Saturday, December 15, 2012

This Date in Rock Music History: December 16

1957:  For the fourth week, Sam Cooke sat atop the R&B chart with "You Send Me".
1959:  Mark Dinning released the single "Teen Angel".
1965:  The Beatles appeared in the tribute The Music of Lennon-McCartney on BBC-TV, along with Peter & Gordon, Lulu, Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black, Marianne Faithfull, Esther Phillips and Peter Sellers.
1965:  "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper", released as a double-A side 45, both made #1 in the U.K. on this date.
1966:  The Jimi Hendrix released their first single "Hey Joe" in the U.K.
1967:  The Rolling Stones announced that Marianne Faithfull was the first artist signed to their new Mother Earth Records.
1967:  Gladys Knight & the Pips made it three weeks at #1 on the R&B chart with their remake of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".
1967:  Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. by the Monkees topped the Album chart for the third straight week.  It was the group's fourth consecutive #1 album to begin their career.
1967:  The Monkees topped the singles chart for a third week with "Daydream Believer".  


1968:  Bob Seger released his first career single "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man".

1970:  CCR was as hot as anyone in the late 1960's and on this date was awarded five gold singles ("Down On The Corner", "Lookin' Out My Back Door", "Travelin' Band", "Bad Moon Rising" and "Up Around The Bend") and five gold albums (Cosmo's Factory, Willy and the Poor Boys, Green River, Bayou Country and their self-titled Creedence Clearwater Revival).
1972:  Living in the Past by Jethro Tull moved from 12 to 5, the only new entry among the Top 10 albums.
1973:  Stephen Stills lost a paternity suit in California.


1974:  America released the single "Lonely People".

#9 Dream(9-'74+) by Lennon, John/Plastic Ono Band on Grooveshark
1974:  John Lennon released the single "#9 Dream".
1974:  Mott the Hoople broke up.


1977:  The landmark movie Saturday Night Fever premiered in New York City.  (Note:  many websites list the premiere date as December 14, but this is at odds with the book 'America's Film Legacy, 2009-2010:  A Viewer's Guide to the 50 Landmark Movies Added to the National Film Register in 2009-10' by Daniel Eagan as well as the official website for the American Film Institute.)
1978:  Bob Dylan played the final show of his Street Legal world tour at the Hollywood Sportatorium in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
1978:  Chic and "Le Freak" commanded attention at the top of the R&B chart for the third straight week.
1978:  One of the hottest songs moved up the chart from 78 to 45--"Please Come Home For Christmas" by the Eagles.

1978:  Billy Joel led the way on the Album chart for a fifth week with 52nd Street.  Steve Martin continued to sit at #2 with A Wild and Crazy Guy, Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Volume 2 was a big-seller and Donna Summer remained fourth with Live and More.  The rest of the Top 10:  Foreigner's Double Vision, the Soundtrack from "Grease", Comes a Time from Neil Young, C'est Chic by Chic entered the Top 10, Queen moved from 30 to 9 with Jazz and Al Stewart crawled into the Top 10 with Time Passages.

All proceeds from this song released at the height of the Bee Gees' popularity went to UNICEF.

1978:  Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond moved to #1 with "You Don't Bring Me Flowers".  Chic relinquished with "Le Freak" while the Bee Gees had their fourth Top 10 song in a row, as "Too Much Heaven" rose from 12 to 3.
1979:  The original members of KISS performed for the final time at the Toledo Sports Arena in Toledo, Ohio before their 1996 reunion.  (Note:  Numerous websites report that drummer Peter Criss performed with KISS for the final time on November 29.  However, the book 'Going Platinum:  KISS, Donna Summer, and How Neil Bogart Built Casablanca Records', however, by Brett Ermilio and Josh Levine states that Criss performed on drums for the final time on December 16, 1979 before the 1996 reunion of the original members.)
1983:  The Who officially called it quits.

1985:  Newcomers Mr. Mister released the single "Kyrie".  "Kyrie Elieson" means "Have mercy, O Lord."

