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On July 16, 1980, the classic Duran Duran lineup — singer Simon Le Bon, bassist John Taylor, guitarist Andy Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes — played their first show ever. The location: Birmingham, England’s Rum Runner, the club that doubled as the group’s headquarters and practice space. Less than a year later, on […]

It can be a tough life playing in a wedding band. Sure, you’re usually paid more than you ever make from performing your own music, but there are a lot of downsides. Consider the position of New York wedding band St. James Infirmary, booked to play the Americana Hotel in May 1976: The reception consisted […]

Like anything involving the late Bon Scott, there are a couple of stories about where AC/DC‘s “Jailbreak,” released in June 1976, came from. Guitarist Angus Young once said that the impetus for the song – a sinewy, semi-spoken account of a convict who tries to flee prison only to be (spoiler alert!) shot in the back […]

If there is ever a Hall of Fame of ’80s Cultural Life, the date June 12, 1981 will have a display all of its own. This is because on that long ago Friday, were you a fan of movies, you would have been treated to the spectacle of having three memorable films open on the […]

The lean, tune-focused Zoom was the Electric Light Orchestra album that Jeff Lynne should have put out at the turn of the ’80s, as he dialed back the “I Am the Walrus”-era Beatles obsessions while retaining all of his trademark hooky songcraft. “I think I’d gone about as far as I could go in that […]

“I suppose in a way we invented MTV,” George Harrison casually noted in the Beatles‘ 2000 Anthology book, reflecting on the band’s low-key promo clips for “Paperback Writer” and “Rain.” It may seem like a lofty claim that they birthed the entire music-video format, a consequential artistic medium, by accident. But by June 5, 1966, […]

Van Halen took a year off after the tour in support of OU812 and then needed another year away to put together a follow-up album. And even though the band had gotten a bit keyboard heavy on its recent records, Van Halen’s first music of the ’90s found them getting back to basics, with Eddie Van Halen showing he still had some […]

The solo acts, the side projects, the supergroups: the Genesis tree has many branches. Not all of these records earned much fanfare but most have been interesting for one reason or another. (Does anyone but Tony Banks remember the keyboardist’s underrated, surprisingly hooky 1983 LP, The Fugitive?) Whatever the origin — probably their respective shifts toward brighter, […]

Tom Petty was ready to duke it out on the final episode of Garry Shandling’s The Larry Sanders Show, which aired 23 years ago on May 31, 1998. Appearing as himself on the show, Petty sparked a scuffle first with actor Greg Kinnear and then with country singer Clint Black over who would be singing Larry’s farewell song. “I […]

When George Harrison released “All Those Years Ago” in May 1981, it was a heartfelt tribute to his Beatles bandmate John Lennon, who’d been shot dead the previous year while the song was coming together. When fans listened to Harrison’s words about his lost friend, they also heard the three surviving Beatles together for the […]