Music History: May 24
2016 Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip, announces that he has a terminal brain cancer called glioblastoma. Downie, who was diagnosed in December and has been going through treatment, does one last tour with the band, closing with a show in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario on August 21.
2013 Ed Shaughnessy (drummer for Johnny Carson's Tonight Show Band on NBC) dies of a heart attack at age 84.
2012 Billboard announces that Lionel Richie's Tuskegee is the second-best-selling album of the year so far in 2012, right behind Adele's 21. It's notable that the soul/R&B singer and Motown alumnus began his career in 1967, and is still connecting with modern audiences a full five decades later.
2010 Slipknot bass player Paul Gray dies at age 38 from an accidental overdose in his Iowa hotel room.
2009 Former Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett dies in his sleep from an accidental overdose of a prescription painkiller at age 45.
2008 Forty-two years after releasing his first album, Neil Diamond scores his first #1 when Home Before Dark tops the albums chart.
2006 Taylor Hicks wins Season 5 of American Idol, defeating Katharine McPhee.
2004 An auction of Bruce Springsteen's birth certificate on eBay is shut down by the Boss' legal team.
2003 Paul McCartney sits down for tea with Russian premier Vladimir Putin, then heads to Red Square for his very first performance behind the iron curtain, for an audience of 20,000.
2000 50 Cent is shot nine times while in the backseat of a parked car. He lives, but is dropped by his label, Columbia. Moving to G-Unit, he becomes a superstar a few years later, with the shooting front and center on his bio.
1997 Hanson land a #1 hit with their debut single, "MMMbop."More
1991 Gene Clark (tambourine player for The Byrds), suffering from a bleeding ulcer, dies at age 46 after years of drug and alcohol abuse.
1988 Country singer Billy Gilman, known for his hit debut "One Voice" at just 11 years old, is born in Westerly, Rhode Island.
1986 The Monkees, minus Mike Nesmith, begin their 145-date "20th Anniversary World Tour" at the Concord Hotel in the Catskill Mountains. The group has risen in popularity thanks to MTV, which started airing old episodes of their TV show.
1986 Garth Brooks marries his college sweetheart, Sandy Mahl. They'll welcome three daughters before their divorce in 2001.
1982 Grateful Dead, Jefferson Starship, Boz Scaggs, and Country Joe & the Fish play a benefit concert for Vietnam vets at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
1982 An 11-minute Paul McCartney/Ringo Starr film is screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
1979 The three remaining members of Genesis give the fans a thrill by manning the box office and selling their own tickets to the upcoming show at the Roxy in Los Angeles.
1977 At Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, Emerson, Lake & Palmer begin an extravagant, 11-month tour with a 70-piece orchestra, 63 roadies, a choir and a karate instructor for drummer Carl Palmer. The tour is a stunning spectacle, but a financial disaster.
1977 Marc Bolan plays his last show with T. Rex. The concert takes place at Gröna Lund in Stockholm, Sweden, with Bolan the only original member of the band at that point. The singer would die in an auto accident on September 16 that year.
1975 Earth, Wind & Fire's "Shining Star," a song celebrating the band's credo of clean living and spiritual health, hits #1 in America.
1974 NBC-TV's wildly successful variety show, The Dean Martin Show, signs off after nine years.
1971 Duke Ellington dies of lung cancer at age 75.
1969 Rich Robinson (guitarist for The Black Crowes) is born in Atlanta, Georgia.
1969 The Guess Who make their debut on American television, singing "These Eyes" and "Laughing" on ABC-TV's American Bandstand.
1969 The Beatles' "Get Back," featuring piano from Billy Preston, hits #1 in America.
1967 Rapper Heavy D is born Dwight Errington Myers in Mandeville, Middlesex, Jamaica.
1966 Elvis Presley begins filming his 20th film, Frankie And Johnny, in Hollywood.
1965 Sonny Boy Williamson dies. His age is uncertain, possibly 52.
1964 #1 Billboard Pop Hit: The Beatles' "Love Me Do"
1963 Blues guitarist Elmore James dies of a heart attack at age 45.
1956 Larry Blackmon (frontman for Cameo) is born in New York City.
1955 Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian, welcome their daughter, Rosanne Cash. She grows up to be a country singer like her dad.
1952 Doris Day's "A Guy Is A Guy" hits #1.
1947 Cynthia "Plaster" Caster, an artist known for her plaster casts of celebrities' genitalia and breasts, is born Cynthia Albritton in Chicago, Illinois. Her work will inspire the 2001 documentary Plaster Caster.
1947 Albert Bouchard (drummer for Blue Oyster Cult) is born in Watertown, New York.
1946 Steve Upton (original drummer for Wishbone Ash) is born in Wrexham, Wales, but will be raised in Exeter, Devon, England.
1945 Priscilla Presley is born Priscilla Ann Wagner in Brooklyn, New York. At age 14, she'll meet future husband Elvis Presley in Germany while he's serving in the US Army.
1944 Patti Labelle is born Patricia Louise Holt in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1942 Derek Quinn (guitarist, harmonica player for Freddie & the Dreamers) is born in Manchester, England.
1938 Ska pioneer Prince Buster is born Cecil Bustamente Campbell in Orange Street, Jamaica. He earns his nickname for his boxing prowess.
1938 Comedian Tommy Chong (of Cheech & Chong) is born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
1930 After taking off from Croydon, London, on May 5, the British aviator Amy Johnson lands at Darwin, Australia, inspiring the songs "Amy" (by Horatio Nicholls) and "Flying Sorcery" (by Al Stewart).
1991After a limited release in major cities (starting with Los Angeles), Madonna's concert documentary Truth or Dare opens in wide release.
2010 At a Lamb of God concert in Prague, lead singer Randy Blythe pushes an encroaching fan off the stage. The man falls backward, hits his head, and dies two weeks later from the injury. Blythe doesn't know that the fan is seriously injured, and isn't aware of it when Czech authorities issue a warrant for his arrest. When the band returns to play a show in 2012, police detain Blythe and hold him in prison for five weeks. He later stands trail and is cleared of the charges.
1997 The Spice Girls album Spice hits #1 in the US, making them the first British act to reach #1 in the US with their debut album.
1941 Bob Dylan is born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota.