Saturday, December 26, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: December 27

1960:  The Miracles made their television debut singing "Shop Around" on American Bandstand (Note:  numerous websites report that the group made their debut on the popular show on February 27, 1960, but this is inaccurate.  "Shop Around" was not released nationally until October 15, making the February 27 date impossible.  Jack Ryan, in his book 'Recollections, the Detroit Year:  The Motown Sound by the People who Made It', The Official R&B Music Hall of Fame, and 'TV.com' all confirm that the correct date is December 27, and that not only did the Miracles make their debut on the show, but they were the first Motown act to appear on 'American Bandstand'.)

William Guest Died Christmas Eve

William Guest of Gladys Knight & the Pips died December 24 of heart failure in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 74.  Guest was a lifelong member of the group, and later served as CEO of Crew Records.

Friday, December 25, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: December 26

1957:  Elvis Presley donated thousands of teddy bears to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
 
1960:  Neil Sedaka shot up from #100 to #57 this week with "Calendar Girl".
1960:  Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome To-night?" was #1 for a fifth week. 


The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 25

Here are the final six songs for Christmas to wrap up our Top 150 Songs of Christmas*.  




"Christmas Canon"
by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

This song is set to Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major with new lyrics.  It is notable in its departure of TSO's famous rock arrangements, instead being performed with a children's choir with light accompaniment from piano and strings.  It was first featured on the album The Christmas Attic in 1998 and is now one of the top three downloaded Christmas songs of all-time.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas! This Date in Rock Music History

1954:  Johnny Ace shot himself before a Christmas concert in Houston, Texas.  (Note:  it was widely reported that Ace died in a game of Russian roulette.  Curtis Tillman, bass player for Big Mama Thornton, however, witnessed the incident.  He said that Ace had been drinking and was waving the pistol around.  He said "The gun's not loaded...see?"  Ace then pointed the gun at himself, the gun went off, and killed him.) 
1958:  The Everly Brothers, Jackie Wilson, Chuck Berry, Frankie Avalon, Johnnie Ray, Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran and the Moonglows performed at Alan Freed's Christmas Rock & Roll Spectacular at Loew's State Theatre in Manhattan, New York.

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 24

Musical tastes are as diverse as the number of people in the world.  I have listened to thousands of Christmas songs, not only over the years but in preparation for this Inside the Rock Era special.  I do hope that I've touched upon songs that you find enjoyable.  Only one more day to go, 12 more songs, so let's get right to them!
"Opera of the Bells"
by Destiny's Child


"Carol of the Bells" was the original Ukrainian composition.  An alternate English version features more Nativity-based lyrics.  Destiny's Child renamed it "Opera of the Bells" for inclusion on their album 8 Days of Christmas.  



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: December 24

1955:  The Lennon Sisters were the new featured vocalists on The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC-TV.
1964:  The Beatles began a second series of Christmas concerts at the Hammersmith Odeon on London, with help from the Yardbirds, Freddie and the Dreamers and others.
1966:  Tommy James & the Shondells recorded "I Think We're Alone Now".

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 23

We've sifted through all of the Christmas songs and are featuring what we believe to be the cream of the Christmas crop.  We began on December 1 and by Christmas Day will have presented The Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.

"Have a Holly Jolly Christmas"
by Burl Ives




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: December 23

1957:  The Champs recorded "Tequila" in three takes at Gold Star Recording Studio in Hollywood, California.
1957:  A new act appeared on the chart for the first time by the name of Tom & Jerry with the song "Hey Schoolgirl".  They have now sold over 105 million albums, but they really didn't take off until they changed their name to Simon & Garfunkel.

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 22


"When My Heart Finds Christmas"
by Harry Connick, Jr.


This is the title song (written by Connick) from his album of 1993, which was the top-selling Christmas album of the year (748,000 copies).  It has now gone triple platinum.


