2013Country singer George Jones dies at age 81 from hypoxic respiratory failure, just a couple weeks after his final concert in Knoxville, Tennessee.
2003The Morgan Creek Bridge in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is renamed the James Taylor Bridge in honor of the singer, who mentioned it in his song "Copperline."
1986Van Halen proves there is life after David Lee Roth as their album 5150, the first with Sammy Hagar, hits #1 in the US for the first of three weeks.More
1977Jim Steinman's play Neverland opens at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Five months later, three of the songs he wrote for the production appear on Meat Loaf's seminal album Bat Out Of Hell, which would become one of the 10 best-selling albums of all time.
1977The most famous club of the disco era, Studio 54, opens for business at 254 West 54th Street in New York City. Over the next three years, celebrity guests include Cher, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Brooke Shields, and Liza Minnelli.
1969Walter Carlos's album Switched-On Bach, notable for being the first successful album to remix classical music compositions on the newly-invented Moog synthesizer, reaches #10 on the Billboard Albums chart. The popularity of the album is the commercial breakthrough for Moog synthesizers, which go on to be part of the soundtrack in the films Tron, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange. This in part brings synthesized music to mainstream popularity, paving the way for disco (especially the 'hi-NRG' style) in the '70s.
2013X marks the spot for the Ohio-born Twenty One Pilots, who pledge their devotion to their hometown fans by getting "X" tattoos midway through a performance at the Lifestyles Community Pavilion in Columbus. Frontman Tyler Joseph tells the crowd: "This X is dedicated to you guys. Columbus, Ohio is where we're from and it will always be where we are from. Whenever someone asks what that X means, I am going to say this is for all of you."
2011Folk singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow dies at age 60 after being in a coma for three months due to a cerebral hemorrhage.
2006Country singer Kellie Pickler gets voted off Season Five of American Idol.
The Last Waltz is shot in 35-millimeter film rather than the customary 16, a risky proposition because the 35-millimeter cameras have never run continuously for very long, and many fear they'll burn out. Scorsese, however, is adamant that only 35 millimeter can do the concert justice. He goes ahead with the plan and the cameras mercifully hold up. The cinematographers operating the cameras are among the best in the business, with Raging Bull's Michael Chapman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind's Vilmos Zsigmond, and Easy Rider's László Kovács.
The farewell concert depicted in the film takes place in San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom. A set from a San Francisco Opera production of La traviata appears as the stage backdrop. Crystal chandeliers hang over the stage.
The film captures several giants of the music world performing along with the Band. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, and many others are there. Stephen Stills and some poets doing spoken-word pieces don't make the cut, and also deleted from the film is a smudge of cocaine under Neil Young's nose.
All overt signs of cocaine use are hidden in the film, in fact, but observers can see the drug's presence in some of the wired-up performances - particularly Young's. Cocaine had been present at the show in large quantities, all part of the celebratory atmosphere cultivated for the event.
The film receives lavish critical praise, instantly touted as one of the great concert films ever made, with only a couple prominent detractors issuing negative reviews. One of those detractors, however, is the Band's Levon Helm, who feels the movie is made to look as if Robbie Robertson was the only member who really mattered. He calls it "The biggest f--kin' rip off that ever happened to The Band."