31 December – Today in Music History

1920 Rex Allen born in Willcox, Arizona. US Country Singer/Guitarist and Actor in western films. Rex Allen died on December 17, two weeks before his 79th birthday in Tucson, Arizona, of a massive coronary.
1930 Blues and folk singer Odetta is born Odetta Holmes in Birmingham, Alabama. Named the “Queen of American folk music” by Martin Luther King Jr., Odetta would sing “O Freedom” at the 1963 March on Washington. On December 2, 2008, she died from heart disease in New York City aged 77.
1942 Andy Summers born in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, England. Best known as the guitarist for rock band The Police, he has also recorded twelve solo albums, collaborated with many other artists, toured extensively under his own name, published several books, and composed several film scores.(1983 UK & US No.1 single ‘Every Breath You Take’, plus 4 other UK No.1 singles). 
1943 Henry John Deutschendorf, (John Denver) born in Roswell, New Mexico, U.S. American singer, songwriter, actor, activist, and humanitarian. 1974 UK & US No.1 single ‘Annie’s Song’. Killed in a plane crash on 12th October 1997. 
1943 Pete Quaife born in Tavistock, Devon, England. original bass guitarist for The Kinks, from 1963 until 1969. He also sang backing vocals on some of their records. After retiring from the music business, Quaife resided in Denmark throughout the 1970s. He relocated to Belleville, Ontario in 1980, where he worked as a cartoonist and artist. He was diagnosed with renal failure in 1998 and moved back to Denmark in 2005. Quaife died in June 2010 of kidney failure.
1946 Peter Wells – The founder and slide guitarist in Australian hard rock band, Rose Tattoo, from 1976 to 1983. He was previously bass guitarist with the pioneering heavy metal outfit Buffalo from 1971 to 1976. Wells also had a solo career and issued albums, Everything You Like Tries to Kill You (1991), The Meaning of Life (1992), No Hard Feelings (1993), Orphans (1994), Go Ahead, Call the Cops (1996), It’s All Fun and Games ’till Somebody Gets Hurt (1999), Hateball (2000) and Solo (2002). In 2002 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and, on 27 March 2006, Wells died of the disease, aged 59. Rose Tattoo were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame on 16 August of that same year.
1947 Burton Cummings born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was the former lead singer and frequent keyboardist for the Canadian rock band The Guess Who. During his 10 years in the band, from 1965 to 1975, he sang, wrote or co-wrote many hit songs including “American Woman,” “No Time”, “Share the Land”, “Hand Me Down World”, “Laughing”, “Star Baby”, “New Mother Nature”, “These Eyes”, and “Clap for the Wolfman”. His solo career includes many hit singles including “Stand Tall”, “My Own Way to Rock”, “Fine State of Affairs”, and “You Saved My Soul”. 
1948 Donna Summer (LaDonna Adrian Gaines) in Boston, Massachusetts. American singer and songwriter (1977 UK No.1 single ‘I Feel Love’ 1979 US No.1 & UK No.11 single ‘Hot Stuff, over 25 other top 40 hits). Diagnosed with lung cancer, Summer died on May 17, 2012, at her home in Naples, Florida. In 2013, Summer was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
1951 Fermin Goytisolo, KC and the Sunshine Band, (1975 US No.1 single ‘That’s The Way, I Like It’, 1983 UK No.1 single ‘Give It Up’). 
1951 Tom Hamilton born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. An American musician, best known as the bassist for the hard rock band Aerosmith. He co-wrote two of Aerosmith’s hits, “Sweet Emotion” and “Janie’s Got a Gun”. Hamilton occasionally plays guitar (e.g. “Uncle Salty”) and sings backing vocals (e.g. “Love in an Elevator”). (1989 UK No.13 single ‘Love In An Elevator’, 1989 album ‘Pump’ spent 53 weeks on the US charts, 1993 US No.1 & UK No.2 album ‘Get A Grip’, 1998 US No.1 & UK No.4 single ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’). 
1951 Fermin Goytisolo (percussionist for KC and the Sunshine Band) is born in Cuba. 
1955 Based on sales from stores, radio and jukebox plays Billboard named ‘Unchained Melody’ by Les Baxter the number 1 US song of 1955. 
1959 Paul Westerberg (lead singer, guitarist for The Replacements) is born in Minnesota. (1984 album, ‘Let It Be’). 
1961 Scott Taylor, guitar, Then Jerico, (1989 UK No.13 single ‘Big Area’).
1961 The Four Freshmen made their live debut using their new name; The Beach Boys at the Municipal Auditorium, Long Beach, California. 
1961 The Beach Boys made their live debut using their new name when they appeared at Long Beach Civic Auditorium, California. 
