Saturday, December 14, 2013

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.

Top Female Artists

We're about to get to what I would call the first of the "heavyweights" in the special.

Day Fourteen: The Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*

Enjoy our annual Christmas special, with six songs every day from December 1 through December 25!

Wilson Phillips, The #77 Female Artist of the Rock Era

Wilson Phillips consisted of Wendy and Carnie Wilson and Chynna Phillips, three women that met in California through their famous parents and uncles.  Wendy and Carnie are the daughters of Beach Boys genius Brian Wilson and nieces of Carl and Dennis, while Chynna is the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips.

This trio hit #1 with their first release, "Hold On", also #2 in Australia, #6 in the U.K., #7 in Ireland and #10 in Sweden. The song also was named Hot 100 Single of the Year at the Billboard Music Awards and earned Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and an American Music Award for Favorite Single--Pop/Rock.

The group continued their great start with another #1 song for two weeks--"Release Me".

"Impulsive" gave the trio a #4 song, though it probably should have been higher.

Wilson Phillips scored their third #1 song that also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, giving the newcomers two nominees in the category.

An unprecedented fifth single from a debut album only reached #12, making it one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.

It was an amazing year for the women.  The next year, they covered "Daniel" for the tribute album Two Rooms:  Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.  It reached #7 on the all-important Adult Contemporary chart.
In 1992, the trio's debut album became the top-selling album of all-time by an all-female group at the time, going over 5 million in sales in the United States and 10 million worldwide.  Not only that, but with just that one album, Wilson Phillips topped the entire catalog of the Supremes to become the Record Industry Association of America's (RIAA) top-selling female group in history.  Besides the other awards mentioned, the album was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys and Wilson Phillips was nominated for Best New Artist and the trio was nominated for Favorite New Artist--Pop/Rock at the American Music Awards.
That was a lot of history to follow up, and it proved to be both a blessing and a curse.  The group released the album Shadows and Light in the summer of '92 but it didn't have the magic of their debut.  "You Won't See Me Cry" only peaked at #20 overall, but it did reach #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  The album eventually was certified Platinum in the U.S., but still a far cry from their first one.  When you set the bar so high with your first effort, it's difficult to measure up after that.
Shortly after the release of Shadows and Light, the group disbanded.  Carnie and Wendy Wilson released a Christmas album while Chynna Phillips released the solo album Naked and Sacred.  Wilson Phillips reunited in 2004 to release an album of cover songs called California.  Their remake of the Fleetwood Mac classic "Go Your Own Way" reached #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the United States and was a surprise #1 in New Zealand.

This great group sold over six million albums in the U.S. and over 11 million worldwide.  They scored seven hits, with four of them reaching Top 10 and three #1's.  On the AC chart, they enjoyed 11 hits, with seven Top 10 songs and three #1's.    

Friday, December 13, 2013

This Date in Rock Music History: December 14

1956:  Bill Haley starred in the movie Don't Knock the Rock which opened in theaters (it had premiered December 12 in New York City.)
1959:  The Kingston Trio took over at #1 on the Album chart with Here We Go Again!".
1962:  Bill Wyman made his live debut with the Rollin' Stones (as they were known back then) at the Ricky Tick Club in the Star and Garter Hotel in Windsor, England.

       "Maria" from the classic movie 'West Side Story'...

1962:  The Singing Nun was #1 on the Album chart again with In the Wind from Peter, Paul & Mary leading three albums by the amazing trio in the Top 10.  The Second Barbra Streisand Album was third followed by Trini Lopez at PJ's and Elvis' Golden Records, Volume 3 by Elvis Presley.  The rest of the Top 10:  The landmark Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul by Ray Charles, the self-titled Peter, Paul and Mary at #7 after 86 weeks, Surfer Girl moved from 13-8 for the Beach Boys, the incredible Soundtrack to "West Side Story" was #9 after 112 weeks of release and (Moving) by Peter, Paul & Mary was 10th.
1963:  Dinah Washington, who dominated the R&B charts with 34 Top 10 hits from 1944-1961, died in Detroit, Michigan from drugs at age 39.

