Today in Entertainment History

On Aug. 21, 1935, the Benny Goodman Orchestra played a concert that’s considered to be the beginning of the Swing Era. The concert was at a ballroom in Los Angeles and included songs like “Just You, Just Me.”

In 1972, Grace Slick was sprayed with mace and Paul Kantner was slammed to the floor by police following a chaotic show by Jefferson Airplane in Akron, Ohio. A bomb threat had been phoned in, fans threw rocks at police cars and officers responded with tear gas.

In 1980, singer Linda Ronstadt opened on Broadway in the opera “The Pirates of Penzance.” She later starred in the film version.

In 1994, John Denver was charged with drunk driving after he crashed his Porsche into a tree.

In 1995, R.E.M. sued Hershey Foods, claiming the company exploited its name when it ran a “Kit Kat R.E.M. concert” sweepstakes in Hershey candy bars. The suit was eventually dropped.

In 1996, singer Rick James was released from prison after serving two years for assaulting a woman. Two days earlier, the woman he was to marry was jailed for shoplifting a $39 pair of boots.

Also in 1996, singer David Byrne sued to prevent the rest of Talking Heads from touring as The Heads. The suit was settled out of court.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-filmmaker-writer Melvin Van Peebles is 89. Guitarist James Burton (with Elvis Presley) is 82. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 80. Actor Patty McCormack (“The Ropers”) is 76. Singer Carl Giammarese (GEE’-ah-mah-REE’-see) of The Buckinghams is 74. Actor Loretta Devine (“Boston Public”) is 72. Newsman Harry Smith is 70. Singer Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath) is 69. Guitarist Nick Kane (The Mavericks) is 67. Actor Kim Cattrall (“Sex and the City”) is 65. Actor Cleo King (“Mike and Molly”) is 59. Singer Serj Tankian (TAHN’-kee-an) of System Of A Down is 54. Actor Carrie-Anne Moss (“The Matrix,” ″Chocolat”) is 51. Musician Liam Howlett of Prodigy is 50. Actor Alicia Witt (“Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” ″Cybill”) is 46. Singer Kelis (kuh-LEES’) is 42. Actor Diego Klattenhoff (“The Blacklist”) is 42. TV personality Brody Jenner (“The Hills”) is 38. Singer Melissa Schuman of Dream is 37. Comedian Brooks Wheelan (“Saturday Night Live”) is 35. Actor Cody Kasch (“Desperate Housewives”) is 34. Country singer Kacey Musgraves is 33. Actor Hayden Panettiere (PAN’-uh-tee-EHR’) (“Nashville,” ″Heroes”) is 32. Actor RJ Mitte (MIT’-ee) (“Breaking Bad”) is 29. Actor Maxim Knight (“Falling Skies”) is 22.

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