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This Week in Music History for July 17th: Movie hits, Censorship and an Interesting Documentary for Now

July 17: Endless Love, Endless Soundtrack 

It happens sometimes that the soundtrack of a movie goes down in history along the movie itself, and both find their place in cinematic and music history. It’s the case for example of Dirty Dancing and its “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life,” or Top Gun and “Take My Breath Away.” However, it can also happen that the soundtrack of a movie finds a safer and deeper place in our minds more than the movie itself does. 

It is the case of the 1981 Universal Pictures’ romantic drama Endless Love, starring Brooke Shields. Do you remember this title? It would be understandable if you didn’t, because the movie was quickly forgotten by the general public. What went down in history on the other hand is its theme song, Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’ duet in the homonymous hit. The song spent nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Moreover, it earns Richie an Academy Award nomination for Best Song.

July 18: Raging Against Music Censorship

On this day in 1993, Rage Against The Machine – quite literally – took a stand and protested music censorship. Their way of protesting? By appearing completely naked at their Lollapalooza set in Philadelphia – except for duct tape over their mouths. Moreover, the letters PMRC written on their chests recalling the Parents Music Resource Center. The group refused to perform, and stood still for 15 minutes according to their Wiki page on their activism.

July 19: The Legend of Billie Jean

On July, 19, 1985 The Legend of Billie Jean debuts in theatres. Together with the musical, theme song “Invincible” by Pat Benatar gained fame and became one of the most famous hits in musical history. The musical starred Helen Slater and Christian Slater as teens brothers and sisters from Texas. The siblings accidentally become outlaws after being mistakenly involved in and held responsible for an armed robbery. The duo therefore start an escape that leads them to becoming popular heroes.

July 20: Chester Bennington Passes Away Taking His Own Life

Six years have already passed since the day Linkin Park’s first singer and frontman Chester Bennington took his own life by hanging. The artist, who’d been dealing with depression and alcohol and drugs addiction for his entire life, was found dead at the age of 41 in his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

The singer’s death occurred on what would have been his close friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Cornell had passed away in the same year few months prior, leaving an open scar in Bennignton’s life. 

July 21: Caught in the act

Today marks the day that German pop and dance music group Milli Vanilli, with frontmen Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, was exposed. The band was formed by Frank Farian in 1988, on the line of Sex Pistols and inspired by their unmatched success. Morvan and Pilatus, in fact, couldn’t sing nor play any instrument. The day the public would’ve discovered their playback didn’t take long to come. It was 1989, less than one year after their creation. While the duo was performing on the Club MTV tour at a stop in Bristol, Connecticut, the studio track they were performing to started going screwy while they tried to lip-synch to the song “Girl You Know It’s True.” The line “girl you know it’s…” started repeating over and over. That was the moment when the duo panicked, and immediately left the stage.

July 22: “If God can save an old homosexual like me, he can save anybody”

It happened today in 1979 that Little Richard made his famous statement, “If God can save an old homosexual like me, he can save anybody.”

The singer arrived on the scene in the 50s and since then broke barriers, stereotypes and social limits. His flamboyance, charm and never-seen-before charisma immediately made him an icon, and an inspiration for many. However, the artist was going through a huge internal struggle trying to bring his being gay and his religious faith together. Besides even going as far as condemning homosexuality, in a 1982 interview with David Letterman he mentioned that he had been gay all his life but that God had told him that “He made Adam be with Eve, not Steve.”

It took years for the artist to finally come to terms with his homosexuality. Richard’s history is well narrated in Lisa Cortés’ documentary on the artist’s life, “Little Richard: I Am Everything.” Take note, this film is the ONLY documentary to make Variety Magazine’s “The Top 10 Films of the Year (So Far)” list for 2023! Making it a must watch!

July 23: Fiona Apple’s Debut Album, Tidal

On this day in 1996, New York singer and pianist Fiona Apple McAfee-Maggart dropped her debut album Tidal at the young age of 18. The release included singles “Shadowboxer” and “Criminal,” and already presented the singer in her characteristic forceful and rock sound. Tidal sold over 3 million copies in America, and started the music phenomenon of Fiona Apple.

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

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