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January 15th: The Biggest Music Headlines

Scroll down the page to see all the music headlines, stories and events for January 15 throughout music history

Dolores

Fans Morn the Death of Cranberries Frontwoman, Delores O’Riordan

On this day in music, January 15, 2018, Irish singer-songwriter Dolores O’Riordan, known best as the frontwoman of The Cranberries, died unexpectedly at the age of 46. Rising to fame with the band’s 1993 breakthrough album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, O’Riordan immediately stood out with her unique vocals – particularly her use of traditional “keening” and yodeling, as heard on such defining alt-rock hits as “Zombie,” “Linger,” and “Dreams.” With the Cranberries, O’Riordan released seven studio albums, as well as the posthumous In The End.

In 1983, Australian new wavers Men At Work began a four-week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Down Under.” Originally released in 1980, the song was re-recorded when the band signed to Colombia Records. Over the next two years, the upbeat track spread across the globe and finally debuted on the US pop charts in November 1982. Thanks to the success of the single, the group became the first Australian act to have a simultaneous No.1 hit and a No.1 album (Business as Usual) in America.

In 1965, The Who released their first single, “I Can’t Explain.” The enduring mod favorite, which featured a young Jimmy Page on guitar, eventually peaked at No.8 on the UK pop chart.

In 1994, the prolific singer-songwriter, Harry Nilsson, died at the age of 52, following a heart attack. In addition to releasing the very first remix album (1971’s Aerial Pandemonium Ballet), Nilsson was best known for such hits as “Everybody’s Talking” (from the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack), the oft-covered “Without You,” and the whimsical “Coconut.” Considered to be among one of the greatest songwriters of all time by a variety of outlets, Nilsson was also a well-documented favorite of The Beatles.

In 1977, the Eagles scored their third No.1 album in the US with Hotel California. One of the best-selling albums of all time, Hotel California marked the group’s fifth studio LP and featured such enduring hits as “Life in the Fast Lane,” “New Kid in Town,” and the title track. The album earned the band multiple Grammy nods and catapulted The Eagles to new heights of fame.

In 1972, Don McLean’s epic folk-rock ballad, “American Pie,” began a four-week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The song, which laments the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, became an enduring hit for McLean and struck a deep chord, culturally, for years to come.

In 1972, Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” made its debut on the Billboard Hot 100. The hard-rocking track spent eight weeks on the chart, eventually peaking at No.8. The song’s title was inspired by a black labrador retriever, who visited the group at the recording studio during their sessions.

In 1961, soul history was made when The Supremes signed a recording contract with Motown Records. Helping to make the Detroit label a household name, The Supremes became Motown’s most successful act (not to mention one of the biggest girl groups of all time) releasing 12 chart-topping hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

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BORN ON JANUARY 15:

1893: Ivor Novello (Songwriter)
1941: Don Van Vilet (Captain Beefheart)
1948: Ronnie Van Zandt (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
1953: Douglas Elwin Erikson (Garbage)
1965: Adam Jones (Tool)
1967: Lisa Valez (Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam)

