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Tag: This Day in Rock History (1-10 of 15)

Axl Rose is 50 years old today, so here's one recording for every one of those years

Five decades ago in a small Indiana town, William Bruce Rose, Jr. was born. Though he ended up answering to many names over the course of his life, he is best known as Axl Rose, frontman of Guns N’ Roses and one of the bigger lightning rods in the history of rock music.

That’s right: Axl Rose is 50. 50 years old! Considering how many of his hair-metal brethren didn’t make it out of the Reagan administration, it’s no small feat that Rose can blow that many candles out on his cake.

Of all the eccentric rock stars we know and love, he’s had perhaps the most bipolar career — rarely has a man been so loved (the Appetite for Destruction era) and so hated (basically any time that wasn’t the Appetite for Destruction era). He’s a singular icon and a firebrand, and he wouldn’t have stayed as famous as he has been without both sides of his personality.

Over the course of his career with Guns N’ Roses, Rose has released a total of six albums (five if you count Use Your Illusion as a single entity) and a handful of one-offs, which contain a grand total of 79 songs (though 18 of those are covers, and a couple are alternate versions of the same song). Here are the top 50 Axl Rose recordings, from worst to first: READ FULL STORY

Adele passes Rihanna on Hot 100, targets 'The Bodyguard' for all-time album chart mark


Adele’s still proving to be the ultimate chart-breaker. “Set Fire to the Rain,” the singer’s third 21 single, has toppled Rihanna’s “We Found Love” to claim top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Ri Ri’s Calvin Harris-assisted track, which slips to number two this week, spent 10 total weeks on top of the chart, the stoutest run at that spot since Ke$ha notched nine weeks there at the beginning of 2010 with “Tik Tok.”

“Set Fire to the Rain” is Adele’s third number one, joining “Rolling in the Deep” (which spent seven weeks on top last year) and “Someone Like You” (five total weeks in 2011). Of course, 21 is also the number one album in the country this week, which means that Adele rules both charts simultaneously. That’s not necessarily a remarkable feat, as plenty of artists have lorded over both charts simultaneously, and 10 artists have even done it with two songs (most recently, Usher pulled it off with the Confessions singles “Yeah!” and “Burn” back in 2004). But in an interesting bit of trivia, Adele is now the only artist in history to rule both charts with three different singles from the same album. READ FULL STORY

Barbra Streisand sets a six-decade record on the pop charts. Can anyone match her?

When Barbra Streisand’s 48th album (not including the 12 soundtracks she has sung on), What Matters Most: Barbra Sings The Lyrics Of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, debuted in 4th place on this week’s Billboard 200 chart with sales of 68,000 copies, she became the first solo artist to earn a top five debut in six different decades.

Streisand first entered the Billboard chart in 1963, with The Barbra Streisand Album, which debuted at number eight, but it wasn’t until The Second Barbra Streisand Album‘s number-two bow later that year that she first cracked the top five. Since then, the Broadway belter has notched an additional 17 top five debuts, and impressively, she’s scored 31 top ten debuts overall. (For perspective, Frank Sinatra has 40 top ten albums, the Rolling Stones have 36, and The Beatles have 30.)

Unfortunately, Streisand couldn’t surpass Game, Jay-Z and Kanye West, or Adele to add another number-one album to her collection. Since, according to chart expert Paul Grein, “Streisand is the only solo artist who has had a #1 album in each of the last five decades, from the 1960s to the 2000s,” if she can pull out another chart topper during the 2010s, she will extend her record to six decades.

But I shouldn’t be raining on her parade! The reality is that Streisand’s chart power has endured for a whopping 48 years, an incredible feat in any industry, much less the here-today-gone-tomorrow music scene.

Few artists can claim that kind of longevity, and it is to Streisand’s credit that she has remained a notable and lucrative commodity. I guess it helps having talent!

Are you a loyal Streisand consumer? Did you pick up her latest album?

What Matters Most album review
Barbra Streisand and Larry Kramer trade blame for failed ‘Normal Heart’ film — EXCLUSIVE
Barbra Streisand tops the albums chart in a busy week; Paramore bests Mariah Carey

Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson; the late King of Pop would have been 53 today

It’s hard not to wonder what Michael Jackson would have thought of last night’s MTV Video Music Awards. After all, he was one of the primary artists responsible, nearly thirty years ago, for turning the little upstart music channel that could into a cultural behemoth, and had countless iconic VMA moments of his own.

Some 26 months after his shockingly sudden death at the age of 50, there are a million things to remember about the King of Pop on the occasion of what would have been his 53rd birthday: His remarkable musical and physical genius; his undeniable eccentricities; his ongoing personal struggles.

Personally, I prefer to think of him at his happiest, purest moments: the ones in which you could see how much he loved what he did, and how ridiculously outsized his talent was — even as tiny, precocious boy in a giant lavender hat, way back in 1969 on the Ed Sullivan Show: READ FULL STORY

Happy 53rd birthday, Madonna! You're still our lucky star

Fifty-three years ago today in Bay City, Michigan, one crazy little Ciccone roller was born. (and yes, it was—no joke!—a Saturday.)