Monday, December 21, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: December 22

1956:  Elvis Presley finished the year with 17 hit songs, a Rock Era record that would stay until the magical year of 1964, when the Beatles had 30.
1958:  The creation of David Seville, the Chipmunks, made one of the biggest leaps to #1 of the Rock Era (10-1) with "The Chipmunk Song".  The Platters moved strongly to #2 with "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes".  
1962:  Bob Dylan performed at the Singer's Club Christmas Party in London.

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 21

We still have 30 more songs in Inside the Rock Era's presentation of The Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  Some of the absolute best are still to come!
"Happy Holidays"
by Andy Williams

This is one of two songs that Irving Berlin wrote among the Top 150*.  He wrote it in 1942 and it was featured in the movie Holiday Inn.  Although Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme's version is also included in this feature, Andy's version is by far the best.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: December 21

1959:  The new single called "The Little Drummer Boy" by the Harry Simeone Chorale moved from 99 to 47.
   
                                 Marty Robbins' classic...

1959:  "Heartaches By The Number" by Guy Mitchell was #1 for a second week but it was the #3 song, which jumped all the way from 11, that was creating all the talk.  "El Paso" from Marty Robbins was that song.  Other new Top 10 songs--"Way Down Yonder In New Orleans" from Freddie Cannon at #5, "Among My Souvenirs" by Connie Francis and Fabian's "Hound Dog Man".
1960:  Elvis Presley was inducted into the Los Angeles Indian Tribal Council Creek by Indian Chief Wah-Nee-Ota in conjunction with the premiere of his movie Flaming Star.
1963:  The Beatles did their first Christmas show at the Gaumont Theatre in Bradford, England.
1963:  "Dominique" by the Singing Nun was #1 for a third week on the Easy Listening chart, which in 1979 became the Adult Contemporary chart.
1963:  People were flocking to see a gal with a message, and Joan Baez entered the Top 10 on the Album chart with Joan Baez In Concert.
1963:  The Singing Nun also achieved a third week at #1 overall with "Dominique".  The only new Top 10 for the week was "Popsicles And Icicles" by the Murmaids.
1964:  Charlie Watts, drummer of the Rolling Stones, published Ode to a High Flying Bird, a picture book tribute to Charlie Parker.








1965:  Shirley Bassey released the single "Goldfinger", the theme for the new James Bond movie. 
1966:  The Who played at The Upper Cut in Newham, England near London.









1967:  The Beatles had a costume party at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London to celebrate the showing of their movie Magical Mystery Tour on the BBC.
1968:  The newly-formed trio Crosby, Stills and Nash performed together for the first time.
1968:  Janis Joplin appeared as a solo performer at the Stax/Volt Yuletide Thing at Mid South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee.  




       
                     Hendrix with his last studio album...

1968:  Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell took over at #1 on the Album chart, completing a meteoric rise from 16 to 4 to 1.  Pretty impressive, especially considering Glen held off The White Album, the new release from the Beatles, which rose from 11 to 2 in its second week.  Cheap Thrills from Big Brother & the Holding Company fell from #1 with Feliciano!  from Jose Feliciano #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Second from Steppenwolf, Judy Collins rose from 31 to 6 with Wildflowers, jumping Electric Ladyland from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Glen Campbell's back catalog began to sell as Gentle On My Mind rose to #8 after 43 weeks, Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da Vida was #9 and Time Peace, the Rascals' Greatest Hits package, grabbed the final spot.
1968:  "Wichita Lineman" held on to #1 for a second week on the Adult chart for Glen Campbell.
1968:  A new talent first appeared on the chart on this day, although it would be seven long years before he made it big. Bob Seger debuted with his first career single "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man".
1968:  Tommy James & the Shondells were quickly becoming one of the 60's biggest acts and on this date, they jumped from 85 to 39 with "Crimson And Clover".



