Rock 'n' Roll History for
December 31






1955 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Based on record sales as well as radio and jukebox plays, Billboard magazine named "Unchained Melody" by Les Baxter And His Orchestra, the number 1 song in the US.

1956 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
On New Years Eve, Elvis Presley appeared on Wink Martindale's local TV special in Memphis.

1957 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Buddy Holly, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis headlined Alan Freed's show at the Paramount Theatre in New York City. As per the contract, Fats Domino closed the show, following Holly and then Lewis. After Jerry Lee had whipped the crowd into a frenzy, Fats had only a half-filled theatre to play to. It was the last time he ever insisted on following The Killer.

1961 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Appearing on New Year's Eve at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Concert at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium, The Beach Boys play their third show under that name. Prior to this, they called themselves The Pendletons and Carl And The Passions. The gig paid them $300.

1962 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
27-year-old John Phillips marries 18-year-old Holly Michelle Gilliam. The marriage was her first and his second, and would produce one child, Chynna. The pair would later co-found The Mamas And Papas, but divorced in 1970.

1965 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
The Beatles single "I Feel Fine" and album "Beatles '65" are certified Gold.

1966 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
The Monkees topped the Billboard Hot 100 with the Neil Diamond composition, "I'm A Believer". Because of over a million advance orders, the single went Gold two days after its release and has now sold over ten million copies worldwide. Its reign at #1 lasted for seven weeks.

1967 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Sonny And Cher are barred from Pasadena, California's Tournament of Roses Parade for speaking out in support of the 2,000 demonstrators who protested a year-long campaign by sheriffs and police to clear the Strip of 'loitering' teenagers. Known as "the Sunset Strip rioters", the group mainly consisted of 15-year-olds with long hair and acne who were confronted by several hundred riot-helmeted sheriff's deputies.

1968 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
For the first time ever, Americans spent more than $1 billion on records. According to Billboard magazine, album sales were 192 million units and singles sold 187 million units.

1969 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
At a New Year's Eve concert at the Fillmore East in New York City, Jimi Hendrix introduces his new side men, bassist Billy Cox and former Electric Flag drummer, Buddy Miles. The concert is recorded for the live album, "Band of Gypsys", which will reach #5 in the US and #6 in the UK.

1970 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
With Melody Maker magazine reporting that The Beatles are looking for a new bass player, Paul McCartney files suit to dissolve the Beatles' corporation. It would take until 1974 for the split to become final.

1972 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Dick Clark's first Rockin' New Years Eve airs on ABC-TV, starring Three Dog Night, Al Green and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

December 31
The MC5 play their farewell show at a New Years Eve bash at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit. Their take for the night was $200.

1974 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are invited to join Fleetwood Mac, marking the band's tenth line-up change since 1967.

1975 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Elvis Presley performed a New Year's Eve concert before 60,000 fans at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. He earned $800,000 for the night, a then world record for a single show by a solo artist.

1978 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
The Grateful Dead perform for the 48th and final time at Bill Graham's Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Also appearing were Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, who took their Saturday Night Live characters on the road as The Blues Brothers.

1979 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
At a New Years Eve concert in Cleveland, Bruce Springsteen's cheek is ripped open by a fire-cracker thrown onstage from the audience.

1984 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
On New Years Eve, Def Leppard's drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm after crashing his Corvette while racing another driver on a UK highway. The arm was re-attached, but had to be removed three days later. His right arm was also damaged, but he eventually re-joined the band using a specially adapted drum kit.

1985 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Rock and Roll legend Rick Nelson was killed while en route to a New Year's Eve show in Dallas, Texas. His private DC-3 (which was previously owned by Jerry Lee Lewis) crashed in a field near DeKalb, Texas. Early press reports erroneously suggested that drug use, namely freebasing, might have played a role in the crash that killed Rick, his band, and his fiancee Helen Blair (the pilot and co-pilot survived). In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board's 1987 report determined that the fire began in a malfunctioning gas heater.

1991 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Radio Luxembourg, Europe's oldest commercial radio station, closes down after being on the air for 62 years.

December 31
Ted Nugent donated 200 pounds of venison to a Salvation Army soup kitchen in Detroit with the message "I kill it, you grill it."

1997 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Pianist Floyd Cramer, who scored a Billboard number 2 hit in 1960 with "Last Date", died of lung cancer at the age of 64. As a session musician, he played on many major hits for a variety of artists, including Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel". In 2003, Cramer was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

2004 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
For the first time in the last 32 years, Dick Clark wasn't in New York's Time Square to celebrate New Year's Eve. The 75 year old TV host and producer was forced to watch the show from his hospital bed after suffering a mild stroke on December 6th. A spokesman said that Mr. Clark had been doing some rehab and that doctors were encouraged with his progress.

2005 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Tom Jones was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony that Jones later described as "a great and humbling honor."

December 31
Although he wasn't actually in Times Square and his speech had slowed due to the effects of a stroke he suffered in December, 2004, Dick Clark made a return to his New Year's Rockin' Eve TV show.

2010 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Joseph Jones Jr., known as "Little Joe" of the group The Tams, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 64. Although he joined the band eight years after their Billboard Top Ten hit "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am", Jones stayed with the group for 36 years before retiring in 2008.

2014 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Nielsen Sound Scan reported that while overall album sales were down again in 2014, vinyl album sales grew by 52 percent to 9.2 million copies (up from 6.1 million in 2013). More vinyl albums were sold than in any other year since Nielsen started tracking music sales in 1991.

2015 - ClassicBands.com

December 31
Natalie Cole, a nine-time Grammy-winning singer and daughter of legendary crooner Nat King Cole, passed away at the age of 65. She placed twelve songs on the Billboard Top 40 between 1975 and 1991, including the Top Ten hits, "This Will Be", "I've Got Love On My Mind", "Pink Cadillac" and "Miss You Like Crazy".






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