This Week in Music History | January 9-14

This Week in Music History | January 9-14

This week in music history, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held its 10th annual induction ceremony. The class of ‘95 inductees include Al Green, Neil Young, Martha and the Vandellas, Frank Zappa, The Allman Brothers Band, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin. Some of the performance highlights of the night were Melissa Etheridge’s rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” Neil Young and Pearl Jam rocking out to “Fuckin’ Up” and Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith jamming together with “Train Kept a Rollin’.” 

All the inductees of 1995 remain rock ‘n’ roll icons. Al Green’s soulful vocals are some of the best of all time. Rolling Stones ranked him No. 10 on its list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time. Neil Young, the “Godfather of Grunge,” has had a long, successful career and is still playing and performing today.Martha and the Vandellas formed in Detroit and rose to fame with Motown Records in the 1960s. Frank Zappa was a trailblazer in the music industry, experimenting with every genre from rock to classical. Producing 60 albums, Zappa brought new life into rock ‘n’ roll.

Forging their own way in the music industry, The Allman Brothers Band fused rock, country and blues into magic. “One of the most exciting live bands to ever hit the stage,” according to Willie Nelson. Janis Joplin’s passion, powerful vocals and refusal to conform made her an icon. She died at age 27 but remains one of the top-selling musicians in the United States. Led Zeppelin doesn’t need much introduction. They’re one of the best-selling music artists of all time with iconic songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love.”

The 1995 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony recognized some of the biggest names in the music industry. All of the artists are legends, and their music has surely endured the test of time.

~Gabby Nelson


    On Jan. 11, 1992, Nirvana’s Nevermind would reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Nevermind debuted at a not-so-strong No. 144 on its release, mostly due to the lack of supply from a very limited initial release of 50,000 albums. The album would slowly crawl its way to the top over the course of three months as supply grew to meet demand and the iconic music video was put into MTV’s rotation. It would eventually step over Michael Jackson’s Dangerous and many of the hair metal bands that had made their home in the upper echelons of the charts. Nevermind would spend a total of 252 weeks on the charts in a constant ebb and flow for the highest spots.

While Nirvana wasn’t the only band marking a change in the public’s musical consciousness at this point, they were laying the groundwork for the sound of the ‘90s. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became the anthem of the generation through its use of esoteric lyrics and a high energy, catchy formula, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Meanwhile songs like “Something In The Way” and “Come As You Are” proved the band was more than a one-hit-wonder.

Overall, the band sold around 17 million copies of the album, proving itself as a cultural cornerstone and cementing the band in the annals of rock history. While Cobain may be gone, his contribution to rock, and music in general, is likely to never be forgotten.

~Shay Gale


31 years ago, grunge royalty Nirvana made their first of two appearances on Saturday Night Live. Their sophomore album Nevermind had come out just a few months earlier in September of ‘91, and with its significant commercial success SNL almost seemed like a rite of passage. The episode was hosted by Rob Morrow who introduced them before they played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Territorial Pissings.” Nevermind was at the top of the Billboard 200, and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was in its peak No. 6 position on the Hot 100. Nirvana played with their usual energy and vibrance, balanced with the grit of Kurt Cobain’s rasp and his dark, surreal lyrics. 

The performance is widely thought of as one of their best performances of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and viewers could assume the band felt the same way — during goodbyes, the trio kissed, a lot. I like the idea of Lorne Michaels sighing to himself backstage during this part, but he couldn’t have been too mad because they were invited back next year after the release of In Utero.

~Claudia Braesch


What do you do if you want to sing at the Grand Ole Opry and you happen to be country music icon Patsy Cline? You simply ask. This week in music history, Patsy Cline became the first (and only) person in the history of the iconic show to perform without an invitation, just by simply asking to join. The Opry is known as the premier place for all famous country acts, their website declaring them “The show that made country music famous.”

Since its inception in 1925, the radio show has been synonymous with the most popular names in country music, broadcasting them to the far reaches of America with the growing popularity of radio. In 1960, Patsy Cline’s career was rather tumultuous. She had performed and gained some acclaim locally. In 1957, she recorded the iconic “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Cline was fortunately on the upswing when she approached the Opry, and the next years would bring much more success and many more hits for her.

While only having one hit at the time of her membership, she was accepted and is now remembered as one of the most prominent voices in country music. The Country Music Hall of Fame notes that she is the most popular female country singer ever, and is also the first woman inducted there. Her promising career in music and at the Opry would be tragically cut short in 1963, when she died at the age of 30 in a plane crash. Among her many accomplishments, her boldness and her irreplaceable talent is remembered in music history by the simple question she asked the Grand Ole Opry 63 years ago this week.

~Madison Reinhold