February 12th: The Biggest Music Headlines

Scroll down the page to see all the music headlines, stories, and events for February 12 throughout music history

Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

The Miracles Give Motown Its First Million-Selling Single

On this day in music, February 12, 1961, The Miracles’ “Shop Around” gave Motown Records its first million-selling single. Penned by lead singer Smokey Robinson and Motown founder Berry Gordy, the irresistible track spent eight weeks at the top of Billboard’s R&B chart and peaked at No.2 on the Hot 100 (the first Motown release to land in the Top 5). The song, which also marked Motown’s first release in the UK, was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and has since ranked on numerous lists, including Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”

In 1977, Pink Floyd released their tenth studio album, Animals. Self-produced in the band’s Britannia Row Studios in London, the record examined the sociopolitical conditions of mid-1970s Britain, drawing influences from George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Although no singles were released from the LP, the band promoted their new work throughout their “In The Flesh” tour, propelling the album to the Top 5 in the US, UK, Australia, and across Europe.

In 2017, Adele became the first artist in Grammy history to win all three general field awards in the same ceremony, twice. After a previous sweep at the 2012 Grammys, where the British singer-songwriter took home Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year, she repeated the same feat five years later, winning the above awards for “Hello” and 25, respectively.

In 1970, John Lennon performed “Instant Karma!” on BBC’s Top of The Pops, becoming the first Beatle to appear on the TV show since 1966. One of the fastest-released songs in pop music history, Lennon wrote, recorded, and mixed the single in one session and released it within ten days. “Instant Karma!” became the first solo single by a member of The Beatles to sell a million copies in the US, and was certified Gold in December 1970.

In 2007, Sting confirmed the reunion of The Police during a press conference at West Hollywood’s Whisky a Go Go club. One day earlier, at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards, the band announced their plans by performing their 1978 hit, “Roxanne.” The renowned English rock band would go on to play a best-selling reunion tour, beginning in May 2007.

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1939: Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
1952: Michael McDonald
1956: Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy)
1968: Chynna Phillips (Wilson Phillips)
1978: Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
1980: Gucci Mane
1988: Mike Posner

