U2 made its North American live debut on this day in 1980

A whopping 25 people saw the show.

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Today in rock history: On this date in 1980, a young rock quartet from Ireland, U2, made its North American live debut with a show at at New York City’s popular nightclub, The Ritz. The band was supposed to play Rochester the day prior, but that gig wound up being canceled. Instead, the band that would eventually go on to become the biggest band in the world played to an audience of 25 people at its initial American appearance. Although the show was sparsely attended, the fiery band drew rave reviews and would soon return to the U.S. to continue building its rabid, loyal following. [Note: Video above is from the band's 1981 show at the venue.]

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Today in rock history: On this date in 1956, gifted and energetic guitarist Randy Rhoads was born in Santa Monica, California. The classically trained musician was a founding member of California hard-rock band Quiet Riot and enjoyed great success in Japan as a member of the group’s original lineup (Quiet Riot’s rise to fame would come much later with a different collection of musicians). At the dawn of the 1980s, Rhoads was enlisted to become part of former Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osborne’s new band, and instantly drew accolades for his classically-infused style and amazing stage presence. Touring with Ozzy and playing to massive crowds, Rhoads seemed to be on top of the world until a plane crash in Leesburg, Florida claimed his life at age 25. He is often regarded as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time.

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Today in rock history: On this date in 1956, Peter Buck, guitarist and founding member of legendary American rock band R.E.M., was born in Berkeley, California. Buck’s family would eventually relocate to Athens, Georgia where Buck attended college and scored a job at the local record shop, Wuxtry Records. It's where he’d eventually meet Michael Stipe. The two founded the band that would eventually reach international stardom and be heralded as one of the most important bands to rise from indie and college rock roots to worldwide fame. Buck was a member of R.E.M. for the duration of the group’s tenure (1980-2011) and has participated in plenty of side projects and with several other bands including Hindu Love Gods, Tuatara and The Minus 5. Buck continues to play, write, record and produce music to this day. The distinctive guitarist who added so much color and style to so many great R.E.M. records turns 62 years old today.

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Today in rock history: On this date in 1968, The Rolling Stones' Beggar’s Banquet was released. Received as a return to the band’s blues-rock roots, the record followed the group’s poorly received venture into psychedelia (AKA the 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request). The Stones originally selected a cover photo that depicted a dirty, unkempt bathroom emblazoned with graffiti on its walls, but label rejected that concept, delaying the release of the album. Instead, the record was eventually released in a nondescript white package that resembled a formal invitation. Nonetheless, the record was a major triumph for the band and it garnered rave reviews on the way to reaching the Top 10 on sales charts in countries all around the world. Besides the more well-known, classic compositions found on the album (“Sympathy for the Devil,” “Street Fighting Man”) this fantastic record also includes bonafide Stones gems like “No Expectations,” “Factory Girl” and “Jigsaw Puzzle.” Later reissues and re-releases of Beggar’s Banquet featured the toilet photo that the band wanted in the first place.

About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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