It was on this day in 1970 that American singer Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in Los Angeles, California. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore Joplin's life in music and take a listen to the audio birthday card she recorded for John Lennon just three days before her death.
It was on this day in 1992, during her debut performance on Saturday Night Live, that Sinead O'Connor tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore O'Connor's motives and relive the backlash her actions garnered.
It was on this day in 1983 that Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" reached the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100. On today's "A Day in the Life" find out who songwriter Jim Steinman originally wrote the song for.
Today in 1980, rapper Kurtis Blow released his self-titled debut album on the Mercury label--the first rapper to sign a major-label record deal. Today we breakdown his early career, his rise to stardom, and the impact of his music on the trajectory of hip-hip history.
Today in 1964 Arthur "Harpo" Marx passed away at the age of 75. Today's "A Day in the Life" explores how this otherwise silent Marx Brother communicated through music, particularly the harp--an instrument that he played completely by ear.
Today in 1994 Under the Table and Dreaming, the first studio album released by The Dave Matthews Band had its debut. On today's "A Day in the Life", we dive into the album and learn what John Popper of Blues Traveler lent to one track while Dave Matthews took a bathroom break.
Today in 1957, the musical West Side Story had its Broadway premiere running for 732 performances--an impressive run, but one that does not crack the list of top 100-longest running Broadway shows. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the cultural context into which the play emerged.
Today in 1949, Bruce Springsteen was "Born in the U.S.A." Today's "A Day in the Life" explores the youthful musical encounters of the soon-to-be "boss," including the first song he ever learned.
Today in 2004 the television series Lost made its debut. Composer Michael Giacchino created more than thirty minutes of original music for each weekly episode over the course of the show's six-year run, sustained by a series of musical themes. Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Earth, Wind, and Fire released the song "September" in 1978, which begins with the following question: "Do you remember, the 21st of September?" What are the origins of this song and why did they choose that date in particular? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1985 the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) Senate hearings began, ultimately implementing the addition of "explicit content" warning labels to the covers of albums and singles. In what ways did the music of Prince, Twisted Sister, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper inspire this? And how did Frank Zappa, Dee Snider, and John Denver join forces to rally against such actions? Find out on today "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1970, CBS premiered the Mary Tyler Moore Show. What were the exceptions the show had to meet, both dramatically and musically? And how did the theme song "Love is All Around" change from the first season to the next? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1972 Billboard magazine ran a cover story about a "new sound" emerging from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The "Muscle Shoals" sound--largely the result of a rhythm section later known as "The Swampers"--would have an incredible influence on the sound of popular music from that moment forward. Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1987, Tiffany released her self-titled debut album featuring her hit cover of "I Think We're Alone Now." How do malls, intergenerational listening, and Billy Idol fit into the story? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1973, Nasir Jones--better known as Nas--was born in Brooklyn, New York. Learn about his early career and dynamic collaborations with his father and others that bridge the intergenerational gaps.
Today in 2009, hip hop artist Kanye West interrupted up-and-coming country singer Taylor Swift--he was gonna let her finish--at VMA MTV awards. Why did West take the mic just as Taylor was getting going? And why was this only the beginning of an ongoing, public rivalry between the two? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life"
It was on this day in 1944, that Barry Eugene Carter, later known as Barry White, was born in Galveston, Texas. On today's "A Day in the Life", learn which Elvis Presley song inspired White to leave a life of petty crime and embrace music.
It was on this day in 1956 that Elvis Presley made his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. On today's "A Day in the Life", learn why Ed Sullivan didn't introduce Elvis.
Rap pioneer Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins passed away on this day in 1989. How did he help define standard tropes and techniques we associate with the genre, including the term "hip hop" itself? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 2008 the final curtain went down on Rent--the 10th longest running musical in Broadway history. How and why does the theme of "No day but today" run throughout this Pulitzer Prize winning show? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
It was on this day in 1997 that Princess Diana was buried. At the service Elton John premiered his reworked version of "Candle in the Wind" in honor of the late Princess. On today's "A Day in the Life" we learn how John re-imagined his tribute to Marilyn Monroe as a fitting elegy to "England's Rose".
It was on this day in 1964 that the song "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore the song's provenance in the blues.
Today in 1901 Theodore Roosevelt spoke the famous line "Speak softly and carry a big stick." How has music spoken of Teddy over the course of time? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1897 at 6am, approximately 100 people gathered onto the first train to travel beneath the city of Boston. This subway line was the first in the United States following the establishment of similar systems in London, Glasgow, and Budapest. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the music inspired by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Today in 1987 Michael Jackson's music video for "Bad" premiered on primetime network television. How were Martin Scorsese, Richard Price, and Wesley Snipes involved? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."