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January 23-26

January 23rd: scandals in the music industry

Lots of music history to cover in the week of January 23rd to 26th, far ranging from legal situations for Justin Bieber to Billie Eilish sweeping major Grammy wins. January 23rd represented an important day as far as the cohesion of law and music is involved. Not only one huge scandal, but two, took place in 2003 and later on in 2014. Two different types of scandal, as well as two different levels of legal consequences.

The media interest, however, was the same.

In the first case we have the R Kelly case, on January 23rd of 2003 was charged on new child pornography charges. At that point of the notorious situation, the rapper was detained in Miami. In fact, the police discovered digital sex pictures at the singer’s home in Florida from June of the previous year. This brought him to face 12 counts of possession of child pornography. Moreover, the artist was facing 21 charges due to the production of child pornography and his appearance in a video having sex with an underage girl. In 2021, R. Kelly received a conviction of 30 years in jail for sex abuse.

On the other hand, the second scenario involves Justin Bieber and his notorious arrest after racing his yellow Lamborghini against another sports car on a Miami Beach street in 2014. The story bounced from paper to paper, becoming one of the most shocking pop stories of the year. The artist, most of the audience thought, once again confirmed his bad boy nature. Stories of drugs and addiction only emphasised what was “really” behind the star. The 19-year-old singer went to jail, and was granted bail set at $2,500.

January 24th: Elvis breaking – another – record

Elvis during his 1968 comeback special on NBC

On Jan 24th, 1958,  Elvis Presley was at the top of the UK chart with his most famous single ever, “Jailhouse Rock.”

After the release of the movie, Elvis’ fame rose – again, leading the artist to receive a new wave of love and appreciation after discovering what happened behind the curtains of the King’s life. Sympathy and support to his tormented story is what she received since the release of the Oscar nominated movie. Singles from the 50s, 60s and 70s jumped back to the top, recreating the old “Elvis kingdom.” However, the fame he gained today was nothing compared to the one he had in his early years. Famous internationally as “The King,” Elvis topped the charts 18 times in the US. He is second only to Mariah Carrey (19) and The Beatles (20). In The UK, he is the artist with the most No.1 singles – 21.

Presley accomplished also multiple records. In particular, one happened exactly on this day. On January 24th, 1958, the artist reached the No.1 on the UK singles chart – his second UK No.1 – with “Jailhouse Rock.” The song became his first single ever to enter the chart at No.1.

January 25th: The Debut of Joy Division

On January 25, 1978, post-punk English iconic band Joy Division made their live debut. In fact, the band appeared live for the first time ever at Pips Disco in Manchester, England.

Despite their short stay – from 1976 to 1980 – the band is still considered one of the most important. They have been, in fact, extremely relevant for their influence and inspiration for future acts. Starting as “Warsaw” (inspired by David Bowie’s song “Warszawa”), Joy Division changed their name in 1977. Since then, they released singles and albums that are still considered as the spine of today’s genres. These includes the now classics “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “She’s Lost Control.”

In particular, “She’s Lost Control” has gained recognition for singer’s Ian Curtis execution. The live performance had a huge role in the band’s captivating and mysterious energy. The artist was in fact sadly famous for his epilepsy, often triggered by the lights of stadiums and music halls. During live concerts, the illness often took control of the artist, leading him into seizures. These seizures created a captivating yet tragical “performance.” Epilepsy was also one of the reasons behind Curtis’ depression which lead the artist to take his own life in 1980.

In their four years, the band was growing into one of the most famous in the genre and in general from the late 70s. And despite their prominent future ahead, the band broke up soon, due to the sad passing of lead singer Ian Curtis. The singer, who took his own life in May of the same year, was not only the leader and poet of the band, but also a close friend to all the other members. For this reason, the band decided to break up out of respect to and honouring an agreement they’d had between them and Curtis.

In 1980, the remaining band members continued their music careers starting a new project under the name of “New Order.”

January 26th: Billie Eilish swept the Grammys

Billie Eilish guitar songs

On January 26, 2020, at the age of only 18, American singer and songwriter Billie Eilish swept the board at the 2020 Grammys. In this incredible day, the rising artist proved her power winning four major awards. These includes Best New Artist, Song of the Year for “Bad Guy,” Record of the Year and Album of the Year forher debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go.

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