June 9, 1990: MC Hammer's Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em began a record-breaking 21 weeks on top of the U.S. album charts
Before he proved to be his own greatest enemy (IRS notwithstanding), MC Hammer was a money-making phenomenon. The Oakland, California rapper's third album – which boasted the track "U Can't Touch This" – topped the Billboard charts for a staggering 21 weeks, the longest uninterrupted run by an album in the U.S. charts' history.
"U Can't Touch This," which sampled Rick James's "Super Freak," was primarily responsible for the album's massive sales; its popularity was sparked by Hammer's performance on the Arsenio Hall Show in late 1989. Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em was the first rap album to sell over 10 million copies, raising rap music to new mainstream popularity. Hip-hop purists decried the album's slick pop production and numerous samples (from James, Prince, the Jackson 5, the Chi-Lites and many more), but it remains one of the genre's top-selling albums of all time.
June 6, 2002: Dee Dee Ramone died of a drug overdose
Dee Dee Ramone, founding member and bassist of the Ramones, was one of the most accomplished songwriters in the punk group; he penned "Rockaway Beach," "Glad to See You Go" and many other fan favorites. He was also the original lead singer before Joey Ramone intercepted due to Dee Dee's inability to play and deliver vocals simultaneously.
Born Douglas Glenn Colvin on September 18, 1951, Dee Dee battled drug addiction for much of his life; he was reportedly strung out on heroin for much of the Ramones' influential late-Seventies-to-mid-Eighties span. He left the band upon the release of 1989's Brain Drain and briefly pursued a hip-hop career as Dee Dee King, though he continued to write songs for the Ramones.
Dee Dee was found dead in his Hollywood home by wife Barbara on June 6th. The coroner ruled his death as an accidental heroin overdose. He was 50 years old. His tombstone at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery quips, "OK…I gotta go now."
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