Today in rock history: on this date in 1988, California-based alternative/hard rock band Jane’s Addiction released its first major label release, Nothing’s Shocking. After putting out an independently released self-titled record that created quite a buzz and drew attention to the band and its outlandish lead singer, Perry Farrell, Warner Brothers Records courted Jane's Addictions and signed them to a recording contract. The band’s first outing with the label was this marvelous, landmark album. A massive hit on college radio, the band ushered in a new sound that mixed Led Zeppelin-style riffs with a the completely off beat lyrical and vocal talents of Farrell and lead singer Dave Navarro’s searing guitar work. Singles from the album included “Mountain Song,” “Ocean Size” and the dreamy ballad “Jane Says”. The album barely cracked Billboard Magazine’s Top 100 album chart but the impact it made and the longevity it held as one of the definitive albums of the 1980s is undeniable. The album has since achieved platinum sales status topping over one million copies sold and has remained one of, if the not the, most beloved albums in the band’s impressive catalog.
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Today in rock history: on this date in 1946, drummer Keith Moon was born in Wembley, Middlesex, England. The young, daring, adventurous upstart joined legendary rock and roll band The Who at age 17 and was quickly recognized as a dynamic part of the band’s chemistry thanks to his outstanding drum work and his over the top persona. Off-stage antics gained more notoriety though as Moon became synonymous with booze, drugs and outrageous acts of debauchery that included trashing hotel rooms and destroying cars and equipment. Moon’s lifestyle caught up with him and the talented and wild drummer died in 1978 at the young age of 32.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1969, country music legend Johnny Cash started a four-week run at the no. 1 spot on Billboard’s pop album chart with his renowned live album, Johnny Cash at San Quentin. The album was recorded live at San Quentin State Prison just north of San Francisco, California and was the second live Cash landmark album to be recorded at a state prison (1968’s At Folsom Prison preceded it). The record contains one of Johnny’s best known recordings, his fiery version of the Shel Silverstein-penned classic, “A Boy Named Sue.”
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Today in rock history: on this date in 1980, David Bowie topped the U.K. singles chart with “Ashes To Ashes.” The song was the lead single to come from his masterpiece album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) which was released in the same year. The song continued the ongoing saga of the Major Tom character who first surfaced in Bowie’s breakthrough single “Space Oddity.” The video for the song was featured regularly on MTV and was visually and conceptually stunning. The video was one of the most expensive promo clips ever created at the time and cost in excess of $250,000 to create.