1942 Joe McDonald, vocals, Country Joe and the Fish, 1968 US hit ‘I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die.’
1945 Jim Gordon, American drummer, one of the most requested session drummers in the late 1960s and 1970s. Gordon co-wrote Layla with Eric Clapton, worked with The Everly Brothers, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, (Pet Sounds) The Byrds, George Harrison, (All Things Must Pass), John Lennon, (Imagine), The Carpenters, Traffic, Glen Campbell, (Wichita Lineman), Steely Dan, Jackson Browne, Frank Zappa and many others. A diagnosed schizophrenic, Gordon murdered his mother on June 3, 1983, by pounding her head with a hammer. He was sentenced to sixteen years-to-life in prison in 1984.
1950 Morgan Fisher, keyboards, Mott The Hopple, 1972 UK No.3 & US No.37 single ‘All The Young Dudes’, a song David Bowie offered the band on hearing they were about to split up.
1952 Andy Johns, producer and engineer who worked on classic albums by Led Zeppelin, (Led Zeppelin II and all albums through to Physical Graffiti), the Rolling Stones, (Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street), Jimi Hendrix, (Axis: Bold as Love), Van Halen and many others. Johns, the younger brother of noted producer Glyn Johns died on April 7th 2013.
1953 Country singer Hank Williams died of a heart attack brought on by a lethal cocktail of pills and alcohol aged 29. Made his first record in 1946, scored 36 Top 10 US country hits, his best Known being ‘Your Cheatin Heart.’ Over 20,000 mourners attended his funeral.
1954 F.R. David born in Menzel Bourguiba, Tunisia. Tunisian born singer and songwriter, who moved to France in 1964. His most recognised song was his hit “Words” in 1982
1955 English singer Dickie Valentine was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘The Finger Of Suspicion’. Valentine hosted The Dickie Valentine TV Show in 1956.
1955 Elvis Presley appeared at The Eagles Hall in Houston Texas. Presley went on to play over 250 shows in 1955.
1956 Diane Warren, US songwriter. Warren has written over 80 US Top 20 hits including; Aerosmith, ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’, LeAnn Rimes, ‘How Do I Live’, Toni Braxton, ‘Un- Break My Heart’, plus hits for Cher, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Rod Stewart and Ace Of Base.
1956 Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around The Clock’ went to No.1 on the UK singles chart for the second time.
1957 BBC Television aired its new rock & roll show ‘Cool For Cats’ for the first time. With a miniscule budget, the program was forced to rely on artists miming and the talents of a resident dance group (led by Douglas Squires). Ker Robertson, the first host, was succeeded after a few weeks by Kent Walton, later better known for his ITV wrestling commentaries
1958 Joseph Saddler, (Grandmaster Flash), 1982 UK No.8 single ‘The Message.’ Major force in early Rap music, was given his nickname after his rapid hand movements on the record decks.
1959 Johnny Cash played a free concert for the inmates of San Quentin Prison, California. One of the audience members was 19 year-old Merle Haggard, who was in the midst of a 15 year sentence (he served three years) for grand theft auto and armed robbery.
1962 The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records in West Hampstead, London. A&R boss at Decca Dick Rowe turned them down.
1963 Michael Hanson – Canadian drummer with Glass Tiger. Left the band in 1988.
1964 The first edition of the BBC TV show Top Of The Pops was transmitted from an old church hall in Manchester, England. Introduced by DJ Jimmy Savile, acts miming to their latest releases included The Rolling Stones, (I Wanna Be Your Man), The Dave Clark Five, (Glad All Over), The Hollies, (Stay), and The Swinging Blue Jeans, (Hippy Hippy Shake). The first song played was Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You’. Also featured on disc and film, The Beatles, (I Want to Hold Your Hand), Freddie & the Dreamers, Cliff Richard and the Shadows and Gene Pitney.