1963:  "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles rose to #1 in the U.K., knocking "She Loves You", also by the Beatles, out of the top spot  The Beatles became the first act to replace themselves at #1.

1964:  Petula Clark released the single "Downtown".
1966:  Elvis Presley's movie Spinout premiered in theaters.
1966:  Chad & Jeremy were guest stars on the popular television show Batman on ABC.
1967:  Brian Jones, guitarist of the Rolling Stones, collapsed and was admitted to a hospital in London.

This classic by the Chambers Brothers propelled them to the Top 10.

1968:  Cheap Thrills by Big Brother & the Holding Company remained atop the Album chart.  Feliciano!  by Jose Feliciano continued to be runner-up and Electric Ladyland from the Jimi Hendrix Experience was third.  Glen Campbell moved from 16 to 4 with Wichita Lineman.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Second by Steppenwolf, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly edged up to 6, Time Peace/The Rascals' Greatest Hits was #7, Wheels of Fire from Cream, Gentle On My Mind by Glen Campbell came in ninth and The Time Has Come by the Chambers Brothers dropped to #10.
1968:  Marvin Gaye celebrated the new R&B #1 with "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".
1968:  The great song "Wichita Lineman" took over at #1 on the Adult chart for Glen Campbell.

1968:  Marvin Gaye moved to the #1 position with his version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".  Diana Ross & the Supremes yielded with "Love Child" and Stevie Wonder was stuck at 3 with "For Once In My Life".  Dion's great song "Abraham, Martin And John" moved from 7 to 4.  The rest of a solid Top 10:  "Who's Making Love" from Johnnie Taylor, the Beatles' record-breaking "Hey Jude", Glen Campbell edged up with "Wichita Lineman", the Classics IV were at 8 with "Stormy", Bobby Vinton entered the list with his 32nd hit but only 8th Top 10--"I Love How You Love Me" while Steppenwolf was descending with "Magic Carpet Ride".
1972:  Ringo Starr's movie about Marc Bolan of T. Rex--Born to Boogie, also starring Elton John, debuted in London.
1974:  David Crosby and Graham Nash played a fundraiser for the United Farm Workers in San Francisco, California.
1974:  The Three Degrees had the adult chart measured and moved their song "When Will I See You Again" to #1.

1974:  Elton John was red-hot as his remake of "Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds" rose from 36-9.  Paul McCartney, one of the writers of that song, had the other new Top 10 with his double-sided "Junior's Farm"/"Sally G".

BTO arrived on the scene with 'Not Fragile', which included "Rock Is My Life and This Is My Song".

1974:  Elton John remained at #1 on the Album chart with his Greatest Hits album for the third week.  It's Only Rock 'N Roll from the Rolling Stones was stuck on 2 and Not Fragile by BTO came in third.
1976:  Led Zeppelin began rehearsing for their first tour of the United States in two years.  However, due to the death of Robert Plant's son, the tour was cut short after a couple of months, and the band remained out of the public light for several more years.

1980:  Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow, asked for a 10-minute silent vigil around the world for the beloved star who had been shot to death six days earlier.  Over 100,000 people crammed Central Park in New York City to pay tribute.
1981:  The Police played the first of three nights at Wembley Arena in London.

Shame on the Moon by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet on Grooveshark
1982:  Bob Seger released his great single "Shame On The Moon".
1985:  James Taylor married actress Kathryn Walker in New York City.
1985:  Whitney Houston scored her first #1 in the U.K. with "Saving All My Love For You".

  Streisand does an amazing job with "Somewhere" from her 'Broadway' Album...

1985:  Two new albums debuted in the Top 10.  Barbra Streisand moved from 13-7 with The Broadway Album while Rush entered the list with Power Windows.
1986:  Elton John recorded a live version of "Candle In The Wind" with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia.
1991:  Amy Grant registered week #3 at the top of the Adult Contemporary chart with "That's What Love Is For".

