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This Week in Music History As July Closes into August

History as you’ve never seen it: albums, artists’ births, rumours and more: discover with us what happened this week in the history of music.

August 1: “I want my MTV”

On this day in music almost 40 years ago, one of the most important events in contemporary music history took place. It was August, 1st 1987 when MTV Europe premiered on the continent. Following the American introduction, Europe welcomed the new program with one of the most famous singles and music videos from the 80s. To be presented on the screen was Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.” What made it even more iconic? The ironic piece of lyric, “I want my MTV.”

August 2: Becoming Bob Dylan

On August 2, 1962, singer-songwriter Robert Allen Zimmerman legally changed his name to Robert Dylan. The change happened months after and due to the release of his self-titled debut, Bob Dylan. After years of success and groundbreaking singles and albums, few decades later in a 2004 interview with CBS, Dylan explained what led to him changing his name, saying:

“You’re born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free.”

August 3: How was this allowed?

Taylor Swift dating John Mayer, and her “Dear John” and later on “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” or the now running joke of Leonardo Di Caprio’s younger-than-25 girlfriends, are only two of the multiple examples that shocked our culture for how big the age gap between the two partners is.

But did you know that in the past not only this was more common and somewhat accepted, but also more drastic? To give you an example, it was today in 1986 that the news that Rolling Stones’s bass player Bill Wyman, 49, was dating Mandy Smith, 16, came to light through News Of The World. The couple apparently not only had a age gap of 33 years, but was also rumoured to be a thing since Smith was only 13. Not only this was allowed and no charges were pressed against Wyman, but the couple even got married in 1989! The fact that the union lasted less than a year seems almost insignificant in front of the incredibly shocking difference in age between the two.

Whether social media today are actually a problem or not with their cancel culture, we like to think that Wyman wouldn’t have virtually survive the black lash following the publication of this news if it happened today.

Source: David Becker / Getty

August 4: Rihanna, the richest female musician

On this day in 2021, Forbes declares Rihanna the richest female musician. The musician was at the time the richest artist with her $1.7 billion fortune. That is double of Madonna’s, who is at the second position.

On a side note, most of Rihanna’s earnings are however from her Fenty Beauty line, and not directly from her music. Following her The Eras Tour, Taylor Swift is speculated to be the first to cross the threshold of the billion dollars. Earning over $5 million per night, her over 100 shows will allegedly lead her to break yet another record. Not a surprise from both these incredible women.

August 5: American Bandstand airs on US television

On this day in music in 1957, American Bandstand first aired on US television. The TV program was initially hosted by Bob Horn, but he was later replaced by Dick Clark. This also led to the change of shooting location, switching from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. The show welcomed artists of the likes of ABBA, The Doors, Madonna, R.E.M., and Pink Floyd.

August 6: Elliott Smith born today

On this day in 1969 one of the pillars of indie rock music artist was born. Elliott Smith, pseudonym of Steven Paul Smith, was an American singer-songwriter and musician. Starting performing as part of the group Heatmiser, he then moved to a solo career in 1994. The release of singles of the likes of “Between The Bars” and “Waltz #2 (XO)” impacted the direction of indie. With his melancholic, painful work, Smith influenced multiple artists that followed – such as Phoebe Bridgers and beabadoobee.

After years of struggles with drugs and mental illness, the artist passed away in 2003, aged 34. He died in Los Angeles from two stab wounds to the chest. The autopsy evidence did not determine whether the wounds were self-inflicted. He left with an incredible legacy that still determines the creation of music.

August 7: Madonna gets political in Moscow

On this day in 2012, Madonna played a concert in Moscow. On this particular night, the singer expressed support for the group Pussy Riot. The duo have in fact been jailed for performing their song “Mother Of God, Putin’s Run” in a Moscow cathedral.

Later in 2014, Madonna welcomed the duo on her stage for the Amnesty concert in New York. The singer said to be “honoured” to present “Nadia and Masha, my companions in the fight for freedom”.

Discover more about your favourite artists and stay updated on all the latest and hottest music news here

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