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Sterling Whitaker

Sterling Whitaker is a Nashville-based musician and music journalist. He is the author of two books; 'Unsung Heroes of Rock Guitar,' and 'The Grand Delusion: The Unauthorized True Story of Styx.' He has appeared as a guest on VH1, BBC Radio, and radio all over North America. Whitaker is also very involved in animal rescue.
The Beatles
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43 Years Ago – The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ Played in Court During Charles Manson Trial

In 1969, terror and paranoia swept through the film and music communities of Los Angeles after actress Sharon Tate, Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski and 18-year-old Steven Parent were brutally murdered in a house on Cielo Drive. In a bizarre twist to an already sensational story, the Beatles' 'White Album' wound up being played in court during the subsequent murder trial of Charles Manson, who claimed to have planned the killing spree because of messages he believed were buried in the music.

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Ace Frehley
George De Sota, Getty Images
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37 Years Ago: Ace Frehley Nearly Electrocuted Onstage at Kiss Concert

Kiss were one of the top arena draws of the '70s, staging some of the most impressive concert spectacles of that era with their over-the-top theatrical performances. But the power of their live production almost cost guitarist Ace Frehley his life at a gig on Dec. 12, 1976, at the Lakeland Civic Center in Florida, when an unforeseen technical glitch caused him to nearly be electrocuted onstage.

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Mick Jagger Altamont
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44 Years Ago: Rolling Stones Altamont Speedway Concert Ends in Homicide

The Rolling Stones were trying to prove their critics wrong by booking a free festival to wrap up their 1969 tour at Altamont Speedway on Dec. 6, 1969. But what they intended as a way for their fans to come together for a day of music and celebration turned into a tragic debacle that ended with a homicide -- effectively bring the peace-and-love ethos of the '60s to a jarring end.

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Frank Zappa
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20 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Dies

Frank Zappa was one of the most innovative and versatile rock musicians of his generation, creating a vast body of work that encompassed almost every genre of music -- but he wouldn't have wanted to hear it. The mercurial genius actively resisted those kinds of labels and effusive public praise, focusing instead on the work itself in a career that spanned more than three decades. He died on Dec. 4, 1993 at the age of 52 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

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44 Years Ago: Jim Morrison Arrested in Arizona

There's no denying that Doors singer Jim Morrison was one of the most charismatic front men of his generation. Unfortunately he was one of the most troubled, too. The singer had a terrible alcohol problem that played a big role in his repeated arrests, including one on Nov. 11, 1969 in Arizona that resulted from Morrison and a friend drunkenly heckling a flight crew on a commercial airliner.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash
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36 Years Ago: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Plane Crashes, Killing Three Band Members

Lynyrd Skynyrd had established themselves as one of the most successful rock bands of the '70s by the time they released 'Street Survivors' in October of 1977. The group's career would come to a tragic halt just three days later, on Oct. 20, 1977, when their twin engine plane went down in a swamp in Gillsburg, Miss., killing three of the band members, a tour manager and both pilots on impact.

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CCR
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41 Years Ago: Creedence Clearwater Revival Break Up

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival were one of the most important and influential rock groups of their generation, despite the fact that their recording career together lasted a scant four years. Their breakup was announced on Oct. 16, 1972 -- 41 years ago today.

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John Bonham
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33 Years Ago: John Bonham’s Funeral Service Took Place

Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham is generally regarded as one of the most important and influential rock drummers of his generation, if not all time. The legendary musician died on Sept. 25, 1980, and today --  Oct. 10 -- marks the 33rd anniversary of his funeral service.

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Black Sabbath
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41 Years Ago: Black Sabbath Release ‘Vol. 4′

Metal pioneers Black Sabbath were reaching beyond their heavy musical roots by the time they recorded their fourth album in 1972, coming up with an amalgam of classic heavy riffing, a growing sense of melody, and even some touches of progressive rock. The album endures as a classic today - even though it was almost derailed by the band's growing substance abuse.

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Gene Simmons Says Kiss Have 5-10 Years Left in Their Career

Kiss are getting to be the elder statesmen of shock rock, currently celebrating 40 years since their formation and still going strong. In a new interview Gene Simmons says he's not ready to hang up his face paint and dragon boots just yet, revealing that he thinks the band could possibly last another decade.

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Tommy Lee drums
Tommy Lee / Facebook
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Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee Retires Roller Coaster Drum Kit

It's the end of an era for Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee. The band wrapped their most recent tour with a gig at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on Saturday night (May 25), and the show also marked the final appearance of Lee's unique roller coaster drum set.

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