This Day in Music History: John Lennon releases Imagine in the US, Apple gives us U2’s Songs of Innocence
1926 – The Radio Corporation of America, later known as RCA, launches its new radio network, the National Broadcasting Company, later known as NBC.
1954 – Rising young star Elvis Presley performs at the opening of Memphis’ Lamar-Airways shopping mall, and meets audience member Johnny Cash for the first time afterward.
1968 – The Beatles record “Helter Skelter.” Roadie Mal Evans plays trumpet, John Lennon plays bass and saxophone, Paul McCartney records his lead vocal, and George Harrison reportedly runs around the studio holding a flaming ashtray above his head.
1971 – John Lennon releases Imagine in the US.
1973 – Following up on his plan to use the concert audience for the background vocals on the left stereo channel for his song “Sons Of 1984,” Todd Rundgren records the crowd at a show in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which is disrupted because of a pot bust. (The right channel vocals come from a show in New York.)
1982 – The Broadway musical Your Arms Too Short To Box With God is revived at the Alvin Theatre in New York with Al Green and Patti Labelle in the cast.
1995 – Coolio scores his first #1 single with “Gangsta’s Paradise.” The Grammy Award-winning song samples the chorus of the 1976 Stevie Wonder song “Pastime Paradise” and is featured in the 1995 movie Dangerous Minds.
1998 – Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten appears as the defendant in an episode of Judge Judy. He is being sued for allegedly head-butting a drummer during a contract dispute.
1999 – Nine Inch Nails makes their television debut performance at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.
2003 – Simon & Garfunkel announce plans to reunite and tour for the first time in 20 years. They get more per ticket than any other tour that year – $136.90 – and donate $1 million of the profits to The Children’s Health Fund.
2003 – John Mayer releases his second studio album, Heavier Things, which debuts at #1 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The title is a response to critics who believed his previous songs were too soft.
2005 – An international conference devoted to the life, work, and influence of Bruce Springsteen is held at Monmouth University in New Jersey. The festivities include various live acts as well as keynote addresses by rock critics and figures from the music industry. More than 150 papers are presented to the course including Springsteen and American Folklore, Springsteen and Dylan’s American Dreamscapes, Springsteen’s Musical Legacy, Born to Run at 30-Years-Old, Springsteen and New Jersey, and the Boss and the Bible.
2014 – U2 releases Songs of Innocence in conjunction with Apple, who place the “gift album” in iTunes users’ libraries without warning or permission. About 95% of the recipients express outrage over the unwanted addition to their music collection and demand deletion instructions, which are eventually provided.