Rock 'n' Roll History for
December 8






1956 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
"Singing The Blues" by Guy Mitchell tops the Billboard chart for the first of an eleven week stay. Marty Robbins' version of the same song was released simultaneously and peaked at number 17.

1957 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
55-year-old German accordionist Will Glahe outsold many established Rock And Roll artists when his "Liechtensteiner Polka" reaches #19 on the Billboard Pop chart. Glahe's first success in America came in June, 1939 when his rendition of "Beer Barrel Polka" hit the top of the US Hit Parade, selling over a million copies.

1958 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
"The Chipmunk Song" by David Seville And The Chipmunks entered the Billboard Top 40 chart on its way to a four week stint at #1, selling 4.5 million copies in seven weeks. The record would go on to win three Grammy Awards: Best Comedy Performance, Best Children's Recording and Best Engineered Record (non-classical).

1961 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
The Supremes begin recording their third single, the Smokey Robinson penned "Your Heart Belongs To Me", which will become the group's first Billboard charting record, peaking at #95.

December 8
The Beach Boys first recording, "Surfin'", is released on Candis Records, a small L.A. based company. The song was written by Brian Wilson and his cousin Mike Love and recorded with Brian's brothers, Carl and Dennis and their friend Alan Jardine. Carl played acoustic guitar, Al played double bass and Brian kept time on a garbage can.

1962 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Alan Freed testifies at his payola trial in New York that he received $2,000 in 1958 from Cognat Distributors for a promise to play their records on his New York radio show. He also accepted a similar deal from Superior Records for $700. He pleads guilty and is fined $300 and given six months probation. Dick Clark was also questioned, but is cleared of all charges.

1963 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
19 year old Frank Sinatra Jr. was abducted at gun point from his hotel room at Harrah's Casino in Lake Tahoe, California. Two days later he was released unharmed after his father paid the kidnappers' $240,000 ransom demand. Within a week, three perpetrators were located and arrested. At their trial, which took place in the Spring of 1964, the defendants claimed that Frank Jr. had orchestrated the abduction as an elaborate publicity stunt, but there was no evidence to support their accusation. The young mastermind behind the scheme, Barry Keenan, served 4-and-a-half years in federal prison and went on to become a successful real-estate developer.

1968 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Graham Nash left The Hollies to team up with ex-Byrds guitarist, David Crosby and ex-Buffalo Springfield member, Stephen Stills. The trio would release their debut album in the summer of '69.

1973 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" tops the Cashbox Best Sellers chart. The record's flip side was a song originally called "Screw You", though the US release re-titled it "Young Man's Blues" so as not to offend record buyers.

1975 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Gary Thain, former bassist for the British band Uriah Heep, died of a heroin overdose. He was 27.

1977 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
A riot broke out in Brisbane, Australia after over 1,000 fans, who had waited over an hour for Blondie to appear on stage, where told that the show had been canceled due to Debbie Harry being ill.

1979 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
A Chicago quintet called Styx racked up their third of eight US Top Ten hits and their only number one with "Babe". It was a #6 hit in the UK.

1980 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Just two months after his 40th birthday, John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman, outside his home at the Dakota Apartment building on the northwestern corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in New York. After approaching the former Beatle and calling his name, Chapman dropped into a combat stance and shot John in his chest, back and left arm. Lennon staggered into the porters' vestibule in a desperate attempt to get upstairs to see his son, Sean. As he collapsed, John was comforted by porter Jay Hastings, who covered him with his jacket and gently removed his glasses. Police were quickly summoned and took John to Roosevelt Hospital on West Fifty-ninth St. Although doctors did everything they could to save him, John Lennon was pronounced dead at 11:07 PM. A sobbing Yoko cried "Oh no, no, no, no... tell me it's not true," and was led away in shock.

After the shooting, the 24-year-old Chapman remained at the scene, took out his copy of The Catcher in the Rye and read it until the police arrived. He was arrested without incident.

