Sunday, December 18, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 19

1955:  Carl Perkins recorded "Blue Suede Shoes" at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Note:  several websites inaccurately report this date as November 19.  According to 'The Sun Sentinel' newspaper as well as the books 'Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings' by Steve Sullivan and 'The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll' by Richard Havers and Richard Evans, as well as other reputable sources, Perkins recorded his signature song on December 19.)

1960:  Frank Sinatra recorded for the first time on the record company he had just started, Reprise Records.
1960:  Brenda Lee had one of the fastest-rising songs as her single "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" (first released in 1958) moved from 64 to 26.
1960:  Elvis Presley was enjoying one of his biggest career hits as "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" remained #1 for a fourth week.  "Last Date" from Floyd Cramer was #2, followed by "Wonderland By Night" by Bert Kaempfert and Johnny Horton's "North To Alaska".  
1962:  The lucky people who saw this:  The Supremes, Miracles and Marvin Gaye performed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York for the first of ten concerts.
1964:  New British singer Petula Clark debuted on the chart for the first time with her first single "Downtown".
1964:  Beatles for Sale was the new #1 album in the U.K., knocking off the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night.

            "Chim Chim Cheree" from 'Mary Poppins'...

1964:  For those who hadn't gotten to see them live, Beach Boys Concert had to suffice, and it was the #1 album for the third week.  Soundtracks captured three positions, as "My Fair Lady" was #6, the new "Mary Poppins" moved from 14-8 and "A Hard Day's Night" from the Beatles was #10.
1964:  "Ringo" by Lorne Greene remained #1 for a fifth week on the Easy Listening chart.

1964:  The Supremes posted their third consecutive #1--"Come See About Me".  The Beatles were close behind with "I Feel Fine" after just three weeks.  Bobby Vinton's previous #1 "Mr. Lonely" stopped off at #3, the Zombies' big hit "She's Not There" was down and Lorne Greene slipped with "Ringo".  The rest of the Top 10:  the Rolling Stones with "Time Is On My Side", Little Anthony & the Imperials shot up seven with "Goin' Out Of My Head", the Beach Boys brought us "Dance, Dance, Dance" at #9, Gene Pitney assured us that "I'm Gonna' Be Strong" and the Kinks grabbed the final spot with "You Really Got Me".

1966:  The Buckinghams released the single "Kind Of A Drag".
1968:  Led Zeppelin performed at the Exeter City Hall in England for a fee of 125 pounds.  The group had to bill itself as the New Yardbirds to draw any kind of an audience.
1969:  The Rolling Stones moved to #1 in the U.K. with their album Let It Bleed.
1970:  U.S. President Richard Nixon commended Mike Curb of MGM Records for dropping acts, including Connie Francis, that purportedly advocated drug use.  Curb later became the Lieutenant Governor from California.
1970:  Perry Como held on to #1 on the Adult chart with "It's Impossible" for the third week.

            The remarkable song "Crescent Noon" from the Carpenters...

1970:  Abraxas by Santana continued as the #1 album for a fourth week.  Greatest Hits, the compilation by Sly & the Family Stone, moved to 2 while Led Zeppelin III was, well, third.  The self-titled Stephen Stills moved to #4 while George Harrison was generating a buzz with All Things Must Pass.  The rest of the Top 10:  The great album Close to You by the Carpenters, Live Album from Grand Funk Railroad, as they used to call themselves, Third Album by the Jackson 5 was #8, the Soundtrack to "Jesus Christ Superstar" came in ninth and Sweet Baby James by James Taylor dropped to 10.
1970:  The classic Smokey Robinson & the Miracles song "The Tears Of A Clown" was #1 on the R&B chart for a third week.

           Chicago with their trademark sound...

1970:  "The Tears Of A Clown" was an across-the-board smash as it remained #1.  George Harrison, however, was up to #2 after just four weeks with "My Sweet Lord".  The 5th Dimension took spot #3 with "One Less Bell To Answer while the Partridge Family dropped to 4 with their former #1 "I Think I Love You".  The rest of the Top 10:  Two huge new hits:  "Black Magic Woman" by Santana and Dawn's "Knock Three Times" (up from 20-6), the Supremes collected their second Top 10 since the departure of Diana Ross with "Stoned Love", Chicago was up to 8 with "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", Brian Hyland's former #3 song "Gypsy Woman" took a tumble to #9 and Badfinger's "No Matter What" was #10.

1974:  Ron Woods joined the Rolling Stones as their new guitarist.
1974:  On his first solo world tour, George Harrison played the first of two nights at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1980:  The movie 9 to 5, starring Dolly Parton, opened in theaters.
1981:  The Rolling Stones wrapped up a tour at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia.

                "Slipping Through My Fingers"...

1981:  ABBA topped the U.K. chart with The Visitors.
1981:  "Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire was the top R&B song for a fourth week, the supergroup's 15th Top 10 R&B song.

1981:  Neil Diamond took over the #1 spot on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Yesterday's Songs", his seventh AC #1 and 27th Top 10 song on that chart.

1981:  It appeared that Eddie Schwartz had a big hit with "All Our Tomorrows", which on this date was the fastest-rising song.  Radio blew it in the end, however, (with a peak of #28 for the song) and instead, it gets to be one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era* on Inside the Rock Era!  It's OK; unlike radio, all good songs are welcome here.

            The title from AC/DC's #3 album this week...

