Today in rock history: On this date in 1960, Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, better known as Chuck D, was born in the borough of Queens in New York City. As the chief MC for legendary and politically motivated hip-hop trailblazers Public Enemy, Chuck D helped lay the foundation for smart, socially relevant hip-hop, and he opted for tackling more substantial, weightier topics within his lyrics, which was not the norm at the time for hip-hop and rap music. A musician, author and producer, Chuck D has remained highly regarded as one of the most substantial and vital figures in the development of hip-hop music and in elevating it to a politically charged platform.
TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
Public Enemy unleashes Fear Of A Black Planet, a debut from The Raspberries and more
Today in rock history: On this date in 1981, Australian-born pop singer turned actor Rick Springfield started a two-week run at the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s pop singles chart with his monster hit, “Jessie’s Girl.” After a somewhat successful stint as a teen idol in the early '70s, Springfield came back stronger and better than ever at the dawn of the 1980s. His visibility and popularity were on the rise thanks to a prominent role on successful television soap opera General Hospital. The album he’d release in 1981, Working Class Dog, became one of the greatest comeback success stories in pop-music history. As Springfield’s fifth album overall, the record went on to sell over 3 million copies in the U.S. alone, won the singer a Grammy award and featured two other popular hit songs besides “Jessie’s Girl” — “Love is Alright Tonite” and the Sammy Hagar-penned “I’ve Done Everything For You."
Today in rock history: On this date in 1988, Seattle, Washington garage-rock band Mudhoney released its very first single, “Touch Me I’m Sick.” Recorded only three months after the band had formed, the single, pressed and distributed by up-and-coming indie label Sub Pop Records, gained notoriety for its amplified, fuzzy garage-rock sound and became well-known in independent rock circles. The song remains one of the band’s most recognizable, helped spawn a vital and rich music scene in the Washington area and influenced a vast number of bands who followed in Mudhoney’s footsteps. The band has a new album being released in the fall via Sub Pop.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1959, Joe Elliott was born in Sheffield, England. As one of the founders and original members of hard rock band Def Leppard, Elliott has been the band’s recognizable and distinctive-sounding lead singer since its inception in the late 1970s. Def Leppard went on to become one of the most popular and best-selling bands of the 1980s and continues to appeal to a loyal longtime fan base. On this same date in 1980, on Elliott’s 2s1st birthday, Def Leppard made its U.S. concert debut when they served as opening act for hard-rock giants AC/DC at the 3,400 capacity venue, The Palladium, in New York City. The band plays Tampa's Amalie Arena on August 18 and more information on the show is available via amaliearena.com. Let's listen to the AC/DC audio from that 1980 NYC show.