Over the course of nine full seasons, "American Idol" has produced a series of success stories in the form of winners like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks and Kris Allen. Even many of the folks who have come up short have managed to have pretty impressive careers, including David Archuleta and Adam Lambert. Of all the runners-up who have broken out on their own, Chris Daughtry is probably the biggest success story. After finishing in fourth place during the fifth season of "American Idol," Daughtry got a band (of the same name) together, recorded a self-titled album and dropped it on the doorstep of the music world in the fall of 2006. On this day in 2007, the album found itself at the top of the Billboard album chart (making him the first "Idol" alum to pull off that feat since Reuben Studdard).
Once his "American Idol" experience ended, Chris Daughtry was initially offered the lead singer spot in Fuel, whose vocalist Brett Scallions had just departed. One of Daughtry's key performances on the show was Fuel's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)," and though he was tempted to take the gig, he ultimately passed. That turned out to be an excellent decision, as Daughtry allowed him to collaborate flex his songwriting muscles. Fans immediately embraced Daughtry, as the lead single "It's Not Over" climbed up the Billboard Hot 100 and pushed the album over the one million sold mark in just five weeks, making it the fastest-selling debut rock album in the history of the chart.
Daughtry remained a top-selling album for nearly two years thanks to Chris Daughtry's commitment to touring and the excellent stream of singles from the album — especially "Home," which peaked at number five on the Hot 100 and remains Daughtry's signature tune.
It's no wonder that people were frightened by the first wave of punk rock. Loud, snotty and obsessed with self-destruction, the Sex Pistols were a force of nature who blew through London (and the rest of the world) in a tornado of nihilism, abuse and buzzsaw riffs. Though most of the band managed to move on from that initial burst into the universe, bassist Sid Vicious (born John Ritchie) kept his cycle of drug abuse and mania up — a lifestyle that tragically caught up with him. Vicious of a heroin overdose on this day in 1979.
Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren once declared, "If Johnny Rotten is the voice of punk, then Vicious is the attitude." Indeed, Vicious was the consummate punk in many ways, from his fashion sense (he walked around in a trademark leather jacket) to his musicianship (Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones recorded the bass parts for the band's lone album Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols because Vicious never really learned how to play). Trouble seemed to follow him everywhere, as Vicious seemed to be constantly getting into scrapes with journalists, fans and his own band mates.
But the trouble really got serious for Vicious following the Sex Pistols' break-up in 1978. While he was still with the band, Vicious met Nancy Spungen, an American who was a regular on the London punk scene. The two struck up a romance that has gone down in history as the very definition of a troubled relationship, full of co-dependency, rage and violence. On the morning of October 12, 1978, Vicious woke up in a room at the Hotel Chelsea in New York to find Spungen dead. She had been stabbed a single time with a knife owned by Vicious, and Vicious was arrested as the prime suspect in her murder. Heavily influenced by drugs, Vicious gave multiple versions of the story, alternately claiming that she fell on the knife and that he stabbed her but never meant to kill her.
Vicious spent the next few months in and out of Bellvue Hospital (he tried to commit suicide shortly after Spungen died) and Rikers Island (he was sent there for 55 days after an arrest for assault). He was released on bail from Rikers on February 1, 1979 and celebrated at a party that night. The next day, Vicious was found dead of a heroin overdose at the age of 21. His mother later found a suicide note that stated that he and Spungen had made a suicide pact and that he had to live up to his end of the bargain.
Vicious burned out before he could really discover his potential — a sad reality that many heroin abusers have run into over the years. Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis managed to kick his habit and thrive, and his band's signature tune is actually about the drug that nearly ended his life (and prematurely ended Vicious').
If you had gone to see Green Day play one of their notorious early gigs in Berkeley in 1993, it would have been impossible to tell the size of the success the band would experience over the course of their career. Even though they had signed a deal with a major label, they still seemed like a shaggy, rag-tag bunch of punks who just wanted to play fast music and get high. But greatness was on the horizon for the boys, and before the sold out stadium tours, multi-platinum concept albums, video games and Broadway shows, there was Dookie, which was released on this day in 1994.
