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This Week In
Rock and Roll History

December 14th to December 20th

Classic Rockers In The News - Rock & Roll Birthdays - Number One Records



1907 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
Eugene Farrar became the first singer to broadcast on radio when he sang "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. Culture Club would take a different song with the same title to number one in 1982.

1953 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas", recorded earlier in the year by 10 year old Gayla Peevey, inspired an Oklahoma City fund-raising effort to buy a hippopotamus for the Oklahoma City Zoo. Oklahomans raised $4,000 for the cause, with much of the money coming from children. The zoo bought a 3-year-old hippo named Matilda who had eight offspring and died in 1998.

1954 - ClassicBands.com

December 17
Bill Haley And His Comets put the first Rock and Roll song on the UK singles chart with "Rock Around The Clock", which would later peak at number 4.

1955 - ClassicBands.com

December 17
While their hit "Only You" was still at #2, The Platters' "The Great Pretender" enters the Billboard R&B chart at #13.

December 17
Tennessee Ernie Ford's version of "Sixteen Tons" is number one on both the Billboard Pop and Country & Western charts. The song was first recorded in 1946 by American Country singer Merle Travis.

December 19
Carl Perkins records "Blue Suede Shoes", a song that he wrote after seeing a young man get angry at his date for scuffing his shoes. Even though we more often remember Elvis Presley's version, it only made it to number 20 on the US chart, while was Perkins' original went to number 2.

1956 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
Elvis Presley gives his final performance on Louisiana Hayride, a live radio program that was broadcast on KWKH in Shreveport. Originally signed in October, 1954, Presley made 50 appearances on the show. The immediate and enormous demand for more of Presley's new kind of Rockabilly music actually resulted in a sharp decline in the popularity of the Louisiana Hayride, that until that point had been strictly a Country music venue.

December 19
Elvis Presley made US chart history by having ten songs on Billboard's Top 100.

1957 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Sammy Davis Jr. hosts a syndicated radio talk show with a round-table discussion of Rock 'n' Roll. His guests are Columbia Records executive Mitch Miller and MGM Records president Arnold Maxim. When Davis and Miller blast Rock 'n' Roll as "the comic books of music," Maxim takes an opposing viewpoint and says, "I don't see any end to Rock 'n' Roll in the near future."

December 17
Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" enters the Billboard Pop chart for the first time, where it will reach #6. It will make the chart again in December 1958, 1960, 1961 and 1962.

December 20
Just five days before Christmas, Elvis Presley received his draft notice from the US Army. He later told reporters that it's a "duty I've got to fill and I'm going to do it." He will be inducted at the Memphis Draft Board in March of 1958 and assigned to Fort Hood, Texas for basic training for six months.

1958 - ClassicBands.com

December 20
John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison appear as The Quarry Men at the wedding reception of George's older brother, Harry. The event was held at the Harrison family home at 25 Upton Green, Speke, Liverpool.

December 20
The US Army's 32nd Armored unit returns to base after maneuvers and Pvt. Elvis Presley is rewarded for his hard work with a three day pass, which he uses to buy himself a BMW sports car.

December 22
After just two weeks on the Billboard Pop chart, "The Chipmunk Song" was the number one tune in the US. It's creator, David Seville (Ross Bagdasarian), named the Chipmunks Alvin, Simon and Theodore, after executives at Liberty Records.

1959 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Guy Mitchell follows his chart topping "Singing The Blues" with his second Billboard number one hit, "Heartaches By The Number". In all, Mitchell, whose real name was Albert George Cernik, placed thirty songs in the US Top 100, with nine of them reaching the Top 10. Twelve of his records made the UK Top 10.

December 14
Billboard magazine reports that in the wake of the government's payola investigations, the pay-for-play phenomenon has all but ceased. One Philadelphia record distributor complained, "You can't even buy the disc jockey's lunch."

December 14
The Ohio State University Research Center finds that although Rock 'n' Roll is the overwhelming favorite of kids aged 14 to 18, adults aged 19 to 70 list it as their least favorite form of music.

December 14
"First Name Initial" by seventeen year old Annette Funicello entered the Billboard chart, where it eventually reached #20.

December 14
The Kingston Trio started an eight-week run at #1 on the US album chart with "Here We Go Again!"

December 15
Colonel Tom Parker cleverly keeps his client in the news by suggesting that Elvis may re-enlist at the end of his first hitch.

1960 - ClassicBands.com

December 19
Neil Sedaka's "Calendar Girl" was released on RCA Victor Records. The song would climb to #4 on the Hot 100 and become Sedaka's sixth record to make the US charts.

1961 - ClassicBands.com

December 18
After reaching #15 with "Tonight I Fell In Love" earlier in the year, a Brooklyn, New York group called The Tokens scored the top tune on the Billboard charts with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".

December 18
Le Roy Van Dyke achieved the rare feat of having a Country song cross over to the Billboard Pop chart when "Walk On By" peaked at #5. Five years earlier he also had a Top 20 hit with "Auctioneer" and would return the following Spring with "If A Woman Answers (Hang Up The Phone)", which would reach #35.

1962 - ClassicBands.com

December 18
The Beatles return to Hamburg, Germany for the fifth and final time, where they will play a twelve night run at The Star Club.

December 20
The Osmonds appeared for the first time on The Andy Williams show, where they performed "I'm A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas".

1963 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Dinah Washington, best remembered for her hit, "What A Diff'Rence A Day Makes", died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and pills. She was just 39 years old.

December 14
The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" begins a five week stretch at number one on the UK record charts, replacing their own "She Loves You". which had been at the top for two weeks.

December 17
James Carroll at radio station WWDC in Washington, DC, became the first disc jockey to broadcast a Beatles' record on American airwaves. Carroll played "I Want To Hold Your Hand", which he had obtained from his stewardess girlfriend, who brought the single back from Britain. Due to listener demand, the song was played daily, every hour. Since it hadn't been released yet in the States, Capitol Records initially considered court action, but instead released the single earlier than planned.

1964 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Dusty Springfield is deported from South Africa after performing in front of an multiracial audience at a show near Cape Town.

December 18
Funeral services are held in Chicago for Sam Cooke. A crowd of fans break the glass doors and cause other damage to the A.R. Leak Funeral Home and so many of them surround the limo of James Brown, he is forced to leave.

December 19
"Come See About Me", the third release from The Supremes album "Where Did Our Love Go", becomes their third straight US number one single.

December 19
The Beatles fourth album, "Beatles For Sale", started a seven-week run at the top of the UK album chart. It would stay in the Top 20 for an amazing 46 weeks.

1966 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
Jimi Hendrix released his first single, "Hey Joe". The record made it to number 6 in the UK, but failed to chart at all in America. He followed with "Purple Haze", "The Wind Cries Mary", "All Along the Watchtower" and "Voodoo Chile", all of which made the British Top 10, but in America, only "All Along the Watchtower" reached the Top 40, peaking at number 20.

December 17
The Royal Guardsmen's "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" enters the Billboard Pop chart, where it will peak at #2 during its eleven week run.

December 17
The Four Tops' "Standing in the Shadows of Love" enters the Billboard Hot 100. During a ten week stay, the record will climb to #6. It also reaches #2 on the R&B chart.

December 19
Nancy Sinatra's "Sugar Town" entered the Billboard Pop chart, where it would reach #5. Although the lyrics seem innocent enough, the song's writer, Lee Hazelwood, would later say "Sugar Town was an LSD song if there ever was one." The B-side was "Summer Wine", a popular duet featuring and also written by Hazelwood.

December 19
For reasons that are never fully explained, a Los Angeles radio station announces that Mick Jagger had died.

1967 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Just a few days after it was released, The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" LP goes Gold. It would top the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for eight weeks and receive a Grammy nomination for Best Album.

December 15
The Beach Boys meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Paris and learn transcendental meditation.

December 20
Singer Jimmie Rodgers required brain surgery after he suffered a fractured skull and a broken wrist, allegedly at the hands of three San Diego police officers. Although he hadn't had a hit record in ten years, he enjoyed a string of Top Ten songs in the 1950s, including, "Honeycomb", "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine", "Oh-Oh I'm Falling in Love Again", and "Are You Really Mine". Rodgers would recover and return to performing a little over a year later.

December 20
Vocalist Ian Anderson and bassist Glenn Cornick leave the John Evans Blues Band to form Jethro Tull, naming their group after the 18th century inventor of a number of farm implements. John Evan himself will later join them as Jethro Tull's keyboard player.

1968 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Just three weeks after being released, Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100, where it would stay for 7 weeks. It was Marvin's 30th US chart single, but his first number one.

December 14
Iron Butterfly's classic album, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is certified Gold. Today it is a multi-platinum album with sales of over 25 million copies.

December 14
The musical / comedy group The Scaffold had the top tune in the UK with a song called "Lily The Pink", which would go on to sell over a million copies. The Liverpool trio consisted of Mike McGear (real name Mike McCartney, the brother of Paul), Roger McGough and John Gorman and were backed on the recording by Graham Nash of The Hollies, Reg Dwight (later known as Elton John), along with Tim Rice and Jack Bruce.