1985:  Jefferson Starship released the single "Sara".
1986:  Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram released the single "Somewhere Out There".
1988:  Sylvester James ("You Make Me Feel Mighty Real" from 1978), who also sang backing vocals for Aretha Franklin, died of complications from AIDS in San Francisco, California at age 41.
1989:  Billy Joel moved to #1 with his new album Storm Front.  Phil Collins had a hot new release, ...But Seriously, that rose from 16-6 in just its third week.

Cher continued her comeback with "Just Like Jesse James"...

1989:  "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel was #1 again with Phil Collins in hot pursuit with "Another Day In Paradise".  Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville moved to 3 with "Don't Know Much", Soul II Soul were next with "Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)" and Taylor Dayne reached #1 "With Every Beat Of My Heart".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Blame It On The Rain" from Milli Vanilli, Technotronic were at 7 with "Pump Up The Jam", Janet Jackson collected another hit with "Rhythm Nation", Bon Jovi's "Living In Sin" was up to #9 and Cher had her 25th career solo hit with "Just Like Jesse James".
1989:  The top Adult Contemporary song was "Another Day In Paradise" by Phil Collins for the third week in a row.
To Be With You by Mr. Big on Grooveshark
1991:  Mr. Big released the single "To Be With You".
1993:  Oasis opened for the Verve at the Krazy House in Liverpool, England.
1995:  Whitney Houston had the #1 R&B song for a fourth week with "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)".
1995:  Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men had a big hit on their hands with "One Sweet Day", #1 for the third week, and they weren't close to done.

1997:  Oasis played the first of three nights at Wembley Arena in London.  (Note:  numerous sources state that this concert was on December 9 but as you can see from the t-shirt, it was December 16.)

1997:  Nicolette Larson ("Lotta Love" from 1978), who worked with Linda Ronstadt, the Beach Boys, the Doobie Brothers, Neil Young and Jimmy Buffett, died in Los Angeles at age 45 from a seizure arising from cerebral edema after symptoms of depression.  According to close friend Astrid Young, her death "was in no small way related to her chronic use of Valium and Tylenol PM".   

1999:  Celine Dion officially went over 100 million in career sales in the United States.
2001:  Stuart Adamson, lead singer of Big Country, was found dead in a Honolulu, Hawai'i hotel room a month after he had disappeared from his home.
2003:  Ron Wood, guitarist of the Rolling Stones, joined the Stereophonics on stage to play "Handbags And Gladrags" and the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" at Earls Court in London.  (Note:  numerous websites incorrectly spell the venue as Earl's Court.)

2004:  Freddie Perren, Grammy Award-winning co-producer of Saturday Night Fever who wrote "I Will Survive" for Gloria Gaynor and hits for Tavares and Peaches & Herb and co-wrote and produced "ABC" and "I Want You Back" for the Jackson 5, died at age 61 in Los Angeles.  He had suffered a massive stroke 11 years earlier.
2005:  Jessica Simpson filed for divorce from Nick Lachey.

2007:  Superstar singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg died at his home in Deer Isle, Maine at age 56, after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2004.

2011:  The Beach Boys announced plans to reunite (with Brian Wilson included) for a 50th Anniversary Tour.
2013:  Ray Price ("For The Good Times") died in Mount Pleasant, Texas at the age of 86 from pancreatic cancer.

Born This Day:
1945:  Tony Hicks, guitarist of the Hollies, was born in Nelson, Lancashire, England.

1946:  Benny Andersson of ABBA was born in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Note:  some websites report Benny's place of birth as Vällingby, Sweden.  According to the book 'Abba:  Bright Lights Dark Shadows' by Carl Magnus Palm, Andersson was born in central Stockholm, then lived in Vällingby.) 

1949:  Billy Gibbons, lead singer, songwriter and great guitarist from ZZ Top, was born in Houston, Texas.
1968:  Christopher Thorn of Blind Melon was born in Dover, Delaware.