1991:  Michael Jackson debuted at #1 on the Album chart with Dangerous.  Former #1 Ropin' the Wind by Garth Brooks, however, continued at #2 while the previous #1, Achtung Baby by U2, dropped to 3 in its second week.  Too Legit to Quit by Hammer was behind them with Michael Bolton's Time, Love & Tenderness, Nevermind from Nirvana, Use Your Illusion II by Guns N' Roses, the self-titled Metallica debut, Cooleyhighharmony by Boyz II Men moved from 13-9 and Mariah Carey chalked up another week in the Top 10 for her second album Emotions.

1992:  Arrested Development released the single "Mr. Wendal".
1995:  U.S. President Bill Clinton had classified documents released that revealed that the FBI had indeed spied on John Lennon and his antiwar activities during the Nixon Administration in an attempt to have Lennon deported, just as Lennon had claimed.
1995:  The television special Frank Sinatra:  80 Years My Way was shown on ABC.
1996:  One of The Top Songs of the 90's--"Un-Break My Heart" by Toni Braxton continued at #1.

1997:  Kurt Winter, guitarist and songwriter of the Guess Who, died of kidney failure at the age of 51. (Note:  '' and other websites report that Kurt died on December 13.  This is incorrect, according to the book 'Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door' by Nick Talevski, as well as the 'BBC' and other reputable sources.  Winter died December 14.)
1998:  Billy Preston pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in a Los Angeles court and agreed to testify against six other defendants.
1999:  Paul McCartney returned to the place where it all started, playing a show before 300 at the cramped Cavern Club in Liverpool.  It was the first time he had performed there since 1963.
2003:  Dido had the #1 album in the U.K. with Life for Rent.
2003:  Alicia Keys had the top U.S. album with The Diary of Alicia Keys.
2004:  Thousands of mourners attended a memorial for the late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell in Arlington, Texas.  Eddie Van Halen and Zakk Wylde were among the attendees.
2005:  Andy Bell of Erasure announced he was HIV-positive. (Note:  some websites claim this date was December 17, but it was on December 14, according to 'People' magazine and 'MTV'.
2005:  Jimmy Page, guitar legend from Led Zeppelin, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his work with street children from Brazil.
2006:  Ahmet Ertegun, president of Atlantic Records, died at age 83 in a hospital in New York City after being in a coma from injuries suffered in a fall over a month earlier.
2010:  Barbra Streisand was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in Sacramento.

Born This Day:  
1911:  Spike Jones ("All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" was born in Long Beach, California); died from emphysema from years of heavy smoking on May 1, 1965 in Beverly Hills, California.

1932:  Charlie Rich ("The Most Beautiful Girl" and "Behind Closed Doors" from 1973) was born in Colt, Arkansas; died of a pulmonary embolism July 25, 1995 in Hammond, Louisiana.
1937:  Warren Ryanes of the Monotones was born in Newark, New Jersey; died June 16, 1982.
1938:  Gary Usher, songwriter ("In My Room" with the Beach Boys) and producer who worked with the Byrds, was born in Los Angeles; died of cancer in Los Angeles May 25, 1990.
 1943:  Frank Allen, bassist for the Searchers, was born in Hayes, West London, England.
1946:  Joyce Vincent-Wilson of the group Dawn was born in Detroit, Michigan.
1946:  Jackie McAuley, keyboardist of Them ("Gloria"), was born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.
1947:  Patty Duke, actress who had a hit with "Don't Just Stand There" in 1965, was born in Queens, New York.  (Note:  some websites state that Duke was born in Elmhurst--Elmhurst is a neighborhood, not a city.)
1949:  Cliff Williams, bass guitarist for AC/DC, was born in Romford, Essex, England.
1975:  Brian Dalyrimple of Soul for Real ("Candy Rain" from 1995)

Top Track: "Portrait (He Knew)" by Kansas

Although many people believed this song was about Jesus Christ (lyrics certainly fit), it was written about Albert Einstein.  Kerry Livgren of Kansas, who originally wrote the song, later in fact updated it to be about Jesus, called "Portrait II".

The Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time, Day Thirteen

Our annual tradition continues with six more great Christmas songs:

The #78 Female Artist of the Rock Era: Gwen Stefani

The #78 Female Artist* is Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt.  As stated in the ground rules at the outset, she doesn't get credit as a solo artist for her work with the group, but she's been successful enough to sneak into The Top 100* as a solo artist.

Stefani was born in Fullerton, California and she attended Loara High School in Anaheim.  Gwen's parents introduced her to music by artists such as Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris.    She also liked musicals such as The Sound of Music.  Stefani made her singing debut in high school.  After graduating from Loara, Gwen attended Fullerton College before transferring to California State University, Fullerton.  Gwen's older brother Eric was a keyboardist and founder of No Doubt for a few years, and invited Gwen to sing vocals.

No Doubt signed with Interscope Records in 1991 and released their self-titled album in 1992.  The group broke through with their third album, Tragic Kingdom, in 1995, with the lead single, "Don't Speak" being the most-played song in the United States that year.  The album sold over 16 million copies worldwide and received several Grammy nominations.  

No Doubt released two more albums and Stefani collaborated with Moby on "South Side" in 2000, a #14 hit.

The following year, Gwen hooked up with Eve on the song "Let Me Blow Ya Mind", a #1 smash in Switzerland and Norway, #2 in the U.S. and the Netherlands, #4 in the U.K. and Australia, #5 in Germany, #6 in Austria and Sweden and #7 in New Zealand.  Stefani and Eve captured a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002.

Gwen released her debut solo release in 2004--Love.  Angel.  Music.  Baby., which sold over seven million copies.  The first single, "What Are You Waiting For?" was a hit across Europe, but the second single spread across the globe.  "Rich Girl" was a #2 hit in Australia and Norway, #3 in New Zealand and the Netherlands, #4 in the U.K. and Sweden, #6 in Switzerland and #7 in the United States. 

"Hollaback (sic) Girl" of course was the huge success on that album that helped Gwen win the World Music Award for World's Best-Selling New Female Artist.  It was a #1 smash in the U.S., #3 in Germany and New Zealand, #5 in Austria, #6 in Switzerland and Norway, #7 in Sweden and #8 in the U.K. and the Netherlands.    

The album debuted at #7, selling 309,000 copies its first week, and reached multi-platinum status in the Untied States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.  

Gwen won the American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist  and was nominated for Artist of the Year.  Stefani was nominated for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (for "What You Waiting For?”) at the Grammy Awards.   Stefani also captured New Artist of the Year at the Billboard Awards and "Hollaback (sic) Girl" was nominated for Hot 100 Song of the Year.

In 2006, Stefani released The Sweet Escape, which included "Wind It Up", a #1 New Zealand hit that also reached #3 in the U.K., #4 in the Netherlands, #5 in Australia, #6 in the U.S. and #7 in Norway.
The title track became another #1 in New Zealand, and hit #2 in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Norway, #5 in the Netherlands and #6 in Germany and Austria.

Stefani promoted the album by going on a worldwide tour of North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.  Gwen was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.  "4 In The Morning" was up next, which did well in some countries but was not a worldwide hit.   

In 2004, Stefani began pursuing acting roles and made her debut in The Aviator.

Stefani is noted for her deep vibrato.  Gwen's two solo albums have sold a combined 20 million copies.  She has enjoyed 13 hits, with five Top 10's and one #1.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

This Date in Rock Music History: December 13

1961:  The movie The Young Ones, starring Cliff Richard, premiered in London.
1961:  Mike Smith of Decca Records saw the Beatles perform at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England.
1962:  Elvis Presley had his 13th #1 song in the U.K. with "Return To Sender".
Foxey Lady by Jimi Hendrix on Grooveshark
1966:  Jimi Hendrix recorded "Foxey Lady".
1966:  Hendrix made his television debut on Ready Steady Go!  on ITV in the U.K.
1969:  The Supremes' great song "Someday We'll Be Together" took over at #1 on the R&B chart.

