This week in music history, we’re saying “Hey Blondie” as they make their live debut, Lynyrd Skynyrd released their legendary album, Street Survivors, Def Leppard broke records, and Radiohead revolutionized the way we all use the internet. Get all the information that you need to know below!
1968 – October 12th, Big Brother And The Holding Company went to #1 on the US album chart with Cheap Thrills.
Initially the title was “Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills”, but this didn’t go down well at Columbia Records.
“The record epitomizes acid rock in all its messy, pseudo-psychedelic glory.”
The single, ‘Piece of My Heart’, became a huge hit.
By the end of the year, it was the most successful album of 1968, having sold nearly a million copies.
1974 – October 12th, Blondie appeared at CBGB’s in New York City, under the name Blondie for the first time.
The name is derived from truck drivers who catcalled “Hey, Blondie” to Debbie Harry as they drove by.
Before the band formed, Debbie Harry was a waitress and Playboy Bunny.
Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the US until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978.
Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles including “Heart of Glass”, “Call Me”, “Rapture” and “The Tide Is High”.
The band became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of disco, pop, reggae, and early rap music.
1977 – October 17th, Lynyrd Skynyrd released Street Survivors.
It was the last album with frontman Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines as both were killed only three days later after the band’s plane went down en route to Louisiana.
Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album.
It was their highest charting album, with hits like ‘That Smell’ and ‘What’s Your Name’.
1978 – October 12th, Sex Pistol Sid Vicious called the police to say that someone had stabbed his girlfriend.
He said they had fought that night but gave conflicting versions of what happened next.
“I stabbed her, but I never meant to kill her.”
He was arrested and charged with murder and placed in the detox unit of a New York prison.
Vicious died of a heroin overdose before the case went to trial.
1988 – October 14th, Def Leppard became the first act in chart history to sell 7 million copies of two consecutive LPs.
They achieved this feat with their albums Pyromania (1983) and Hysteria (1987).
This made them one of only five rock bands with two original studio albums selling more than ten million copies in the US.
Hysteria became the band’s best-selling album to date, selling over 20 million copies worldwide.
As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Def Leppard have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
1997 – October 12th, John Denver was killed in an airplane crash.
He was flying a handmade, experimental plane that ran out of gas off the coast of California.
Starting in the 1970s, he was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the decade and one of its best-selling artists.
AllMusic has described Denver as “among the most beloved entertainers of his era”.
His signature songs include ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’, ‘Annie’s Song’, ‘Rocky Mountain High’, ‘Calypso’, ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’, and ‘Sunshine on My Shoulders’.
2000 – October 15th, Radiohead went to #1 on the US album chart with Kid A.
It was the group’s fourth album and became the first Radiohead release to debut at #1 in the US.
In a departure from industry practice, Radiohead released no singles nor music videos and conducted few interviews.
Instead, they became one of the first major acts to use the internet as a promotional tool.
Kid A was made available to stream and was promoted with short animated films featuring music and art.