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Freddie Mercury’s Fight, First-Ever “MTV Unplugged” & More: This Week In Music History

Freddie Mercury’s fight against AIDS, MTV‘s first-ever Unplugged, the #1 hit singles of 1981 and more! This week in music history here at Music Daily.

November 20: Amy Winehouse Drops Debut Album Frank in the US

On this day in 2007, Amy Winehouse’s debut album, Frank, finally dropped in the US, eight months after her second album, and three years after its British release. Although in the UK the album was critically acclaimed and extremely influential, the American charts proved its lack of support in the country. The album reached its peak of #33 only in 2011, after the singer’s death. 

November 21: “Under Pressure” and “Physical”

Olivia Newton-John "Physical" cover art
Olivia Newton-John “Physical” cover art

On this day in 1981, two absolutely incredible and memorable songs struck the charts, reaching the same #1 positions—one in the UK, one in the US. In the first case, the all-British collaboration of the then-and-now iconic David Bowie and Queen in “Under Pressure” quickly reached the first position, driven by the recognisable and groovy bass line. On the other side of the pond, era-defining actress and singer from the unforgettable movie and musical Grease (and much more), Olivia Newton-John hit #1 in the US with her sweaty aerobics anthem, “Physical.” The song stayed at the top spot for ten weeks, making it the biggest hit of 1981.

November 22: My Chemical Romance Release “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

In the lost and hopeless air that welcomed the 2010s, there were two currents that musicians followed. On the one hand, Katy Perry led the extra-positive, ultra-shining and bright pop line, bringing that light people have missed for the past couple of years. On the other hand, well, the complete opposite hand, musicians laid the foundations for that Tumblr ambience us 2000s kids just can’t forget. That is when My Chemical Romance dropped their fourth album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. In the album, the members are post-apocalyptic outlaws in a desperate attempt to fight injustice, corruption and decadence.

Emblematic are the songs “Na Na Na (…),” “Vampire Money” and “Sing.”

November 23: Queen Frontman Freddie Mercury Issues a Statement Confirming He Has AIDS

On this day in 1991, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury issued a statement confirming he had AIDS. 

“I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me,” he writes. “However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth. I hope that everyone will join with my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.” 

November 24: The Passing of a Queen

The following day, Freddie Mercury died. The announcement came, in fact, years after private fights against the deadly virus. He exhibited symptoms of the disease starting in 1982; the diagnosis arrived five years later. 

The singer died from bronchial pneumonia related to HIV/AIDS at his home in Kensington. 

November 25: Beastie Boys Against GoldieBlox

In 2013, Beastie Boys sued the toy company GoldieBlox for running an online ad that included girls singing an altered version of the group’s song “Girls” without their consent and advertising license. A few months later, on March 19, 2014, the suit was settled, with GoldieBlox issuing an apology and making a donation to charity.

November 26: MTV First-Ever MTV Unplugged

One of the best shows on MTV premiered on this day in 1989. MTV‘s acoustic showcase Unplugged started its run with an episode featuring Squeeze. The host of the first season was Jules Shear. 

The show would be a fundamental part of music history, becoming the stage for influential and music-defining live performances such as Nirvana’s live stage, Eric Clapton’s, Alice In Chains’ and more.

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