Elvis Costello's My Aim is True turns 35

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See Also:
Damned, Damned, Damned turns 35
Lester Bangs died 30 years ago today
It was 45 years ago today . . . The Beatles Sgt. Pepper nears the half century mark
The Smiths Louder than Bombs turns 25 today

In the early 1970s, a bespectacled English waif named Declan MacManus -- later to be known as genre defining songsmith, Elvis Costello -- was pulling off a con in am Elizabeth Arden cosmetics factory. "I read the papers all day long because... No one realized that the computer did all the thinking," Costello told Q Magazine in 1996, speaking of his job as a computer operator in the factory. "I wore a white coat and everyone thought I was a rocket scientist because I was the only one who knew how to work the machine. Everyone thought I was a genius. It was brilliant. I just skived all the time... I took my guitar in. I'd stay late, sometimes work 36 hours just on coffee and write two or three songs and read the music press."

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Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction turns 25

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Appetite for Destruction, the iconic Guns N' Roses album originally released on July 21, 1987, turns 25 tomorrow.

See Also:
- Remembering Randy Rhodes thirty years after his tragic death
-The Beatles' Sgt Pepper turns 45
-The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street turns 40
-Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced turns 45

In the early 1980s, a red-haired, Midwestern boy named William Bailey stepped off a bus in New York City. Clearly naive and over his head, Bailey was targeted by a psychotic homeless man, who shouted at the frightened ginger, "You know where you are? You're in the jungle, baby; you're gonna die!" The moment stuck with the kid, who years later would legally change his name to Axl Rose, and appropriated the sociopathic line for his song, "Welcome to the Jungle," and recreated the scene of a wide-eyed innocent being corrupted by the city for the hit music video of same name.

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It was 45 years ago today... The Beatles' Sgt Pepper inches toward the half century mark

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The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, originally released on June 1, 1967, turns 45 years old today.

By the summer of 1966, the Beatles sucked. Or at least that's the way they felt for the band. "Performance, for us, it's gone downhill," Paul McCartney said of his band at the time. "Because we can't develop if no one can hear us; so for us to perform...it gets difficult each time." The pressures of being the generation-defining, teenage-girl-arousing, million-dollar-making, international entertainment sensation was beginning to weigh on the aging pop group, evidently. Touring was becoming a drag: Playing to screaming girls who didn't care about the music, death threats from the KKK and Philippine soldiers, the bathroom being your only moment of refuge.

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The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street turns 40

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The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, released on May 12, 1972, turned forty this past weekend.
By the spring of 1971, the heroes of the '60s were dropping like flies. The Beatles had broken up, Angela Davis and Timothy Leary were on the run, and everyone in California was becoming a born-again Christian. The previous autumn, Jimi Hendrix asphyxiated on half-digested sleeping pills and red wine, followed by Janis Joplin's lonely heroin overdose two weeks later. It was a time for hiding, not necessarily for self-reflection, but hiding from the truth that the lifestyle of the '60s either killed you or turned you into a sober religious nut making forgettable music -- and which was worse?

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced turns 45

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced, released on May 12, 1967, turned 45 over the weekend.
When he came storming onto the scene, Jimi Hendrix made weepy children out of the world's best guitar players, bringing a primal sexuality and grace to his playing that only a true master of the craft could muster. Guitarists like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend had spent nearly the whole of their young lives attempting to be the most impressive, most proficient guitar players anyone in England had ever seen, and then along comes this shy Yankee to plug in and make them all look like rank amateurs.

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Lester Bangs died thirty years ago today

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Lester Bangs (12/13/48 - 4/30/82)
See Also:
Studio 54 opened 35 years ago today
Randy Rhoads: Thirty years ago, a tragic accident took the life of a legendary guitarist
Sex Pistols sign with A&M outside Buckingham Palace 35 years ago
Today in History archives

Lester Bangs mother was a Jehovah's Witness and his Father burned to death. Any biographer would be hard pressed to find a better metaphor for the man who, if not invented rock criticism, at least gave it its legs. Bangs was a rare experiment in courage, living his life and modeling his career off the irresponsible inspiration of rock music. He wrote the way the feedback-soaked music he loved sounded: Like breaking the rules. Bringing the Beat-style of loud, run-on sentences to the undeveloped world of rock journalism, his large paragraphs sputtered like the gun-fire words of a pulpit-beating minister.

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Studio 54 opened 35 years ago today

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See Also:
Randy Rhoads: Thirty years ago, a tragic accident took the life of a legendary guitarist
Sex Pistols sign with A&M outside Buckingham Palace 35 years ago
Today in History archives

Other than the gas shortage and a (relatively) poor economy, the second half of the 1970s was a great time to be alive. Vietnam was over, Watergate was forgotten, cocaine had not yet turned into crack, and free-love had not yet turned into AIDS.


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Beastie Boys' Check Your Head turns twenty

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Beastie Boys' Check Your Head, released on April 21, 1992, turned twenty this past Saturday.

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Prince's Sign of the Times turns 25
Velvet Underground & Nico turns 45
More Today in History posts

When the '80s became the '90s, everyone stepped up their game. Rap matured lyrically and became more sonically sophisticated, while rock became more intelligent and emotionally rich. Politics became younger while fashion became older. If a band was to survive this cultural revolution, it had to prove itself. U2 had to abandon its pretentious cowboy boots and make with the irony; Madonna had to stop with the ditzy Betty-Boop act and become a dominatrix; and the Beastie Boys picked up some instruments.


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Prince's Sign of the Times turns 25

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Prince's Sign of the Times, released on March 31, 1987, turned 25 on Saturday.

There is very little argument to make against the suggestion that Prince ruled the 1980s. The decade was jam packed with memorable pop artists making music to treasure for generations to come, but none came close to the eclecticism, the energy, and the downright strangeness that was Prince Rodgers Nelson. While Michael Jackson wanted to be the King of Pop, Prince was the king of sex. While Madonna pursued controversy, Prince breathed controversy. And while Bruce Springsteen wanted to speak for the average man, Prince spoke for God.

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The Smiths' Louder Than Bombs turns 25 years old today

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The Smiths' Louder Than Bombs, released on March 30, 1987, turns 25 today.

Tony Wilson (the Andy Warhol of Manchester, England) once made the hackneyed statement "Morrissey is a woman trapped in a man's body," to which the dandified frontman of the Smiths eventually replied, "Tony Wilson is a man trapped in a pig's body." The two were friends and icons of the Manchester music scene, a city that had given us some of the best English bands between 1977 and 1995 (the Buzzcocks, Joy Division/New Order, the Fall, the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, Oasis, the Verve), not least of all, the Smiths.

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