1962 During his first visit to the UK Bob Dylan played at the King And Queen pub in London. Dylan had arrived in the UK on 17th Dec after British TV director Philip Saville had heard Dylan perform in Greenwich Village, and had invited him to take part in a BBC television drama: The Madhouse On Castle Street. 
1963 Scott Ian (guitarist, backing vocalist for Anthrax) is born Scott Ian Rosenfeld in Queens, New York. (1991 UK No.16 single ‘Got The Time’). 
1963 The Kinks made their live debut when they played at the Lotus House Restaurant, London. Now recognised as one of the most important and influential rock acts of the era, brothers Ray Davies and Dave Davies remained members throughout the group’s 32-year run. 
1966 The Monkees started a 7-week run at No.1 on the US singles charts with the Neil Diamond song ‘I’m A Believer’. Also No.1 in the UK in 1967. 
1966 Ray Charles appeared at the City Center Arena in Seattle Washington, tickets cost $4.50 on the door. 
1967 Songwriter and producer Bert Berns died, wrote many classic songs including ‘Twist And Shout’, ‘Hang On Sloopy’ and ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. 
1967 American songwriter and producer Bert Berns died of heart failure aged 38. He wrote many classic songs including ‘Twist And Shout’, ‘Hang On Sloopy’, ‘Here Comes the Night’, ‘I Want Candy’ and ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. 
1968 Appearing at Alexandra Palace, London, Joe Cocker, Amen Corner, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Small Faces, Free and Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Tickets 25 shillings, ($3.00). 
1968 Joe Cocker, Amen Corner, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Small Faces, Free and Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band all appeared at Alexandra Palace, London. Tickets 25 shillings, ($3.00). 
1970 Paul McCartney filed a suit against the rest of The Beatles to dissolve their partnership. 
1970 Danny McNamara born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. Lead singer of English band Embrace. (2006 UK No. 2 single ‘Natures Law’, 2006 UK No.1 album ‘This New Day’). 
1972 Joey McIntrye born inNeedham, Massachusetts.s an American singer-songwriter and actor. He is best known as the youngest member of the group, New Kids on the Block (1989 UK No.1 single ‘You Got It, The Right Stuff’, 1990 US No.1 single ‘Step By Step’). 
1973 Australian band AC/DC made their live debut when they appeared at Chequers Bar in Sydney. 
1973 Journey made their live debut at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom. 
1977 South Korean singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer, record producer and television personality, Psy, (born Park Jae-sang), who had the 2012 internationally hit single ‘Gangnam Style.’ 
1979 Blondie’s gig at The Apollo Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland was broadcast live on BBC 2’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’. 
1979 David Bowie performed an acoustic version of ‘Space Oddity’ on the UK TV ‘Kenny Everett New Year’s Show’. 
1979 Bob Bryar, drummer, My Chemical Romance, (2006 UK No.1 single ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’, 2006 US No.2 album ‘The Black Parade’)
1981 Tom Waits married Irish playwright Kathleen Brennan. 
1982 Guitarist with The E Street Band, Miami Steve Van Zandt married Maureen Santora in New Jersey. Best man was Bruce Springsteen. 
1982 Max’s Kansas City in New York City closed down. The venue had been a launching pad for such artists as The New York Dolls, Bruce Springsteen and The Velvet Underground. 
1984 Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, crashed his Corvette Stingray, on the A57 outside Sheffield, Allen lost his left arm in the accident. 
1984 Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, crashed his Corvette Stingray, on the A57 outside Sheffield, Allen lost his left arm in the accident. Allen was on his way to a New Year’s Eve party at his family’s home when a Jaguar passed him. The driver had been egging Allen on and would not allow him to pass. In his rage to pass this driver, he did not see a turn up ahead and lost control of his car. He was thrown from the car, with his left arm severed due to the seatbelt not being properly fastened. 
1985 Ricky Nelson was killed along with six others, when his charted light aircraft crashed in Texas. It’s rumoured that freebasing cocaine caused an onboard explosion. Nelson had played himself on his parent’s US TV The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet.’ (1958 US No.1 ‘Poor Little Fool’, 1961 UK No.2 single ‘Hello Mary Lou’ plus over 30 US Top 40 hit singles). 
1991 Pearl Jam, Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers all appeared on the same bill at the Cow Palace, San Francisco, California. 
1991 John Power quit Liverpool based band the La’s to form Cast. 
1991 Ted Nugent donated 200 pounds of venison to a Salvation Army soup kitchen in Detroit with the message ‘I kill it, you grill it’. 