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February 12th

On this day in music
12 Feb 2021
Rupert Neve died at 94 years old due to pneumonia and heart failure. Neve was a pioneering designer of professional audio recording equipment. Regarded as the father of modern studio recording, his equipment became industry standard and influenced the sound of countless musicians including Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Santana, The Who, Pink Floyd and many more. Nirvana even recorded their iconic album Nevermind on a mixing console at Sound City Studios designed by Neve.
12 Feb 2017
Adele was the biggest winner at The 59th Annual Grammy Awards with five trophies, including Album of the Year for 25, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year for 'Hello'. Adele also became the first artist in history to win all three general field awards in the same ceremony twice, previously winning all three categories in 2012. David Bowie won Best Rock Performance, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Song and Best Recording Package for Blackstar.
12 Feb 2017
American singer and musician Al Jarreau died of respiratory failure at the age of 76, just two days after announcing his retirement. During his career he received a total of seven Grammy Awards and is best known for his 1981 album Breakin' Away. He also sang the theme song of the late-1980s television series Moonlighting.
12 Feb 2015
Welsh singer Steve Strange, (born Steven Harrington) lead singer of Eighties pop band Visage, died aged 55 following a heart attack in hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. His band, Visage, formed in 1979 (with Rusty Egan and Midge Ure from Rich Kids, Billy Currie from Ultravox, and Barry Adamson, John McGeoch and Dave Formula from Magazine), and their breakthrough single, 'Fade To Grey', peaked at No.8 in the UK in 1981. Strange appeared in the video for David Bowie's No.1 hit ‘Ashes to Ashes’.
12 Feb 2014
It was reported that Rock music overtook pop in UK album sales during 2013, winning a bigger share of the market for the first time in five years. Rod Stewart's Time was the best-selling album to be classified as rock by the Official Charts Company, followed by Arctic Monkeys and Bastille. In total rock accounted for 33.8% of album sales, compared with 31% for pop, said industry body the BPI. However, pop records still held the lead in single sales.
12 Feb 2009
A full frontal nude photo of Madonna taken in 1979 before she became famous, sold at auction for $37,500. The black and white picture was taken at a time when Madonna was a 20-year-old dancer trying to make ends meet in New York.
12 Feb 2008
Ronald Isley's appeal against a three-year jail term for tax fraud was rejected by a US court. The 65-year-old singer of the Isley Brothers argued against being imprisoned in an Indiana jail on the grounds of age and poor health. The court heard he cashed royalty cheques belonging to his brother O'Kelly, who died in 1996 and spent millions of dollars made from undeclared performances on a yacht and two homes. Isley was ordered to pay more than $3.1m (£1.62m) to the US tax service for "pathological" evasion.
12 Feb 2007
During a press conference at West Hollywood's Whisky a Go Go club Sting confirmed that The Police were getting back together. The band were set to kick off a world tour on May 28 in Vancouver, Canada, supported by Sting's son Joe Sumner's band, Fiction Plane.
12 Feb 2005
The Class 47 locomotive 47828 was named after Clash frontman Joe Strummer at a ceremony in Bristol. The diesel train, owned by Cotswold Rail, was named after the singer/guitarist who died, aged 50, in 2002.
12 Feb 2003
Former Doors drummer John Densmore took out legal action against The Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger for breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition. The band had reformed with Ex- Cult singer Ian Astbury and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Densmore said "It shouldn't be called The Doors if it's someone other than Jim Morrison singing."
12 Feb 2000
American singer, songwriter, musician Screamin' Jay Hawkins died aged 70 after emergency surgery for an aneurysm. A Golden Gloves boxing champion at 16, he was married nine times, fathered over 30 children, spent two years in jail and was temporary blinded by one of his flaming props on stage in 1976. He recorded 'I Put A Spell On You' in 1956, (which was covered by many acts including The Animals, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Nina Simone).
12 Feb 1997
U2 held a press conference in the Lingerie Department at the Greenwich Village Kmart store in Manhattan, New York City, to announce their Pop Mart world tour. The tour was set to start in Las Vegas on April 25th of this year.
12 Feb 1989
Aretha Franklin lost a court case against Broadway producer Ashton Springer, who sued for $1 million (£0.58 million) when Aretha failed to turn up for rehearsals for the stage show Sing Mahalia Sing, blaming her fear of flying on the non appearance.
