Music has been enjoyed around the world for centuries, irrespective of language, culture or age and we are going to take you on a short tour of a few iconic moments in music history.
Starting off our countdown for Iconic Moments In Music is this one at Nr 9
Nr 9 – The Sugar Hill Gang
Not many people know that the lyrics for the iconic ‘Rapper’s Delight’ single by The Sugar Hill Gang in 1979 ’s belonged to an MC named Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers and he never received any royalties for his work.
The backing music was also borrowed from the track, ‘Good Times’ by the popular girl group Chic and ‘Rapper’s Delight’ sold over 8 million copies worldwide and became the highest selling 12 inch single ever.
A lawsuit filed by Chic’s Nile Rodgers for copyright infringement was settled out of court in 1979.
Nr 8 – Nirvana Unplugged – MTV Networks 1993
Nirvana was formed in 1987 and by the early 90’s with a shared passion for punk metal, singer and guitarist, Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer, Dave Grohl, recorded their first successful album ‘Nevermind’.
By January 1992, the album had reached the top of the charts and also generated four other singles that shot the band to superstar status.
Nirvana’s iconic television appearance on MTV’s Unplugged in 1993 somehow seemed prophetic. The morbid studio set matched the mood of Cobain’s drab clothing along with the melancholy selection of songs he chose to perform.
A few months later, Cobain’s body was found in his Seattle home. The cause of death was verified as suicide from a shotgun blast to the head.
Nr 7 – Johnny Cash – San Quentin 1969
Despite a life haunted by drug abuse, Johnny Cash still managed to succeed in his musical career with worldwide record sales and number one hits.
‘The Man In Black’ had had his fair share of scrapes with the law and in empathy, he became a strong advocate for Prisoner reform.
In an iconic moment, his live performance in front of 2000 hardened inmates at the notorious San Quentin Prison blew the roof off when for the first time he sang his new song “San Quentin, I hate every inch of you”.
The bitter lyrics were written from an inmate’s perspective and in a career defining moment, his rebellious and rowdy performance almost caused a prison riot.
Nr 6 – Michael Jackson – Moonwalk at NBC MoTown 25
Until his untimely death in 2014, Michael Jackson had been wowing his fans for decades as the ’King of Pop’.
His performances always guaranteed an energetic combination of music, spectacular effects and tight precision movement, but his most iconic performance was in 1983, during a live solo performance when for the first time, Jackson showed the world his Moonwalk.
Dressed in black with glittering silver sequins and a bigger than life white glove, that sparkled under the spotlights, he mesmerized his audience with a precisely choreographed display of fast stop and start spins and silky smooth “backslide,” moves and Michael Jackson’s moonwalk was born!
Although he didn’t invent the moonwalk, he sure did end up owning it.
Nr 5 – Queen – Live Aid 1985
In 1985, a music ‘Super Concert’ lasting 16 hours took place across the globe. The event was televised and broadcast to more than 110 countries with an estimated viewership of one billion people.
Some of the world’s biggest bands came together across the world to lend their support for the Ethiopian Famine Relief Fund and in a packed Wembley Stadium in London, 72,000 music fans were treated to one of the most iconic performances ever by rock band Queen.
Queen stole the show in a tightly arranged set of 20 minutes that included 6 of their best hits, culminating with Freddie Mercury Strutting across the stage and dominating the audience with his best ever rendition of ‘We Are The Champions’.
Nr 4 – Bob Dylan Goes Electric At Newport 1965
For several years, Bob Dylan had been a headline act at the Newport Folk Festival at Rhode Island USA.
Renowned for his lyrics that aroused social consciousness, he had earned the reputation as the people’s spokesman, but in a career defining moment in 1965, Dylan shocked his adoring fans when he abandoned his his acoustic folk roots and replaced them with a Fender electric guitar.
With backing from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Dylan’s electric performance was first met by bewildered silence, and he was eventually jeered off the stage by his disgruntled fans and the Festival’s organisers.
37 years passed before Dylan returned to Newport and at age 61, his diehard fans may have finally forgiven him.
Nr 3 – Elvis Presley On ‘The Milton Berle Show’ 1956
Elvis Presley had appeared on tv before, but until his live performance that day on The Milton Berle Show, ‘The King Of Rock & Roll’ had always appeared with a guitar in hand and with newfound freedom to move anyway he wished, he made a meal of it.
With gyrating hips and explicit pelvic thrusts, his sexually provocative version of his hit ‘Hound Dog’ had some of the girls in the live audience almost fainting.
Needless to say, the conservative American press and several appalled parents had a field day castigating the King of Rock, but theirs’ was a lonely voice in the wind. Elvis’ Popularity grew even more after that iconic appearance and he soon became known as ‘Elvis The Pelvis.’
Nr 2 – Jimi Hendrix At Woodstock 1969
From the stage of the Woodstock Festival, on an early morning in August 1969, legendary Singer/Guitarist Jimi Hendrix delivered his three minutes and 46 seconds solo guitar rendition of the American Anthem, ‘Star Spangled Banner.’
His was the last act on the final day of the four day festival, and the original estimated crowd of 500,000, had dwindled to fewer than 30,000.
Grappling with the racial divide that pervaded the nation at the time, and with anti Vietnam War protests on the increase, Hendrix’s iconic guitar solo has since that day, invited controversial discussions and differing interpretations about the possible underlying political significance of his performance. The debate still continues today.
Nr 1 – The Beatles – On the Ed Sullivan Show
Did you know that Beatles Guitarist, George Harrison almost didn’t make the Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th 1964?
Suffering from tonsillitis, their road manager Neil Aspinall, stood in for him during the morning rehearsals. Thankfully, George was able to join the rest of his long-haired buddies later that Sunday night for their live American tv debut.
With the Show’s viewership estimated at 73 million, a US television record at the time, it was an opportunity not to be missed and it wasn’t long before the Beatles’ introduction to an American audience led to mass hysteria among the youth and Beatlemania became the order of the day.
The Ed Sullivan show bridged the transatlantic gap in music, one that continues to grow today.