Today in Music History: The Jam played their last gig

The Jam
The Jam performing live in Newcastle during their Trans-global Unity tour, 1982. (Neil Twink Tinning, Wikipedia CC BY 2.5)

History Highlight:

Today in 1982, The Jam played their last ever gig as a band when they appeared in Brighton, England. They had 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the U.K., from their debut in 1977 to their break-up, including four number one hits including "That's Entertainment" and "Just Who Is the 5 O'Clock Hero?". Frontman Paul Weller went on to form The Style Council and later had a successful solo career.

Also, Today In:

1957 - 22-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis secretly wed his third wife, 13-year-old third cousin Myra Brown, in Tennessee. It would not be a good career move.

1960 - Aretha Franklin made her New York stage debut performing blues and standards at the Village Vanguard.

1961 - The Marvelettes went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Please Mr. Postman". The song features Gladys Horton on lead vocals and accompaniment by The Funk Brothers, including 22-year-old Marvin Gaye on drums. It was the first Motown song to reach the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart, and The Beatles covered it in 1963 as well as The Carpenters in 1975, who got a U.S. No. 1 and U.K. No. 2 single out of the tune.

1961 - Elvis Presley started a 20-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with Blue Hawaii, his seventh U.S. No. 1 album.

1964 - One-time Gospel singer and highly popular and influential R&B/pop singer Sam Cooke died under sordid and mysterious circumstances.

1968 - Filming began for The Rolling Stones "Rock & Roll Circus". As well as clowns and acrobats, John Lennon and his fiancee Yoko Ono performed as part of a supergroup called The Dirty Mac, along with Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell and Keith Richards. It was originally meant to be aired on the BBC, but the Rolling Stones withheld it because they were unhappy with their performance. The film was eventually released in 1996.

1971 - The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, released his 32nd album, Revolution Of The Mind. Its opening track had a title only J.B. could have concocted: "It's A Brand New Day So Open Up The Door And Let A Man Come In To Do The Popcorn." He was surpassed years later with the never-to-be topped 90-word title of Fiona Apple's second album.

1971 - U.K. comedian Benny Hill was at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart with the innuendo-laden novelty song, "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)", giving Hill his only No. 1 and the No. 1 Christmas hit of 1971.

1973 - KISS guitarist Ace Frehley was nearly electrocuted during a concert in Florida when he touched a short-circuited light. The guitarist was carried from the stage but returned 10 minutes later to finish the show.

1982 - Toni Basil went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Mickey", making her a U.S. one hit wonder.

1993 - Janet Jackson started a two week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Again", her 7th U.S. No. 1.

2002 - Moby was assaulted after a show at Boston's Paradise Club. He was attacked by three assailants with mace and beaten for reasons unknown.

2012 - Indian musician Ravi Shankar died after undergoing heart valve replacement surgery. He was one of the best-known exponents of the sitar and influenced many other musicians throughout the world. George Harrison, who was first introduced to Shankar's music by Roger McGuinn and David Crosby, became influenced by Shankar's music and went on to help popularize Shankar.


Big Mama Thornton was born today in 1926.

David Gates of Bread is 77.

Brenda Lee (1960 U.S. No. 1 single "I'm Sorry") is 73.

Queen keyboard player Philip 'Spike' Edney is 66.

Jermaine Jackson is 63.

Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx is 59.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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