Today in rock history: On this date in 1996, five days after being shot four times, hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur (born Lesane Parish Crooks) passed away. Mysteriously gunned down from another vehicle at a stoplight in Las Vegas after attending a big-ticket boxing match, Shakur was rushed to a local hospital. One of the most influential and highly respected artists at the time, the rap hero was riding the crest of several blockbuster albums. His most current at the time, the two-disc set All Eyez on Me, debuted at the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s pop albums chart and sold more than 5 million copies not long after its release. Several more titles were released following Shakur’s death and several charted respectably as well. Fans mourned the loss of the poet and visionary that was only 25 years old at the time of his murder.
TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
Today in rock history; Kate Bush scores her first U.K. No. 1 with Never For Ever
Today in rock history: On this date in 1982, inventive and highly original British singer/songwriter Kate Bush released her fourth album, the astonishingly unorthodox masterwork The Dreaming. Although Bush’s three prior albums were commercial successes in her native country and warmly received by music journalists, The Dreaming initially didn’t fare as well. Taking two years to record and opting to produce the effort herself, Bush ventured into bizarre and quizzical lyrical territory and employed the then-cutting edge Fairlight digital synthesizer to further enhance the bold, experimental tone of the album. Many critics greeted the album with lukewarm reviews and some even went as far as to accuse the young singer of losing her spark and edge although she was only 24 years old at the time of The Dreaming's release. Lambasted for being uncommercial and overtly obtuse, the album still managed to climb as high as No. 3 on British sales charts and produced five singles, among them were the quirky, frantic “Sat in Your Lap” (which almost cracked the Top 10 on British singles charts), “There Goes a Tenner,” “Suspended in Gaffa” and the album’s title track. As is often the case with works of art or albums that are misunderstood or ill-received upon their initial unveiling, The Dreaming is now considered to be Bush’s lost masterpiece and the most underrated album of her rich catalog. Beloved by her legion of diehard fans, The Dreaming still sounds light years ahead of its time and dazzlingly fresh and inventive, more than 35 years after its original release date.
Today in rock history: On this date in 2000, Almost Famous, the semi-autobiographical film about teenage rock journalist Cameron Crowe, opened in movie theaters across the United States. Its all-star cast and array of outstanding performances made for a fantastic film full of accurate and realistic depictions of the state of rock and roll, and the antics involved in covering it, in the 1970s. Based on Crowe’s real-life assignment as a reporter for what was the biggest rock magazine at the time, Rolling Stone, the film follows the young central character through a series of unforgettable events and encounters that mirrored Crowe’s true experiences. Although the film fared poorly at the box office, it garnered a strong cult following and is hailed as one of the best and most accurately depicted rock and roll films of all time. Critics were supportive and positive when reviewing the film and some even went as far as to deem it the best film of the year as 2000 came to an end. The film was also recognized with some prestigious awards when it took home an Oscar for best screenplay of the year, a Grammy award for best soundtrack of the year and a pair of Golden Globes in the categories of Best Film, Musical or Comedy and a win for Best Supporting Actress going to Kate Hudson, whose performance was exquisite.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1988, California ska/punk/funk outfit Fishbone released its second full-length album, the genre-bending Truth and Soul. Quickly gaining a dedicated following and heralded for its incendiary live performances, the band was, at the time, one of the most original and unforgettable acts of the day. Mesmerizing lead singer and sax player Angelo Moore led the group through its variety of styles and sounds, and together the large ensemble created an album that appealed as much to punk-rock kids and skaters as it did to fans of ska and funk devotees. Singles from the album included an electrified cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic “Freddie’s Dead” and the ska-infused “Ma and Pa.” Although reviews for the album were mixed at best, Truth and Soul nonetheless solidified a loyal fan base for this adventurous and groundbreaking band and helped get Fishbone noticed among the hordes of alternative and college rock bands that were being heavily praised at the time.