December 15
While performing with the Jefferson Airplane on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Grace Slick appears in blackface and raises a black-leather glove in a power salute at the conclusion of "Crown of Creation". The incident is one of several which leads to the show's cancellation the following season.

1969 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Eric Clapton joined John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band as part of Peace for Christmas, a benefit concert for UNICEF at the Lyceum Ballroom, in London. George Harrison, Delaney and Bonnie, Billy Preston and The Who's drummer, Keith Moon also took part. The concert was the last 'live' appearance that Lennon ever made in his home country.

December 17
An estimated 40 million viewers tuned in to see 36 year old Tiny Tim marry 17 year old Victoria May Budinger, whom he refers to as "Miss Vicki", on The Tonight Show. For appearing on the program, they received a free reception, wedding apparel, hair styling, flowers and a honeymoon in the Bahamas. The couple would later have one daughter, Tulip, but divorced in 1972.

December 18
A New York Times article estimates that the youth audience in America accounts for 75-percent of the $1 billion spent annually on recorded music.

December 20
After scoring a pair of number 2 singles in 1963 with "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Blowin' in the Wind", Peter, Paul And Mary attain their first and only US number one hit with the John Denver written "Leaving On A Jet Plane".

1970 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
Five singles and five albums by Creedence Clearwater Revival were certified Gold. The singles were: "Down on the Corner", "Lookin' Out My Back Door", "Travelin' Band", "Bad Moon Rising" and "Up around the Bend". The LPs were "Cosmo's Factory", "Willy and the Poor Boys", "Green River", "Bayou Country" and "Creedence Clearwater Revival".

December 17
The Beach Boys play a command performance for Princess Margaret at London's Royal Albert Hall.

December 19
Elton John's first US hit, "Your Song" enters the Billboard Hot 100, where it will reach number eight. An excellent version of the tune had already been recorded by Three Dog Night for their "It Ain't Easy" album, but it wasn't issued as a single.

1971 - ClassicBands.com

December 18
"I Gotcha" by Joe Tex is released by Dial Records. The song will reach #1 on the Billboard R&B chart in late January 1972, largely because of the publicity caused by way Tex slurred the line "Told you not to play with my affection," which causes many listeners to mistake the last word for one that rhymes with it.

December 18
Sly And The Family Stone had the number one album on the Billboard chart with "There's A Riot Going On". The original title of the LP was "Africa Talks to You", but was renamed in response to Marvin Gaye's landmark album "What's Going On".

1972 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
In a clever publicity stunt, Alexander's department store in New York stays open late especially so Alice Cooper can do his Christmas shopping.

1973 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Charlie Rich followed his number 15 hit, "Behind Closed Doors", with a number one smash on the Hot 100, "The Most Beautiful Girl". The song reached #2 in the UK.

December 15
David Cassidy went to #1 on the UK album chart with his third solo album "Dreams Are Nothin' More Than Wishes".

December 15
Aerosmith perform their first single, "Dream On" on American Bandstand. Guitarist Joe Perry would later say that he didn't particularly like the song, but knew the band needed to record a ballad if they wanted to get radio play.

December 20
37 year old Bobby Darin died during surgery to repair a heart valve that had been implanted two years earlier. His career started in 1958 with "Splish Splash" and continued strong into the early sixties. He was pushed off the charts by the British Invasion, but had a comeback in 1966 with "If I Were a Carpenter". According to his wishes, Darin's body was donated, without a funeral, to UCLA's medical school.

1975 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
The Bay City Rollers earn a Gold record for their first US single, "Saturday Night". They will go on to have five more Billboard Top 40 hits.

December 19
As if Disco wasn't bad enough, the US music scene reaches a new all time low when "Convoy" by C.W. McCall earns a Gold record. It would go on to top the Billboard Pop chart in early January. The novelty tune tells the story of interstate truck drivers and their run-ins with the law. It reached #2 in the UK.

December 20
Joe Walsh officially replaces Bernie Leadon in The Eagles, and would take the band from their Rock and Roll cowboy sound to harder Rock. Walsh first came to prominence with The James Gang before forming Barnstorm.

1977 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
The movie, Saturday Night Fever premieres in New York City and is instrumental in spreading the Disco craze throughout the country. The soundtrack will go on to be one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, racking up over 15 million in sales.

December 15
Two days before they are due to appear on NBC'S Saturday Night Live and start their first US tour, The Sex Pistols are denied visas to enter the country. Johnny Rotten was refused because of a drug conviction, Paul Cook and Sid Vicious because of 'moral turpitude' and Steve Jones because of his criminal record.