Today we salute the woman she’s become: a superstar whose single name is so well known across the globe, it nearly subsumes, you know, that other one; a vanguard of pop and power and general cultural next-leveldom whose thighs still look like a 19-year-old Romanian gymnast’s, and whose boyfriend is, in fact, a 19-year-old Frenchman. (Just kidding, pervs; he’s a wise and seasoned 24.)

So let’s watch some classic pre-fame Madge to celebrate. Here she is, auditioning for Fame in 1982: READ FULL STORY

Tupac shooter cops to an old crime, but what does it mean for Tupac and Biggie's murder cases?

Had he not been cut down in his prime by a (presumably) still-at-large assassin in 1996, rapper/actor/activist/poet/cultural lightning rod Tupac Shakur would have turned 40 years old today.

But on a day when we would normally be discussing his legacy—or what his creative place in today’s hip-hop world might have been had he lived—the attention has now turned instead to a man named Dexter Isaac, who gave an interview to AllHipHop wherein he admitted to being the man who shot Shakur in a famous unsolved incident outside a New York recording studio back in November of 1994.

Isaac claims he was paid $2,500 by James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond to take out Shakur. The New York Police Department is currently investigating the issue, and if they find the claims to be credible, they plan to speak with Isaac, who according to AllHipHop is currently serving a life sentence in prison. Will the information that Isaac has—or claims to have—have any bearing ultimately on the notoriously still-unsolved cases of both Tupac’s and Biggie’s murders? READ FULL STORY

Bob Dylan at 70: Still alive

Happy birthday, Bob Dylan.

He merits the congratulations, of course, but not the sort we extend to famous people whom we celebrate for simply making it through another year. As anyone who’s seen him perform live over the past few years knows, Dylan can still put on fierce, machine-gun-blasting, nostalgia-free concerts. And he’s still capable of releasing new albums containing cocky, disconcerting, headlong music.

Dylan retains the sort of fundamental mystery that  READ FULL STORY

Remembering Kurt Cobain: Looking back at EW's archived Nirvana reviews

Seventeen years ago today, Kurt Cobain took his life. Even though it’s been nearly two decades, it’s still difficult to know what to say about something like this. Attempting to tease meaning out of the tragedy of his suicide or philosophizing about the burden of genius ultimately seems empty.

Instead, let’s focus on the reason so many people love and commemorate Cobain: his music. Entertainment Weekly has been around since 1990, which means that aside from Nirvana’s Sub Pop debut, Bleach, we have archived contemporary reviews of all their albums. Here was what we had to say about the major releases from the nineties’ most revered, beloved, and imitated band.

On Nevermind

“The problem with current college-radio rock is that most so-called alternative bands desperately want to sound normal. On their collar-grabbing second album, and their first for a major label, the Seattle trio Nirvana never entertain that notion.”

“Nirvana may not stand a chance of selling anywhere near as many records as Guns N’ Roses, but don’t tell Cobain; you never know how he’ll react.” —David Browne, Oct. 25, 1991 [NOTE: You might actually be surprised-slash-disappointed to learn that statement still holds true—worldwide, Guns N’ Roses have sold more records than Nirvana. Also, this write-up originally ran far below a review Kid ‘N Play’s long-forgotten Face the Nation album.] READ FULL STORY

Happy Birthday, Cyndi Lauper! You are 57 years awesome

Cyndi-LauperImage Credit: Donna Ward/Getty ImagesShe talks like a cross between a drunk smurf and Tony Soprano. She once called Donald Trump a hypocritical fatty on network television. She is an outspoken, money-where-her-mouth-is supporter of gay and lesbian rights. She put out a pretty solid dance album just two years ago, and unleashes her eleventh, a collection of traditional blues songs, today. She was Gaga-looney before Gaga was even a twinkle. And of course: She bops.

Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper, we salute you. Happy 57th! Now tell us a story, while John Oates and his mustache look on: READ FULL STORY

Joy Division's Ian Curtis: Gone 30 years today

Ian-CurtisImage Credit: Paul Slattery/Retna UK/LandovRock history is littered with the names of superstars who died too soon, many at the peak of their fame. But Lancashire-born Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis is one of the rareified few, like Nick Drake or Arthur Russell, whose modest cult status transformed into something much larger and more influential after his death.

Bands ranging from the Cure and U2 to Radiohead, Interpol, and Bloc Party all owe some musical debt to the bleak, baritoned post-punk sound that Curtis, who took his own life two months shy of his 24th birthday, pioneered with Joy Division.

And countless artists (among them, U2 and Arcade Fire, Fall Out Boy, and of course New Order, the band that sprung from JD’s ashes) have covered the band’s signature song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Still, no one else ever quite mastered his onstage trademark, the malfunctioning-robot dance:


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