May 20, 2015 – Whitesnake release “The Purple Album,” a tribute to Deep Purple, featuring songs from singer David Coverdale’s two albums with the band. “It’s a tribute. A homage. It’s a huge thank you from me to Deep Purple for the opportunity I was given over 40 years ago,” states Coverdale.
May 20, 1998 – Mötley Crüe‘s Tommy Lee is sentenced to 180 days in jail, three years’ probation and a fine of $6,200 to be paid to a battered women’s shelter for kicking his soon-to-be ex-wife, Pamela Anderson, while she was holding their young son.
May 20, 1995 – Don Henley of the The Eagles gets married for the first time to model Sharon Summerall in Malibu. It’s a star-studded affair with Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Jimmy Buffett, Sheryl Crow, and other famous celebs at the ceremony. The house band at the reception features Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Billy Joel and Tony Bennett.
May 20, 1998 – Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward suffers a mild heart attack during rehearsals for their European tour. He is temporarily replaced by Vinny Appice.
May 20, 2003 – James Brown is pardoned for all of his past crimes and offenses in South Carolina. The pardon prompts Brown to spontaneously sing “God Bless America” at the conclusion of his hearing. 65% of the 200-300 people who apply for pardons each year in the state are forgiven.
May 20, 1969 – Chicago singer Peter Cetera is attacked at a Dodgers/Cubs game at Dodger Stadium because of his long hair. He says, “Four marines didn’t like a long-haired rock ‘n’ roller in a baseball park, and of course I was a Cubs fan, and I was in Dodger Stadium, and that didn’t do so well. I got in a fight and got a broken jaw in three places, and I was in intensive care for a couple of days. With my jaw wired together, I actually went on the road, and I was actually singing through my clenched jaw, which, to this day, is still the way I sing.”
Classic Rock Birthdays
May 20, 1944 – Joe Cocker, vocals (d. 2014)
May 20, 1954 – Jimmy Henderson, guitar (Black Oak Arkansas) (d. 2016)
May 20, 1955 – Steve George, keyboards (Mr. Mister)
May 20, 1964 – Patti Russo, vocals (Meatloaf)
May 20, 1958 – Jane Wiedlin, guitar (Go-Go’s)
May 20, 2013 – Ray Manzarek, keyboard player and founding member of the Doors, dies of complications from bile duct cancer. He was 74. Manzarek died in a clinic in Germany where he went for experimental treatment to fight his rare cancer.
May 20, 1964 – Rudy Lewis (born Charles Rudolph Harrell), lead singer of the Drifters, dies in a Harlem hotel room. He was 27. Lewis’ death was ruled a drug overdose, but an autopsy was never performed and members of his family believe he died under mysterious circumstances.