December 16
The Bee Gees are awarded a Gold record for "How Deep is Your Love", the fourth of their nine Billboard number one singles. The song would become the subject of a copyright infringement suit five years later when an amateur songwriter named Ronald Selle claimed the brothers Gibb lifted the melody from a composition he'd written called "Let It End". The case was decided in Selle's favor, but the verdict was overturned a few months later.

December 17
Elvis Costello appears on NBC-TV's Saturday Night Live, where producer Lorne Michaels refuses to allow him to perform "Radio, Radio" because of the song's criticism of the broadcasting industry. A few measures into "Less than Zero", Costello halts his group and goes into "Radio, Radio". He was never invited back.

1979 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Pink Floyd started a five week run at the top of the UK singles chart with "Another Brick In The Wall, (part 2)".

December 17
Paul McCartney and Wings played the Glasgow Apollo where they recorded a live version of "Coming Up", which would rise to number two in the UK and top the Billboard chart in America, selling over four million copies. They closed the show with "Mull Of Kintyre", accompanied by the same pipers and drummers from the Campbelltown Pipe Band who appeared on the record.

December 19
Elvis Presley's personal physician, George Nichopoulos, was charged with 'illegally and indiscriminately' prescribing over 12,000 tablets of uppers, downers, and pain killers for the Rock and Roll star during the 20 months preceding his untimely death. Although he was acquitted this time, he was charged again in 1980 and again in 1992 and was stripped of his medical license in July 1995.

1980 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Yoko Ono called on fans to observe ten minutes of silence in memory of John Lennon. 30,000 gathered outside St George's Hall in Liverpool, while nearly 100,000 attend a memorial in New York's Central Park.

December 20
Twelve days after John Lennon was shot dead, "Just Like Starting Over" became his first UK solo #1.

1982 - ClassicBands.com

December 17
Karen Carpenter made her last public appearance, singing Christmas carols at Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California.

December 18
Hall And Oates overtook The Everly Brothers as the top recording duo of all time when their biggest hit, "Maneater" reached number 1 on the US singles chart. It made #6 in the UK.

1983 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Despite having one of his performances picketed by a senior's advocate group called The Grey Panthers, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" by Dr. Elmo hit #1 on the Billboard Christmas singles charts, becoming the first song to ever surpass Bing Crosby's "White Christmas". To this day, estimated sales of the song top 50 million copies.

December 18
With Mick Jagger as the best man, Keith Richards marries model Patti Hansen during a ceremony in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The couple have two daughters, Theodora Richards and Alexandra Richards.

1984 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" enters the UK chart at #1, where it will stay for five weeks. The Bob Geldof produced song, specifically written to raise money for relief of famine in Ethiopia, was recorded by leading Irish and British musicians, including Phil Collins, Bono, George Michael, Sting, David Bowie, Boy George and Paul McCartney. The record would sell more than three million copies in Britain alone and enjoy similar success around the world.

1985 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
James Taylor marries actress Kathryn Walker at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. They would divorce in 1996.

December 21
Lionel Richie had a number one record for the seventh time when "Say You, Say Me" reached the top of the Billboard Pop chart. He started his string with "Three Times A Lady" and "Still" while he was with The Commodores, before having solo hits with "Endless Love", "Truly", "All Night Long" and "Hello".

1986 - ClassicBands.com

December 17
Paul McCartney's limo catches fire en route to a TV taping in Newcastle, England. Both he and his wife Linda escape unharmed.

December 17
The Doobie Brothers reunite for a benefit in Palo Alto, California. The performance inspires a reunion tour the next year and leads to one last Billboard Top Ten hit, 1989's "The Doctor".

December 19
A California Superior Court Judge refuses to reinstate a lawsuit brought against Ozzy Osbourne by the parents of a teenager who committed suicide while listening to Osbourne's "Suicide Solution". The judge ruled that Ozzy is protected by The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gives him the right to freedom of speech.

1988 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
James Brown is sentenced to six years in prison after an interstate car chase with police. He would have to serve more than two years before being paroled in 1990.

1989 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Billy Joel had his last number one album when "Stormfront" reached the top of the US charts. The LP also contained his final number 1 hit, "We Didn't Start the Fire", along with the singles, "I Go to Extremes" (#6) and, "And So It Goes" (#37).

December 20
A lawsuit is filed against Chuck Berry on behalf of more than seventy women who claimed he had secretly videotaped them while they used rest rooms in his home and a restaurant. Although Berry adamantly denied making the tapes or even knowing who did, the cases were settled out of court for more than one million dollars.

1990 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
Rod Stewart married New Zealand super model Rachel Hunter in Beverly Hills. He was quoted saying 'I found the girl that I want, I won't be putting my banana in anybody's fruit bowl from now on.' They would split in 1999.

