Today in rock history: At 2 p.m. on December 14, 1980, Yoko Ono — widow of John Lennon, who was murdered a week prior — asked those who wished to commemorate the former Beatle’s life to offer a silent, 10-minute vigil in his honor. Lennon was cremated soon after his death, and there was no formal memorial service, so Yoko felt that this act would give fans across the globe a chance to honor her husband's life in a “participate from wherever you are” fashion. A crowd of 50,000 gathered in New York City’s Central Park, not far from the site of Lennon’s murder; the park had become a media frenzy thanks to the journalists and news crews on hand, but the quiet and melancholy tribute was carried out tastefully. Some radio stations around the world even agreed to go silent for those 10 minutes. The silent vigil continues to take place on a yearly basis in the area of Central Park that’s been dubbed Strawberry Fields, ensuring that Lennon’s legend and legacy will never be forgotten.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1974, hard-rock band Styx scored its first hit single with the ballad-turned-rocker, “Lady." Written by keyboardist and singer Dennis DeYoung, the song was a regional hit in the band’s homebase of Chicago, but it failed to make waves nationally until well after its release. Nonetheless, the success “Lady” eventually garnered led Styx to ditch hometown imprint Wooden Nickel Records and sign with A&M. “Lady” remains one of the band’s best-known and beloved songs, and it is still performed by DeYoung, who now works as a solo artist while on tour.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1958, singer-songwriter Mike Scott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He would eventually rise to prominence as founder of the enormously influential folk-rock band The Waterboys. The group’s 1988 watershed album, Fisherman’s Blues, drew rave reviews from rock journalists across the globe for its unique and clever mixture of styles and genres plus Scott’s clever lyrical wordplay. Working with a revolving lineup, Scott has continued to write and release strong albums both as a soloist and under the Waterboys moniker; the band's most recent release, 2017’s Out of All This Blue, was unanimously reviewed as an absolute triumph containing some of Scott’s finest work to date.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1972, at the height of England's T. Rex-mania, the group’s feature-length film, Born to Boogie, made its theatrical debut. Largely a concert film captured during a performance at Wembley Empire Pool in London, the movie also featured some in-studio recording footage as well as some quirky, indescribable vignettes. Making appearances in the film were pop star Elton John as well as former Beatle Ringo Starr who was a close friend of T. Rex’s leader, Marc Bolan. Starr is credited as the film’s director, and the project was released by Apple Films, a venture associated with the record label the Fab Four founded in the late 1960s. Bolan, Starr and John were all present at the film’s gala premiere which occurred at Oscar’s Cinema in the Soho district of London. A box office hit in the U.K., the film's 2005 DVD release included a wealth of previously unreleased footage documenting the late, great Marc Bolan in his prime.