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Today In Music History

April 16 in Music History: Happy 60th birthday, Dave Pirner

Soul Asylum and Ivan Neville performed at State Theatre in Minneapolis on April 20, 2023.
Soul Asylum and Ivan Neville performed at State Theatre in Minneapolis on April 20, 2023. Davin Brandt

April 16, 2024

History Highlight:

David Anthony Pirner, frontman for Soul Asylum, was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 16, 1964. He is 60. After graduating from Minneapolis West High School in 1982, Pirner launched a punk band called Loud Fast Rules. In 1983, they changed their name to Soul Asylum. Today, Pirner is the lone remaining original member. Over four decades, they’ve released 12 studio albums, including the megahit Grave Dancers Union in 1992.

Also, Today In:

1944 - On shore leave from the Merchant Marines, Woody Guthrie arrived at Folkway Records' studios in New York City, where he started recording with the label's founder, Moses Asch, in what became known as the "Asch recordings." Among the songs recorded during these sessions was "This Land Is Your Land," which became an iconic populist protest anthem, covered by artists including Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen.

1956 - Buddy Holly's first single "Blue Days, Black Nights", was released. The track was later featured on That'll Be The Day the third album from Buddy Holly.

1969 - "The Israelites" by Desmond Dekker became the first single by a Jamaican artist to be a bona fide hit in the U.K. and later in the U.S. The song was a success despite Dekker's strong Jamaican accent, which made his lyrics difficult to understand for audiences outside Jamaica. The opening line, "Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir" was often misheard, with one common example being, "Wake up in the morning, baked beans for breakfast".

1970 - The Led Zeppelin single "Whole Lotta Love" was certified Gold in the U.S. after selling more than 1 million copies. It peaked at No. 4 in the U.S. singles charts.

1972 - In Cannes, France, The Rolling Stones informally celebrated the launch of their label, Rolling Stones Records.

1977 - Stevie Wonder made the soul chart with "Sir Duke," a tune that would ultimately achieve No. 1 status. The song is a tribute to Duke Ellington.

1977 - David Soul, one-half of the TV cop duo on Starsky & Hutch, went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Don't Give Up On Us," his only hit in America.

1993 - Paul McCartney headlined a concert at the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate Earth Day along with Ringo Starr, Don Henley and Steve Miller. McCartney had last performed there as a member of the Beatles in 1965.

1996 - Kiss appeared in full make-up at the 38th Grammy Awards, where they announced a reunion tour. It would mark the first time all four original members had appeared together in more than 15 years.

1999 - Skip Spence, an original member of Jefferson Airplane and founding member of Moby Grape, died of lung cancer in a San Francisco hospital at age 52. He had battled schizophrenia and alcoholism.

2003 - Luther Vandross suffered a stroke that left him confined to a wheelchair. The singer died two years later.


Composer Henry Mancini was born on this day in 1924. Mancini is best known for his iconic film scores, which include such well-known numbers as "The Pink Panther Theme," the "Peter Gunn Theme," and "Moon River."

R&B singer Roy Hamilton (“Unchained Melody,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone”) was born today in 1929.

Ed Townsend, singer/writer of “For Your Love” and co-writer of “Let’s Get It On,” was born today in 1929.

Robert Stigwood — manager for Cream and the Bee Gees — was born today in 1934.

Bobby Vinton is 89.

Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, also known as Dusty Springfield, was born today in 1939. International polls have named Springfield among the best female rock artists of all time, and she is a member of the Rock and Roll and U.K. Music Halls of Fame. With a career that extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s, she had six top 20 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and sixteen on the U.K. Singles Chart including "What Have I Done To Deserve This?", "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", "Wishin' And Hopin'", and "Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Springfield passed away from breast cancer in 1999 at age 59.

Gerry Rafferty — “Stuck in the Middle With You,” “Baker Street” — was born today in 1947.

Squeeze bassist John Bentley is 73.

Midnight Oil lead singer and Member of the Australian House of Representatives Peter Garrett is 71.

Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile is 68.

Jason Scheff of Chicago is 62.

Little Jimmy Osmond is 61.

Selena was born today in 1971.

Akon is 51.

Chance the Rapper is 31.

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