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January 15th

On this day in music
15 Jan 2023
British television director and producer Bruce Gowers died age 82. His music video for Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' brought him international recognition, leading to his relocation to the United States in the late 1970s. He also directed videos and musical specials for Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Prince, Britney Spears and John Cougar 'Jack and Diane' which spent four weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982.
15 Jan 2020
American multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Chris Darrow died of complications from a stroke age 75. He was considered to be a pioneer of country rock music in the late-1960s and performed and recorded with numerous groups, including Kaleidoscope and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Darrow played bass on Leonard Cohen’s debut Songs of Leonard Cohen.
15 Jan 2018
Irish musician and singer-songwriter Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries died unexpectedly while she was in London, England, for a recording session. An inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court later ruled that she died as a result of accidental drowning in a bath following sedation by alcohol intoxication. The Cranberries had the 1994 hit singles ‘Linger’, 'Dreams' and 'Zombie' and the band's 1993 album Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can’t spent a total of 86 weeks on the UK chart. They rank as one of the best-selling alternative acts of the 1990s, having sold nearly 50 million albums worldwide.
15 Jan 2016
Nineteen of David Bowie's albums entered the UK album charts in the wake of his death. His new album, Blackstar, reached No.1, and in the top 40, Nothing Has Changed - The Very Best Of was at No.5, The Best Of 1969 / 1974 was at No.11, Hunky Dory, No.14, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, No.17, Best of Bowie, No.18, Aladdin Sane, No.23, The Next Day, No.25, Low No.31 and Diamond Dogs, No. 37. Thirteen Bowie tracks also entered the top 100, led by 'Heroes' at No.12. Also his songs were streamed more than 19 million times on services like Apple Music and Spotify.
15 Jan 2015
American record producer, singer and musician Kim Fowley died of bladder cancer in Hollywood, California at the age of 75. He is best known for his role behind a string of novelty and cult pop rock singles in the 1960s, and for managing The Runaways in the 1970s. With Gary S. Paxton he recorded the novelty song ‘Alley Oop’, which reached No.1 on the charts in 1960 and was credited to the non-existent group the Hollywood Argyles. He arranged 'Nut Rocker' for B. Bumble and the Stingers, which became a No.1 hit in the UK in 1962.
15 Jan 2010
N-Dubz were dropped as ambassadors of anti-bullying charity Beatbullying after band member Dappy sent a woman threatening text messages. Chloe Moody texted The Chris Moyles Radio 1 Show while the band were being interviewed, calling them "losers" and labelling Dappy "repulsive", Dappy had sent a text back to her the following day saying "Your gonna die".
15 Jan 2008
Ronnie Wood was recovering following an operation for a hernia after he sustained the injury during the band's recent Bigger Bang tour. The 60-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist was told to rest for two months after the procedure.
15 Jan 2002
1980s British pop legend Adam Ant was arrested and charged with throwing a car alternator through a window at the Prince of Wales pub in Camden, London and then threatening patrons with a starting pistol. He was later fined £500 and placed under a 12-month Community Rehabilitation Order for psychiatric care, with a suspended sentence.
15 Jan 1998
American Chicago blues vocalist, harmonica player, Junior Wells died aged 63. Born Amos Blakemore he is best known for his signature song ‘Messin' with the Kid’ and his 1965 album Hoodoo Man Blues. He also worked with Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt and The Rolling Stones.
15 Jan 1994
American singer songwriter Harry Nilsson died in his sleep of heart failure after spending the previous day in the recording studio. He recorded 'Everybody's Talkin' from the film Midnight Cowboy and wrote hits for Three Dog Night and The Monkees. Had the UK & US No.1 single with his version of the Badfinger Evans & Ham song 'Without You.' When John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference in 1968 to announce the formation of Apple Corps, John was asked to name his favorite American artist. He replied, "Nilsson". Paul was then asked to name his favorite American group. He replied, "Nilsson".
15 Jan 1992
English bass guitarist Dee Murray died after suffering a stroke aged 45. He is best known as a member of Elton John's band. He first appeared with Elton on the 1970 album Tumbleweed Connection and the milestone albums Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson were also members of the Spencer Davis Group in 1969 and during the Eighties Murray continued working as a session musician.
15 Jan 1983
Men At Work started a four-week run at No.1 in the US singles chart with 'Down Under' which went on to sell over two million copies in the US alone. The song was also a No.1 in the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland, and was a top 10 hit in many other countries.
15 Jan 1983
Phil Collins had his first UK No.1 single with his version of 'You Can't Hurry Love,' a hit for The Supremes in 1966. Collins' version was the first track on the very first Now That's What I Call Music CD.
15 Jan 1977
The Eagles were at No.1 on the US album chart with Hotel California the group's third US No.1 album. In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Don Henley said the song was about "a journey from innocence to experience...that's all".
15 Jan 1976
Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here was on the UK album chart. The album's packaging, designed by Storm Thorgerson, featured an opaque black sleeve inside which was hidden the album artwork. Thorgerson had noted that, in the US, Roxy Music's Country Life was sold in an opaque green cellophane sleeve - censoring the cover image - and he adopted the idea, concealing the artwork for Wish You Were Here in a dark-coloured shrink-wrap (making the album art 'absent').
15 Jan 1972
Don McLean's 'American Pie' started a four week run at No.1 in the US singles chart. The song is a recounting of "The Day the Music Died" (a term taken from the song) the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.), and the aftermath. The song was listed as the No.5 song on the RIAA project Songs of the Century.
15 Jan 1972
Led Zeppelin's Black Dog made its debut on the US singles chart. The group's third single peaked at No.15 and spent 8 weeks on the chart. The song's title is a reference to a nameless, black Labrador retriever that wandered around the Headley Grange studios during recording.
15 Jan 1971
