published Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

In Tune: Noteworthy musical anniversaries to celebrate

As much time as I spend with my attention firmly fixed on the future and all things forthcoming -- video games, movies, gadgets -- I do relish any opportunity to pivot sharply on my heel and pay homage to the past.

People tend naturally to gravitate toward retrospection at the start of a new year, so it seems an ideal time to look at some of the significant musical events that are celebrating noteworthy milestones this year.

As many long-suffering girlfriends and wives of forgetful men will tell you, the only way to appreciate an anniversary is to remember it, so consider the following to be a crib sheet for injecting a healthy dose of nostalgia into your social occasions this year.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of:

* Beatlemania shifting into high gear in America when The Fab Four appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in New York on Feb. 9, 16 and 23.

* The release of The Rolling Stones' eponymous first album (subtitled "England's Newest Hit Makers") on April 16. Their first American tour followed on June 5.

* The formation of The Byrds, The Who, Kool & The Gang, The Moody Blues and The Velvet Underground.

In 2014, you also can celebrate the 40th anniversary of ...

* The airing of the first American Music Awards on Feb. 19. The show, Dick Clark's popular-vote alternative to the Grammys, featured co-hosts Michael Jackson, 15, and Donny Osmond, 16.

* Queen's first North America tour, which began with an April 16 date opening for Mott the Hoople in Denver.

* John Lennon's last live performance, a set with Elton John at Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28).

The following events took place in 1984 ...

* A crucial plot point of the Ben Stiller comedy "Zoolander" became possible, thanks to the U.S. release of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax," which hit No. 67 on the Billboard charts on May 5. At the time, Stiller was only 18.

* The first MTV Video Music Awards were held at Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 14. Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler co-hosted, and Herbie Hancock walked away with the most statues, including special effects, concept video, experimental video, art direction and editing (all for "Rockit").

To those who experienced them in the moment, these events undoubtedly seemed unimportant, and their significance is only the result of historical perspective. Kind of makes you wonder what events we'll experience in the coming months that people will brim with nostalgia for in 2064.

Contact Casey Phillips at or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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