This week in music, we’re celebrating Johnny Cash’s epic prison shows, the release of “Waiting for the Sun”, and Robert Plant’s birthday. Here’s everything you need to know about what went down this week in music history.
1968 – August 17th, The Doors started a four-week run at #1 on the US album chart with Waiting For The Sun.
This was the group’s 3rd album & spawned their second US #1 single, ‘Hello, I Love You’.
At the conclusion of track 3, “Not to Touch the Earth,” Morrison utters the iconic “I am the Lizard King/I can do anything.”
Sal Cinquemani of Slant wrote of the album “Despite the fact that Morrison was becoming a self-destructing mess. Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore were never more lucid – perhaps to compensate.”
1969 – August 23rd, Johnny Cash hits #1 on the US album chart with Johnny Cash At San Quentin.
It was the second in Cash’s conceptual series of live prison albums that included At Folsom Prison (‘68).
Two songs are performed live on stage for the first time during the show: “San Quentin” and “A Boy Named Sue”
The concert was taped for TV, and Cash, annoyed by their poor positioning, gave the crew the middle finger.
An iconic image was born.
1977 – August 18th, The Police made their live debut as a three-piece band in Birmingham, England.
The Police are generally regarded as one of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success.
They played a style of rock that was influenced by punk, reggae, and jazz.
The Police have sold over 75 million records, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time.
In ‘83 Rolling Stone labelled them “the first British New Wave act to break through in America.”
1986 – August 18th, Bon Jovi released their third studio album, Slippery When Wet.
It peaked at #1 on the US charts, going on to sell over 28 million copies worldwide.
It featured two US chart toppers, ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ and ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’.
Bon Jovi was initially reluctant to include “Livin’ on a Prayer” on the album, believing it was not good enough.
The album was named by Billboard as the top-selling album of 1987.
1987 – August 20th, Lindsey Buckingham was fired by Fleetwood Mac.
Buckingham was fired because he refused to tour behind its latest album, Tango In The Night.
He had helped turn Fleetwood Mac into one of the biggest-selling groups of the ’70s.
After the split, he claimed “there were factions within the band that had lost their perspective.”
1990 – August 21st, Alice in Chains released their debut album, Facelift.
It was one of the first grunge albums to gain widespread popularity.
It had a “moody aura” that was a “direct result of the brooding atmosphere and feel of Seattle.”
“Man In The Box” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal.
Facelift became the first album from the grunge movement to be certified gold in 1991.
1991 – August 17th, Nirvana shot the video for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
The video cost less than $50,000 to produce and featured real Nirvana fans as the audience.
It won Nirvana the Best New Artist and Best Alternative Group awards at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.
In 2000 the Guinness World Records named ‘Teen Spirit’ the Most Played Video on MTV Europe.
The track was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.