Today in Music History for May 26:

In 735, Bede the Venerable, known as the father of English church history, Benedictine monk, priest, writer, hymn writer, died at about age 62. He was educated at Jarrow and spent the rest of his life in the monastery in Northumberland, in the north of England.

In 1811, American Methodist clergyman William Hunter was born. The author of three collections of hymns, published during his lifetime, Hunter is best remembered for the hymn "The Great Physician Now is Near."

In 1920, soulful singing legend Peggy Lee was born. Lee is best known for her rendition of "Fever" and in 1969 she won a Grammy award for best contemporary female vocal performance for the hit "Is That All There Is?" She died of a heart attack on Jan. 21, 2002, at her Bel Air, Calif., home.

In 1926, jazz trumpeter Miles Davis was born in Alton, Ill. In the more than 45 years following his breakthrough with the Billy Eckstine Orchestra in 1944, Davis brought about a number of radical changes in jazz. Davis died of pneumonia, respiratory failure and a stroke on Sept. 28, 1991.

In 1932, Frank LoVecchio, later to become famous as singer Frankie Laine, and his partner Ruth Smith began their all-time marathon dance record in Atlantic City, N.J. The marathon ended Oct. 18. For dancing for 3,501 hours on 145 consecutive days, the couple made a grand total of $500.

In 1933, Jimmie Rodgers, the Father of Country Music, died of tuberculosis in New York City at age 35, just two days after making his final recording. He was so ill during his final recording sessions that he had to rest between takes on a cot set up in the studio. Rodgers recorded his first million-seller "T for Texas," also known as "Blue Yodel," in 1927, becoming country music's first superstar. He never appeared on any major radio show or played the Grand Ole Opry. But he, along with Hank Williams and songwriter and music publisher Fred Rose, was the first to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961.

In 1940, Levon Helm, drummer and singer for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group "The Band," was born in Elaine, Ark. He and his bandmates -- Canadians Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson and Richard Manuel -- went from being Bob Dylan's backup group into one of rock's most legendary acts. Helm brought an urgent beat and a genuine Arkansas twang to some of the group's best-known songs. The group's 1968 debut, "Music From the Big Pink," and its follow up, "The Band," remain landmark albums of the era, and songs such as "The Weight," ''The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Up on Cripple Creek" have become rock standards. He died of throat cancer on April 19, 2012.

In 1948, Stevie Nicks, vocalist with "Fleetwood Mac," was born in Phoenix. Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham joined the group in 1975 after singer-guitarist Bob Welch departed. Nick's debut album with "Fleetwood Mac" sold four million copies, and the follow-up, "Rumours," sold 40 million copies worldwide. Stevie Nicks recorded her first solo LP, "Belladonna," in 1980. The album hit No. 1 on the charts, and spawned two top-10 singles. In 1997, "The Dance," a live album by the reunited "Fleetwood Mac," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. The group got back together, minus Christine McVie, in the spring of 2003, and made a new album, "Say You Will," the first project with all-new material since 1987.

In 1958, Jerry Lee Lewis played the third and last show of what was supposed to have been a 37-date British tour. News of his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin prompted demands that he be deported. That night, he was booed off the stage.

In 1962, the original version of "Twist and Shout," by "The Isley Brothers," was released. The song was revived two years later by "The Beatles," whose version gained a new lease on life in 1986 after it was included on two film soundtracks -- "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Back to School."

In 1964, rocker Lenny Kravitz was born in New York City. Kravitz taught himself bass, piano, guitar and drums, and learned to stretch his voice with the Metropolitan Opera. An accomplished songwriter, Kravitz also plays most of the instruments on his studio recordings. Kravitz debuted in 1989 with "Let Love Rule" but really hit the charts with his follow-up "Mama Said." 1993's hard-rocking "Are You Gonna Go My Way" was a mainstay on MTV and MuchMusic. Starting in 1998, Kravitz won the Grammy award for best male rock performance four years in a row with songs from "5" and "Greatest Hits."

In 1965, "The Rolling Stones" appeared on "Shindig!" along with Jackie DeShannon and "Sonny and Cher."

In 1966, Bob Dylan and "The Hawks" -- later called -- "The Band," ended a British tour by playing two days at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The tour, marking Dylan's transformation from folk singer to rock star, was generally not well received. Among the celebrities in the audience for the Albert Hall shows were "The Beatles," "The Rolling Stones" and Prince Charles.

In 1968, R&B singer Little Willie John died of pneumonia in the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. John, only 30 years old, was serving a sentence for manslaughter after stabbing a man during a brawl in Seattle. During the 1950s, he had such hits as "All Around the World," "Sleep" and "Fever," also a big success for Peggy Lee.

