This week in music, we’re reliving the US debut of Elton John in front of only 250 people, Queen stepping into the studio to create a rock & roll anthem, and celebrating the life of a guitar god and a pop icon. Here’s everything you need to know about what went down this week in music history.
1970 – August 25th, Elton John made his US live debut when he kicked off a tour in LA.
In the audience that night were Don Henley, Quincy Jones and Leon Russell.
Elton played 8 shows in 6 nights at the Troubadour in LA.
Rolling Stone included these shows in their list of the 50 Greatest Concerts of the Rock Era.
Prior to the Troubadour, Elton hadn’t had much success with his career.
This stint turbo-charged his career and made him into rock’s biggest star since the Beatles.
1975 – August 24th, Queen started recording ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ at Rockfield Studios in Wales.
The song was recorded over three weeks.
Freddie Mercury had mentally prepared the song beforehand and directed the band throughout the sessions.
May, Mercury, and Taylor sang their vocal parts continually for ten to twelve hours a day.
The song peaked in the US at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 after being used in Wayne’s World.
1975 – August 25th, Bruce Springsteen released his third studio album Born to Run.
Two singles were released from the album: ‘Born to Run’ and ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’.
The cover art of Born to Run is one of rock music’s most recognizable images.
Springsteen’s previous two albums had been commercial flops, the band was in need of a break.
Born to Run served as a breakout album for the band and peaked at #3 on the Billboard chart.
1976 – August 25th, Boston released their self-titled debut album.
In an elaborate ruse, Tom Scholz tricked his label into thinking the band was recording on the west coast.
In reality, the bulk of the album was being tracked solely by Scholz at his Mass. home.
Despite being recorded in a basement studio, it became the best-selling debut in the US at the time.
The album’s singles, most notably ‘More Than a Feeling’ and ‘Long Time’, were major radio hits.
1990 – August 27th, Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a helicopter crash.
The helicopter was navigating through dense fog and hit a ski slope.
He had played 107 of the 110 dates on the tour when the crash happened.
During his career, he was nominated for 13 Grammy Awards and won 6 of them.
1991 – August 27th, Pearl Jam released their debut album Ten.
The album produced three hit singles: ‘Alive’, ‘Even Flow’, and ‘Jeremy’.
Even though Ten was recorded and released before Nirvana’s “Nevermind”, Pearl Jam was accused of hopping on the grunge bandwagon at the time.
The album is credited with popularizing alt-rock in the mainstream.
2001 – August 25th, American singer, actress Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas aged 22.
Aaliyah had been filming a video for her latest release ‘Rock The Boat’ on the island.
The pilot was unlicensed at the time of the accident and had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system.
Over her career, Aaaliyah sold an estimated 24 to 32 million albums worldwide.
She acted in the films Romeo Must Die and Queen of the Damned.
In 2001, her self-titled third and final studio album topped the Billboard 200.