1968:  Marvin Gaye notched a second week at #1 with "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" although the song was so great that CCR and Gladys Knight & the Pips also had excellent versions.  "Love Child" by the Supremes was second with Stevie Wonder at #3 with "For Once In My Life".  Dion remained at the #4 spot with "Abraham, Martin And John" and Glen Campbell reached #5 with "Wichita Lineman".  The rest of an excellent Top 10:  "Stormy" from the Classics IV, Johnnie Taylor was in there with "Who's Making Love", bright newcomer Judy Collins reached the Top 10 with "Both Sides Now", "I Love How You Love Me" from Bobby Vinton was #9 and Steppenwolf was still flying with "Magic Carpet Ride".
1969:  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Canned Heat shared a bill at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California.
1969:  Diana Ross appeared with the Supremes for the final time on The Ed Sullivan Show, singing "Someday We'll Be Together".




1970:  Gordon Lightfoot released his first career single--"If You Could Read My Mind".
1970:  Elvis Presley visited U.S. President Richard Nixon at the White House to volunteer his services towards fighting the country's drug problems.
1970:  "Hey Old Man" by the Festfolk Quartet peaked at #5 in Sweden.  We know the Festfolk Quartet better now by their later name of ABBA.
1971:  Martha & the Vandellas broke up after playing at the Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan.
1971:  Charlie Fuqua, founding member of the Ink Spots, died at the age of 61 in New Haven, Connecticut.
1974:  Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin joined Bad Company on stage at the Rainbow Theatre in London.
1974:  He was the man of the moment.  Elton John continued to own the #1 album with his Greatest Hits package, now #1 for five weeks.  

1974:  Two of America's greatest groups, Chicago and the Beach Boys, teamed up for one great song--"Wishing You Were Here" reached #1 on the Adult chart.








1974:  Grand Funk's new song "Some Kind Of Wonderful" was rocking up the chart from 67 to 38.










1974:  Today was the day that the classic "Cat's In The Cradle", which is without question one of The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era* by Harry Chapin, reached #1.  
1976:  Barry Manilow on Broadway opened for a two-week run in New York City.
1978:  Rod Stewart settled out of court with drummer Mickey Waller, who had claimed he was not paid royalties for his work on Stewart's album Smiler.








1983:  Van Halen released the single "Jump".
1985:  Bruce Springsteen's album Born in the U.S.A. passed Thriller by Michael Jackson for the second-most weeks in the Top 10 of the album chart with 79 weeks.  The Rock Era record is still the Soundtrack to "The Sound of Music", which remained a top-seller for 109 weeks.
1985:  Heart's comeback was complete as their self-titled release completed its 24-week climb to #1 on the Album chart.  
1985:  "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie was #1 for a third week on the Adult Contemporary chart.






                                Newcomers Simple Minds ...
           
1985:  Richie also moved to #1 overall with "Say You, Say Me" in a pretty good Top 10.  Mr. Mister was toppled with "Broken Wings" while Eddie Murphy had the surprising hit "Party All The Time".  Simple Minds had one of their biggest with "Alive & Kicking" and the former #1 "Separate Lives" from Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin was #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Election Day" from Arcadia, the great new song "I Miss You" from Klymaxx, Dionne & Friends (Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder & Gladys Knight) moved from 14 to 8 with "That's What Friends Are For", John Cougar Mellencamp scored another Top 10 with "Small Town" and ZZ Top fell with their "Sleeping Bag".
1987:  John Spencer, original member with No Doubt, committed suicide at the tender age of 18.  So young and na├»ve.
1989:  Santana and his wife celebrated the birth of daughter Angelica Faith.
1991:  "Bohemian Rhapsody"/"These Are The Days Of Our Lives", a single released following the death of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, took over at #1 in the U.K. 
1991:  "I Love Your Smile" by Shanice was the new #1 on the R&B chart.

             The unmistakable harmonies of the Boyz...

