August 24, 1990 – Judas Priest are acquitted at their trial in Reno, NV, after having been accused of planting subliminal messages on their album Stained Class, which led two fans to attempt suicide. Rob Halford says, “We had to sit in this courtroom in Reno for six weeks. It was like Disneyworld. We had no idea what a subliminal message was – it was just a combination of some weird guitar sounds, and the way I exhaled between lyrics. I had to sing ‘Better by You, Better Than Me’ in court, a cappella. I think that was when the judge thought, ‘What am I doing here? No band goes out of its way to kill its fans.’”
August 24, 1989 – The Who perform their rock opera Tommy in a special 20th anniversary concert at Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Special guests include Elton John as the Pinball Wizard, Patti Labelle as the Acid Queen, Steve Winwood as the Hawker, Phil Collins as Uncle Ernie, and Billy Idol as Cousin Kevin.
August 24, 1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of John Lennon. To date, he has been denied parole nine times. Incredibly, his wife has stood by him for 37 years and visits him in jail. “I can’t believe she stuck with me all these years but she has,” he said. “We’re closer to the Lord now than we were on the street, so I am going to credit him with keeping our marriage together and our sanity, but she is still with me.”
August 24, 2008 – Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis perform the Led Zeppelin classic “Whole Lotta Love” during the closing ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Classic Rock Birthdays
August 24, 1963 – John Bush, vocals (Anthrax, Armored Saint)
August 24, 1951 – Danny Joe Brown, vocals (Molly Hatchet) (d. 2005)
August 24, 1968 – Andreas Kisser, guitar (Sepultura)
August 24, 1951 – Michael Derosier, drums (Heart)
August 24, 1945 – Ken Hensley, vocals, guitar (Uriah Heep) (d. 2020)
August 24, 1947 – Jim Fox, drums, organ (the James Gang)
August 24, 1938 – David Freiberg, bass, guitar, vocals (Quicksilver Messenger Ser-vice, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship)
August 24, 1943 – John Cipollina, guitar, (Quicksilver Messenger Service) (d. 1989)
August 24, 2021 – Charlie Watts, the debonair drummer of the Rolling Stones, dies in London of undisclosed causes. He was 80. Watts had battled throat cancer previously, and was also temporarily replaced on tour that year due to a heart procedure surgery. For 58 years, Watts was the bedrock of the Stones and had never missed a single gig in all of those years, prior to his last illness. He is regarded as one of the greatest drummers of all time and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.