1969:  "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" by B.J. Thomas zoomed to #1 on the Adult chart.  
1969:  B.J. Thomas moved into the Top 10 overall with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head".
1969:  Abbey Road was one of the great albums of the Rock Era to this point and on this date, the Beatles made it seven weeks at #1.  
1970:  Dave Edmunds topped the U.K. chart with "I Hear You Knocking".

1971:  Climax re-released the great 45 "Precious And Few", one of The Top Love Songs of the Rock Era*.  The song was originally released on Carousel Records in July, but a cease and desist order by the owner of an already established Carousel Records forced the company to rename themselves Rocky Road Records and release the Climax single on that label.
1974:  George Harrison had lunch at the White House with U.S. President Gerald Ford.
1975:  Barry Manilow was on a roll and "I Write The Songs" was the new #1 song on the Adult chart.

Street Kids by Elton John on Grooveshark       
                       "Street Kids", from 'Rock of the Westies'...

1975:  Chicago IX, the group's Greatest Hits package, rose to #1 on the Album chart.  Red Octopus by Jefferson Starship was still hanging around and Rock of the Westies by Elton John reversed course and headed back up.  Windsong from John Denver was third with the self-titled debut by K.C. and the Sunshine Band #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  Paul Simon slipped with Still Crazy After All These Years, Gratitude jumped from 98 to 7 for Earth, Wind & Fire, History/America's Greatest Hits was #8, Alive!  by Kiss edged up and Save Me from the Silver Convention cracked the Top 10.
1975:  A song on the move for C.W. McCall--"Convoy", up from #82 to #29 on this date.

The Brothers Gibb were well underway in their "second career"...

1975:  The Silver Convention were holding steady at #1 for a third week with "Fly, Robin, Fly".  Right behind them, the Staple Singers ("Let's Do It Again") and Jigsaw's "Sky High".  K.C. and the Sunshine Band fell down with "That's The Way (I Like It)" while newcomers the Bay City Rollers were up to 5 with "Saturday Night".  The rest of the Top 10:  The Ohio Players burst onto the scene with "Love Rollercoaster", the Bee Gees were up to 7 with their great song "Nights On Broadway", Diana Ross jumped from 19 to 8 with the song from the movie in which she starred in--"Theme From 'Mahogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To)", Simon & Garfunkel scored their 17th hit with "My Little Town" and Sweet crawled into the list with "Fox On The Run".
1980:  Stevie Wonder was doing fine on the R&B chart, as "Master Blaster (Jammin')" was #1 for a seventh week.
1980:  Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits was the new #1 album as he was certainly as hot as anyone at the time.
1980:  Newcomer Christopher Cross took over at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Never Be The Same".

                     Pat reached the Top 10 for the first time...

1980:  Kenny Rogers remained at the top for the fifth week with "Lady".  Leo Sayer had his biggest career hit with "More Than I Can Say" while Queen, by now #1 in most markets, was third with "Another One Bites The Dust".  The late John Lennon moved up with "(Just Like) Starting Over" and Stevie Wonder maintained at 5 with "Master Blaster".  The rest of the Top 10:  Neil Diamond with "Love On The Rocks", Bruce Springsteen found himself at #7 with "Hungry Heart", Barbra Streisand was at #8 with "Woman In Love" and also moved from 14-9 with her duet "Guilty" with Barry Gibb and Pat Benatar reached the Top 10 for the first time with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot".

1982:  The Stray Cats released the single "Stray Cat Strut".
1983:  During Robert Plant's solo concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, former Led Zeppelin mate Jimmy Page joined him to perform the old Roy Head song "Treat Her Right".
1985:  Phil Collins was a guest star on the television show Miami Vice.

The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby & The Range on Grooveshark     
            "The Way It Is", ahh but don't you believe them!

1986:  The Way It Is" moved to #1 for newcomer Bruce Hornsby & the Range.  The Bangles were within striking distance with "Walk Like An Egyptian".  Huey Lewis & the News peaked at 3 with "Hip To Be Square" and Sun Valley, Idaho's Peter Cetera slipped from #1 with "The Next Time I Fall", his duet with Amy Grant.  The rest of the Top 10:  Wang Chung was "chungin'" with "Everybody Have Fun Tonight", Bon Jovi's former #1 "You Give Love A Bad Name", Billy Idol moved up three with "To Be A Lover", "Notorious" entered the list for Duran Duran, Gregory Abbott had a big hit with "Shake You Down", which moved from 15 to 9 and Ben E. King amazingly came back to the Top 10 25 years after he originally was there with "Stand By Me", spurred by the movie of the same name.