1991 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
Chubby Checker filed a lawsuit against McDonald's Restaurants of Canada seeking $14 million in damages because they allegedly used an imitation of his voice. The song "The Twist" had been used in a French fry commercial.

December 18
Gilbert O'Sullivan wins an injunction that prevents rapper Biz Markie from sampling his 1972 hit "Alone Again (Naturally)" for a new Rap single called "Alone Again".

1993 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
With stories beginning to surface about Michael Jackson's alleged improprieties with young boys, St. Louis radio station KEZK becomes one of the first to announce that it will no longer play the singer's records.

December 19
Original Byrds drummer Michael Clarke died of liver failure at the age of 47. After The Byrds, he went on to play for The Flying Burrito Brothers from 1969 to 1973 and Firefall from 1974 to 1981. He and the rest of The Byrds were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in January 1991.

1994 - ClassicBands.com

December 17
A remixed version of The Four Seasons' "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)" re-enters the Billboard Hot 100, where it will stay for another 27 weeks, just as it did when it first charted in 1976. The combined run will establish a record for the longest total chart appearance in history. The song reached #1 the first time out and #14 during its second stay.

1995 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Little Richard, along with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are among those who perform a tribute to Frank Sinatra on Sinatra: 80 Years My Way on ABC-TV.

December 16
The Beatles' "Free As A Bird" peaks at number 2 on the UK charts and number 6 in the US. Written by John Lennon and performed by him on piano as a rough demo shortly before he was murdered, the track was completed by the remaining Beatles at Paul McCartney's home studio.

1997 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997", was at its ninth week at number 1 on the Billboard chart. The record would eventually pass Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" to become the largest selling single of all time in the UK and the US.

December 16
Pop singer Nicolette Larson, best known for her hit version of Neil Young's "Lotta Love" in 1978, passed away at the age of 45. She had been admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank with massive liver failure and was then transferred to UCLA Medical Center, where she died from an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain.

1998 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Billy Preston pleads guilty to insurance fraud in a Los Angeles court and agrees to testify against six other defendants who allegedly participated in setting fires, staging thefts and rigging auto crashes for which a total of 18 fraudulent insurance claims were filed. Under a plea agreement, Preston was required to pay $60,000 in restitution and received five years of probation and one year in jail to run concurrently with a sentence he was already serving for violating probation on a prior conviction for cocaine possession.

1999 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Paul McCartney played The New Cavern Club in Liverpool, 35 years after his last appearance at the original venue. The concert is broadcast live over the Internet and attracts 50 million visits. A young fan, who changed his name to John Lennon, won a ticket to the show. The original Cavern Club closed in 1973 and was demolished to enable an underground railway to be constructed. In 1984 the present building, known as Cavern Walks, was opened on the site and contains a rebuilding of the original Cavern Club in the basement, as well as shops, offices and an internal, nine-storey atrium. The edifice also includes statues of The Fab Four on the outside walls.

December 17
The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards decides to keep a guitar that he was asked to autograph, outside his birthday party at the Russian Tea Room in New York City. The owner of the guitar decides not to press charges saying, "It's Keith, man."

December 17
Rex Allen, a musician and actor who had a US Top 20 hit with a song called "Don't Go Near The Indians" in 1962, died after suffering a heart attack and was later accidentally run over in the driveway of his home by his caretaker. The 78 year old Allen was also known as the narrator in many Disney nature and Western film productions, which earned him the nickname, "The Voice of the West."

2001 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
R&B singer Rufus Thomas, whose biggest Pop hit was "Walkin' The Dog" in 1963, died following a short illness. He was 84.

December 15
The Eagles' Joe Walsh is given an honorary Doctorate of Music from Kent State University in Ohio.

December 20
It was a very good year for Classic Rockers. Elton John and Billy Joel toured together and grossed nearly $60 million from just 31 dates, averaging $1.9 million per show. Eric Clapton proved to be a strong draw in international arenas, earning a healthy $43.5 million from 59 shows, racking up 38 complete sell-outs and averaging nearly $750,000 per night.

2002 - ClassicBands.com

December 20
Money making figures for 2002's top grossing Rock artists were as follows:

Paul McCartney - $126.1 million
The Rolling Stones - $90 million
Cher - $67.6 million
Neil Diamond - $52.2 million
Britney Spears - $43.7 million
Aerosmith - $36.3 million
Eagles - $34.9 million
'N Sync - $33 million
The top grossing country artist was Kenny Chesney at $22.7 million

2003 - ClassicBands.com

December 18
Michael Jackson was formally charged with seven counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under the age of fourteen and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent.