1994 Garth Brooks started a seven-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with, ‘The Hits’. 
1995 Guests on UK C4-TV show ‘The White Room’ included David Bowie, Oasis, Pulp, Stevie Wonder and PM Dawn. 
1996 Paul McCartney became a Sir after he was listed in the Queens New Year’s Honours List. 
1997 Floyd Cramer, pianist and forerunner of the “Nashville sound,” dies of lung cancer at age 64. He would play piano as a session musician on Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel.” 
1999 The Manic Street Preachers performed to 57,000 fans at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. The Guinness Book of Records confirmed that the concert set a new record as the biggest indoor show ever staged in Europe, tickets £30. 
2000 Janet Jackson’s estranged husband filed a lawsuit against the singer claiming that Jackson, who had sold more than 40 million records, promised to share equally any assets acquired after their relationship began in 1987. 
2000 Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson married actress Kate Hudson the daughter of actress Goldie Hawn. The couple separated in 2006. 
2001 Pink went to No.1 on the Australian Singles Chart with “Get The Party Started”. Staying at No.1 for two weeks. 
2001 UK record chain HMV listed the best selling music products over Christmas: ‘No Angel’ by Dido was the best selling album, Kylie Minogue sold the most calendars, Kurt Cobain: ‘Heavier Than Heaven’ was the best selling book and D-12 T-Shirt was listed as the No.1 seller. 
2002 Kevin MacMichael, guitarist with Cutting Crew died of lung cancer aged 51. (1987 US No.1 & 1986 UK No.4 single ‘I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight’). Also worked with Robert Plant and The Rankin Family. 
2003 Ringtones.co.uk announced that Beyonce’s number 1 hit ‘Crazy In Love’ was the best selling mobile ringtone of the year. ‘Fly On The Wings Of Love’ by XTM was the second biggest ringtone and R. Kelly’s ‘Ignition’ was third. 
2003 Kevin MacMichael, guitarist with Cutting Crew died of lung cancer aged 51. (1987 US No.1 & 1986 UK No.4 single ‘I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight’). Also worked with Robert Plant and The Rankin Family. 
2003 UK singer-songwriter and Kinks leader Ray Davies was awarded a CBE. 
2003 Australian singer and actress Natalie Imbruglia married Silverchair singer Daniel Johns. 
2004 Pete Waterman was awarded an OBE for his services to music. Once part of the Stock, Aitken & Waterman team he also booked the first ever tour for The Bay City Rollers, signed Musical Youth and Nik Kershaw during the 70’s and was promotion consultant for John Travolta. Waterman had written and produced more than 200 hit singles in 25 years for acts from Kylie Minogue to Steps.
2005 According to official figures singer-songwriter James Blunt’s ‘Back To Bedlam’ was the biggest selling UK album of 2005. The former soldier, who was virtually unknown this time last year, outsold Coldplay’s album ‘X&Y’ which finished second and Robbie Williams came in third place with ‘Intensive Care’ album. The rest of the Top 10: No.4. Kaiser Chiefs – ‘Employment’, 5. Gorillaz – ‘Demon Days’, 6. Westlife – ‘Face To Face’, 7. KT Tunstall – ‘Eye To The Telescope’, 8. Kelly Clarkson – ‘Breakaway’, 9. Faithless – ‘Forever Faithless – The Greatest Hits’ and No.10, Eminem – ‘Curtain Call – The Hits’. javascript:void(0)
2005 2005, The John Lennon song Imagine was voted the nations favourite song a quarter of a century after his death. A UK radio station conducted the poll of 7,000 listeners. The Beatles were voted into second and third place with ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Let It Be.’ javascript:void(0)
2006 George Michael was paid a reported £1.5m for an hour’s concert at a Russian billionaire’s New Year party. The unnamed businessman paid for Michael to entertain his 300 guests on his private estate 20 miles outside Moscow. Michael had just finished the British leg of his Twentyfive tour which included a free concert for nurses in London. javascript:void(0)
2009 Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi from Status Quo were both appointed OBEs for services to music and charity.
2012 A draft of a letter John Lennon wrote to Eric Clapton on Sept. 29, 1971 asking him to collaborate on a musical project sold for $35,000 at an auction. Still in pristine condition, the latter was originally estimated to fetch somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000.
2015 American singer, songwriter Natalie Cole died aged 65 due to congestive heart failure. The daughter of Nat ‘King’ Cole, she had the 1989 UK No.2 single ‘Miss You Like Crazy’, and the hits ‘This Will Be’, ‘Inseparable’, and ‘Our Love’. In the 1990s, she re-recorded standards by her father, resulting in her biggest success, Unforgettable… with Love, which sold over seven million copies and also won Cole numerous Grammy Awards.

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