Green Day's Dookie (the group's third album) came at exactly the right time, as the rock world was knee-deep in grunge darkness and looking for a blast of youthful fun to offset all the doom and gloom. The album's 14 songs (plus the creepy bonus track "All By Myself") blew by in under 40 minutes, each one infused with big hooks, speed freak rhythms and frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's adenoidal, in-your-face whine.
The album was a tour de force that built up slowly, first gaining a bit of attention because of the potty-mouthed lyrics to the first single "Longview." Following the band's memorable takeover of Woodstock '94 that summer, songs like "When I Come Around," "Welcome to Paradise" and especially "Basket Case" found themselves in permanent rotation on MTV, pumping out of radios across half a dozen formats and fueling the garage punk dreams of middle school kids everywhere.
Of course, Green Day later evolved, got darker, made a comeback, seemingly disappeared, made another comeback and eventually grew into one of the biggest rock bands in the world. But the road to 21st Century Breakdown really began with "Longview," a quirky little three-chord jump about suburban ennui.
The United Kingdom seems especially adept at producing musical siblings, doesn't it? There have been the Ronsons (DJ Samantha and producer/band frontman Mark) and the McCartneys (Beatle Paul and the Scaffold co-founder Mike, who was known professionally as Mike McGear) as well as the Bedingfields (electronic artist Daniel and singer/songwriter Natasha). But of all those names, only the latter once held the record for highest Billboard album chart debut by a female British artist. On this day in 2008, Natasha Bedingfield's Pocketful of Sunshine entered the U.S. chart at number three, giving her a tie (with Sade, who would later set the new mark when her 2010 album Soldier of Love debuted at number one) for said record.
Bedingfield began her career as a member of an electronic collective called the DNA Algorithm, whose members included brother Daniel and sister Nikola Rachelle. They performed inspirational pop-dance tunes and picked up a bit of buzz early on, but the group eventually splintered when all three sought out solo careers. Daniel broke through first with his hit single "Gotta Get Thru This," but Natasha hit the biggest when her debut album Unwritten began storming up the charts in 2004. She brought all of her experience as a producer, singer and songwriter to the album, which lent it an eclectic vibe that featured traditional pop songs as well as some strange left-hand turns (including a drop-in by D12 rapper Bizarre).
Following the success of Unwritten, Bedingfield followed up with the even bigger Pocketful of Sunshine, which showed off her songwriting mastery and incredible range as a performer. The title track remains one of the most absurdly catchy pop singles of the past few years (a fact that created an extended joke in the movie "Easy A"), and the video is just as colorful and thrilling.
We're currently in the midst of a lovely little renaissance for modern R&B, as more and more artists are pushing the boundaries of the sort of hip-hop-infused soul that was first given life in the beginning of the '90s by the likes of Mary J. Blige and others. Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu, Keri Hilson and even Katy Perry are stretching the limits of what the genre can be, freely associating elements of dance music, straight pop and rock into their eclectic sounds. But there has never been a group as bold and dynamic as TLC, who on this day in 1995 ascended to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with "Creep."
Released in the fall of 1994, "Creep" was the first single from CrazySexyCool, TLC's second album. The group had attracted a substantial following for the massive singles on their debut album Ooooooohhh ... On the TLC Tip (including the smashes "What About Your Friends" and "Baby-Baby-Baby"), but CrazySexyCool represented a massive leap forward for the group. While the sound of the first album was full of youthful exuberance and cocksure braggadocio, the songs on CrazySexyCool were more mature, showing off an adult approach to love, sex and relationships. It was as appropriate album title as there ever has been, as the songs sounded equally crazy, sexy and — most importantly — undeniably cool.
