| The man in black, Johnny Cash, made his
debut on the country charts in 1955
when Cry! Cry! Cry! made it to number 14 in the U.S. His next seven
singles would all make the country top 10, with I Walk the Line and
There You Go both hitting number 1. Ballad of a Teenage Queen was
his most successful song, holding the top C&W position for 10 weeks in
1958. Maybe Sun Records didnt need Elvis Presley after
| Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke and The
Rays all made their first appearance on the same Ed Sullivan Show in
1957. Cooke belted out
You Send Me, The Rays sang their one and only big hit,
Silhouettes, and Holly and The Crickets performed two of their
most popular tracks, Thatll Be the Day and Peggy Sue.
You Send Me would hit number 1 in the U.S. the very next day, and stick
for three weeks. Cooke went on to define soul, and earn the nickname,
The Man Who Invented Soul.
| Phil Spector had his song, To Know Him
is to Love Him, begin three weeks at number 1 in the U.S. in 1958. The title of the song came from words on his
fathers tombstone. Spector formed The Teddy Bears and
recorded the hit in two takes with studio time left over after putting
Dont You Worry My Little Pet to tape. Another member of the vocal
group, Carol Connors, went on to have a hand in writing other hits,
including Hey Little Cobra, The Night the Lights Went Out in
Georgia, With You Im Born Again and Gonna Fly Now, the
theme from Rocky. Spector made his home in the studio and developed the
famous wall of sound, which was used with artists like The
Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes. Many of his early hit
productions can be heard on the Back to Mono box set.
| The Kingston Trio was the first group to
have a number 1 album on the U.S. albums chart. Their self-titled release did
the trick in 1958. Previously,
only solo artists held the top spot. They would record successful albums over
the next six years, with a total of fourteen of them making the top 10, and an
additional five in the U.S. top 25.
| The Crests released their forever popular
doo wop hit, 16 Candles, in 1958. After switching record companies earlier that
year, a new ballad was recorded. Beside You would become the next
single, and for the B-side, a song called 21 Candles was planned. It was
recorded as 16 Candles and got shipped out to radio stations to support
the Beside You A-side. However, many disc jockeys preferred 16
Candles and soon turned it into a number 2 hit.
| Bobby Darin married movie starlet, Sandra
Dee, in 1960. He was currently
enjoying a string of hits, including Beyond the Sea, Clementine,
Wont You Come Home Bill Bailey and Artificial Flowers, all
in 1960. A year earlier Darin spent nine weeks at number 1 in the U.S.
with Mack the Knife. The couple would divorce in early
| The Everly Brothers joined the U.S. Marine
Corps Reserves at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, in 1961. They became part of the 8th Battalion, as
artillerymen. A bulk of material had been recorded for Warner Brothers Records
before the duo were cut off from the outside world, and from that stockpile,
Crying in the Rain was issued as a single. Don and Phil
left the marines six months later.
| Willie Nelson played the Grand Ole Opry in
Nashville for the first time. It happened in 1964, three years after Patsy Cline had a huge hit
with his song, Crazy. Nelson opened for Roger Miller, who
was very hot with Chug-a-Lug, followed soon by King of the Road.
Willie would sign with RCA Records the next month and record a very
successful album with Country Willie: His Own Songs.
| Jimmie Rodgers suffered a fractured skull
and a broken wrist in a mishap on the San Diego Freeway in 1967. He was allegedly beaten by three
police officers and required brain surgery. Rodgers now has a huge steel
plate in his head. Ten years had gone by since the success of the number 1
smash, Honeycomb. Rodgers added to his list of hits with
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, Oh-Oh Im Falling in Love Again,
Secretly and Are You Really Mine, all top 10 songs in the 1950s.
Not much success came with the 60s, but Rodgers was mounting a bit
of a comeback with his new single, Child of Clay, when the incident
occurred. He would recover and return to performing a little over a year
| Cream played their final two concerts in
1968 at the Royal Albert Hall in
London. Over 10000 fans attended while thousands more were turned away. British
groups, Yes and Taste were supporting acts. It seems odd to fans
that Eric Clapton doesnt think very highly of the music created by
his band with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.
| Steppenwolfs first album went gold
just as their new single was peaking inside the top 10 in 1968. Magic Carpet Ride was the groups
second big hit, following Born to Be Wild up the charts. A number of
minor hits continued into the early 70s, with only Rock Me making
the top 10. Born to Be Wild gained immortality after it was used in the
1969 film, Easy Rider. The song has since been on countless other
| John Lennon returned his MBE award to
Buckingham Palace in 1969.
had been given them in 1965 for their part in boosting the British economy.