1991:  Michael Jackson had his 15th Top 10 hit in his last 17 releases with "Black Or White" and it was his 12th solo #1.  Boyz II Men had a solid hit with "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday".  Color Me Badd was on fire as well with "All 4 Love" and PM Dawn only slipped slightly with "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss".  Michael Bolton's former #1 "When A Man Loves A Woman", the remake of Percy Sledge's classic, was fifth with another winner from Mariah Carey--"Can't Let Go" #6.





    
     An unforgettable tribute sparked Natalie's album...

1991:  Some of the best albums of the 1990's were in here:  Dangerous by Michael Jackson spent a second week at #1 but Ropin' the Wind from Garth Brooks, a former #1, wasn't going away.  Too Legit to Quit from Hammer moved to 3, switching places with U2's Achtung Baby.  Michael Bolton moved up to 5 after 33 weeks with Time, Love & Tenderness and Nirvana's landmark Nevermind was #6.  The rest of the Top 10:  Unforgettable With Love from Natalie Cole moved from 13 to 7, Cooleyhighharmony from Boyz II Men, Metallica with their debut and Use Your Illusion II by Guns N' Roses slipped to #10.





1991:  Richard Marx rose to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with help from Luther Vandross with the great song "Keep Coming Back".
1994:  Mike Love and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys settled a dispute out-of-court over authorship of 35 of the group's songs, with Love receiving $5 million.
1996:  "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", the cover version of Bob Dylan's song written by Ted Christopher of Dunblane, Scotland, rose to #1 in the U.K.  Christopher wrote a new verse in memory of the children and teacher killed in the Dunblane massacre and the song features brothers and sisters of the victims singing the chorus with Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler on guitar.

1996:  Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt took over the #1 spot on the Album chart, just ahead of the great Falling Into You album from Celine Dion.  Alanis Morissette continued to amaze with Jagged Little Pill, moving back into the Top 10 after 78 weeks of release.
2003:  Ruben Studdard had the top album with Soulful.
2005:  Mutya Buena announced she was leaving the group the Sugababes.
2005:  The Human Rights Watch reported that the so-called "muzak" of Eminem and Dr. Dre was used to torture detainees at a CIA prison near Afghanistan.  I'll tell you anything, but please turn off that God-awful crap!

Born This Day:
1934:  Hank Crawford, who played saxophone for Ray Charles and Ike Turner, was born in Memphis, Tennessee; died in Memphis from complications of a stroke suffered in 2000 on January 29, 2009.

1940:  Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland; died of prostate cancer in Los Angeles on December 4, 1993.
1940:  Ray Hildebrand of Paul & Paula was born in Joshua, Texas.
1951:  Kevin Scott MacDonald, guitarist of the Cutting Crew ("I Just Died In Your Arms").
1942:  Carla Thomas ("Gee Whiz" from 1960), who also recorded several duets with Otis Redding, was born in Memphis, Tennessee.
1943:  Gwen McCrae, solo artist ("Rockin' Chair" from 1975) and wife of her manager George ("Rock Your Baby" from 1975) was born in Pensacola, Florida.

1943:  Albert Lee, famous session guitar player, was born in Lingen, Herefordshire, England.  (Note:  some websites report his place of birth as Leominster, England; according to both the 'BBC' and the newspaper 'The Telegraph', Lee was born in Lingen.)











1946:  Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys was born in Hawthorne, California; died February 6, 1998 of brain and lung cancer in Los Angeles.
1948:  Barry Gordon ("Nuttin' For Christmas") was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.








1951:  Nick Gilder of Sweeney Todd and later a solo artist ("Hot Child In The City" from 1978) was born in London.
1953:  Betty Wright ("Clean Up Woman" from 1971) was born in Miami, Florida.
1971:  Brett Scallions, lead singer of Fuel, was born in Brownsville, Tennessee.

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 20

Inside the Rock Era has presented 114 of The Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  Here are six more to add to that list.
"Joy to the World"
by Mariah Carey


This was released on the 1994 album Merry Christmas.  The song is a much-more upbeat version than the thousands of others that have been released.  It reached #16 on the Dance chart that year.