1972:  Michael McCary, bass singer of Boyz II Men, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Note:  some websites report his birth year as 1971 (one even shows it as June 7, 1958!).  According to both 'Billboard' and 'MTV', McCarty was born in 1972.)


Is it just coincidence that Como, Crosby, the Carpenters, Conniff and Christmas all start with the letter "C"?

The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time, Part Three

(Click on dates for links to each group of six songs):

December 9:

"The Christmas Song"
by the Carpenters

"The Chipmunk Song"
by the Chipmunks

"Carol of the Bells"
by David Foster

"Mary's Boy Child"
by Boney M

"I Saw Three Ships"
by Sting

"Joy to the World"
by Whitney Houston

December 10:

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
by Bing Crosby

"Let It Snow"
by Diana Krall

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing"
by Nat King Cole

"All I Want for Christmas"
by Spike Jones

"Jingle Bell Rock"
by Bobby Helms

"Silent Night"
by the Temptations

December 11:

"Jingle Bells"
by the Singing Dogs

"Oh Holy Night"
by John Denver

Jolly Old St. Nicholas"
by the Ray Conniff Singers

"(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays"
by the Carpenters

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"
by Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer

"Ave Maria"
by Barbra Streisand

December 12:

"Here We Come A-Caroling"
by the Ray Coniff Singers

"Silver Bells"
by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards

"The Little Drummer Boy"
by Bob Seger

"Welcome Christmas"
by Boris Karloff

"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
by Josh Groban

"Sleigh Ride"
by the Ronettes

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time: December 15

We've listened to thousands of Christmas songs over the years, and when you hear a 24-hour Christmas channel or satellite television channel you know there is much filler that you'd really rather not bother with.  Instead, choose the cream of the crop.  We've done the research so you can listen to only the best.  Choose the ones that you particularly like and they make great background music for Christmas parties or on Christmas Day itself.  Our family likes to sit by the Christmas tree listening to these and talking about the songs and why they are so great, sharing memories, and spending quality time together.

Here are six more of The Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
by Judy Garland

Judy recorded this version on April 20, 1944 and it reached #2 the following Christmas.  But it first appeared in the 1943 movie Meet Me in St. Louis.  Written during World War II, it had some depressing lyrics as soldiers went another Christmas being away from the ones they loved.  Garland loathed one of the lines, which followed the title with "It may be your last", especially since she was singing it to a little girl in the film.  It was thus changed to "Let your heart be light."  
"I Heard the Bells"
by Three Irish Tenors

This traditional favorite was written by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  During the U.S. Civil War, Longfellow's oldest son, Charles, joined the Union soldiers against his father's wishes.  Charles soon got promoted to lieutenant but was severely wounded in November, 1862.  This news, coupled with the loss of his wife Francis, prompted Longfellow to write "Christmas Bells".  He wrote the poem on Christmas Day, 1864 but it wasn't until 1872 that the poem was put to music.
"Happy Xmas" (War Is Over)"
by John Lennon

This original song was written by Lennon and Yoko Ono and released in 1971 as a single.  It was a protest song about the Vietnam War that has since been covered by many artists.  It reached #4 in the U.K. for Lennon.
"Silver Bells"
by the Supremes

The great trio the Supremes recorded this holiday favorite in November, 1965 and it became one of the most popular versions of the song.  Their version is much slower and sentimental than others.

"The Christmas Waltz"
by Frank Sinatra

Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne wrote this song.  This is from the Sinatra Christmas Album from 1954 and is one of four that Sinatra has among The Best 150 for All-Time*.  The song still stands the test of time.
"Silent Night"
by Josh Groban

Josh Groban has quickly become one of the world's most beloved singers.  When he sings a song, it's usually fabulous and that's the case here.  Groban successfully captures the magical awesomeness of the occasion.  The backing choir is also wisely chosen.