"Creep" was produced by Dallas Austin, who built an infectious groove around an after-hours trumpet and let the three members of TLC (especially Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins) coo lyrics about infidelity all over it. It stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks until it was upended by Madonna's "Take a Bow." (The group would return to the top of the chart in the summer of '95 with a seven week run for "Waterfalls.") "Creep" is a fantastically groovy track that was certainly helped out by the pajama-heavy video that is the perfect start to your Friday.
Under normal circumstances, Wake-Up Video is devoted to tipping the proverbial hat to a moment in history or an important milestone. But this morning, it's all about the present tense. Yet another winter storm has dumped a disgusting load of snow and ice on the Northeast. Once again, schools have been closed, services suspended and transportation systems drastically altered, likely throwing your day into turmoil. According to the National Weather Service, this particular storm — which stretched from the Appalachian mountains to the coast of Massachusetts — should be finished by Thursday afternoon (January 27), but the aftermath could be troublesome through the weekend.
By many accounts, this storm rivaled the blizzard that crippled much of the Northeast at the end of last year. In New York City's Central Park, 12.3 inches of snow came down, which beat the single day record that has held steady since 1871. Records were also broken in Newark (11 inches) and in Philadelphia (14.2 inches). In fact, Philadelphia was hit particularly hard, as the precipitation forced the cancellation of nearly 200 flights out of Philadelphia International Airport, stranding hundreds of travelers overnight. The storm left all manner of travel issues in its wake, as Amtrak once again suspended service between New York and Boston, and hundreds more flights were canceled at Boston's Logan Airport and Washington, D.C.'s Reagan International Airport. Perhaps most astonishingly, public schools in New York City were closed, an event that seems to never happen even in the harshest conditions.
So if you're in the Northeast (or even if you're in sunny New Mexico), enjoy your snow day. Fire up the hot cocoa, catch up on all those episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" you have backlogged on your DVR and crank up some good tunes — starting with Sara Bareilles' "Winter Song," an appropriate start to your day.
B2K will primarily be remembered as the jumping-off point for Omarion's career, but most people forget that the group did have a series of hits during their peak. And of those singles, they all bowed down to the greatness of "Bump, Bump, Bump," which ascended to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on this day in 2003.
The group — consisting of Omarion, Lil Fizz, Raz-B and J-Boog — first began to make noise in late 2001 with the single "Uh Huh." B2K's sound wasn't straight pop (they borrowed a lot from hip-hop-influenced R&B groups of the late '90s like Jagged Edge and 112), but they were presented as the urban alternative to the glut of boy bands (who were still in steady command of the pop charts even after the turn of the century). Their self-titled debut hit in early 2002 and scored the group two more singles, but their big breakthrough came following the release of their second album Pandemonium! in late 2002 (just after the release of the group's Christmas album Santa Hooked Me Up, perhaps the most awesomely-titled holiday collection of all time).
With an assist from Diddy, "Bump, Bump, Bump" climbed up the Billboard Hot 100 until it finally reached the top, finally ending the reign of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" (which was on top for a staggering 12 straight weeks). Unfortunately, the stay at the top for "Bump, Bump, Bump" was only temporary, as it stepped aside in favor of Jennifer Lopez's "All I Have" after only one week (the Lopez song, featuring a guest verse by LL Cool J, was in the number one position for four weeks before ceding it to 50 Cent's "In Da Club"). For a brief moment, B2K were on top of the world (though they broke up shortly after), and they have the video for "Bump, Bump, Bump" to remember their time in the sun.
Whenever people talk about the biggest bands of the grunge era, it always comes down to the quartet known as the "Big Four," consisting of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. The latter always comes at the end, mostly because they were never quite as good nor as culturally transcendent as the other bands on that list. However, in many ways, Alice in Chains defined that era better than anybody, as they combined the thick sludge of Sabbath-inspired metal and crossed it with a freewheeling sense of fun that left room for punk explorations, noise jams and acoustic experiments alike. On this day in 1994, Alice in Chains released one of the key collections of the era in the Jar of Flies EP.
