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This Week In Rock History: Michael Jackson Becomes a Superstar, Neil Young Goes to Jail and Van Hagar is Born

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March 24th, 1986:  Van Halen release 5150
It was widely presumed that Van Halen would collapse after David Lee Roth left the group in 1985. With the exceptions of Genesis and AC/DC, few bands had survived the departure of a high-profile frontman. Undaunted, Eddie phoned up former Montrose vocalist Sammy Hagar and asked him if he'd be up for the job. They held a quick jam session at Van Halen's 5150 studio, and afterwards Hagar listened to the tape. "I got the goose bumps all over my body," Hagar writes in his new memoir Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock. "There was something about it that was slow, confident, almost majestic. On March 24th, 1986 they released 5150, which contained the classics "Why Can't This Be Love," "Best Of Both Worlds,"  "Dreams" and "5150." It sold millions and for the next decade Van Halen remained one of the biggest names in rock.

March 23rd, 1991:  George Michael and Elton John perform "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
One of the first public appearances that Elton John made after leaving an extensive stay in a rehabilitation clinic in 1990 was at a George Michael concert in London. Elton's appearances prior to his stay at the clinic were shocking: He was bloated and his hair was completely white. When he walked onstage at the London arena with George Michael he looked 20 years younger. Their duet on "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" hit Number One all around the world, with all proceeds going to charity.

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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