Lennon sent his award back with a note that read, Your Majesty, I
am returning this MBE in protest against Britains involvement in the
Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against
Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With love, John Lennon of
| Simon and Garfunkel found themselves on
American television in 1969,
hosting their own TV special. Only The Boxer single had been released as
new music that year, with Garfunkel being busy starting an acting
career. Extensive sessions for the Bridge Over Troubled Water LP were
almost wrapped up as well, aiming at a February 1970 release. One sponsor of
their show backed out after learning about some of the political content being
| George Harrison released his triple album,
All Things Must Pass, in 1970. A number of the songs were left over from
Beatle sessions, while others were just filler on the very bloated
album. Phil Spector helped produce a very muddy sounding album that
ended up sitting at number 1 for 7 weeks in the U.S. The following year, legal
action was begun against Harrison because of the My Sweet Lord
track, which was thought to be lifted from Hes So
| Elton John had his fifth consecutive number
1 album in the U.S. when his Greatest Hits collection spent the first of
10 weeks at the top in 1974. The
previous hit albums were Honky Chateau, Dont Shoot Me Im
Only the Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and
| John Lennon made good on a bet he had with
Elton John in 1974.
Elton was in the studio helping Lennon record Whatever Gets
You Through the Night, and bet that it would become a number 1 hit.
Lennon accepted his wager that if it did hit the top, he would appear
with Elton on stage. The song topped the
charts on November 16th, and so the two giants of rock n
roll performed at Madison Square Gardens on Thanksgiving day. Whatever Gets
You Through the Night, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Paul
McCartneys, I Saw Her Standing There were the three songs they
played together. The latter was introduced as a number by an estranged
| Bohemian Rhapsody hit the top spot in the
U.K. this week in 1975, where it
stayed until the end of January 1976. It was the biggest hit since 1955, when
Slim Whitmans, Rose Marie, had a stranglehold on the number
1 position. And in 1999, Queens mega-hit (twice!) was voted the
best song in the Music of the Millennium poll, organized in Britain by Channel
4, HMV and Classic FM.
| Kevin Godley and Lol Creme left
10cc in 1976. At the time,
the group was coming off the smash hit, Im Not in Love. Nine years
later Godley and Creme made the top 20 with Cry, a song that was
covered in the 1990s by The Philosopher Kings. Godley and Creme
have also been very busy directing music videos, including one for
U2s, The Sweetest Thing. The remaining duo of Graham
Gouldman and Eric Stewart continued with the 10cc name and
did very well with their follow-up album, Deceptive
| The Bands final hurrah, The Last
Waltz, took place in 1976, on
November 25th. It included appearances by Bob Dylan (playing
Forever Young), Van Morrison (Caravan), Eric Clapton
(Further On Up the Road), Joni Mitchell (Coyote),
Neil Young (Helpless), Ringo Starr (drums), Emmylou
Harris (vocals, guitar), Muddy Waters (Mannish Boy),
Ronnie Hawkins (Who Do You Love) and Neil Diamond (Dry
| Supertramp recorded its concerts at Le
Pavillon in Paris for the live album, Paris in 1979. Take the Long Way Home, from Breakfast in
America, was climbing the charts at the time and made it to number 10
several weeks later. Paris was released in 1980 as a double album and
contained the number 15 hit, Dreamer, a live version of the song that
was originally on the Crime of the Century album. Roger Hodgson
eventually left the band a couple years later, and in 1997 he released his
own live album that included his versions of Take the Long Way Home,
The Logical Song and Give a Little Bit.