Friday, December 14, 2012

This Date in Rock Music History: December 15

1956:  Elvis Presley performed on the Louisiana Hayride, broadcast live on KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, for the final time after 50 appearances.
 1956:  Fats Domino had one of the biggest R&B songs of all-time with "Blueberry Hill", #1 for a ninth straight week.
1958:  A new soul artist debuted on the chart with "Try Me"; it was the first single by James Brown.
1958:  "Lonely Teardrops" by Jackie Wilson took over at #1 on the R&B chart.
1958:  The Teddy Bears held on to #1 for a third week with "To Know Him Is to Love Him".  There were two new entries in the Top 10:  The great song "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" by the Platters at #6 and, moving from 37 to 10--"The Chipmunk Song" by the Chipmunks.
1959:  For the first time, the Everly Brothers recorded outside of Nashville, Tennessee and their song "Let It Be Me" was recorded in New York City.  It was also the first time the duo used strings in their music.
1962:  Bill Wyman, the newly-hired bassist of the Rolling Stones, made his debut with the group at Putney's Church Hall in London.
1962:  The Beatles played two shows at the Majestic Ballroom in Birkenhead, Merseyside, England.  At midnight, the first-ever Mersey Beat poll awards show occurred.  As winners of the poll, the Beatles then closed the show at 4 a.m.
1962:  Steve Lawrence spotted an opening and surged into the #1 spot on the Easy Listening chart with "Go Away Little Girl".

1962:  The 4 Seasons had one of the top songs of the new decade with "Big Girls Don't Cry", #1 for a fifth week.  Elvis Presley was stuck at 2 for the fifth week with "Return To Sender" while "Bobby's Girl" wasn't going anywhere for Marcie Blane.  Chubby Checker moved up nicely with "Limbo Rock" and the Tornadoes slid up to 5 with "Telstar".  The rest of the Top 10:  The Orlons with "Don't Hang Up", Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass with "The Lonely Bull", "Ride!"  by Dee Dee Sharp at #8, Little Esther Phillips edged up with "Release Me" and Steve Lawrence moved from 20 to 10 with "Go Away Little Girl".
1964:  The Beatles released the album Beatles '65.
1966:  The trumpets and cellos were recorded for inclusion on the song "Strawberry Fields Forever" by the Beatles at Abbey Road Studios in London.
1967:  The Who released the album The Who Sell Out in the U.K(Note:  websites show the release as December 1 or December 16--according to the book 'The Who's The Who Sell Out',  and other reputable sources, the release date was December 15.)
1967:  The Beach Boys met Maharishi Yogi in Paris, France to learn transcendental meditation.
1968:  Jefferson Airplane appeared on the popular Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In television show on CBS.

No Time by Guess Who on Grooveshark
1969:  The Guess Who released their single "No Time".
1969:  John Lennon performed a benefit concert for UNICEF (Peace for Christmas) at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, his final performance in his native country.  George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Delaney and Bonnie and Keith Moon (drummer of the Who) also performed.  

    "Pagan Baby", one of the great tracks on 'Pendulum'...

1970:  CCR released their great album Pendulum.
1973:  Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson 5 married Hazel Gordy, the daughter of Motown Records head man Berry Gordy, Jr.
1973:  It was Helen Reddy's name atop the Adult chart for a third week with her newest--"Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)".
1973:  "Love's Theme" by Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra moved from 79 to 50.

           Chicago with one of their biggest early hits...

1973:  Charlie Rich scored a #1 with "The Most Beautiful Girl".  Elton John settled for #2 with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", although many markets had him #1.  The Carpenters previous #1 "Top Of The World" fell down while Chicago remained at #4 with another song many markets had much higher--"Just You 'N' Me".  The rest of a solid Top 10:  Jim Croce's new posthumous release "Time In A Bottle" jumped from 13 to 5, Todd Rundgren was up with "Hello It's Me", Helen Reddy reached #7 with "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)", Ringo Starr was at 8 with his former #1 "Photograph", the Steve Miller Band collected their first Top 10 with "The Joker", up from 15 to 9, and the Staple Singers had themselves a Top 10 song with "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)".

                      "Grey Seal" from the #1 album...

