January 21, 1966 – George Harrison marries Pattie Boyd in England with Paul McCartney as his best man. She leaves Harrison in the mid-’70s due to his infidelities and has an affair with Ronnie Wood. She later marries Eric Clapton in 1979.
January 21, 1987 – Twenty-two artists are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 2nd annual awards show, held in New York City. Keith Richards inducts Aretha Franklin, B.B. King is inducted by Sting, ZZ Top inducts Bo Diddley, Mick Jones of Foreigner inducts Eddie Cochran, Ricky Nelson is posthumously inducted by John Fogerty, and Roy Orbison is inducted by Bruce Springsteen.
January 21, 2003 – David Palmer, former keyboard player for Jethro Tull changes his name to Dee Palmer after coming out as transsexual and intersex. Palmer was born with genital ambiguity and underwent several surgeries until her late 20s.
January 21, 1992 – Billy Idol pleads guilty to assault and battery charges after an incident outside a West Hollywood restaurant where he allegedly punched a woman in the face. He is fined $2,700 and ordered to appear in a series of anti-drug commercials.
Classic Rock Birthdays
January 21, 1938 – Wolfman Jack (born Robert Weston Smith), DJ (d. 1995)
January 21, 1942 – Edwin Starr, vocals, “War” (d. 2003)
January 21, 1941 – Richie Havens, vocals, guitar (d. 2013)
January 21, 1997 – “Colonel” Tom Parker (born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk), dies of a stroke in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 87. Parker was Elvis Presley’s manager and agent and a Dutch immigrant who changed his name as soon as he arrived in the U.S. He never applied for a green card and feared deportation his entire life. Although Parker made more than $100 million during his career, when he died his estate was only worth about $1 million due to his gambling habits.
January 21, 1984 – Jackie Wilson dies from complications of pneumonia. He was 49. Wilson suffered a massive heart attack while playing a Dick Clark show in New Jersey in 1975, and had mainly remained in a coma until his death eight years later. Nicknamed “Mr. Excitement” due to his energetic and dynamic live performances, Wilson was an influential performer in the world of R&B, soul and early rock ‘n’ roll. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.