1986:  Bruce Hornsby & the Range were at #1 again on the Adult Contemporary chart with "The Way It Is".

1991:  Mariah Carey released the single "Someday".
1991:  John Denver hosted the special John Denver's Montana Christmas Skies on CBS.

1994:  Enigma released the single "Return To Innocence".
1994:  Prince was on The Late Show with David Letterman.
1996:  The great movie Jerry Maguire, which starred Glenn Frey, opened in theatres.

   The Girls were red-hot with "Spice Up Your Life"...

1997:  Spiceworld, the Spice Girls' follow-up album, moved into the Top 10.

1997:  Elton John's tribute to the late Princess Diana from England ("Candle In The Wind 1997") was now at 10 weeks at #1.  At this point, only seven songs in the Rock Era had stayed at the top longer.  And Elton was not done.  
1999:  BMI announced that the most-performed song of the century (and it isn't even close) was "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling".
2000:  Melody Maker magazine announced it was shutting down after 74 years.

2000:  Sir Paul McCartney signed copies of his new book Paul McCartney Paintings at Waterstone's in Piccadilly, London.
2000:  Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Aerosmith and Queen were announced as the new inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
2002:  Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin' Spoonful died of a heart attack in Kingston, Ontario, Canada at the age of 57.
2003:  Lauryn Hill doesn't know how to act like the polite guest.  During a performance at the Vatican, Hill read a statement criticizing the Catholic Church for harboring pedophilic priests.  "There is no acceptable explanation for defending the church," she said.
2007:  Joe Cocker received an Officer of the Order of the British Empire medal from Queen Elizabeth of England at Buckingham Palace.

Born This Day:

1933:  Lou Adler, founder of Dunhill Records, producer of the Mamas & Papas, Johnny Rivers, the Grass Roots, Carole King and Barry McGuire and the famous Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 and manager of Jan & Dean, was born in Chicago, Illinois.


1948:  Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, was born in Washington, D.C.

1948:  Ted Nugent was born in Redford, Michigan.  (Note:  Nugent's official website lists that he was born in Detroit, but he doesn't realize that Redford, a suburb of Detroit where he was born, is actually a town.)
1948:  Tony Gomez, organist of the Foundations ("Build Me Up Buttercup") was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  (Note:  several websites show Tony's birth year as 1940; in fact, some list it as both 1940 and 1948!  According to 'The Encyclopedia of Popular Music' by Colin Larkin', Gomez was born in 1948.)

1949:  Randy Owen, guitarist and lead singer of Alabama, was born in Fort Payne, Alabama.

1949:  Tom Verlaine, elite guitarist of the group Television, was born in Wilmington, Delaware.  (Note:  some websites show his birthplace as Morristown, New Jersey, or Mt. Morris, New Jersey.  According to the book 'The Rough Guide to Rock' by Peter Buckley, Tom was born in Wilmington.)
1950:  Davy O'List of Roxy Music and the Nice was born in Chiswick, West London.
1953:  Berton Averre, guitarist of the Knack, was born in Van Nuys, California.
1970:  Daniel Patrick Lohner, who played bass, guitar and keyboards with Nine Inch Nails, was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. 
1974:  Nick McCarthy, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist of Franz Ferdinand, was born in Blackpool, England.

1975:  Tom DeLonge, guitarist and a lead vocalist of Blink-182, was born in Poway, California.
1981:  Amy Lynn Lee, lead singer of Evanescence, was born in Riverside, California.

1989:  Taylor Swift was born in Reading, Pennsylvania.  (Note:  some websites show her birthplace as Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.  According to Taylor's official website, she was born in Reading, and moved with her family to Wyomissing when she was nine years old.)