Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas! This Date in Rock Music History

1954:  Johnny Ace shot himself before a Christmas concert in Houston, Texas.  (Note:  it was widely reported that Ace died in a game of Russian roulette.  Curtis Tillman, bass player for Big Mama Thornton, however, witnessed the incident.  He said that Ace had been drinking and was waving the pistol around.  He said "The gun's not loaded...see?"  Ace then pointed the gun at himself, the gun went off, and killed him.) 
1958:  The Everly Brothers, Jackie Wilson, Chuck Berry, Frankie Avalon, Johnnie Ray, Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran and the Moonglows performed at Alan Freed's Christmas Rock & Roll Spectacular at Loew's State Theatre in Manhattan, New York.


1959:  Richard Starkey, 18, who would later be known as Ringo Starr, received a drum set for Christmas. 
1961:  The Marvelettes had one of the top R&B songs of the 60's as "Please Mr. Postman" reigned for a seventh week at #1.
1961:  The Tokens once again had the #1 song with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".  Elvis Presley had the only new Top 10 song with "Can't Help Falling In Love", which rose from 18 to 10.
1965:  George Harrison proposed to Patti Boyd while driving to a Christmas dinner in London. 
1965:  Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass was #1 on the Album chart for a fifth week. 
1965:  The Beatles jumped up from 56 to 28 with "Day Tripper".

1965:  The Dave Clark Five took over at #1 with "Over And Over".  The Byrds headed downward with "Turn!  Turn!  Turn!" and James Brown was at #3 with "I Got You (I Feel Good)".  The Four Seasons weren't giving up with "Let's Hang On!" but the story of the week was Simon & Garfunkel's new song "The Sound Of Silence", which rose from 16 to 6. 

1965:  The Beatles showed the way on the U.K. Album chart with Rubber Soul.
1965:  The Rascals saw their first single--I Ain't Gonna' Eat Out My Heart Anymore" debut on the chart.
1967:  Paul McCartney of the Beatles became engaged to Jane Asher.  They were never married.

         "Stairway" drove huge sales for 'Led Zeppelin IV'...

1971:  Sly & the Family Stone had the top album with There's a Riot Goin' OnLed Zeppelin IV was second followed by Stanley, Idaho's Carole King with her new album Music, which jumped from 8 to 3.
1971:  Sonny & Cher had the top Adult song for a fifth week with "All I Ever Need Is You".
1971:  "Family Affair" by Sly & the Family Stone was #1 on the R&B chart for the fourth straight week.

            "American Pie" was the talk of the land...

1971:  Melanie had an unlikely #1 with "Brand New Key", knocking Sly & the Family Stone from the pinnacle as "Family Affair" dropped to 2.  Don McLean rose from 9-3 with "American Pie", jumping over Three Dog Night's "An Old Fashioned Love Song".
1976:  "Car Wash" by Rose Royce was the new #1 on the R&B chart.

1976:  A new group from the Midwest first entered the chart as Kansas debuted with their first single "Carry On Wayward Son".
1976:  The Eagles had one of the hottest new songs as "New Kid In Town" rose from 48 to 20.

     "Rubberband Man" was one of the big hits of 1976.

1976:  Rod Stewart's "Tonight's The Night" prevailed for a seventh week at #1, holding off "You Don't Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)" by the husband and wife team and former members of the 5th Dimension--Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.  The Spinners were still a solid #3 with "Rubberband Man", Leo Sayer reached #4 with "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" and newcomers Boston were up to 5 with "More Than A Feeling"  The rest of the Top 10:  "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" from Elton John, Stevie Wonder lunged from 18 to 7 with "I Wish", Brick had their only Top 10 with "Dazz", Rose Royce sang of a "Car Wash" on Christmas Day that rose from 17-9 and there was even room for Engelbert Humperdinck's "After The Lovin'".

           "Do Ya" helped ELO reach the Top 10 albums list

1976:  Stevie Wonder's album Songs In the Key of Life, which had debuted at #1, had now spent 11 weeks at #1 on the Album chart.  Rod Stewart was second-best with A Night on the Town with Boston's debut impressing at #3.  The Eagles, with new elite guitarist Joe Walsh aboard, debuted at #4 with the album Hotel California.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Pretender from Jackson Browne, ELO slid up to 6 with A New World Record, Wings Over America, a live album from Paul McCartney and company, debuted at #7, the Best of the Doobies was at #8, Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton moved back up after 48 weeks and the Steve Miller Band re-entered the Top 10 with Fly Like An Eagle.

1977:  The famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York re-opened.
1978:  ABBA's appearance on The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show aired on BBC-TV in Britain.
1981:  J. Geils Band did a Christmas concert at the Norfolk Correctional Center outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

1982:  Donna Summer's "The Woman In Me" jumped from 78-60, one of the fastest-rising songs on this date.
1982:  Audiences heard of a new group on this date--Duran Duran debuted on the chart with their first single "Hungry Like The Wolf".

