Music History: April 20
2013 Five days after three people were killed in bombings at the Boston Marathon, Neil Diamond makes a surprise appearance at Fenway Park, where he performs "Sweet Caroline" at the Red Sox game against the Kansas City Royals.
2011 Indie rocker Gerard Smith (TV on the Radio) dies at age 36 of lung cancer.
2010 The stage adaptation of Green Day's American Idiot rock opera officially opens on Broadway, a year after its debut at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
2003 Jazz tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards dies at age 78.
2002 Pop singer Alan Dale ("(The Gang that Sang) Heart of My Heart") dies at age 76. Also known for playing a rock 'n roll singer in the 1956 film Don't Knock the Rock, featuring Alan Freed, Little Richard, The Treniers, and Bill Haley & His Comets.
2001 Italian composer Giuseppe Sinopoli dies of a heart attack at age 54 while conducting the Verdi opera Aida at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Germany.
1994 Barbra Streisand begins her first tour since 1966, performing in London.
1993 Shania Twain's self-titled debut album is released. It's an impressive debut, establishing her in the world of country music. Her next three releases, produced by her husband Mutt Lange, make her a pop superstar.
1993 Looking to mimic the success of New Kids on the Block, entrepreneur Lou Pearlman sets out to create his own boy band. After auditioning hundreds of performers, he chooses five unknowns to be his Backstreet Boys.
1992 Blues singer and guitarist Johnny Shines dies at age 76 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
1992 The remaining members of Queen hold the "Concert For Life" at Wembley Stadium in London, raising money for AIDS awareness in honor of their fallen frontman Freddie Mercury. David Bowie, Elton John, Guns N' Roses and George Michael all perform.
1991 Steve Marriott (guitarist, vocalist for The Small Faces, Humble Pie) dies in a house fire, possibly caused by a cigarette, at age 44.
1991 John Fogerty marries his second wife, Julie Lebiedzinksi, in Elkhart, Indiana. The couple met at a party following one of his concerts in 1986. "Suddenly the crowd parted, and there was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen in my life," Fogerty said.
1981 John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas is sentenced to five years for helping a Los Angeles-area pharmacist sell fake prescriptions, as well as drug possession. His sentence will be reduced to one month, however, after he agrees to perform 250 hours of community service in the form of anti-drug lectures.
1978 REO Speedwagon appear in the movie FM, about a top Los Angeles radio station and its motley crew of rock 'n roll DJs who fight corporate oppression.
1974 MFSB featuring The Three Degrees' "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" hits #1.
1971 Mikey Welsh (bassist for Weezer) is born in Syracuse, New York. Welsh replaced Matt Sharp as bassist in 1998 and was replaced by Scott Shriner in 2001.
1970 Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest is born in Queens, New York. His birth name: Malik Taylor.
1970 Elvis Presley releases "The Wonder Of You."
1970 Paul McCartney releases his first solo album, McCartney, in the US.
1970 The New York Times reports that Catholic and Protestant youth groups are adopting The Beatles' "yellow submarine" image, from the song and movie of the same name, as a symbol of their faith.
1969 “Papa Zita” (The Funk Brothers)
1968 Deep Purple make their stage debut at the Vestpoppen, in Kastrup, Denmark.
1968 The Rolling Stones record "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
1968 Apple Music, the Beatles' new label, runs their famous "This Man Has Talent" ads in Britain's New Musical Express, seeking demo tapes from unknown artists. Most are never heard but pile up in Apple's offices, and the majority of the label's signings are acquired through more conventional means.
1967 The Beatles record "Only a Northern Song."
1963 Rick Nelson marries his first wife, Kris Harmon, daughter of college football legend Tom Harmon and brother of actor Mark Harmon, in Los Angeles. A pregnant Kris gives birth to daughter Tracy only six months later. The couple divorce in 1982.
1961 #1 Billboard Pop Hit: Del Shannon's "Runaway"
1951R&B singer Luther Vandross is born in New York City.
1949 Phil Spector's father commits suicide when Phil is just 9 years old. The title of the song "To Know Him Is To Love Him," which Phil Spector wrote for the Teddy Bears, comes from the inscription on his father's headstone.
1948 Craig Frost (keyboardist for Grand Funk Railroad) is born in Flint, Michigan.
1945 Keyboardist Jimmy Winston (The Moments, The Small Faces) is born in Stratford, London, England.
1944 Judy Garland records "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
1939 Singer-songwriter Johnny Tillotson is born in Jacksonville, Florida.
1931 Louis Armstrong records "When It's Sleepy Time Down South."
1923 Tito Puente, mambo musician and Latin jazz composer, is born Ernesto Antonio Puente in New York City.
1908 Jazz musician Lionel Hampton is born in Louisville, Kentucky.
1971Five friends at San Rafael High School in California coin the term "4:20" as a euphemism for smoking pot. April 20th becomes a popular day to spark one up, as does 4:20 pm. Note that the Boston song "Smokin'" clocks in at 4 minutes, 20 seconds, and if you multiply the title numbers in Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 And #35," you get 420. Dude!
1999 Rapper Mase, 21, announces that he is retiring from music in order to "follow God."
1999 At his concert at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Billy Joel announces his retirement from touring and recording pop music, as he wants to focus on classical music. His retirement doesn't last long, as he returns to the stage in December and after sitting out most of 2000, returns in 2001 for the Face to Face tour with Elton John.
1976 George Harrison, who is good friends with Eric Idle, joins Monty Python on stage at the comedy troupe's show at New York's City Center. Dressed as a Canadian Mountie, Harrison joins the chorus for "The Lumberjack Song." No mention is made of Harrison's appearance, and few in the audience recognize him. The next night, Nilsson shows up to perform the same feat, but with disastrous results, as he falls into the audience and breaks his arm.