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Week in Rock History: Pixies Break Up

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January 8, 2000: British police stop a kidnap attempt on Victoria Beckham
In 2000, Posh Spice – Victoria Beckham – became the target of an extensive kidnapping plot in her native England.

The pop star was then newly married to soccer star David Beckham, living in London with one child, Brooklyn. That January, Scotland Yard received a warning that someone would soon attempt to kidnap Victoria and her son for an enormous ransom. The police moved the family to a secret location. No arrests were made in the case, but Beckham was targeted again by a stalker that March, receiving death threats. At one point she was forced to flee an awards ceremony when police suspected the presence of a sniper.

The Beckhams were targeted once again for kidnapping in 2002. This time, authorities were warned of an armed gang. However, evidence proved inconclusive after the now-defunct tabloid News of the World misidentified one man accused of involved in the plot. He later accepted an apology and a charitable contribution from the paper.

January 11, 2000: Gary Glitter is released from prison after serving two months for possessing child pornography
Gary Glitter was a force of the British glam rock scene. He landed 26 hit singles on the U.K. charts from the 1970s to the 1990s, including "Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again" and "Another Rock & Roll Christmas," and he contributed an influential personal style including tight suits and a dark pompadour. His "Rock & Roll Part 2" became a recognizable gear-up song at sports events, making Glitter equally popular in both mainstream and art circles (no easy feat).

Glitter's bright career came to an end in November 1997 when he was arrested for possessing and downloading thousands of images of child pornography, as well as for having sex with an underage girl. (The latter charge was dismissed after it was revealed that the witness was paid for her story by, again, News of the World.) As a result, the singer was shunned from popular culture. His upcoming bookings were cancelled, and record stores in the U.K. pulled his albums. Even his cameo in the Spice Girls' movie was cut. Glitter was added to the Sex Offenders Registry and went to prison for two months (half of his original sentence). He was also convicted in Vietnam of molesting two young girls, serving nearly three years in jail there.

LAST WEEK: John and Yoko's Two Virgins Is Seized as Pornography

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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