12 Feb 1977
The Police recorded their first single, 'Fall Out' for £150 ($255) at Pathway Studios, London, England. Written by drummer Stewart Copeland it is the only Police recording featuring original guitarist Henry Padovani. Mick Jagger's review of the single in Sounds magazine (as a guest reviewer) called the song "competently played rock, with nasal annihilated vocals." It failed to chart on its original release, but when re-released in 1979 it made No.47 on the UK Singles Chart.
12 Feb 1977
Blondie, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and the Ramones all appeared at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, California. The Whisky played an important role in many musical careers. During the 60s The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and Love were regulars and The Doors were the house band for a while.
12 Feb 1977
Pink Floyd released their tenth studio album Animals in the US, where it reached No.3 in the charts. The album's cover image, a pig floating between two chimneys on Battersea Power Station, was conceived by bassist Roger Waters and realised by long-time design and photographic collaborators Hipgnosis.
12 Feb 1972
Al Green went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Let's Stay Together', his only US chart topper. It was ranked the 60th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Tina Turner had a hit with the song in 1984.
12 Feb 1970
John Lennon performed 'Instant Karma!' on BBC TV's Top Of The Pops, becoming the first Beatle to have appeared on the show since 1966. Lennon wrote, recorded, and mixed his new single, all in one day. It ranks as one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history. Lennon later stated, "I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we're putting it out for dinner."
12 Feb 1969
'(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice' by Amen Corner was at No.1 on the UK singles chart, the group's only UK No.1. The song was first offered to The Tremeloes as a potential single, who rejected it.
12 Feb 1967
15 police officers raided Redlands the West Sussex home of The Rolling Stone Keith Richards during a weekend party. The police who were armed with a warrant issued under the dangerous drugs act took away various substances for forensic tests. George and Pattie Harrison had been at the house, but it was said that the police waited for them to leave before they raided the house in order not to bust the holder of an MBE.
12 Feb 1965
Pye Records announced that they'd signed 'the British Bob Dylan', when they added Donovan to the label. The Scottish singer-songwriter produced a series of hit albums and singles between 1965 and 1970 and became a friend of leading pop musicians including Joan Baez, Brian Jones and The Beatles. He influenced John Lennon when he taught him a finger-picking guitar style in 1968.
12 Feb 1964
The Beatles returned to New York City by train from Washington, D.C. for two performances at Carnegie Hall. There was such a demand for tickets that some extra seating was arranged surrounding the stage. Tickets ranged from $1.65 to $5.50.
12 Feb 1961
The Miracles' 'Shop Around' became Motown Record's first million-selling single. It was also the label's first No.1 hit on Billboard's R&B singles chart. In the following ten years, The Miracles would have six more million sellers.
12 Feb 1956
Dean Martin was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Memories Are Made Of This'. The American actor, comedian, singer and TV hosts biggest hit. Also covered by The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra and The Driffters.
Born on this day in music
12 Feb 1988
American singer-songwriter, Mike Posner. His 2016 single 'I Took a Pill in Ibiza' peaked in the top 10 on the charts in 27 countries around the world, including hitting No.1 in the United States and the UK.
12 Feb 1981
Lisa Hannigan, Irish singer with Damien Rice. Appeared on his 2003 album 'O' featuring the single 'Cannonball.'
12 Feb 1980
American rapper Gucci Mane. He helped pioneer the hip hop subgenre of trap music alongside fellow Atlanta-based rappers T.I. and Young Jeezy. He has worked with artists such as Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Selena Gomez, Mariah Carey.
12 Feb 1978
Brian Chase, drummer with American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their second album Show Your Bones, was released in 2006 and was named the second-best album of the year by NME.
12 Feb 1970
Jim Creeggan, bassist with Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies who scored the 1998 US No.1 & UK No.5 single 'One Week'. The group has sold over 15 million records including albums and singles, and were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in March of 2018.
12 Feb 1968
American singer, songwriter, and actress Chynna Phillips from Wilson Phillips Their 1990 eponymous debut album sold over 10 million copies worldwide and included five major US hit singles, four of which went Top 10 (three of those to No.1) on the Billboard Hot 100. Phillips is the daughter of the Mamas & the Papas band members John and Michelle Phillips.
