were charged with murder, but was convicted only of conspiracy and sentenced to seven years.
In 1991, “Nirvana” performed “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in public for the first time, during a concert in Seattle.
In 1992, rapper Luther Campbell of “2 Live Crew” cancelled an appearance at an Omaha, Neb., record store because of threats allegedly phoned into the Miami office of his record company. Campbell had planned the visit to protest censorship of the group’s music. Police said they had no reports of any threats.
In 1992, western swing singer and bandleader Hank Penny died in Camarillo, Calif., at the age of 73. His biggest hit was 1950’s “Bloodshot Eyes.”
In 1997, the British rock group “Bush” and Canadian guitarist Dominic Troiano settled a dispute over the right to use the band’s name. “Bush” had been forced to add an ‘X’ to the end of their name in Canada because Troiano had legal rights to the “Bush” moniker. “Bush” was the name of a group that Troiano had led in the early ’70s. As part of the settlement, the British band donated $40,000 to charity.
In 1998, Linda McCartney, the wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, died of breast cancer at age 56 on a family-owned ranch near Tucson, Ariz. Linda Eastman, a photographer, met Paul at the 1967 London launch of “The Beatles”’ “Sergeant Pepper” album. They married two years later. Following the “Fab Four’s” breakup, Linda joined her husband’s new band, “Wings,” as a keyboards player and backing vocalist. Paul said they only spent one night apart during their 29-year marriage.
In 1998, all 13,000 tickets for the “Spice Girls”’ first New York City appearance were sold in 12 minutes.
In 2008, Danny Federici, the keyboard player for Bruce Springsteen, died in New York City at the age of 58.
In 2010, a federal judge ruled Terry Hobbs must pay “Dixie Chicks” singer Natalie Maines’ legal costs ($17,590) stemming from a defamation lawsuit he filed against the band over her remarks at a 2007 Little Rock rally implying he was involved in killing his stepson.
In 2011, “The Trews”’ “Highway of Heroes,” a patriotic tribute to Canada’s fallen soldiers, earned them the Fan’s Choice Video of the Year at the 2011 East Coast Music Awards. The band was among seven multiple award winners.
In 2011, musician Mary Robbins, mother of actor-director Tim Robbins, died of a heart arrhythmia, just 12 days after her husband of nearly 59 years passed away. She was 78. She studied music at the University of California, Los Angeles, and performed professionally in the 1950s.
In 2012, Seattle rock band “Soundgarden” released their first new song in 15 years, “Live to Rise.” It appeared on the soundtrack to the blockbuster film “The Avengers” and was featured over the end credits.
In 2012, rapper G. Dep (real name Trevell Coleman), a once-rising member of rap impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs’ roster of talent at Bad Boy Records, was convicted of a 1993 killing after confessing to police in 2010 that he’d shot someone while trying to rob him years earlier. He was later sentenced to 15 years to life.