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Today In Music History

June 20 in Music History: Happy birthday, Brian Wilson

brian-wilson-pet-sounds-minneapolis-11Jafri, Ibad

June 20, 2024

History Highlight:

Brian Wilson was born on June 20, 1942. He is 82. Wilson began crooning with the Beach Boys in 1961, acting as their band’s main songwriter, producer, co-lead vocalist, bassist, keyboardist, and de facto leader. By the mid 1960s, he had written, or co-written more than two dozen U.S. Top 40 hits, such as "Surf City" and "I Get Around". In 1965 - when mental health struggles led to an extended break from touring with the Beach Boys - he took the music into more uncharted waters, producing the Beach Boys' seminal Pet Sounds album and his first credited solo release, Caroline, No, both in 1966. Wilson helped loosen the structure of pop music with experimental compositions and new studio recording techniques, with an aim to write songs that appear "simple, no matter how complex it really is." Earlier this year, Disney+ released a new documentary about The Beach Boys

Also, Today In: 

1948 - Toast Of The Town, which would later be called The Ed Sullivan Show, premiered on CBS. The first show was produced on a budget of $1,375. Only $375 was allocated for talent and $200 of that was shared by the young stars of that night's program, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. 

1966 - It was reported that both George Harrison and Brian Jones had taken up the Indian instrument, the sitar. Brian and the Stones would be the first to use it on "Paint It Black." 

1969 - The first of a three-day Festival in Newport, California, featuring: Ike And Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Byrds, The Rascals, Steppenwolf, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Eric Burdon and Love. A three-day ticket cost $15 (£8.80). Hendrix received $125,000 for his appearance, at the time it was the highest fee ever paid to a rock act for a single appearance.

1970 - Neil Young picked up a Gold record for "Cinnamon Girl" from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Young wrote the song while he was suffering from the flu with a high fever at his home at Topanga. A love ode to a mysterious woman, Young has said that the song "was hard to explain to my wife."

1975 - Neil Young releases his 6th studio album, Tonight's the Night. A raw outpouring of emotion inspired by the drug-related deaths of Young's friends, it's initially considered too rough for mainstream release but ends up being one of the iconic albums of the decade. 

1978 - Foreigner release their second album, Double Vision. Hits from the set include the title track and "Hot Blooded." 

1989 - Prince released his eleventh studio album, the soundtrack to the 1989 film Batman. It features “Batdance.”

1989 - Faith No More released their third studio album, The Real Thing. It features “Epic.”

 1992 - Mariah Carey scored her sixth U.S. No. 1 single with "I'll Be There". The song was also a U.S. No. 1 for The Jackson Five in 1970. 

2000 - The Ronettes were awarded $2.6 million in back earnings from Phil Spector. New York judge Paula Omansky ruled that the producer had cheated them out of royalties. 

2001 - The Cult return with their seventh studio album, and first new recording in seven years, Beyond Good and Evil

2004 - Organizers at a Paul McCartney gig hired three jets to spray dry ice into the clouds so it wouldn't rain during the concert. The gig in Petersburg, Russia, was McCartney's 3,000th concert appearance. He had performed 2,535 gigs with the Quarrymen and the Beatles, 140 gigs with Wings and 325 solo shows. 

2006 - Claydes Charles Smith, co-founder and lead guitarist of Kool & the Gang, died at age 57 after a long illness. They had the 1981 U.S. No. 1 single "Celebration" and 15 other Top 40 hits. 

 2016 - Lawyers for Led Zeppelin asked a judge to throw out a case accusing the band of stealing the riff for "Stairway To Heaven". Singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and Warner Music argued that the claimants had failed to make their case after three days of testimony. The band was accused of basing "Stairway" on the 1968 Spirit song "Taurus". 

2019 - David Gilmour’s guitar collection set several auction records when nearly 130 instruments went up for bid at Christie’s in New York. The former Pink Floyd frontman’s most iconic instrument, the so-called Black Strat, fetched $3,975,000. Other items sold included a 1954 Fender Stratocaster with the serial number 0001, which was used on the recording of 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 2' went for over $1.8 million, a 1958 Gretsch White Penguin went for $447,000, and a 1955 Gibson Goldtop Les Paul, also used on 'Another Brick' sold for $447,000. Christie’s declared all to be world auction records. 


Jimmy Driftwood was born today in 1907.

T. Texas Tyler was born today in 1916.

Danny Cedrone, guitarist for Bill Haley & His Comets, was born today in 1920.

Guitarist Chet Atkins, one of the primary architects of 'The Nashville Sound', was born today in 1924. 

Saxophonist Eric Dolphy was born today in 1928.

Billy Guy, lead singer of the Coasters, was born today in 1936.

Jerry Keller (“Here Comes Summer”) is 87.

Mickie Most — producer for the Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Donovan, Hot Chocolate, and more — was born today in 1938.

Brian Wilson, an original member of Beach Boys, is 82.

Anne Murray is 79.

Dolores “LaLa” Brooks, lead vocalist for the Crystals (“Then He Kissed Me”), is 77.

Alan Longmuir, bassist for the Bay City Rollers, was born today in 1948.

Lionel Richie is 75.  

Michael Anthony, bassist and backing vocalist for Van Halen, is 70. 

Kelly Johnson, lead guitarist for Girlschool, was born today in 1958.

John Taylor, bass and co-founder of Duran Duran, is 64.

Jeordie “Twiggy Ramirez” White — who has performed with Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle, and Nine Inch Nails — is 53. 

Chino Moreno of Deftones is 51.

Amos Lee is 47.

Adam Hann of The 1975 is 36. 

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