David Bowie released 'Holy Holy' as a single in the UK which failed to chart. A more frantic version of the song was recorded in 1971 for The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars but was dropped from the album, and subsequently appeared as the B-side to 'Diamond Dogs' in 1974.
15 Jan 1969
George Harrison had a five-hour meeting with John, Paul and Ringo where he made it clear that he was fully prepared to quit The Beatles for good. Harrison wasn't happy with plans for live performances and the current Let It Be film project.
15 Jan 1967
The Rolling Stones were forced to change the lyrics of 'Let’s Spend The Night Together' to Let’s Spend Some Time Together when appearing on the US TV The Ed Sullivan Show, after the producers objected to the content of the lyrics. Jagger ostentatiously rolled his eyes at the TV camera while singing the changed lyrics, resulting in host Ed Sullivan announcing that The Rolling Stones would be banned from performing on his show ever again.
15 Jan 1965
The Who released their first single 'I Can't Explain' which was written by Pete Townshend when he was 18 years old. With Jimmy Page on rhythm guitar and The Ivy League on backing vocals, it went on to reach No.8 on the UK chart and peaked at No.93 on the US chart. David Bowie recorded a version of the song for his seventh studio album Pin Ups in 1973, along with another Who song, 'Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere'.
15 Jan 1964
The Beatles performed live at the Cinema Cyrano, Versailles, France, before an audience of 2,000. The show was a warm-up for a three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre that would start the next day in Paris.
15 Jan 1961
The Supremes signed a world wide recording contract with Motown Records. Originally founded as the Primettes, they became the most commercially successful of Motown's acts and are, to date, America's most successful vocal group with 12 No.1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
Born on this day in music
15 Jan 1975
Belinda Chapple, Australian singer from Bardot, winners of the Australian Popstars reality show, who had the 2000 Australian No.1 single ‘Poison’, and 2000 Australian No.1 self-titled album.
15 Jan 1967
Lisa Velez singer, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, (1987 US No.1 single 'Head To Toe'). They were one of the first freestyle music groups to emerge from New York City in the 1980s.
15 Jan 1965
Adam Jones, guitarist, from American rock band Tool who had the 2001 US No.1 album Lateralus.
15 Jan 1961
Irish musician Damian O'Neill, guitar, The Undertones. Their first single 'Teenage Kicks' released in 1978 peaked at No.31 on the UK chart the 1980 single 'My Perfect Cousin' peaked at No. 9. After the Undertones split in 1983, Damian O'Neill formed That Petrol Emotion with his guitarist brother, John O'Neill.
15 Jan 1959
Peter Trewavas, bassist from British rock band Marillion who had the 1985 UK No.2 single 'Kayleigh'. The band achieved eight Top Ten UK albums between 1983 and 1994, including a No.1 album in 1985 with Misplaced Childhood.
15 Jan 1953
American musician, songwriter, screenwriter, film producer and record producer, Duke Erikson who with Garbage had the 1996 UK No. 4 single 'Stupid Girl'.
15 Jan 1953
Swiss artist and musician Boris Blank from Yello. Among their best-known singles is 'Oh Yeah' (1985), which has appeared in many films and television shows including Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Secret of My Success, Uncle Buck and The Simpsons. Yello also scored the 1988 UK No.7 single 'The Race'.
15 Jan 1952
Melvyn Gale, cello, with Electric Light Orchestra, who had the 1979 UK No.3 & US No.4 single 'Don't Bring Me Down' plus 26 other Top 40 hits. ELO have sold over 50 million records worldwide.
15 Jan 1951
Biff Byford singer from English heavy metal band Saxon. As one of the leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal, they had eight UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s.
15 Jan 1948
Ronnie Van Zant, vocalist with Lynyrd Skynyrd who had the 1974 US No. 8 single 'Sweet Home Alabama' and the 1982 UK No. 21 single 'Freebird'. Van Zant died in a plane crash between shows from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on October 20th 1977 along with bandmates Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines. Remaining band members survived, although all were seriously injured.
15 Jan 1947
Pete Waterman, producer, TV presenter and part of the Stock, Aitken & Waterman team. Booked the first ever tour for The Bay City Rollers, signed Musical Youth and Nik Kershaw, during the 70s was promotion consultant for John Travolta. Had 1987 UK No.13 hit with 'Roadblock.' Dominated UK pop in the mid-to-late 1980s. as part of S.A.W. the most successful pop writers & producers of all time producing Bananarama, Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Jason Donovan. He was also a judge on UK TV's Pop Stars.
15 Jan 1946
American singer-songwriter Bobby Bloom who had the 1970 US No.8 & UK No.3 single 'Montego Bay'. He also co-wrote 'Mony Mony' for Tommy James and the Shondells and, with Jeff Barry, 'Sunshine' for The Archies. Bloom suffered from depression towards the end of his life. Bloom died on 28 February 1974, at the age of 28 after he apparently shot himself while cleaning his gun.
15 Jan 1944
Joan Marie Johnson from American pop music girl group The Dixie Cups best known for a string of hits including their 1964 million-selling record ‘Chapel of Love’, ‘People Say’, and ‘Iko Iko’. She died on 2 October 2016.
15 Jan 1942
Edward Bivens singer with the American R&B vocal group The Manhattans. They had the 1976 US No.1 & UK No.4 single 'Kiss And Say Goodbye' and the 1980 hit 'Shining Star', which won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance. Sixteen of their songs have reached the Billboard Hot 100. He sang on every Manhattans hit since the group's inception, and wrote many of their hit songs. He led the Manhattans up until his death on 3 December 2014, at the age of 78.
15 Jan 1941
American musician, singer-songwriter and artist Don Van Vliet, (Captain Beefheart). He released the albums 'Safe As Milk', 'Trout Mask Replica', and 'Strictly Personal' with his Magic Band. His expressionist paintings and drawings have been exhibited in art galleries and museums across the world. Beefheart died on 17th Dec 2010 aged 69 from complications from multiple sclerosis.
15 Jan 1893
Welsh actor, dramatist, singer and composer Ivor Novello. He became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century. His first big hit was 'Keep the Home Fires Burning' (1914), which was popular during the First World War. The Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting, established in 1955 in Novello's memory, are awarded each year by The Ivors Academy (formerly the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) to British songwriters and composers. Novello died suddenly from a coronary thrombosis at the age of 58 on 6 March 1951.
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