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The Week in Rock 'n' Roll
December 2 - 8
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 E v e n t s Birthdays     Farewells 

 1950s In 1956, Elvis Presley dropped into his old hang-out at Sun Records in Memphis. Carl Perkins was recording that night, with Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash looking on. The four recorded a number of songs and were billed as The Million Dollar Quartet.
 1950s The Kingston Trio had four albums in the top 10 in 1959. Here We Go Again was at number 2, The Kingston Trio at Large at number 4, The Kingston Trio number 7 and From the Hungry i was number 8. They paved the way for other folk artists of the 1960s, like Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary.
 1960s Ray Charles had his single, Please Say You’re Fooling, backed with I Don’t Need No Doctor, just enter the charts in 1966 when he was convicted of drug possession charges. Charles had been addicted to heroin for years, and received a $10000 fine as well as four years probation. The original bust by the Feds was at a Boston airport at the end of October in 1964. Newspaper headlines read, “Ray Charles Faces 40 Years on Dope Rap,” while many of his upcoming concerts got cancelled. All of this was enough for The Genius to quit the expensive habit, and stick with his spiked coffee. Earlier in 1966, he had successful country and western flavoured singles like Crying Time, Together Again, I Choose to Sing the Blues and Let’s Go Get Stoned.
 1960s It was in 1967 that The Monkees had their fourth number 1 album of the year. Their self-titled album started the year off at number 1 and it was later replaced with their own, More of The Monkees. Headquarters followed shortly after and then finally, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd. hit number 1 in the first week of December. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band also found time to spend at number 1, for 15 weeks that year.
 1960s Graham Nash left The Hollies in 1968 to form the supergroup, Crosby, Stills and Nash. The trio would release their debut album in the summer of ’69, containing Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Marrakesh Express, Guinnevere, Helplessly Hoping, Long Time Gone and other excellent songs. Neil Young joined the group for several albums, including the classic Déjà Vu album, the live Four-Way Street in 1971, for 1988’s American Dream and the more recent, Looking Forward. Meanwhile, The Hollies released some of their best tracks, with He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother, Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress) and The Air That I Breathe. The latter track was covered by Simply Red for their 1998 album, Blue, in no less than two versions.
 1960s The release of The Rolling Stones’ new album in 1968, Beggar’s Banquet, was celebrated at a hotel party in London. A food fight with custard pie was the highlight of the event that went on without an ill Keith Richards. The original cover for the LP was in the form of a plain white invitation, but was later changed. Songs like Sympathy for the Devil and Street Fighting Man were standout tracks, although the latter barely cracked the top 50 in the U.S.
 1960s In 1969, the decade ended on a tragic note for The Rolling Stones when a fan at one of their concerts was killed with a knife at the hands of the Hell’s Angels security squad. The Stones were giving a free concert at the Altamont Raceway in California, and during Under My Thumb, a San Francisco Hell’s Angels member saw a youth in the front row pull a gun. The 18 year old was stabbed as Mick Jagger looked on. The performance was being filmed, and included opening acts, Santana, Jefferson Airplane and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
 1970s Amazing Grace entered the U.K. charts for Judy Collins for the first time in 1970. The song came and went several times over the following two years and ended up spending a total of 67 weeks on the charts. The highest position it got to was during its initial climb to number 5, following which it hit number 15 in the U.S. It became her biggest British song, but in America her cover of Joni Mitchell’s, Both Sides Now, had a much greater impact, as did Send in the Clowns, which was a hit twice in the late seventies. Amazing Grace was included on her 1971 album, Whales and Nightingales.
 1970s Linda Ronstadt recorded her only number 1 hit in 1974. You’re No Good, originally sung by Betty Everett, was completely redone in the studio when Andrew Gold was brought in to play most of the instruments. The hit took its parent album, Heart Like a Wheel, to number 1 as well. A second single from the LP, When Will I Be Loved, went to number 2 in 1975.
 1970s Bob Marley escaped an assassination attempt at his Kingston, Jamaica, home in 1976. His influence on local politics made him unpopular in certain circles. Marley reacted by relocating to Miami, Florida, for a year and a half, where he would begin working on his Exodus album. The Rastaman Vibration album from that year had done well, hitting number 15 in the U.K. and number 8 in the U.S.
 1970s Linda Ronstadt had two songs in the top 5 for the second of 5 weeks in 1977. Blue Bayou (a Roy Orbison cover) and It’s So Easy (originally by Buddy Holly) were both from the Simple Dreams album, which just hit number 1 this week. Two more singles from the album, Poor Poor Pitiful Me and Tumbling Dice couldn’t crack the top 30. However, they did help Ronstadt earn the title of Favourite Female Pop/Rock Artist at the fifth American Music Awards a month later. Unfortunately she also came second (to Farah Fawcett) on Mr. Blackwell’s worst dressed list for 1977. Ronstadt would churn out another ten top 40 hits over the next dozen or so years, and in 1998 she returned to the rock and roll arena with a respectable effort on We Ran. It includes tracks written by John Hiatt, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.
 1970s Paul McCartney hit number 1 in the U.K. in 1977, and stayed there for nine weeks, with the Wings single, Mull of Kintyre. The distinctive bagpipes used on the record made it popular in Britain but didn’t impress fans in North America, where Girls’ School was the A-side of the single. Sales of the song even topped I Want to Hold Your Hand, the previous U.K. record holder.
 1970s Eleven people died at a 1979 Who concert at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio. The fans were trampled when they were trying to reach unreserved seating. An episode of WKRP in Cincinnati later discussed the incident on American television. It was The Who’s first tour after Keith Moon’s death three months earlier.
 1980s John Lennon was murdered on December 8th, 1980, two months after he turned 40. Where were you when you heard the news? He couldn’t write a song during the last half of the 1970s, but finally put together the album, Double Fantasy, which contained the number 1 single, (Just Like) Starting Over. Several singles, as well as the Milk and Honey LP, were released over the next four years. Two box sets have also been issued, Lennon in 1990 and Anthology from 1998.
 1980s Marty Robbins died of a heart attack exactly two years after John Lennon, in 1982. Coincidentally, Olivia Newton-John’s hit song, Heart Attack, was slipping away from the top 10 at the time.
 1980s In 1983, Asia played at the Budokan Theatre in Tokyo. The performance was broadcast by MTV for an audience of 20 million Americans. It was the first appearance in the group by Greg Lake, who had replaced John Wetton and therefore joined fellow, ex-ELP member, Carl Palmer on stage.
 1980s In 1988, Roy Orbison played his final performance at the site that is now the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, near Cleveland, Ohio. It was the Front Row Theatre, in Highland Heights, at the time. Four years later, his excellent album of out-takes, King of Hearts, was sitting at number 23 in the U.K.
 1980s Roy Orbison died on December 6th, 1988, at the age of 52. He had just started a comeback after recording a solo album and as one of The Traveling Wilburys. The single, You Got It, went top 10 shortly after his death from a heart attack. Two studio albums have been released after his death, Mystery Girl and an excellent album of out-takes, King of Hearts.
 1990s An album from The Simpsons TV show, The Simpsons Sing the Blues, was released in 1990. It featured B.B. King, Andrew Gold, Roger McGuinn, Timothy B. Schmit, John Sebastian, Joe Walsh and many others. King played his trademark licks on Born Under a Bad Sign, while most of the other tracks were related to the cartoon characters.
 1990s MCA Records was sold for $3.1 billion in 1990 to the Matsushita corporation of Japan. They are now part of the Universal Music Group with labels like A&M, PolyGram, Motown and Geffen.
 1990s Dee Clark died in 1990, many years after releasing half a dozen hits as the 1950s gave way to a new decade. Raindrops was his biggest success. It followed several songs that only made it as high as the middle to lower region of the top 40. He was 52 when a heart attack took him.
 1990s Elton John’s, Duets album, debuted at number 5 in the U.K. in 1993. It would later peak at number 25 in the U.S. but was not one of his best efforts, even though he had help from just about everybody in the business, including Don Henley, Chris Rea, kd lang, Little Richard, Kiki Dee, Gladys Knight, Bonnie Raitt, Leonard Cohen and others.
 1990s The Bruce Hornsby and Friends TV special was shown in the U.S. in 1995. Hornsby had help from the likes of Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead. Hornsby had appeared on The Tonight Show only days before, and was out and about promoting his Hot House album, from which the single, Walk in the Sun, made it to number 54 in the U.S.
 1990s Lead singer of Counting Crows, Adam Duritz, was injured when he fell during a New York concert in 1996. Duritz tore some cartilage and damaged a ligament in his knee while on stage at the Beacon Theatre. The group was completing a month long American tour to promote their newly released, Recovering the Satellites album. It was the follow-up to their smash debut album, August and Everything After from 1993. Recovering the Satellites had hit number 1 in the U.S. a month before the accident occurred. The group would stick around New York to perform on Late Night With David Letterman two nights in a row.
 
