Today in rock history: on this date in 1936, country music legend Kris Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas. Known for his songwriting skills, Kristofferson has written some of the best-known and most famous songs In the genre including “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and “For the Good Times.” He’s also the writer behind the late Janis Joplin’s biggest hit, “Me and Bobby McGee” as well as of many, many other songs. Kristofferson is also an accomplished actor having appeared in films like A Star is Born, Heaven’s Gate and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Known for his involvement in the outlaw country movement along with his contemporaries Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, Kristofferson, who still records and tours to this day, was a member of the all-star group The Highwaymen with Willie and Waylon and fellow legendary performer, the late Johnny Cash. An inductee of the County Music Hall of Fame, Kris Kristofferson turns 82 years old today.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1990, Welsh rock and roll band Manic Street Preachers released its EP, New Art Riot. The release was the first to feature the lineup consisting of singer James Dean Bradfield, guitarist Richey Edwards, bassist Nicky Wire and drummer Sean Moore. The band’s rough and ragged style drew plenty of comparisons to one of its biggest influences, The Clash, and was the first release to draw heavy praise from British press and shed light on the virtually unknown Welsh band. A huge break came when the EP was named “Single of the Week” by influential British music paper, Melody Maker. Released on independent label Damaged Goods, the four-track record was released as part of a limited edition run of 1,000 copies that sold out almost immediately after its release. By 1992, the band would release its first proper album, Generation Terrorists which would make them one of the biggest and most controversial bands in Great Britain at the time.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1982, California new wave band Oingo Boingo released its fantastic sophomore album, Nothing to Fear. Led by quirky lead singer and songwriter Danny Elfman, the large, ska-influenced band were a huge draw in their home state and had carved out a significant following. With the attention this album drew, the band was invited to tour as an opening act for The Police and got lots of exposure by doing so. This album features Boingo classics like “Private Life,” “Grey Matter” and “Wild Sex (in the Working Class)” which was featured in the 1984 John Hughes teen comedy, “Sixteen Candles”. One of the band’s very best releases, “Nothing to Fear” is considered by many to be the quintessential release by this highly original and unique band.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1993, singer/songwriter Liz Phair released her highly regarded debut album, Exile in Guyville. Based on demo recordings Phair had written and recorded on her own, independent label Matador Records got wind of Phair’s recordings and offered her the opportunity release her songs after pairing her up with record producer Brad Wood who helped create the sound and feel of her first album. Unanimously received and reviewed positively, Exile in Guyville wound up on several best-of, year-end lists as 1993 drew to a close. Music videos for the songs "Never Said" and "Stratford-On-Guy" received heavy airplay on MTV which helped introduce Phair to a wider audience than she ever would have had a chance to reach. Regarded as one of the most influential and important indie rock albums of the 1990s, Exile in Guyville has been reissued several times in various different formats since its release and is still considered an influential, landmark album.