Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Music History Today: January 20, 2021

January 20, 2009: Aretha Franklin performs "My Country 'Tis of Thee" in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

One of Aretha Franklin's most compelling performances was her rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009.

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A longtime favorite of Obama's, Franklin braved frigid temperatures in Washington, D.C., that January day back in 2009 to sing at the outdoor swearing-in of America's first African-American president. Franklin was on hand for Obama's entire day, from the ceremony to the ball, and had a blast, she told TV host Larry King.  

Read more: Inside Edition

January 20, 1975:  Bob Dylan released the album Blood on the Tracks.

One doesn't have to be a broken-hearted straight male (or even a Nobel Prize voter) to fall in love with Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, but it might help. 

Filled with open-ended and often gender-specific pronouns, the yous, hers, hes, shes, and theys remain unnamed on all but one of the 10 songs on the moody 1975 epic, each a glowing invitation for listeners to fill in the blanks with their own nearest available emotional devastations. 
Often referred to as Dylan’s “breakup album,” it’s likewise become just that for many listeners, both expressing and absorbing great aloneness. Dylan himself professed confusion about the album’s popularity. 
Read more: Pitchfork


January 20, 1982: Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off of what he thought was a plastic bat thrown at him during a concert in Des Moines. 

One of the most infamous moments in a long career of infamous moments, today marks the anniversary of Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat live onstage in front of a stunned audience.

Ozzy Osbourne

Arriving in Des Moines as part of his solo tour in 1982, Ozzy was in typically audacious form. The singer was at the height of his infamy when he clamped the mammal’s head between his teeth and chomped down. It has become one of the most iconic moments of Osbourne’s long career. 

Read more: Far Out magazine


January 20, 1993: At the Triangle Ball, the first gay and lesbian inaugural ball, Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang and Janis Ian come out publicly, declaring that they are gay and in same-sex relationships.

The year was 1993 and the Democrats partied hard at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. For the first time, the LGBTQ community was invited. LGBTQ rights groups threw the Triangle Ball to coincide with the official inaugural celebrations.

Melissa Etheridge

It probably would have been a footnote in history, particularly because of how Clinton’s presidency turned out with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, except that Melissa Etheridge was feeling brave and announced from the balcony of the ballroom, “I’m very proud to have been a lesbian all my life.” The ballroom exploded in cheers and k.d. lang literally jumped for joy. 

Read more: Tagg Magazine


January 20, 2012: Goyte released the song "Somebody That I Used to Know" in the US.

Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" is a bitter breakup song with two surprising twists: (1) Wally De Backer sings the pained chorus at full voice, nearly a shout, and (2) the second half of the song is opened up as a rebuttal from an ex, played by the New Zealand-born pop singer Kimbra. 


It's built around a quartet of elements: sampled acoustic guitar, a xylophone hook, a murmured vocal and a wobbly electronic sound that freshman dudes will pluck out on acoustic guitars and dress up with a mimed lack of confidence ("You can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness") for half a decade, at least. 

Read more: NPR


My Country, 'Tis of Thee'
Aretha Franklin

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