| Sammy Davis Jr. was involved in a car
accident in 1954. He lost his
left eye, causing him to sport a patch soon after. Davis had released a
number of singles for Brunswick records that year, but when he switched over to
Decca for several 1955 releases, his fortune changed. Somethings Gotta
Give, Love Me or Leave Me and That Old Black Magic were all
hits by the time summer came.
| Maurice Williams took his song and The
Zodiacs to number 1 in the U.S. this week in 1960, when Stay took over from Ray Charles.
The track was written back in 1953, long before The Zodiacs took their
name. Williams wrote Stay and Little Darlin around
the same time, and recorded the latter song as The Gladiolas. The
Diamonds did one take of their own version of Little Darlin
and had a huge hit with it. Finally, Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs
got their due when Stay put them at the top of the charts. The song
has since been covered by people like The Four Seasons, Andrew Gold
and Jackson Browne.
| The assassination of John F. Kennedy put a damper
on sales of Phil Spectors Christmas album in 1963. A Christmas Gift for You was
recorded several months earlier and contained many of the artists whom
Spector produced. The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene
Love and Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans all contributed tracks. The
album was included as the fourth disc in Spectors box set, Back
to Mono 1958-1969.
| Arlo Guthrie released his landmark debut
album in 1967, Alices
Restaurant. Side one of the LP was a single 18 minute folk song telling the
tale of Alices Restaurant Massacree, a collection of
anti-establishment anecdotes. Although the album peaked at only number 17 in
early 1968, it went on to sell over a million copies.
| Isaac Hayes hit number 1 this week in
1971 with the Theme From
Shaft, a mostly instrumental track used in the Shaft movie, starring
Richard Roundtree. The song was Hayes only million-selling single,
although he did have seven other songs place in the U.S. top 40, and only one
of those cracked the top 20.
| Danny Whitten, of Crazy Horse
(Neil Youngs backup band), died of a heroin overdose on
November 18th, 1972.
Youngs, The Needle and the Damage Done and
Tonights the Night, are a couple of his songs commenting on the
loss of Whitten, friend Bruce Berry and others of the same
| Poco appeared on the very first Don
Kirshner In Concert television special shown in the U.S. in 1972. They were just releasing their fifth
album at the time, A Good Feelin to Know, which featured great
songs like Sweet Lovin and the title track.
| At a 1973 Who concert, a 19 year old fan sat in on drums
to replace an exhausted Keith Moon, after he could no longer continue.
It must have been contagious as the young drummer later said that he too was
exhausted, but after only three songs. Moon said he was suffering from
jet lag, as the band was touring to promote
| Ringo Starr had the number 1 song this week
in 1973. Photograph, from
the Ringo album, was his third of seven consecutive, top 10 singles in
the U.S. (even McCartney couldnt beat this), and Starrs
first to hit the top. He would return two months later with Youre
Sixteen. Starr was busy in 1998, releasing two albums, Vertical
Man and VH1 Storytellers. Storytellers is his most
entertaining album. Between tracks, Starr gives the stories behind songs
like, With a Little Help From My Friends, It Dont Come
Easy, Dont Pass Me By, Back Off Boogaloo,
Octopus Garden, Photograph and Love Me Do. He also
treats us to an impression of the late Peter Sellers.
| Spooky Tooth called it quits in 1974, after releasing seven albums since
1968. They had several shifts in personnel, and saw the likes of Gary
Wright, Mick Jones (later with Foreigner), Chris
Stainton (who went on to work with Joe Cocker), Henry McCullough
(recruited by Paul McCartney and Wings) and vocalist Mike
Harrison. They were an all-British band but never charted at home,
experiencing their greatest success in the U.S.
| Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested twice in two
days in 1976. He was arrested on
a drunk driving charge and then the next day, drove to Graceland demanding to
see Elvis Presley, while waving a pistol at the Memphis mansion. Two
months previously, Lewis literally almost became The
Killer when he shot holes through his office door, hitting Norman
Owens, his bass player, in the chest. Owens recovered and later
| Chuck Berry was released from prison in
1979 after serving time for tax
evasion at the Lompoc Prison Farm in California. He was in for four months,
while his last studio album of new material, Rockit, was issued by Atco
| Tina Turners cover of Al
Greens, Lets Stay Together, entered the U.K. charts this
week in 1983. She attained
superstar status in the following years, and recorded songs with Eric
Clapton, David Bowie, Rod Stewart and Bryan
| Tom Evans of Badfinger committed
suicide on November 23rd, 1983, not long after a heated telephone argument with
bandmate, Joey Molland. Fellow group member, Pete Ham, also
hanged himself, back in 1975. Their last album had been Say No More,
from 1981. Next to Roy Orbison, Badfinger was the unluckiest act
in the business.