1973:  Elton John was officially a superstar.  Goodbye Yellow Brick Road remained at #1 on the Album chart for a sixth week.  The only new entry in the Top 10 was The Singles 1969-1973 by the Carpenters, which climbed from #30 to #8.
1975:  Paul Simon released the single "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover".

Take It to the Limit by Eagles on Grooveshark
1975:  The Eagles were on an amazing streak and on this date, they released the single "Take It To The Limit".
1979:  U2 performed at the Windsor Castle Pub on Harrow Road in London.  Admission was free.
1979:  Pink Floyd ruled the U.K. chart with "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2".

   A lot of great tracks on 'Damn the Torpedoes'--This is "Here Comes My Girl"...

1979:  The Long Run by the Eagles continued to hold on to #1 on the Album chart for the seventh consecutive week.  Donna Summer sat at 2 with On the Radio--Greatest Hits--Volumes I & II and Styx remained third with Cornerstone.  Stevie Wonder was at 4 with Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants and the Bee Gees Greatest edged up to #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  The excellent In Through the Out Door from Led Zeppelin, Barbra Streisand's Wet, Tusk from Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers snuck up one with Damn the Torpedoes and the Commodores reached the Top 10 with Midnight Magic.

1980:  The Eagles released their live single "Seven Bridges Road".
1984:  The Band Aid song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" debuted at #1 in the U.K.
1984:  Ashford and Simpson had the top R&B song with "Solid".

1979:  J.D. Souther remained at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart after five weeks with "You're Only Lonely".
1988:  James Brown was sentenced to six years in jail after leading police on a late-night, two-state car chase.  He had been found guilty of several charges including possession of weapons and resisting arrest. 
1990:  Agnetha Faltskog married Swedish surgeon Tomas Sonnenfeld.
1990:  "Sensitivity" by Ralph Tresvant took a turn at #1 on the R&B chart.
1990:  Elton John topped the Adult Contemporary chart with "You Gotta' Love Someone".
One of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*--"Vanishing", from Mariah Carey's debut...

        The great (and underrated) "Waiting for That Day" from 'Listen Without Prejudice'...

1990:  To the Extreme by Vanilla Ice was the #1 album with previous #1 Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em second.  Mariah Carey's great debut was up to #3, swapping places with I'm Your Baby Tonight by Whitney Houston.  Madonna was up from 12 to 5 with her compilation The Immaculate Collection. The rest of the Top 10:  The Rhythm of the Saints from Paul Simon, Bette Midler with Some People's Lives, the super debut from Wilson Phillips, AC/DC at #9 with The Razors Edge and George Michael with Listen Without Prejudice.

              The hot new group Wilson Phillips...

1990:  Stevie B once again delivered the #1 song with "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)" while Bette Midler challenged "From A Distance".  Whitney Houston had song #3--"I'm Your Baby Tonight" and Madonna appeared to have a big hit with "Justify My Love", moving from 10-4.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Impulsive" from Wilson Phillips, UB40's remake of "The Way You Do The Things You Do", D.N.A. with Suzanne Vega and "Tom's Diner", Poison crawled down with "Something To Believe In", George Michael had his 10th consecutive Top 10 with a song from the great album Listen Without Prejudice--"Freedom" at #9 and the Damn Yankees flew in with "High Enough".

1997:  The Spice Girls movie Spice World premiered at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square in London.
1997:  The surviving members of INXS released a taped interview in which they talk about the life and death of their late lead singer Michael Hutchence.

1999:  Boy George, formerly of Culture Club, was knocked unconscious when a mirror ball fell on his head while doing a show in Dorset, England.
2001:  Joe Walsh, guitarist of the Eagles, was given an honorary Doctorate of Music from Kent State University in Ohio.

