Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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.

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".

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.

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