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March
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25 - 31

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May
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The Week in Rock 'n' Roll
December 16 - 22
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 E v e n t s Birthdays     Farewells 

 1950s Shake, Rattle and Roll became the first rock and roll song to make it onto the U.K. singles chart. The year was 1954, and it was performed by Bill Haley and His Comets. Haley followed it with Dim Dim the Lights, (We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock, Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie, See You Later Alligator, The Saints Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rockin’ Through the Rye, Razzle Dazzle, Rip It Up and Don’t Knock the Rock. Through it all, (We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock went up and down the charts several times, and even made another return in 1974.
 1950s Carl Perkins recorded Blue Suede Shoes in 1955. A month or two before, he had witnessed a dancer getting angry at his date for scuffing his blue suede shoes. This incident occurred just days after Johnny Cash had recommended that a song about blue suede shoes would be a great idea. That night, Perkins couldn’t sleep, and so he got out of bed and put together the song. Blue Suede Shoes underwent several changes during the recording session, that also gave us the B-side, Honey Don’t. “Go man go” was changed to “go cat go” while the ending of the song was loosened up a bit. Elvis would also record the rock ‘n’ roll standard, but it was Perkins’ original version that won out on the charts.
 1950s Jingle Bell Rock, the first rock 'n' roll Christmas song, entered the charts in 1957. Bobby Helms followed up My Special Angel with the holiday hit that would return on several more occasions. After its number 6 appearance in 1957, Jingle Bell Rock would make the top 100 again in 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1997, sinking a little bit lower each time. The flip side was another Christmas track, Captain Santa Claus (and His Reindeer Space Patrol). Strangely enough, Captain Santa Claus was not included on any Bobby Helms Christmas albums.
 1950s In 1957 this week, Elvis received his draft notice for the U.S. Army. He told reporters that it’s a “duty I’ve got to fill and I’m going to do it.” Later in the day, The King stopped by Sun Records and then delivered a red Isetta sports car to the Colonel as his Christmas present.
 1950s The Chipmunk Song was at the top of the charts in the U.S. over Christmas in 1958. It was created by David Seville (Ross Bagdasarian), who also had a hit with Witch Doctor. Alvin, Theodore and Simon were named after executives at Liberty Records, but Simon’s character was modelled after Bagdasarian’s own son, Adam. The Platters’, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, took over at number 1 after The Chipmunks wore us down for 4 weeks.
 1960s Dion’s, Love Came to Me, hit number 10 in 1962. It was his last top 10 hit for Laurie Records until 1968, when he returned with Abraham, Martin and John. Dion left Laurie at this time in 1962 and signed with Columbia Records. He recorded three top 10 songs for the label in 1963 and then moved into the blues and then folk music during the next few years, before coming back with Abraham, Martin and John.
 1960s The Tornadoes became the first British group to hit number 1 in the U.S. when Telstar spent its first of 3 weeks at the top in 1962. They were ahead of The Beatles by a little over 13 months. Telstar was an instrumental track named after the world’s first communication satellite launched by the U.S. earlier that year. A re-recorded version of the song in 1975 was largely ignored, but the original was strong enough to prevent Chubby Checker from having his fourth number 1 hit with Limbo Rock.
 1960s After being featured in a tribute to The Music of Lennon and McCartney in 1965, Lulu was flown to the U.S. to appear in Murray the K’s Christmas Show in New York. She had had two top 10 singles that year in the U.K., but would have to wait another couple of years before To Sir With Love brought her to the attention of American audiences.
 1960s Jefferson Airplane recorded its first bunch of songs after signing a recording contract with RCA Records in 1965. It’s No Secret, Runnin’ Round the World, High Flyin’ Bird, It’s Alright and Run Around were the tracks. Several of the songs would appear on their first album the following year, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off.
 1960s Jimi Hendrix released his first single in 1966, with Hey Joe. It made it to number 6 in the U.K. but didn’t chart in America. Purple Haze, The Wind Cries Mary, All Along the Watchtower and Voodoo Chile would follow it into the British top 10, with Voodoo Chile at number 1, while All Along the Watchtower became the only top 40 U.S. hit, peaking at number 20.
 1960s The Rolling Stones released the disastrous Their Satanic Majesties Request album in 1967. The She’s a Rainbow single from the LP was the best it could offer, while the album cover was a take-off of Sgt. Pepper. A return to form would follow in six months when Jumpin’ Jack Flash was recorded.
 1960s Janis Joplin performed with a new backing band in 1968. She had just left Big Brother & The Holding Company behind, and was now supported by The Kozmic Blues Band. They played a Memphis, Tennessee, record company Christmas party. Joplin was coming off the Piece of My Heart, number 12 hit with her old band, and within a year, would release the Kozmic Blues single.
