| 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, (Were 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 Dont Knock the Rock.
Through it all, (Were Gonna) Rock Around the Clock went up and
down the charts several times, and even made another return in
| 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 couldnt 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 Dont.
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
| 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
| In 1957
this week, Elvis received his draft notice for the U.S. Army. He
told reporters that its a duty Ive got to fill and Im
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
| 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 Simons
character was modelled after Bagdasarians own son, Adam. The
Platters, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, took over at number 1 after
The Chipmunks wore us down for 4 weeks.
| Dions, 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.
| 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
by a little over 13 months. Telstar was an instrumental track named
after the worlds 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.
| 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 Ks 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
| Jefferson Airplane recorded its first bunch
of songs after signing a recording contract with RCA Records in 1965. Its No Secret,
Runnin Round the World, High Flyin Bird, Its
Alright and Run Around were the tracks. Several of the songs would
appear on their first album the following year, Jefferson Airplane Takes
| Jimi Hendrix released his first single in
1966, with Hey Joe. It
made it to number 6 in the U.K. but didnt 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.
| The Rolling Stones released the disastrous
Their Satanic Majesties Request album in 1967. The Shes 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.
| 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
| 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
| 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.
| History Americas 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 groups 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 Todays
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
| 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 Walshs signature
tune, Rocky Mountain Way. Walsh also recorded the solo hits,
Lifes 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
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.
| 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.
| 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
1994s, Greatest Hits album.
| An album with a title of The Wit and Wisdom of
Ronald Reagan was released by Stiff Records in 1980. There wasnt 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.
| 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
| In 1983, The Who announced that they were disbanding.
| 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.
| Stormfront, Billy Joels album
containing his last number 1 hit, We Didnt 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.
| The Aerosmith track, What It Takes,
was named Top Rock Album Track at
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 Janies Got a Gun. Soon after, The Other Side became the
fourth album cut to crack the top 40.
| 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
| Elton Johns 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. Its 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.
|Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) was born a Rough
Boy in 1949.
|Eddie Kendricks (The Temptations, 1939) and Paul Butterfield
(1942) was each born the
Son of a Sagittarius.
Chandler (The Animals, 1938) arrived with the Sky Pilot while Keith
Richards (1943) rode in on
the back of Wild Horses.
|Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) and Zal
Yanovsky (The Lovin Spoonful) werent delivered in the
Summer in the City, but it was in 1944 for both of them.
|Billy Bragg and Anita Ward (both 1957) first joined the cause to Help
Save the Youth of America.
|Frank Zappa (1940) and Carl Wilson (The Beach Boys,
1946) were born amidst Good
|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.
|Nicolette Larson died of complications from
cerebral edema in 1997.
|Hound Dog Taylor died in 1975 of cancer. Grover Washington Jr. died of a
heart attack in 1999, at the age
|Kirsty MacColl was killed by a speedboat in
2000. She was only 41.
|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.
|Bobby Darin died in 1973 of heart failure. Hank Snow
passed away at the age of 85, in 1999.
||Joe Strummer of The Clash died of a heart
attack in 2002. He was only 50