| Just as compact discs were being demonstrated as
the new music format in 1981, the
British Phonographic Industry released a statement commenting on how,
home taping is wiping out music. Artists like Elton John,
Gary Numan, Cliff Richard and 10cc agreed there should be
a tax added onto the price of blank cassette tapes. Of course the same issue
would be raised years later when CD copying was possible by
| In 1981, Foreigners, Waiting for a Girl Like
You, made it to number 2. For the next 10 weeks, it would unsuccessfully
try to topple Physical and I Cant Go for That (No Can Do)
from the number 1 position. The band would have to wait until 1985 to have
its first top hit, when I Want to Know What Love Is (which sounded
like a sequel to Waiting for a Girl Like You), hit the
| Neil Young was sued by Geffen Records in
1983 because it was claimed that
his new music for the label was not commercial in nature and musically
uncharacteristic of his previous albums. It seemed David Geffen
didnt realize that Youngs albums are intentionally recorded
to be uncharacteristic of his previous albums.
| Do They Know Its Christmas? was
recorded in London in 1984 by an
all-star cast of British artists. Midge Ure and Bob Geldof wrote
the song that became the biggest selling single in the U.K. at the time. The
track was listed under the Band Aid name and was performed by the
writers as well as Paul Young, Sting, Phil Collins,
members of U2 and many others. The song raised money for famine relief
in Ethiopa. Do They Know Its Christmas? is available on a number
of Christmas compilations, as well as on The Very Best of Midge Ure /
| In 1987, REM had their first entry into the top 10,
with The One I Love. Shortly after, they signed with a major record
label (Warner Brothers), and went on to have a string of hits with Stand
in 1989, and several more in the early 1990s, including Losing My
Religion, Shiny Happy People, Drive, Man On the Moon
and Everybody Hurts.
| Level 42 lost brothers, Boon and Phil
Gould, to poor health in 1987. The two left the group when Level 42 was at
its peak, with the Running in the Family album. Children Say was
on the charts and went to number 22 in the U.K.
| The Eagles had their reunion album at the
top of the charts in 1994 when
Hell Freezes Over hit number 1 for the first of a couple of weeks. It
included an excellent revision of Hotel California, as well as many of
their more popular songs. Tracks like Take It Easy, Desperado,
I Cant Tell You Why and Tequila Sunrise were performed for
an audience, in
addition to the four new songs on the album, Love Will Keep Us Alive,
The Girl From Yesterday, Learn to Be Still and the new single,
Get Over It.
| Kenny G set a world record in 1997. He was out promoting his new
Greatest Hits album when he made a stop at New Yorks, J&R
Music World store. The G man took a deep breath and held an E-flat note
on his saxophone for 45 minutes and 47 seconds. The most amazing part of the
whole event was the fact that there was someone still around to stop the
| The Zombies reunited very briefly in
1997 to promote their new box
set, titled Zombie Heaven. Leader Rod Argent (keyboards), Paul
Atkinson (guitar), Colin Blunstone (vocals), Hugh Grundy
(drums) and Chris White (bass) hadnt played together in 30
years. They performed their two biggest hits, Shes Not There and
Time of the Season at Londons Jazz Café.
|Percy Sledge (1941) and Amy Grant (1960) first experienced Warm and Tender
|Tina Turner became One of the Living in
1938. There was Love in Store
for John McVie of Fleetwood Mac when he was born in 1945.
|Al Jackson (Booker T. & The MGs,
1935), Jimi Hendrix
(1942) and Eddie Rabbitt
(1944) were all delivered
Step by Step.
|Berry Gordy Jr. (the father of Motown, in
1929), Bruce Channel
(1940), Randy Newman
(1943) and R.B. Greaves
(1944) became Short
|John Mayall (1933), Chuck Mangione (1940), Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals,
1944) and Barry Goudreau
(Boston, 1951) became
products of Good Lovin.
|Dick Face-Lift Clark (1929), Roger Glover (Deep
Purple, 1945) and Billy
Idol (1955) landed in the
Cradle of Love.
|The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy announced the
arrivals of Billy Paul (1934) and Lou Rawls (1935), Bette Midler (1945) and Gilbert OSullivan (1946).
|Tommy Dorsey choked to death a week after his
51st birthday in 1956.
|Barbara Acklin died of pneumonia in 1998.
|David Butch McDade of The Amazing
Rhythm Aces died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 52. George Harrison lost his
battle with cancer in 2001. He
Tim died of a heart attack in 1996.
|Lee Dorsey died in 1986 from emphysema.