| 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
| 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.
| Ray Charles had his single, Please Say
Youre Fooling, backed with I Dont 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 Lets Go Get Stoned.
| 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. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band also found time to
spend at number 1, for 15 weeks that year.
| 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 1988s American Dream and the
more recent, Looking Forward. Meanwhile, The Hollies released
some of their best tracks, with He Aint Heavy Hes 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.
| The release of The Rolling Stones new
album in 1968, Beggars
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.
| 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 Hells Angels security squad. The Stones were giving a
free concert at the Altamont Raceway in California, and during Under My
Thumb, a San Francisco Hells 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
| 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 Mitchells, 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.
| Linda Ronstadt recorded her only number 1
hit in 1974. Youre 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
| 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.
| Linda Ronstadt had two songs in the top 5
for the second of 5 weeks in 1977. Blue Bayou (a Roy Orbison cover) and
Its 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
couldnt 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. Blackwells 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
| 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 didnt 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.
| 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 Whos first tour after
Keith Moons death three months earlier.
| John Lennon was murdered on December
8th, 1980, two months
after he turned 40. Where were you when you heard the news? He couldnt
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.
| Marty Robbins died of a heart attack
exactly two years after John Lennon, in 1982. Coincidentally, Olivia Newton-Johns hit
song, Heart Attack, was slipping away from the top 10 at the
| In 1983, Asia played at the Budokan Theatre in Tokyo.
The performance was broadcast by
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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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
| 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.
| 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.
| Elton Johns, 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.
| 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
| 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.
|Sylvia Syms (1917) and Rick Savage (Def Leppard, 1960) were delivered among a lot of
|Andy Williams (1928), Ozzy Osbourne (1948) and Mickey Thomas (lead
vocalist on Elvin Bishops, Fooled Around and Fell in Love,
and for Starship several years later, 1949) were all results of a Love Story.
|Chris Hillman (The Byrds, 1942), Dennis Wilson (The Beach
Boys, 1944) and Gary
Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1951) all first heard the question, Whats
|Little Richard (1932), J.J. Cale (1938), Andy Kim / Baron Longfellow (1952) and Jim Messina (Poco /
Loggins & Messina, 1947)
arrived Slippin and Slidin.
|Len Barry (1942), Kim Simmonds (Savoy Brown, 1947) and Peter Buck (REM,
1956) each made Like a
|Harry Chapin (1942) and Tom Waits (1949) first noticed that the Cats in the
|Johnny Otis (1921), Sammy Davis Jr. (1925), Jim Morrison (1943) and Gregg Allman (1947) all needed The Shelter of Your
|Tommy Bolin (Deep Purple) died in 1976 of a drug overdose. Frank Zappa
died from prostate cancer in 1993, at the age of 52.
|Blues/folk singer, Leadbelly (Huddie William
Ledbetter), died in 1949 of
Lou Gehrigs disease, which was known as amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis at the time. Roy Orbison died of a heart attack in 1988.
|Dee Clark died in 1990 of a heart attack.
|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.