Much of America learned of the tragedy from ABC-TV, which was in the midst of airing an NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. Announcer Howard Cosell, who had interviewed Lennon years earlier, announced the news of the murder: "This, we have to say it, is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City. John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all of The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival."

When asked why he decided to target Lennon, Chapman said he couldn't resist the fame that would come with the crime. "That bright light of fame, of infamy, notoriety was there," he said. "I couldn't resist it."

December 8
Pat Benatar receives a Platinum record for her very first album, "In the Heat of the Night". The former waitress and bank teller was discovered at the Catch a Rising Star club in New York. The album made it to the Top Ten and the follow up, "Crimes of Passion" went to #2.

1982 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Marty Robbins suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 57. In the late '50s and early '60s he had successfully crossed over from the Country music charts to the Pop charts with hits such as "El Paso" (#1), "A White Sport Coat" (#2), "Don't Worry About Me" (#3), "Devil Woman" (#16) and "Ruby Ann" (#18).

1984 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
"Out Of Touch" becomes Hall And Oates' sixth US number one single, confirming their status as the most successful duo in Rock history. Despite its success in America, the record could only manage #48 in the UK.

December 8
The former manager of The Coasters, Patrick Cavanaugh, is convicted and sentenced to death after he is found guilty of murdering the group's bass singer, Nathaniel Wilson. Wilson's dismembered body was discovered in Modesto, California, in 1980.

December 8
Motley Crue's Vince Neil is involved in a car accident that killed his passenger, Hanoi Rocks' drummer Nick "Razzle" Dingley and seriously injures two people in another vehicle. He is arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol. In July 1986 he would be sentenced to a 30 day jail term, 5 years probation and $2.6 million in restitution to the victims of the crash, as well as 200 hours of community service. Vince was released from jail after 20 days.

1995 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Courtney Love appeared on the ABC TV show Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People, telling the host that she wished she had done "eight thousand million things differently" to have prevented the death of her husband, Kurt Cobain.

2000 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
A plaque to commemorate the 20th anniversary of John Lennon's death was unveiled outside his childhood home in Liverpool.

December 8
Although he had denounced The Beatles' music as "decadent" in the 1960s, Cuban President Fidel Castro attends the unveiling of a statue of John Lennon in Havana's El Vedado Park on the 20th anniversary of singer's murder.

2004 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Former American Bandstand host Dick Clark was hospitalized in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke. Although he was seldom been seen in public, Dick later returned to Times Square for limited segments during the annual New Year's Eve celebration. He passed away on April 18th, 2012 at the age of 82.

2010 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Several hundred people with candles and glow sticks braved cold temperatures to sing John Lennon songs next to a peace monument in Liverpool, England. In New York, hundreds of fans gathered in Central Park, near the spot where Lennon was shot. Flowers were laid in the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park, which was converted to a memorial garden after his death.

2011 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
Sinead O'Connor celebrated her 45th birthday by marrying her fourth husband, Barry Herridge, in a 10 minute, drive-thru ceremony in Las Vegas. O'Connor achieved just one Top 40 single, the chart topping "Nothing Compares 2 U" in 1990, but gained notoriety in 1992 when she tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II on the October 3rd edition of US TV's Saturday Night Live.

2015 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that over 1.15 million people have been killed by firearms in the United States since John Lennon was gunned down thirty-five years earlier.

2016 - ClassicBands.com

December 8
The Rolling Stones 73-year-old frontman Mick Jagger became a father for the eighth time when his girlfriend, 29-year-old Melanie Hamrick, gave birth to the couple's son. Jagger had previously fathered seven other children, Georgia, James, Jade, Elizabeth, Lucas, Karis and Gabriel, who range in age from their 40s to teenagers.

December 8
On the anniversary of John Lennon's death, Yoko Ono continued her plea for gun control in the United States with a Facebook posting that said, "Dear Friends, every day, 91 Americans are killed with guns. We are turning this beautiful country into a War Zone. Together, let's bring back America, the green land of Peace. The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 36 years, our son Sean and I still miss him."






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