 1970s Mike Curb of The Mike Curb Congregation received a Presidential commendation in 1970 from Richard Nixon. Curb had just let go 18 artists, including Connie Francis, from his record label because they supported drug use. Burning Bridges, the only hit by The Mike Curb Congregation, had just been in the top 40, but the group soon backed Sammy Davis Jr. to greater heights on The Candy Man. Curb would later go into politics, serving as governor of California in 1980.
 1970s Bobby Darin died on the operating table of a heart attack in 1973. He was having surgery to repair a heart valve that had been implanted two years earlier. His career took off with Splish Splash in 1958 and continued with many other strong hits into the early sixties. He had a minor comeback in 1966 with If I Were a Carpenter and then had a final U.S. top 40 entry in 1967 with, Lovin’ You.
 1970s History – America’s Greatest Hits jumped to number 3 for the first of six weeks in the U.S. in 1975. It has sold over 4 million American copies since, and includes the group’s early hits, songs like A Horse With No Name, Daisy Jane, Sister Golden Hair, Tin Man, Lonely People, I Need You and Ventura Highway. The cover art for the LP was created by a graphics designer by the name of Phil Hartman, the same funny-man who later appeared on Saturday Night Live, and then NewsRadio, before he was murdered by his wife in 1998. Encore: More Greatest Hits was released by Rhino Records in 1991, and features Today’s the Day, You Can Do Magic, The Border and the rest of their best radio-friendly tracks. A 3 CD box set finally saw the light of day in 2000.
 1970s Joe Walsh joined The Eagles in 1975, after releasing the So What album, and after Bernie Leadon had left the band. Walsh started with The James Gang and had hits, Walk Away and Funk #49, before forming Barnstorm and recording The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get, containing Walsh’s signature tune, Rocky Mountain Way. Walsh also recorded the solo hits, Life’s Been Good, All Night Long and A Life of Illusion, while still in The Eagles. Walsh and the rest of the final Eagles line-up got together in 1994 for an excellent MTV Unplugged album. It contained 4 new songs, as well as many tracks from the 1976 release, Hotel California. Hell Freezes Over has sold over 7 million copies in the U.S. alone, while Hotel California sits at 15 million and Their Greatest Hits at over 26 million. Greatest Hits Volume II is closing in on the 10 million mark.
 1970s Rod Stewart announced in 1975 that he was leaving The Faces. He had been recording with the band and enjoyed a solo career at the same time. Stewart complained that Ron Wood was on permanent loan to The Rolling Stones and thought he was better off on his own. Rod the Mod was in between the albums, Atlantic Crossing and A Night On the Town, with his original recording of This Old Heart of Mine tearing up the U.K. singles chart at the time.
 1970s Bob Seger had his first hit in 1976 with the double Live Bullet album. He followed that with the huge, Night Moves and Stranger in Town releases. This began a ten year streak of hits, including Night Moves, Still the Same, *Fire Lake, Against the Wind, *Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You, *Shame On the Moon and more. His only number 1 hit was *Shakedown, from the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack in 1987. A number of his hits (*) were not included on 1994’s, Greatest Hits album.
 1980s An album with a title of The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan was released by Stiff Records in 1980. There wasn’t a sound on it! It contained 40 minutes of silence, and would create copyright problems 20 years later when The Ultimate Rap Collection was released.
 1980s In 1982, Hall and Oates held the number 1 position on the U.S. singles chart with Maneater. It was their biggest hit, and helped them overtake The Everly Brothers in the late 1980s as the top recording duo of all time. The 1997 release, Marigold Sky, was Hall and Oates’ first album together in seven years, and was a good one at that.
 1980s In 1983, The Who announced that they were disbanding. Yeah, right.
 1980s Lionel Richie hit number 1 in 1985 with Say You, Say Me. It was the ninth consecutive year that he had written a chart topping hit, beginning with Three Times a Lady while still in The Commodores. Along the way were Still, Lady, Endless Love, Truly, All Night Long and Hello. Dancing On the Ceiling stalled at number 2 in 1986.
 1980s Stormfront, Billy Joel’s album containing his last number 1 hit, We Didn’t Start the Fire, made it to number 1 on the U.S. albums chart in 1989. The album also contained the singles, I Go to Extremes and, And So It Goes.
 1990s The Aerosmith track, What It Takes, was named Top Rock Album Track at Billboard’s 1990, The Year in Music chart awards. The song was from the Pump album, and was the third consecutive top 10 single off the CD, joining Love in an Elevator and Janie’s Got a Gun. Soon after, The Other Side became the fourth album cut to crack the top 40.
 1990s Savage Records launched a $100 million breach of contract suit against David Bowie in 1995. They claimed that they would lose exclusive rights to albums and videos by Bowie, resulting in $20 million in lost revenues. The Thin White Duke had just released his Outside album, which only contained one decent track, Strangers When We Meet, which he performed on late-night television in the U.S.
 1990s Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, Candle in the Wind 1997, coupled with Something About the Way You Look Tonight was at its eleventh week at number 1 in 1997. It’s too bad he had to ruin a good song, one that had already been a hit twice. Elton finally gave us back the original in 2000 when he released another live version on his One Night Only live album.
 