December 20
Bruce Springsteen was the top-earning concert attraction in 2003, taking in $115.9 million. That ranks second only to The Rolling Stones for the most money ever earned by a concert act in a year.

2004 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
71 year old James Brown underwent successful surgery to treat his recently diagnosed prostate cancer. He was expected to make a full recovery.

December 17
Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie, agreed to sell 85% of his estate to businessman Robert FX Sillerman in a deal worth $100,000,000. Sillerman will run Presley's Memphis home, Graceland, will own Elvis' name and likeness, as well as the rights to his photographs and revenue from his music and films. Lisa Marie will retain ownership of Graceland and many of her father's personal effects. The agreement was to pay her $53 million in cash and absolve her of $25m in debts owed by the estate. She will also receive shares in the new company expected to be worth more than $20 million. Actress Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie's mother and Presley's former wife, remained executive consultant to the business.

December 18
A Gibson SG guitar that George Harrison used during the recording of "Revolver" and John Lennon played on "The Beatles" (the White Album) sold for 294,000 Pounds ($570,000) at an auction in New York.

2005 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
72 year old Lou Rawls revealed that he was being treated for lung cancer as well as brain cancer. Although the singer's prognosis was bleak, he remained upbeat, telling reporters "Don't count me out, brother." Sadly, Rawls would pass away on January 6th, 2006.

December 17
Dennis Payton, saxophonist for The Dave Clark Five, died of cancer at the age of 63.

December 20
ABC television announced that Dick Clark would return to New Year's Rockin' Eve, the annual TV special he had hosted for 32 years before a stroke caused him to miss the 2004 edition.

2006 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang tour re-captured the title of top-grossing tour ever from U2's Vertigo and was the top grossing tour of the year, according to numbers reported to Billboard Boxscore. The Stones took in about $437 million since the previous November.

2007 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame announced that Madonna, John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen, The Ventures and The Dave Clark Five will be enshrined next year.

December 16
56 year old singer / songwriter Dan Fogelberg, whose hits "Longer", "Leader of the Band" and "Same Old Lang Syne", helped define the Soft Rock era of the '70s and '80s, died after a three year battle with prostate cancer.

December 20
After seven years of separation, Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli finalized an amicable divorce. Bertinelli cited irreconcilable differences when she filed for divorce in December 2005.

December 20
Edison Media Research and Pinnacle Media Worldwide independently surveyed radio listeners on which Christmas songs they like and dislike. In both surveys, the only song that reached the top of both most-disliked lists was "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Dr. Elmo.

2008 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
John Byrne, the lead singer of The Count Five and writer of their 1966 hit "Psychotic Reaction", died following kidney and liver failure. He was 61.

December 15
A modest, one-story, red-brick house in St. Louis where Rock 'n' Roll pioneer Chuck Berry lived for eight years in the 1950s, was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Berry, who now lives in Wentzville, Mo., about 40 miles west of St. Louis, said "Many of my favorite songs came about while in that house. It's good to know that my music and now that house will always be a part of St. Louis' history."

2009 - ClassicBands.com

December 15
With U2 leading the way by making over 311 million dollars, several classic rockers were among the top earning touring acts of the year, including Madonna ($222 million), Bruce Springsteen ($156 million), AC/DC ($135 million), Billy Joel and Elton John ($90 million) and Tina Turner ($86 million).

December 17
Insisting that he has let go of all his "anger and bitterness", John Lennon's son Julian said that he has finally forgiven his late father for walking out on him as a child. "I realized if I continued to feel that anger and bitterness towards my dad, I would have a cloud hanging over my head." After John was murdered in 1980, it was revealed that he had left very little to Julian in his will.

December 20
James Gurley, the lead guitarist for Big Brother And The Holding Company, died after suffering a heart attack. He was 69. His distinctive style can be heard on songs such as "Piece of My Heart", "Summertime" and "Ball and Chain".

2010 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
Paul McCartney paid tribute to his Beatles band mate John Lennon during an appearance on Saturday Night Live where he performed "A Day in the Life" and then thrilled viewers with a cover version of his late friend's anti-war anthem "Give Peace a Chance".

December 16
A spokesman for the British Recorded Music Industry said that over 7.7 million people illegally downloaded 1.2 billion tracks this year. Calling for swift action to be taken, he went on to say "It is a parasite that threatens to deprive a generation of talented young people of their chance to make a career in music, and is holding back investment in the burgeoning digital entertainment sector."

December 17
Don Van Vliet, who became a Rock legend as Captain Beefheart, died from complications from multiple sclerosis at the age of 69. He rose to prominence in the 1960s with a unique style of Blues-inspired, experimental Rock 'n' Roll. His "Trout Mask Replica" LP was #58 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

December 18
British plane passengers were left fuming when Madonna was allowed to leave a diverted Virgin aircraft two hours before other travelers. The material girl was onboard a flight from New York to London, but the plane was diverted to nearby Stansted Airport because of heavy snowfall.

