Today in rock history: On this date in 1993, lead guitarist of the locally-founded rock band Savatage was killed as a result of an auto accident. Criss and his brother Jon formed the band in nearby Tarpon Springs in 1979 and began a run of albums with 1983’s warmly received debut album, Sirens. Driving near Zephyrhills in the early morning hours with his wife, Oliva’s car was struck by a drunk driver who already had a long list of DUIs racked up prior to this incident. Oliva, only 30 years old at the time, died as a result of the crash. He and the band had just released its seventh album, Edge of Thorns six months prior to Oliva’s death. The decision was made by his brother Jon to keep Savatage going after the unfortunate death of one of its founding members and guitarist.
TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
Eminem releases The Slim Shady LP, The Selecter gives us Pressure and more
Today in rock history: On this date in 1972, rap star Eminem was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. Born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, Eminem started releasing albums in the late 1990s and has since become one of the most popular and best-selling hip-hop artists of all time. Selling in excess of 200 million albums globally, Eminem is the only artist in recording history to have nine of his albums debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s pop albums chart. The outspoken and brutally honest rap star has steadily gained a loyal following since his breakout hit, 1999’s The Slim Shady LP which featured the hit “My Name Is”. The ever-evolving songwriter and rap star turns 46 today.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1967, on an episode of the popular sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, musicians and songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart appeared as guest stars. The duo, known mostly for the large number of songs they’d written that became huge hits for The Monkees, portrayed members of a fictional band that was hired to appear at a charity fundraiser on the program. In search of a hit career of their own, Boyce and Hart gained exposure as a pop act with this program and the song they performed on the show, “Out and About,” became a Top 40 hit not long after this television appearance. Also appearing on this episode was real life record producer Phil Spector who appeared as himself (42 years later, Spector was found guilty today of second degree murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson, more than six years after cops found the actress fatally shot in the music man’s foyer). Two years later, Boyce and Hart would also appear on another popular weekly comedy program, Bewitched.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1980, British rock band Dire Straits released its third album, the stellar Making Movies. Critically lauded upon its release, the record was a huge hit all over the world, especially in several European countries. Featuring the singles “Romeo and Juliet,” “Tunnel of Love” and “Skateaway,” the album was a massive stylish accomplishment for the band and displayed its ever-growing prowess and sophistication. Guesting on the album was Roy Bittan, best known for his integral piano playing as part of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Making Movies became a platinum selling record in America and went to No. 1 in Italy where it was the best-selling album of 1980 in that country.