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Week in Rock History: Jimi Hendrix Dies

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September 23, 2001: Kylie Minogue releases "Can't Get You Out of My Head"
After more than a decade as a global pop star, Kylie Minogue finally broke through to American audiences with one of the catchiest songs of the decade.

A former child actress and television star in her native Australia, Minogue struck musical gold early in 1987 with her first single, "Locomotion." She released her debut album, Kylie, in 1988, and over the next few years, all of her first 13 singles cracked the Top Ten of the British charts – a singular achievement in U.K. musical history.

Her record sales lagged in the mid-1990s as she experimented with her nü-disco sound, trying all the while to cross over to American audiences. It was "Can't Get You Out of My Head," off her eighth album, Fever, that finally helped her crack the United States. The irresistible electronic dance track was first released in Australia then bounded over to America in 2002, where it climbed the Billboard Hot Dance Club charts and reached Number One, as well as reached Number Seven on the Billboard Hot 100.

September 21, 2004: Yusuf Islam, a.k.a. Cat Stevens, is detained by United States Homeland Security
British folk-pop singer-songwriter Cat Stevens changed his name to Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam in the late 1970s. Two decades later, his name made him a temporary suspect of the United States government.

In 2004, Yusuf boarded a United Airlines flight from London to Washington to meet with Dolly Parton, with whom he was planning to record a song. En route, his name was discovered on the U.S. "no fly list," suggesting he posed a possible terrorism threat; the flight was diverted to Maine and Islam was interrogated by government officials at the request of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. The next day, Islam was flown back to Britain, drawing complaints from the British government and widespread ire towards Ridge.

Islam petitioned to have his name removed from the no fly list, and he entered the United States without detainment in 2006. In 2008, he recorded a song about the political debacle, "Boots and Sand," with Dolly Parton and Paul McCartney.

LAST WEEK: Fleetwood Mac Breaks Up and Johnny Cash Dies

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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