| Big Joe Turner died in 1985. He was one of the first artists to
play rock and roll when he had a hit with Shake, Rattle and Roll in
1954. The song was soon covered by Bill Haley and His Comets. Likewise,
Turner preceded B.B. King with Sweet Sixteen, and wrote
Honey Hush, a hit song also recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis and
| In 1987
this week, Billy Idol had his biggest single with a live version of
Tommy James and The Shondells, Mony Mony. Strangely enough,
the hit (and controversial), live version is difficult to find on a Billy
Idol CD, and the B-side to the 45 rpm single was an excellent live version
of Shakin All Over.
| Chris Rea had the number 1 album in
1989 on the New Musical Express
albums chart in the U.K. The Road to Hell was Reas first
number 1 album, and included the lengthy title track, as well as such standouts
as Thats What They Always Say, Tell Me Theres a Heaven
and a re-recording of Texas, one of his songs from 1983. A sequel,
The Road to Hell Part 2, was released in 1999, but didnt come
close to matching the quality of the original.
| Diane Warren was the songwriter of the
number 1 and number 2 songs in the U.S. this week in 1989. When I See You Smile by Bad English
was at the top, followed by Blame It On the Rain, by Milli
Vanilli. She has written many more since then, including I Dont
Want to Miss a Thing for Aerosmith and the Armageddon
soundtrack in 1998.
| The Righteous Brothers popularity was
on the upswing in 1990, following
the success of the movie, Ghost, which featured their 1965 hit, Unchained
Melody. The original and a re-recorded version both made it into the top
20, while three Greatest Hits packages (from different record labels),
were on the U.S. albums chart.
| Freddie Mercury of Queen died of
AIDS on November 24th, 1991. Both Queen albums released after his death
(Innuendo and Made in Heaven) are excellent. A box set of the
first eight Queen albums, The Crown Jewels: A 25th
Anniversary Celebration, was recently released. Eric Carr, drummer
for Kiss, died the same day as Freddie Mercury, of complications
from cancer. Carr had been with the band since 1980 when he replaced
| In 1992, Billy Joel appeared at the Commitment to Live
VI, a Los Angeles AIDS fund-raiser honouring Barbra Streisand and David
Geffen. It was held at the Universal Amphitheatre in California, and Joel
most likely performed songs like All Shook Up and Heartbreak
Hotel that he had just recorded for the Honeymoon in Vegas
| David Crosby spent seven hours on the
operating table in 1994, finally
being treated to a liver transplant. He was at UCLAs Medical Center
getting the work done after three weeks on a waiting list, and cancelling the
Crosby, Stills & Nash 25th Anniversary Tour. The group was also
supporting their latest Atlantic Records release, After the
| Michael Hutchence, lead singer of
Australian supergroup, INXS, hanged himself in 1997. He was in Sydney at the time, ready to begin
rehearsals for the bands 20th anniversary tour. Earlier in the
year, the underrated INXS album, Elegantly Wasted, had been
released, but received very little attention. The Hutchence self-titled
solo album was finally issued in 1999. Work on it began in 1995, and was
completed after the tragedy when U2s, Bono, added some
|Hank Ballard (1927) and John Parr (1954) first did The Hoochi Coochi Coo.
|Tommy Dorsey was still a bit young to do the
Tea for Two Cha Cha when he arrived in 1905.
|Norman Greenbaum (1942), Duane Allman (1946) and Joe Walsh (1947) each began A Life of Illusion.
|Dr. John (1940) and Livingston Taylor (1950) were born at the Right Place
|Hoagy Carmichael was born with a little Star
Dust in 1899.
|Betty Everett (1939), Keith Hampshire (1945) and Bruce Hornsby (1954) were born in the Mandolin Rain.
|Pete Best (1941) arrived after much Crying, Waiting, Hoping.
Donald Duck Dunn (Booker T. & The MGs, 1941) came out of
|Danny Whitten (Crazy Horse) died of a drug
overdose in 1972.
|Allan Sherman died of respiratory problems at the
age of 49, in 1973.
|Michael Hutchence (INXS) hanged himself in
|Tom Evans (Badfinger) hanged himself in
1983. Big Joe Turner
passed away at the age of 74 in 1985. Tommy Boyce was 55 when he committed suicide
in 1994. O.C. Smith died
in 2001 of a heart
|Eric Carr (Kiss) died in 1991 of cancer. Freddie Mercury
(Queen) died of AIDS in 1991.