2001:  Rufus Thomas ("Walking The Dog" from 1963) died of heart failure in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 84.
2003:  Mariah Carey invited 16-year-old Becca Solodon to open for her at Carey's concert in Santa Barbara, California after learning that the aspiring singer suffered from soft tissue sarcoma cancer.
2003:  In today's segment of Dangerous Inmates Run Rap Music, Trick Daddy awaited trial on drug possession, assault and weapons charges.
2004:  James Brown underwent prostate cancer surgery.
2004:  Ludacris had the #1 album with The Red Light District.
2005:  Apple Records sued EMI for $52.9 million in unpaid royalties.

2005:  Ashlee Simpson collapsed in an elevator after performing in the MTV Japan Cool Christmas concert at Pacifico Yokohama and was rushed to the hospital.  (Note:  amateur website owners who read articles on the Internet are confused by dates, and incorrectly list the date as December 16.  Those in the business (and most people) know that events don't necessarily occur on the date an article is published.  The correct date for this event is December 15, 2005, confirmed by both 'Billboard' and 'MTV'.)
2008:  The home where Chuck Berry wrote many of his hits in St. Louis, Missouri was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
2008:  Quincy Jones and Dave Brubeck were inducted into the California Hall of Fame in Sacramento.
2008:  John "Sean" Byrne, lead singer with Count Five ("Psychotic Reaction") died at age 61 in San Jose, California of cirrhosis of the liver.

Born This Day:
1910:  John Hammond, producer and A&R scout who discovered Billie Holliday, signed Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to contracts with Columbia Records, and also worked with Janis Joplin and George Benson, was born in Manhattan, New York; died July 10, 1987 following complications from a stroke.  (Note:  Many websites claim his birth was December 10. Some websites list his birthplace as New York City; but 'The New York Times', the book 'The Producer:  John Hammond and the Soul of American Music' by Dunstan Prial, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show it as December 15.  Several sites also claim he was born in New York City; according to 'The New York Times', Hammond was born in Manhattan.)

1919:  Max Yasgur, owner of the farm in New York where Woodstock was held in 1969, was born in New York City; died of a heart attack on February 8, 1973 at the age of 53.

1922:  Alan Freed, the disc jockey and promoter who coined the phrase "rock and roll", was born in Windber, Pennsylvania; died January 20, 1965.  (Note:  several sources claim Freed was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the book 'Somerset County:  Pride Beyond the Mountains' by Jaclyn LaPlaca, Freed was born in Windber (near Johnstown), and was raised in Johnstown.)
1932:  Jesse Belvin, who wrote "Earth Angel" for the Penguins, was born in Texarkana, Texas; killed in a head-on collision in Hope, Arkansas on  February 6, 1960.  (Note:  most websites say that Belvin was born in San Antonio, Texas.  According to the Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles where Belvin is buried, Jesse was born in Texarkana.)
1938:  Jerry Wallace ("Primrose Lane" from 1959) was born in Guilford, Missouri; died of congestive heart failure in Victorville, California on May 5, 2008.  (Note:  some websites report that Wallace was born in Kansas City--according to 'Billboard' and '', Wallace was born in Guilford.  Several websites say that Wallace died in Corona, California.  According to the newspaper 'The Independent', 'Country Music Television' and '', Jerry died in Victorville.)

1939:  Cindy Birdsong, a member of the Supremes beginning in 1967, was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey.  (Note:  several websites claim Birdsong was born in Camden, New Jersey.  The books 'Motown Encyclopedia' by Graham Betts and 'Every Chart Topper Tells A Story:  The Sixties' by Sharon Davis show that Cindy was born in Mount Holly and she later moved with her family to Camden.)
1942:  Dave Clark, drummer of the Dave Clark 5, was born in Tottenham, England.
1946:  Carmine Appice, drummer with Vanilla Fudge, the band Beck and Jeff Beck, was born in Staten Island, New York.  (Note:  several websites claim Appice was born in Brooklyn, New York; according to the official website of Vanilla Fudge, Carmine was born in Staten Island.)
1946:  Harry Ray of the Moments ("Love On A Two-Way Street" from 1970) and the trio Ray, Goodman & Brown (
"Special Lady" from 1980) was born in Long Branch, New Jersey; died of a stroke in Bound Brook, New Jersey on October 1, 1992.  (Note:  some websites list Harry's place of birth as Longbranch, New Jersey.  There is no such town--the correct spelling is Long Branch.)