2011 - ClassicBands.com

December 14
Interscope-Live Nation announced a March 2012 release for Madonna's new album, part of a deal worth $40 million.

December 15
Phil Spector's lawyers asked the US Supreme Court to review his murder conviction, arguing his constitutional rights were violated by the trial judge. In February, 2012, that appeal would be denied.

December 20
Grammy organizers announced that Diana Ross, Glen Campbell, The Allman Brothers Band and The Memphis Horns would receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 2012 ceremony.

2012 - ClassicBands.com

December 18
Mick Jagger appears on The Late Show With David Letterman where he read The Top 10 Things I've Learned After 50 Years In Rock And Roll. One of the things on the list was "Nobody wants to hear anything from your new album."

December 18
The Discovery Channel announced that because of poor ratings, Ted Nugent's reality TV show American Guns was not being renewed and that they had no plans to air any re-runs.

2013 - ClassicBands.com

December 16
Ray Price, the Country singer who scored a #13 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970 with "For The Good Times", died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 87.

December 17
Billboard magazine named Bon Jovi's Because We Can: The Tour as the highest-grossing trek of 2013, bringing in $137 million.

December 17
"Weird Al" Yankovic settled a lawsuit that his company, Ear Booker, brought against Sony Music in March 2012 for improperly treating digital downloads as sales rather than licenses.

December 19
The late Donna Summer returned to the top of Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart when "MacArthur Park 2013" went to number one. She became the first act to top the chart posthumously since Michael Jackson did on June 11, 2011, almost two years after he died, with "Hollywood Tonight".









Our Featured Interview

His Christmas standard, "Jingle Bell Rock"
entered the Billboard Top 100
this week in 1957.

Be Sure To Read
Gary James' Interview with Bobby Helms

In The News


    Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' Returns to Top 20

    Paul McCartney: John Lennon's killer the 'jerk of all jerks'

    ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus Says "You'll Never See Us Onstage Again"

    John Fogerty Denounces 'Angry' Former CCR Members After Lawsuit

    Billy Joel Leads Latest Hot Tours List

    Phil Collins cancels fundraising performance due to illness

    Warner Music Loses $24 Million in Most Recent Quarter

    Stax/Volt to Issue Complete Singles Digitally for First Time

    Bob Dylan Will 'Uncover' Frank Sinatra Classics on New Album

    Phil Everly guitar to be auctioned


Rock and Roll Birthdays


December 14th

1932 - Charlie Rich
("The Most Beautiful Girl")
1937 - Warren Ryanes
- vocalist for The Monotones ("Who Wrote The Book Of Love")
1946 - Joyce Vincent-Wilson
of Tony Orlando and Dawn ("Knock Three Times")
1946 - Patty Duke
("Don't Just Stand There")

December 15th

1921 - Alan Freed
- the disc jockey who popularized the phrase "rock and roll"
1928 - Jerry Wallace
("Primrose Lane")
1932 - Jesse Belvin
("Goodnight My Love")
1939 - Cindy Birdsong
of The Supremes ("Stoned Love")
1942 - Dave Clark
- drummer for The Dave Clark Five ("Glad All Over")
1946 - Carmine Appice
- drummer for Vanilla Fudge ("You Keep Me Hangin' On")

December 16th - ClassicBands.com

1943 - Tony Hicks
- guitarist for The Hollies ("Long Cool Woman")
1946 - Benny Andersson
- keyboardist for ABBA ("Super Trouper")
1950 - Billy Gibbons
- guitarist for ZZ Top ("Sleeping Bag")

December 17th - ClassicBands.com

1937 - Art Neville
- keyboards / vocals for The Neville Brothers ("Tell It Like It Is")
1939 - Eddie Kendricks
- vocalist for The Temptations ("My Girl")
1942 - Paul Butterfield
- vocals / harmonica for The Paul Butterfield Blues Band ("Drivin' Wheel")
1943 - Dave Dee
- vocalist for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich ("Legend Of Xanadu")
1948 - Jim Bonfanti
- drummer for The Raspberries ("Go All The Way")
1949 - Paul Rodgers
- vocalist for Free ("All Right Now")
1950 - Carlton Barrett
- drummer for Bob Marley & The Wailers ("No Woman No Cry")
1951 - Wanda Hutchison
- vocalist for The Emotions ("Best Of My Love")

