Today in Music History for Feb. 23:
In 1685, George Frideric Handel, one of the greatest masters of baroque music, was born in Halle, Germany. He is best known for his majestic oratorio, "The Messiah," which was first performed in Dublin in 1742. The popularity of this work has given the erroneous impression that Handel composed mainly sacred works. Handel took up residence in England in 1712, and it was for King George the First that he composed his celebrated orchestral piece, "Water Music," in 1717. Handel's sight became impaired in 1751 and within two years, he was totally blind. He died in 1759, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.
In 1944, white blues guitarist Johnny Winter was born in Leland, Miss. A writeup in "Rolling Stone" magazine brought Winter to the attention of New York club owner Steve Paul, who became his manager. Winter's self-titled debut album on Columbia was an immediate success in 1969. His blues-based hard rock remained popular throughout the 1970s.
In 1957, Porter Wagoner joined the Grand Ole Opry following three successful singles -- "Satisfied Mind," "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" and "What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House)."
In 1963, "He's So Fine" by "The Chiffons" was released. It climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and spent four weeks there.
In 1970, blues singer Lonnie Johnson made his last appearance in what was billed as a "Blue Monday" concert at Massey Hall in Toronto. Four months later, Johnson was found dead in his Toronto apartment. He was 71.
In 1970, "The Doors" were awarded a gold album for "Morrison Hotel."
In 1970, the first public presentation of the Junos, the annual awards of the Canadian recording industry, took place in Toronto. "The Guess Who" won for best group. The awards had existed since 1964 under the name the "RPM Gold Leaf Awards," which were established by Walt Grealis, editor and publisher of "RPM" magazine. They became known as the Junos in 1970. From the awards' inception until 1975, winners were selected by readers of "RPM." Thereafter, only members of the newly-formed Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences participated in the voting.
In 1978, at the 20th annual Grammy Awards, the "Eagles" won Record of the Year for "Hotel California." "Rumours" by "Fleetwood Mac" won the Album of the Year award.
In 1979, "Dire Straits" began their first tour of the United States.
In 1983, "Toto" won five Grammy Awards, including single and album of the year. Lionel Richie won his first Grammy after 16 previous nominations.
In 1987, about 45 youths were locked up overnight for creating a disturbance following an Alice Cooper concert in Halifax.
In 1988, Michael Jackson kicked off his first solo U.S. tour in Kansas City, Mo.
In 1994, "Daltrey Sings Townshend," an evening of Roger Daltrey performing songs by his "Who" bandmate Pete Townshend, debuted at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In 1995, Melvin Franklin, bass singer for "The Temptations," died in Los Angeles a week after being admitted to hospital following a series of seizures. He was 52.
In 1997, Tony Williams, one of the most influential jazz drummers of the 1960's, died of a heart attack in Daly City, Calif. He was 51.
In 1999, country superstar Garth Brooks was invited to the San Diego Padres training camp as a non-roster player as a way for him to kick-start his baseball-related "Touch 'Em All" Foundation.
In 1999, jazz critic Stanley Dance, credited with coining the term "mainstream jazz," died of pneumonia at a health-care facility near his home in Vista, Calif. He was 88.
Also on this date in 1999, Perry Kibble, keyboardist and songwriter with the disco group "A Taste of Honey," died of heart problems at his home in Calgary. He was 49.
In 2000, Carlos Santana won eight Grammy awards, tying Michael Jackson's 1983 record for most Grammys on a single night. "Supernatural" won the biggest honour, Album of the Year. Christina Aguilera beat out Britney Spears to win the Grammy for Best New Artist. Sting was the surprising winner in the Male Pop Vocal category for "Brand New Day" and the award for pop album, giving him a career total of 14 Grammy awards. Shania Twain and Eminem won two Grammys apiece. Sarah McLachlan claimed her third career Grammy for female pop vocal performance for "I Will Remember You" and Diana Krall won her first Grammy for best jazz performance for "When I Look in Your Eyes."
In 2003, Norah Jones won five Grammys, one for every category in which she was nominated, including album of the year. The Grammys show opened with "Simon and Garfunkel," the first time they had performed together in a decade.
In 2004, Don Cornell, a Big Band singer who scored a string of hits in the 1950s and early '60s including "It Isn't Fair," died at age 84 from advanced emphysema and diabetes. Cornell, born Luigi Francisco Varlaro, got his start with trumpeter Red Nichols and big band leader Sammy Kaye before launching a successful solo career. Between 1950-62, Cornell chalked up hits such as "It Isn't Fair," "I'm Yours," "The Bible Tells Me So," "Most of All," "I'll Walk Alone" and "Hold My Hand." His singing career spanned more than 40 years and with more than 50 million records sold. Cornell was honoured in 1963 as one of the first stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Big Band Hall of Fame in 1993. His final performance was in February, 2003.
In 2007, rockabilly singer Donnie Brooks died of a heart attack. He was 71. He had a huge top-40 hit in 1960 with "Mission Bell." It was followed by "Doll House." He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 2009, rapper T-Pain cancelled a concert in Guyana after receiving what a promoter called "credible death and kidnapping threats."
In 2010, "The Beatles'" Abbey Road Studios were officially declared a historic building, a move that helped preserve the cultural landmark that is a magnet for fans worldwide. The London studios were reported to be up for sale by the cash-strapped record company EMI and the possibility that they might fall into private hands and be demolished sparked a national outcry spurred by former "Beatle" Paul McCartney and prominent disc jockey Chris Evans.
In 2010, Jimmy Dean, Ferlin Husky, Billy Sherrill and Don Williams were named the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In 2011, Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never: The Remixes" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 abum chart, selling 161,000 copies its first week. It was the first remix album to top the album chart since Jennifer Lopez did it with "J to tha L-O! The Remixes" in February, 2002.
In 2013, singer Rihanna received a Golden Raspberry Award for worst supporting actress for her screen debut in "Battleship." The Razzies are awarded to the worst in film and usually come out the day before the Oscars.
(The Canadian Press)