In 1969, John and Yoko Lennon resumed their "bed-in for peace" on the 19th floor of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. The bed-in had begun in March at the Amsterdam Hilton in Holland, and they attempted to resume it in May in the U.S. But John and Yoko were not allowed into the U.S. because of their arrest on drug charges in October 1968, so the protest was moved to Montreal. In their hotel suite, they recorded "Give Peace a Chance." Background chanters included drug guru Timothy Leary, Tommy Smothers and a group of Hare Krishnas.

In 1974, 14-year-old Bernadette Wheeler suffered a fatal heart attack during a concert by David Cassidy at London's White City athletic stadium. Four other fans were taken to hospital and 100 others required medical treatment. Cassidy began toning down his teen idol image soon after, and quit "The Partridge Family" TV series which made him a star.

In 1977, William Powell of "The O'Jays," one of the most popular black vocal groups of the 1970s, died of cancer in Canton, Ohio. He was 35. Powell had been with the group for 16 years. Sammy Strain, a member of "Little Anthony and the Imperials" for 12 years, was Powell's replacement. "The O'Jays" biggest hit was "Love Train," a No. 1 record in 1973.

In 1987, pianist, arranger and record producer Art Snider died in Toronto of cancer at age 60. Snider established and operated the Chateau record label from 1956-61, which released Gordon Lightfoot's first recordings. Snider also managed Lightfoot's career for a short time. Snider operated another record label, Periwinkle, beginning in 1973.

In 1993, the Canadian production of "Miss Saigon" opened in Toronto. The musical, which premiered in London in 1989, tells of a tragic romance between a Vietnamese bar girl and a U.S. soldier. The producers of the Canadian version, Ed and David Mirvish, spent $22 million to build the 2,000-seat Princess of Wales Theatre to house the show. Advance ticket sales were reported to be $30 million. The top ticket price was $91.

In 1994, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were secretly married in the Dominican Republic. But the prince of pop and the daughter of "The King" did not confirm the marriage until Aug. 1. They later divorced.

In 1995, "The Rolling Stones" surprised fans in Amsterdam by playing two shows in a small nightclub as a prelude to the European leg of their "Voodoo Lounge" tour. The club concerts were recorded for an album released later that year.

In 1995, Flavor Flav of the rap group "Public Enemy" was sentenced to three months in jail for firing a gun at a neighbour in his New York apartment building. They had been arguing over the rapper's girlfriend.

In 2001, Tom DeLonge of "Blink-182" married Jennifer Jenkins at Coronado Island, Calif. "Jimmy Eat World" played at the wedding.

In 2004, Fantasia Barrino was named winner of the third edition of "American Idol," beating out Diana DeGarmo.

In 2008, composer Earle H. Hagen, who wrote the themes for "The Andy Griffith Show," "I Spy," "The Mod Squad" and other TV shows, died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at age 88.

In 2009, a South Carolina judge approved a settlement for the estate of late soul singer James Brown. It gave nearly half of the estate to Brown's charitable trust, about a quarter to his wife and young son, and the rest to Brown's adult children. The value of Brown's assets has not been made public since his death in 2006. (In 2013, the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned the settlement citing Brown's wishes to have most of his estate go to charity. The court sent the estate back to a lower court to be reconsidered.)

In 2009, rapper T.I. reported to a minimum security prison in Arkansas to serve his sentence of one year and one day. In 2008, he pleaded guilty of trying to buy unregistered machine guns and silencers from undercover federal agents in 2007.

In 2009, Bob Dylan became the oldest musician to have a No. 1 album in England with his album "Together Through Life." At 68, he beat Neil Diamond, who was 67 years and 4 months old when his album, "Home After Dark," hit No. 1 in 2008. (The record was shortlived as wartime singer Dame Vera Lynn, 92, reached No.1 in September with "We'll Meet Again - The Very Best Of")

In 2010, shy paint store clerk Lee DeWyze triumphed over Crystal Bowersox to win the ninth season of "American Idol." The finale also marked the last appearance as judge for Simon Cowell, the music industry veteran whose authoritative and mostly on target criticisms propelled the singing contest into a pop-culture force that dominated TV. He moved on to produce and judge "The X Factor," a Fox version of his popular British talent contest.

In 2010, "Bon Jovi" played the first inside concert at New Jersey's new US$1.6 billion New Meadowlands football stadium. Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, lead guitarist Richie Sambora and keyboardist David Bryan are New Jersey natives.

In 2011, for the first time in 30 years, legendary rocker Alice Cooper had to cancel a concert. His show in Santiago, Chile, was cancelled due to food poisoning but he was OK for his next show in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on May 28.


The Canadian Press