May 23rd, 1981 – It was 40 years ago this week (May 23rd) that one of the biggest songs of the 80s entered its second week atop the Billboard charts: Kim Carnes’ massive hit single “Bette Davis Eyes”. While often overlooked for actually being a cover of the Jackie DeShannon 1974 original, the track ended up being number 1 for a total of nine weeks (only briefly interrupted by Stars on 45 the week of June 20th) and went on to win the Grammy for Song of the Year and also Record of the Year.
May 24th, 1997 – Powered by irresistible lead single “Wannabe” the Spice Girls made history 24 years ago today (May 24th) with their first album Spice as it became the first time a British debut album made it to number 1 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. Four more singles were released (“Say You’ll Be There”, “2 Become 1”, “Mama”, and “Who Do You Think You Are”) and it ended up being the biggest selling album of that year!
May 25th, 1977 – The original Star Wars movie (now regularly referred to as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope) opened in movie theaters and changed lives forever – in part due to its iconic and unmistakable theme song and score from then 45 year old John Williams. The American Film Institute went on to list it as the greatest film score of all time, and it has also been added to the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
May 26th, 1964 – Leonard Kravitz, better known as Lenny Kravitz, is born in Manhattan, New York. Initially he goes by the name, Romeo Blue, though later reverts back to his name and releases his first single in 1989: “Let Love Rule”. Kravitz goes on to open for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan and David Bowie. He also famously co-wrote and produced Madonna’s 1990 single “Justify My Love” (which he discussed in 2014 on Howard Stern) for her greatest hits release The Immaculate Collection, which became his first number one track. As of May 2021 he has released 11 studio albums and won four Grammy awards.
May 27th, 2014 – Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent throws the first pitch at a New York Mets baseball game. The pitch is referred to as one of the worst first pitches ever thrown. Amazingly 14 years earlier (and almost to the day – on May 24th 2000) he is shot nine times while in a parked car. His survival becomes part of his incredible storied past and in 2003, he goes onto to release the massively popular single “In Da Club”.
May 28th, 1983 – The US Festival ’83 began it’s three-day run, each day featuring it’s own genre of Music: New Wave on the 28th, Heavy Metal on the 29th, and Rock on the 30th. The festival took place in southern California (near San Bernardino) and had more than 670,000 people in attendance. Among the featured performers were INXS, The Clash, Van Halen, U2, and David Bowie. Despite the big names (and according to his book iWoz) concert co-organizer (and Apple co-founder) Steve Wozniak, the festival still lost $12 million dollars.
May 29th, 1984 – After a five year break from her previous album, Tina Turner releases her fifth solo album, the timeless Private Dancer. An astounding seven singles are released from it, with the most memorable being the title track and the hugely successful “What’s Love Got to Do With It” which went on to win four Grammy awards including Song of the Year and Record of the Year. The album has since sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and was described in the New York Times as being “a landmark in the evolution of pop-soul Music.” This year a documentary was released about Turner on HBO, simply titled, TINA.