                   Joe Jackson with his biggest career hit...

1982:  Speaking of being hungry, "Maneater" by Hall & Oates was #1 again, with Toni Basil's "Mickey" and "The Girl Is Mine" from Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney close behind.  Don Henley landed at #4 with "Dirty Laundry" and Laura Branigan's "Gloria" was still #5 after 25 weeks.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Steppin' Out" from Joe Jackson, Marvin Gaye edged up with "Sexual Healing", new Australian act Men At Work scored their first hit with "Down Under", the Stray Cats held on to 9 with "Rock This Town" and Lionel Richie was "Truly" at #10.
      "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by the Clash

1982:  Men At Work held down #1 on the Album chart for a seventh week with Business As Usual.  The New Wave was reaching tidal proportions as the Stray Cats were a strong #2 with Built for Speed.  Lionel Richie's self-titled debut remained third, Joe Jackson was still at 4 with Night and Day and ...famous last words... from Supertramp came in fifth.  The rest of the Top 10:  H2O from Hall & Oates, Marvin Gaye's Midnight Love captured the seventh position, Get Nervous was the new one from Pat Benatar, Coda by Led Zeppelin couldn't advance and Combat Rock from the Clash was at #10.
1987:  Gene Miller, who played trumpet for Otis Redding and Etta James among others, died at age 54 in Memphis, Tennessee.
1990:  James Brown, on a four-day furlough from prison, gave his first concert performance in two years for soldiers at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.
1993:  "Can We Talk" by Tevin Campbell was #1 on the R&B chart.

1993:  Celine Dion had a hot new song--"The Power Of Love" rose from #47 to #28.
1993:  Back when she used to write powerful important music, Mariah Carey was at #1 with "Hero".  That bumped "Again" by Janet Jackson to #2, Ace of Base dropped a spot with "All That She Wants" and Meat Loaf's former #1 ("I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" remained at #4.

1993:  Music Box by Mariah Carey took over at #1 on the Album chart.  Billy Joel entered the Top 10 with his latest--The River of Dreams.

1995:  Dean Martin died at the age of 78 in Beverly Hills, California of acute respiratory failure.
1998:  Damita Jo (DuBlanc), who recorded "I'll Save The Last Dance For You", died at age 68 from respiratory illness in Baltimore, Maryland.
2005:  Shayne Ward led the way on the U.K. chart with "That's My Goal".

2008:  Eartha Kitt ("Santa Baby") died of colon cancer at age 81 in Weston, Connecticut.

Born This Day:
1929:  Billy Horton, lead singer of the Silhouettes ("Get A Job"), was born in Hickory, North Carolina; died January 23, 1995 in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
1929:  Chris Kenner ("I Like It Like That" from 1961 and "Land of 1,000 Dances" from 1962) was born in Kenner, Louisiana; died of a heart attack January 25, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1937:  O'Kelly Isley, singer and one of the founding members of the Isley Brothers, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio; died of a heart attack in Alpine, New Jersey March 31, 1986.  (Note:  some websites list his birthplace as Teaneck, New Jersey--the family later moved to Teaneck, but O'Kelly was born in Cincinnati.)
1943:  Trevor Lucas of Fairport Convention was born in Bungaree, Victoria, Australia.
1944:  John Edwards of the Spinners was born in St. Louis, Missouri.

1944:  Henry Vestine, guitarist of Canned Heat, was born in Takoma Park, Maryland; died of heart and respiratory failure in Paris, France on October 20, 1997.  (Note:  some websites state that Henry was born in Washington, D.C.--not so, according to the books 'The Rough Guide to Rock' by Peter Buckley and  'Blind Owl Blues' by Rebecca Davis Winters.) 
1945:  Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was born in Folkestone, Kent, England; died May 11, 2003 in Klonakilty, Ireland from shock hemorrhage due to esophageal varices in reaction to cirrhosis of the liver.  (Note:  some websites report that Redding died on May 12.  He was found dead on May 12, but following an autopsy, the newspapers 'The Telegraph' and 'The Independent' reported that Redding died May 11.)
1945:  Steve Mancha, singer with 100 Proof (Aged in Soul), was born in Walhall, South Carolina; died January 8, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan after several years of declining health due to a stroke and a heart attack.

1946:  Jimmy Buffett was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

1954:  Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics and a solo star, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland.
1954:  Robin Campbell, lead guitarist of UB40, was born in Birmingham, England.
1971:  Noel Hogan, guitarist and co-songwriter of the Cranberries, was born in Limerick, Ireland.

1972:  Dido (real name Floria Cloud deBounevialle O'Malley Armstrong) was born in Kensington, London.

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