1949:  Don Johnson, actor, solo artist ("Heartbeat") and songwriter of a couple of songs with the Allman Brothers Band, was born in Flat Creek, Missouri.
1955:  Paul Simonon, bassist of the Clash, was born in Brixton, England.  (Note:  some websites say that Paul was born in Croydon; others in London.  According to the newspaper 'The Guardian', Simonon was born in Brixton, a district of London.)
1957:  Tim Reynolds, multi-instrumentalist with the Dave Matthews Band, was born in Wiesbaden, Germany. 
1961:  Nick Beggs, bassist of Kajagoogoo ("Too Shy" from 1983) and also a member of Howard Jones's band, was born in Winslow, Buckinghamshire, England.

The Best 10 Elton John Albums

From 1973-1976, this guy could have been singing from the phone book and been special, but in those days, he composed music written by one of the most genuine and incredible lyricists of the Rock Era--Bernie Taupin.  Together, they churned out an incredible array of poignant, beautiful songs and reflective masterpieces.  These albums aren't all included in The Top 100 Albums of the Rock Era*, but they represent the 10 best albums that Elton has done:
1.  Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy
2.  Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
3.  Madman Across the Water
4.  Empty Sky
5.  Honky Chateau
6.  Tumbleweed Connection
7.  Songs from the West Coast
8.  Elton John
9.  Caribou
10.  Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player

Top Album Tracks: "Burn Down the Mission" by Elton John

We've presented several music specials, such as The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era*, The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time* and The Top 100 Albums of the Rock Era*, just to name a few, in the last year and a half.  We've published regular popular features, such as The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*, the daily Calendar and Lineup Histories of your favorite groups.

On this day, we introduce a new feature to Inside the Rock Era, which I'm sure you will like.  Similar to The Top Unknown Songs of the Rock Era*, but different in that these songs are not Top 10 quality, but great tracks in their own right.  They too deserve their moment in the sun!  When we accumulate enough of these, we'll create a Tab at the top of the website.

This is taken from the great 1971 Elton John album Tumbleweed Connection.  It was his second LP to be released.  You know about all his #1 songs, all his Top 10 hits, but this is what makes the man great--he was so unique in his early days, and with longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, he was so creative.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, Part Two

Here are the songs you need to keep up to date with The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  There is so much material being released daily on the blog to keep up.  We are presenting six songs per day complete with a brief history of the song, why it is included, and a video as well.  We began December 1 so here you have the next batch, including a link to Part One of our special.  Thus, the list now includes 48 of The Top 150* (Click on each date to listen to the songs from that day.)

December 5:

"Christmas Time Is Here"
by Vince Guaraldi Trio

"Santa Baby"
by Eartha Kitt

"Go Tell It on the Mountain"
by Dolly Parton

"Blue Christmas"
by Elvis Presley

"Deck the Halls"
by Nat King Cole

"Silent Night"
by Garth Brooks

"Away in a Manger"
by Anne Murray

"Here Comes Santa Claus"
by Gene Autry

"Perhaps Love"
by John Denver & Placido Domingo

"Sleigh Ride"
by the Carpenters

"Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth"
by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

"Little Saint Nick"
by the Beach Boys

"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
by the Weavers

"Sleigh Ride"
by the New Christy Minstrels

"Oh Holy Night"
by Celine Dion

"Ding Dong Merrily on High"
by Roger Whitaker

"Mistletoe and Holly"
by Frank Sinatra

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
by Andy Williams

"Ring Christmas Bells"
by Ray Conniff & the Singers

"The Prayer"
by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli

"A Marshmallow World"
by Johnny Mathis

"The First Noel"
by Kenny G

"Winter Wonderland"
by Aretha Franklin

"Silent Night"
by Perry Como