12 Feb 1966
Gary Whelan, drummer with Manchester group Happy Mondays, who had the 1990 UK No.5 single 'Step On'.
12 Feb 1966
Paul Crook, American guitarist, who has worked with Meat Loaf, Anthrax and Sebastian Bach.
12 Feb 1959
Neil Conti, from English English pop band Prefab Sprout who had the 1988 UK No.7 single 'The King Of Rock 'n' Roll'.
12 Feb 1958
Grant McLennan, bass, vocals, songwriter with Australian group The Go-Betweens as well as releasing four solo albums. In 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association listed his composition 'Cattle and Cane' (1983), as one of their top 30 Australian songs of all time. McLennan died of a heart attack at the age of 48 at his home in Brisbane, Australia on 6 May 2006.
12 Feb 1956
Scottish rock guitarist Brian Robertson from Thin Lizzy appearing on five studio albums: Nightlife (1974), Fighting (1975), Jailbreak (1976), Johnny the Fox (1976), Bad Reputation (1977) and a live album Live and Dangerous (1978). Robertson later replaced "Fast" Eddie Clarke as the lead guitarist of Motorhead in May 1982 and also worked with Wild Horses.
12 Feb 1952
Grammy Award winning American singer and songwriter Michael McDonald, who with The Doobie Brothers had the 1979 US No.1 single 'What A Fool Believes', and the 1993 UK No.7 single 'Long Train Runnin'. He began his career singing back-up vocals with Steely Dan and has also worked with Kenny Loggins, David Cassidy, Van Halen, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin and Toto.
12 Feb 1951
Vincent James, from British soul group Sweet Sensation who scored the 1974 UK No.1 and US No.14 single 'Sad Sweet Dreamer'.
12 Feb 1950
Steve Hackett, guitarist who had the, 1974 UK No.21 single 'I Know What I Like In Your Wardrobe', with Genesis who he quit in 1977 for solo work. Hackett co-founded the supergroup GTR with Steve Howe in 1986 and then returned to his solo career.
12 Feb 1949
American guitarist Stanley Knight for American Southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas. The band reached the height of its fame in the 1970s and scored a hit with LaVern Baker's 1957 ‘Jim Dandy (To The Rescue)’, which reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. He died on February 16, 2013, four days after his 64th birthday following a brief battle with cancer.
12 Feb 1945
Joe Schermie, bassist with Three Dog Night, who had the 1970 UK No.3 & US No.1 single with a cover of the Randy Newman song 'Mama Told Me Not To Come'. The band scored 21 Billboard Top 40 hits (with three hitting No.1) between 1969 and 1975. Schermie died of a heart attack on 26 March 2002 age 56.
12 Feb 1942
Rick Frank Jr. drummer with Elephant's Memory who worked with John Lennon on his 1972 album 'Some Time In New York City.' In 1970, Elephant's Memory had a minor hit single with the song 'Mongoose' on Metromedia Records. Frank died at his home in Long Branch in December 1998.
12 Feb 1939
Ray Manzarek, keyboards, with The Doors, who had the 1967 US No.1 & UK No.9 single 'Light My Fire' and the 1971 single 'Riders On The Storm'. Manzarek died on 20th May 2013, he had suffered from bile duct cancer for many years. He formed the band with lead singer Jim Morrison in 1965 after a chance meeting in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.
12 Feb 1935
African-American singer and songwriter Gene McDaniels, who scored the 1961 US No.3 hit 'A Hundred Pounds Of Clay'. Gene also wrote Roberta Flack's 1974 No.1 hit 'Feel Like Makin' Love' which won a Grammy Award. McDaniels died on July 29, 2011.
12 Feb 1928
American composer, arranger and percussionist Vincent Montana Jr. best known as a member of MFSB and as the founder of the Salsoul Orchestra. He has been called "the Godfather of disco". He played on and arranged many tracks by The Intruders, The Delfonics, The Spinners, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The O'Jays, The Trammps, Eddie Kendricks, William DeVaughn, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, The Stylistics, Teddy Pendergrass, and many others. He died on 13 April 2013 age 85.
12 Feb 1920
American guitarist and session musician Bill Pitman. He played ukulele in the Academy Award-winning song 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head,' and as a session musician played on The Byrds hit 'Mr. Tambourine Man', 'Good Vibrations', The Beach Boys, 'Strangers in the Night', Frank Sinatra, 'Be My Baby', The Ronettes, 'Deep Purple' Nino Tempo & April Stevens and 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin'' Nancy Sinatra. He died at his home on 11 August 2022, aged 102, from complications of a fall.
12 Feb 1915
Lorne Greene, star of the NBC TV show Bonanza. He had a US No.1 single ‘Ringo’, which made him the second Canadian to have a US No.1 single, (a No.22 hit in the UK). Greene died on September 11th 1987.
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