1981:  4 by Foreigner was #1 for a fifth week, holding off Ghost in the Machine by the Police again.  AC/DC moved to #3 with their new one--For Those About to Rock We Salute You while Journey's Escape was still at #4 after 20 weeks.
1987:  Paul Simon joined Senator Paul Simon, presidential candidate from Illinois, as co-hosts of Saturday Night Live on NBC-TV.

1987:  Another of Inside the Rock Era's Top Underrated Songs*, "Hot In The City" by Billy Idol, climbed from 81 to 65 before being killed by conservative radio people.

         "Animal", one of the lead cuts on the amazing 'Hysteria' album...

1987:  The "Dirty Dancing" Soundtrack was the #1 album for the sixth week, with the former #1 Bad by Michael Jackson logging a fifth week at #2.  Faith from George Michael moved to #3 in its fifth week, ahead of the self-titled Whitesnake.  The rest of the Top 10:  A Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd was on its way down after just 13 weeks, Tiffany was the rage, moving from 13-6, The Lonesome Jubilee from John Cougar Mellencamp rested at #7, the new Def Leppard album, Hysteria, wasn't going anywhere after 18 weeks, Tunnel of Love from Bruce Springsteen was tumbling and Whitney Houston remained in the #10 position with Whitney.
1992:  The Neil Diamond special Christmas in Washington was televised on NBC.
1992:  "I Will Always Love You" from Whitney Houston remained #1 on the R&B chart for the third straight week.
1992:  Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was the new #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1992:  And Ms. Houston made it a triple with her fourth week at #1 overall with "I Will Always Love You".  Shai continued as runner-up for the fourth week with "If I Ever Fall In Love".
1993:  Michael Clarke, original drummer of the Byrds, died at the age of 46 of liver failure from three decades of heavy alcohol consumption in Treasure Island, Florida.
1998:  The Dave Matthews Band recorded their concert in Chicago that would be released as Live in Chicago 12-19-98 at the United Center.

  "Whiskey in the Jar" helped land Metallica in the Top 10...

1998:  Double Live by Garth Brooks was the #1 album for the third week.  That was one better than These Are Special Times, the Christmas album from Celine Dion.  'N Sync blasted up to #3 after 37 weeks of release and Jewel sat at 4 with Spirit.  The rest of the Top 10:  Garage Inc. by Metallica fell to 5, 2Pac's so-called Greatest Hits was #6, #1's from Mariah Carey remained at 7, the Backstreet Boys moved back up after 69 weeks, Home for Christmas from 'N Sync was ninth and Shania Twain re-entered the Top 10 after 57 weeks with Come On Over.
2000:  Robert Buck, guitarist and founding member of 10,000 Maniacs, died of multiple organ failure from liver disease at the age of 42 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
2000:  Pops Staples, guitarist of the family group the Staples Singles, died in Chicago, Illinois after falling near his home in Dalton, Illinois and suffering a concussion.  He was 86.
2001:  The television special Too Legit:  The MC Hammer Story premiered.
2001:  Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots pleaded guilty  in Las Vegas, Nevada to domestic battery.
2001:  In a final admittal that Western music was the best, the president of Iran banned it from state-owned radio and television stations.  This is what some in America tried to do in the 1950's prior to the greatest period of classic music in the history of the world.
2003:  Just when you think you'd seen it all department:  A man was sentenced to 25 months in prison for impersonating Mark Tremonti, guitarist for Creed.  He was arrested in April for stealing more than a thousand dollars while kissing a gullible Creed fan.
2004:  Robbie Williams' Greatest Hits was the top album in the U.K.
2004:  The remake of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid 20 remained #1 on the U.K. chart for the third week.

Born This Day:

1941:  Maurice White, co-founder, lead singer, songwriter, drummer and the genius behind Earth, Wind & Fire and a producer and arranger, was born in Memphis, Tennessee; died in his sleep February 4, 2016 in Los Angeles after being afflicted by Parkinson's disease since the late 1980s.  In addition to his accomplishments in Earth, Wind & Fire, White worked with numerous artists including Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, the Emotions and Deniece Williams.  (Note:  original reports from the group indicated White died February 3, but later Twitter reports, confirmed by both 'CNN' and 'USA Today', among others, indicated he died early in the morning of February 4.) 

1944:  Zalman Yanovsky, lead guitarist and co-founder of Lovin' Spoonful, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; died December 13, 2002 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada of a heart attack.  (Note:  some websites report his birthplace as Kingston.  According to 'The New York Times' and other reputable sources, Yanovsky was born in Toronto--he died in Kingston.)
1944:  Alvin Lee, great guitarist of Ten Years After ("I'd Love To Change The World"), who also worked with George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Peter Frampton, John Mayall and Bo Diddley among others, was born in Nottingham, England; died March 6, 2013 in Marbella, Spain after complications from surgery.

1945:  John McEuen, founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, was born in Garden Grove, California.  (Note:  several websites list his birthplace as Oakland, California--according to 'Country Music Television' and '', he was born in Garden Grove.)
1957:  Doug Johnson, keyboardist of Loverboy, was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.
1958:  Limahl, lead singer of Kajagoogoo ("Too Shy"), and later a solo artist ("Never Ending Story") was born in Pemberton, Wigan, Lancashire, England (now Pemberton, Wigan, Greater Manchester).
1968:  Kevin Shepard, drummer of Tonic

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