Alice in Chains were already cresting on a huge wave of success thanks to their breakthrough 1992 album Dirt, perhaps the greatest album about addiction ever written (even the songs that aren't explicitly about heroin, like the post-traumatic stress anthem "Rooster," still seem to be about an obsession with smack). Dirt was an exceptionally loud, punishing collection of tunes that still managed to pack in big hits (especially on the singles "Would?" and "Them Bones"). Following the 1993 Lollapalooza tour, the band decided to jam on some acoustic instruments in a studio for a few days as an experiment (the finished product was never meant to be released). The band's label liked the results and put together the seven song EP, which ended up becoming the first EP to ever sit on top of the Billboard album chart.
Jar of Flies ditched the feedback and sludge of Dirt but retained Alice in Chains' way with melody and its haunting sense of askew beauty. Without the crutch of the volume, the band was able to spread themselves out and experiment a bit more (which continued with their self-titled 1995 album), and there was plenty of strife, as the EP's breakout single "No Excuses" — perhaps the breeziest song the band ever recorded — was about the rocky relationship between the group's co-leaders Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley.
Before 2004, the only people who really knew who Jenny Lewis was were people who held the 1989 film "The Wizard" (a cult favorite among kids of the era) in high esteem. The film co-starred a young Lewis, who since the turn of the century had re-surfaced as the singer of Rilo Kiley, a killer shape-shifting indie rock band who were slowly picking up followers in and around their Los Angeles home. In 2004, the band dropped More Adventurous, which elevated them from quiet favorite to crossover success (based largely on the strange ubiquity of the song "It's a Hit"). On this day in 2006, Lewis broke away from Rilo Kiley and released Rabbit Fur Coat, a stunning solo album that established Watson as one of the greatest female voices in the indie world.
With an assist from the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat took the quirky melodies and conversational tone of More Adventurous and stripped it down to its core. Sparse but never desolate, the songs on Rabbit Fur Coat exist in a universe somewhere between folk rock, country, roots rock, blues and classic singer-songwriter tropes. (The fact that it contains a Traveling Wilburys cover is telling, as that band is a pretty clear antecedent to the album's sound.) Lewis' voice sits at the center of everything, authoritatively infusing the songs with powerful confessions and just the right amount of melancholy. Most of the tunes sound simultaneously triumphant and heartbreaking — especially the breakout single "Rise Up With Fists!!"
Lewis can currently be heard as part of one half of Jenny and Johnny, her tag-team effort with boyfriend Jonathan Rice.
Under normal circumstances, the anniversary of the beginning of the manufacturing of a car wouldn't be all that big a deal. However, when production of the DeLorean DMC-12 began on this day in 1981, it ended up having a profound effect on pop culture at large.
Designed by American engineer John DeLorean (who up until then had been most famous for working on a trio of sports and muscle cars for Pontiac), the DeLorean was an incredible automotive creation that was easily identified by its flip-up doors (known as the "gull-wing" style), a rear-mounted engine and a fiberglass-and-steel construction (which ended up making the car ridiculously heavy). The development of the car (which eventually became known simply as the Delorean) cost the mogul $175 million and was partially funded by investments made by the likes of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Johnny Carson. Production was supposed to begin in 1978, but engineering snafus forced them to wait until this day in 1981.
Of course, the DeLorean's first life was a disaster. Only about 9,000 cars were made before production was abruptly halted in 1982 following the bankruptcy of the DeLorean Motor Company (brought on partially by the expenses associated with the car and partially by the founder's arrest for drug trafficking — a crime for which he was later acquitted). But the DeLorean's life was not done, as it became an iconic piece of pop culture minutiae when it became the basis for Dr. Emmett Brown's time machine in the series of "Back to the Future" movies. Not only was that big for the careers of Michael J. Fox and Robert Zemeckis, but it was also a huge leap forward for Huey Lewis (who provided some great songs for the first film, including the hits "Back in Time" and "The Power of Love"). In honor of one of the most iconic vehicles in all of film history, crank up Lewis' "The Heart of Rock and Roll."