December 18th - ClassicBands.com

1938 - Chas Chandler
- bass guitarist for The Animals ("House Of The Rising Sun")
1941 - Sam Andrew
- guitarist for Big Brother and The Holding Company ("Piece Of My Heart")
1943 - Keith Richards
- guitarist for The Rolling Stones ("Get Off Of My Cloud")
1953 - Elliot Easton
- guitarist for The Cars ("Drive")

December 19th - ClassicBands.com

1920 - Little Jimmy Dickens
("May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose")
1940 - Phil Ochs
- folk singer
1941 - Maurice White
- vocalist / drummer for Earth, Wind and Fire ("After The Love Has Gone")
1944 - Alvin Lee
- guitarist for Ten Years After ("I'd Love To Change The World")
1944 - Zal Yanovsky
- lead guitarist for The Lovin' Spoonful ("Summer In The City")
1945 - John McEuen
- guitarist for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band ("Mr. Bojangles")
1952 - Jeff Davis
- bassist for The Amazing Rhythm Aces ("Third Rate Romance")
1952 - Walter Murphy
("A Fifth Of Beethoven")

December 20th - ClassicBands.com

1944 - Bobby Colomby
- drummer for Blood, Sweat and Tears ("Spinning Wheel")
1947 - Peter Criss
- drummer for Kiss ("Rock And Roll All Nite")
1948 - Stephen Wright
- lead singer for The Easybeats ("Friday On My Mind")
1948 - Alan Parsons
- keyboard player for The Alan Parsons Project ("Eye In The Sky")
1956 - Anita Ward
("Ring My Bell")






Who sang that song that you have stuck in your head?
How high did it climb on the charts and in what year?
You can find out in our Who Sang That Hit? Section
Explore the facts behind the deaths
of some of the music world's biggest stars
Read all about Rock and Roll's Unsolved Mysteries

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This Week's Best Selling Singles

  In The USA  
December 14th to December 20th

YearSongArtist
1956 Singing The Blues Guy Mitchell
1957 You Send Me Sam Cooke
1958 The Chipmunk Song The Chipmunks with David Seville
1959 Heartaches By The Number Guy Mitchell
1960 Are You Lonesome Tonight Elvis Presley
1961 The Lion Sleeps Tonight The Tokens
1962 Return To Sender Elvis Presley
1963 Dominique The Singing Nun
1964 I Feel Fine The Beatles
1965 A Taste Of Honey Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass
1966 Winchester Cathedral The New Vaudeville Band
1967 Daydream Believer The Monkees
1968 For Once In My Life Stevie Wonder
1969 Leaving On A Jet Plane Peter, Paul And Mary
1970 My Sweet Lord George Harrison
1971 Family Affair Sly And The Family Stone
1972 I Am Woman Helen Reddy
1973 Just You 'N' Me Chicago
1974 Kung Fu Fighting Carl Douglas
1975 Let's Do It Again The Staple Singers
1976 Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright) Rod Stewart
1977 How Deep Is Your Love The Bee Gees
1978 Le Freak Chic
1979 No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer
1980 Lady Kenny Rogers
1981 Physical Olivia Newton-John
1982 Maneater Daryl Hall And John Oates
1983 Say Say Say Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
1984 The Wild Boys Duran Duran
1985 Broken Wings Mr. Mister


  In The United Kingdom  

December 14th to December 20th

1956 Just Walkin' In The Rain Johnny Ray
1957 Mary's Boy Child Harry Belefonte
1958 It's Only Make Believe Conway Twitty
1959 What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For Ernie Ford And The Checkmates
1960 It's Now Or Never Elvis Presley
1961 Tower Of Strength Frankie Vaughan
1962 Return To Sender Elvis Presley
1963 I Want To Hold Your Hand The Beatles
1964 I Feel Fine The Beatles
1965 Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out The Beatles
1966 The Green Green Grass Of Home Tom Jones
1967 Hello Goodbye The Beatles
1968 Lily The Pink The Scaffold
1969 Two Little Boys Rolf Harris
1970 I Hear You Knockin' Dave Edmunds
1971 Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) Benny Hill
1972 My Ding-A-Ling Chuck Berry
1973 Merry Xmas Everybody Slade
1974 You're The First, The Last, My Everything Barry White
1975 Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
1976 Under The Moon Of Love Showaddywaddy
1977 Mull Of Kintyre / Girls' School Wings
1978 Mary's Boy Child Boney M
1979 Another Brick In The Wall Pink Floyd
1980 (Just Like) Starting Over John Lennon
1981 Don't You Want Me Human League
1982 Save Your Love Renee And Renato
1983 Only You Flying Pickets
1984 Do They Know It's Christmas Band Aid
1985 Saving All My Love For You Whitney Houston




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