 B i r t h d a y s Events     Farewells 

December 16:
Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) was born a Rough Boy in 1949.
December 17:
Eddie Kendricks (The Temptations, 1939) and Paul Butterfield (1942) was each born the Son of a Sagittarius.
December 18:
Chas Chandler (The Animals, 1938) arrived with the Sky Pilot while Keith Richards (1943) rode in on the back of Wild Horses.
December 19:
Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) and Zal Yanovsky (The Lovin’ Spoonful) weren’t delivered in the Summer in the City, but it was in 1944 for both of them.
December 20:
Billy Bragg and Anita Ward (both 1957) first joined the cause to Help Save the Youth of America.
December 21:
Frank Zappa (1940) and Carl Wilson (The Beach Boys, 1946) were born amidst Good Vibrations.
December 22:
Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick was born In Colour in 1946. Twins, Robin and Maurice Gibb of The Bee Gees, became Alive three years after Nielsen, in 1949.
   
 F a r e w e l l s Events     Birthdays 

December 16:
Nicolette Larson died of complications from cerebral edema in 1997.
December 17:
Hound Dog Taylor died in 1975 of cancer. Grover Washington Jr. died of a heart attack in 1999, at the age of 56.
December 18:
Kirsty MacColl was killed by a speedboat in 2000. She was only 41.
December 19:
Bluesman Jimmy Rogers passed away in 1997 at the age of 73 from colon cancer. Roebuck “Pops” Staples died of a heart attack in 2000 at the age of 85.
December 20:
Bobby Darin died in 1973 of heart failure. Hank Snow passed away at the age of 85, in 1999.
December 22:
Joe Strummer of The Clash died of a heart attack in 2002. He was only 50 years old.

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