 B i r t h d a y s Events     Farewells 

December 2:
Sylvia Syms (1917) and Rick Savage (Def Leppard, 1960) were delivered among a lot of Hysteria.
December 3:
Andy Williams (1928), Ozzy Osbourne (1948) and Mickey Thomas (lead vocalist on Elvin Bishop’s, Fooled Around and Fell in Love, and for Starship several years later, 1949) were all results of a Love Story.
December 4:
Chris Hillman (The Byrds, 1942), Dennis Wilson (The Beach Boys, 1944) and Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1951) all first heard the question, “What’s Your Name?
December 5:
Little Richard (1932), J.J. Cale (1938), Andy Kim / Baron Longfellow (1952) and Jim Messina (Poco / Loggins & Messina, 1947) arrived Slippin’ and Slidin’.
December 6:
Len Barry (1942), Kim Simmonds (Savoy Brown, 1947) and Peter Buck (REM, 1956) each made Like a Baby.
December 7:
Harry Chapin (1942) and Tom Waits (1949) first noticed that the Cat’s in the Cradle.
December 8:
Johnny Otis (1921), Sammy Davis Jr. (1925), Jim Morrison (1943) and Gregg Allman (1947) all needed The Shelter of Your Arms.
   
 F a r e w e l l s Events     Birthdays 

December 4:
Tommy Bolin (Deep Purple) died in 1976 of a drug overdose. Frank Zappa died from prostate cancer in 1993, at the age of 52.
December 6:
Blues/folk singer, Leadbelly (Huddie William Ledbetter), died in 1949 of “Lou Gehrig’s disease,” which was known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at the time. Roy Orbison died of a heart attack in 1988.
December 7:
Dee Clark died in 1990 of a heart attack.
December 8:
John Lennon was murdered by a crazed fan with “the right to bear arms” in 1980. Nice law. Marty Robbins died from a heart attack in 1982.

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