2012A judge orders an audit of R&B singer Chris Brown's community-service records. The community service is part of a sentence handed down on his domestic violence charge in his 2009 incident with then-girlfriend Rihanna. While Brown claims to be done with his service, the court thinks some fishy finagling of the numbers happened, showing discrepancies in Brown's claim of having served at Tappahannock Children's Center, cleaning stables at the Richmond Police Department, and inventorying smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Kind of a menial place for a celebrity, no?
2010Bad Religion release their 15th full-length studio album, The Dissent of Man.
2001Celine Dion and Peter Gabriel perform at an American Red Cross benefit concert at Montreal's Molson Centre for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.
2000Ballet For Life, a ballet tribute to late Queen singer and AIDS casualty Freddie Mercury, premieres at London's Sadler's Wells Theatre.
1999Jean-Michel Jarre announces during a press conference at the Cairo Opera House that he has been commissioned by the Egyptian government to create and perform "The Twelve Dreams Of The Sun," a three-act "electronic opera" to mark the millennium night in the Egyptian desert.
1997The DVD-Audio format is introduced at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) conference.
1995Singer Bobby Brown escapes injury in a gun battle that kills his sister's fiance and riddles Brown's car with bullets in Boston's Roxbury section.
1994Uwe Vandrei, an obsessed fan of Sarah McLachlan who inspired her song "Possession," commits suicide in Ottawa. Vandrei had sued McLachlan for songwriting credit on the track, but the case had yet to reach trial.
Thanks to a proliferation of "New Country" radio stations and more accurate reporting, country music goes mainstream as Garth Brooks' Ropin' the Wind becomes the first country album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Brooks already found international fame a year earlier with the release of his breakthrough No Fences album, a collection of tracks that tipped its hat to traditional country while roping in elements from classic rock. His next offering, Ropin' the Wind, channels James Taylor with sensitive country pop ballads "The River" and "What She's Doing Now," and blasts through a cut of Billy Joel's power ballad "Shameless." In concert Brooks is more '70s arena rocker than '90s country star, tearing across the stage, smashing guitars and - later - flying over the crowd via a modified trapeze.
The Oklahoma native joins the pack of up-and-comers that includes Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Alan Jackson, hat-wearing neotraditional country performers who worship the likes of Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb, but Brooks' rock sensibilities make him an anomaly. With the expansion of FM radio, country blasts out of the prairie and into the mainstream, where "New Country" stations welcome artists like Brooks who are too modern for traditional country and too traditional for the burgeoning alt rock scene. Baby boomers missing the melodic rock and singer-songwriter acts of their youth take solace in a genre that borrows those elements while touting traditional values like hard work and patriotism.
"Although it might not be what orthodox fans consider country, Garth Brooks has brought this music to a whole new audience," says Billy Joel. "He took a certain amount of the snobbery out of it. What he did was rev it up, give it a kick in the ass, inject some rock'n'roll, just like Elvis Presley did when he first came out, except he took hillbilly music and put some R&B in it."
Country purists are aghast at Brooks' brand of country, but sales don't lie. Largely eliminating human error, Billboard implements SoundScan technology to track album sales electronically for more accurate figures… and proves that country is more popular than ever.
Ropin' the Wind is the first country album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200, and it won't be the last. Billy Ray Cyrus is close behind with his 1992 debut, Some Gave All, which spends a record-breaking 17 consecutive weeks at the apex. Brooks notches five more #1 studio albums straight out of the gate before his recording hiatus in 2001. But crossover success isn't just for the guys: Faith Hill, Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, and the Dixie Chicks flood the country pop landscape by the end of the decade.