1965 The Yardbirds (with Eric Clapton), played two shows at The Odeon Cinema, Hammersmith in London. One at 6.15 and 8.45pm.
1966 Simon and Garfunkel started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘The Sounds Of Silence’, a No.13 hit in the UK.
1967 The Doors made their first live television appearance lip-synching their first single ‘Break on Through’ on Shebang, KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles. The single peaked No. 126 on the US chart mainly due to lack of airplay after censors objected to the drug use implied by the line “she gets high”, which is repeated in the middle section of the song.
1968 Rick J. Jordan (born Hendrik Stedler), German techno group Scooter who have sold over 14 million records and are considered the most successful single-record German act with 20 top ten hits. 2008 UK No.1 album ‘Jumping All Over The World.’
1968 Billboard magazine reported that for the first time albums had outsold singles in the US with album sales reaching over 192 million units.
1969 Marmalade were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with their version of The Beatles song ‘Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da’.
1970 Rolf Harris was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Two Little Boys’. The song was written by American composer Theodore Morse and lyricist Edward Madden in 1902.
1971 Radio Luxembourg aired over seven hours of continuous Beatles music to celebrate the group’s tenth year in the music business. Every track played was a single or LP track by The Beatles plus tracks from solo albums.
1972 Tom Barman born in Belgium Guitarist/Vocalist with dEUS, (Belgium band, 1996 UK Top 50 album ‘Little Arithmetics’).
1972 Carole King started a three week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Music’, her second US chart topper.
1972 Marc Bolan signed a deal with EMI to release records in the UK on his own T Rex Wax co. label.
1976 Procol Harum, Status Quo, Thin Lizzy, John Miles, Barclay James Harvest, Baker Gurvitz Army, Bad Company, Pretty Things and Snafu all appeared at the Great British Music Festival, London, which was held over three days. Tickets cost £3.30.
1977 Genesis played the first of three nights at the new-look Rainbow Theatre, London, tickets cost £2.50 ($4.25). The theatre had been completely renovated at a cost of £80,000 ($136,000).
1977 The Clash played the opening night at punk’s first real venue, The Roxy Club in London.
1977 Wings were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Mull Of Kintyre.’ Spending nine weeks at No.1 in became the first single to sell over 2 million copies in the UK.
1979 The Invaders played their last gig at the Filmmakers Co-Op in London and then went on to form Madness.
1980 Cliff Richard was included in the Queen’s New Year list, being awarded an OBE.
1982 Abba made their final live appearance as a group when they played in Stockholm, Sweden.
1984 Alexis Korner died of lung cancer aged 55. Know as “the Founding Father of British Blues”, he was a major force behind the UK early 60’s R&B scene. Formed Blues Incorporated; members at various times included Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, Graham Bond and Charlie Watts. Had hits with CCS, including a version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ which was used as the theme for BBC’s Top Of The Pops for several years. Became a radio presenter in the 70’s.
1985 British songwriter, record producer and musician Shahid Khan, best known as Naughty Boy. Had the 2013 No.1 hit ‘La La La’, featuring Sam Smith and ‘Lifted’, a collaboration with Emeli Sandé.
1988 Breakdancers Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan signed a contract with Boney M producer Frank Farian. Milli Vanilli were born.
1988 Prince played an after midnight New Years Eve charity gig in aid of the homeless in Minnesota. Miles Davis joined him on stage.
1989 Nirvana signed a one-year recording contract with Sub Pop records. The Seattle based label began not as a record label but as a fanzine (called Subterranean Pop), in the early 80’s, also signed Soundgarden and Mudhoney.
1990 New American radio station WKRL in Florida played the Led Zeppelin track ‘Stairway To Heaven’ for 24 hours, as a prelude to an all Zeppelin format.
1991 The Platters manager and songwriter died aged 83.
1992 Diana Ross opened the annual Harrods January sale in London.
1994 Appearing at The Brixton Academy, London, Underworld, Orbital, System 7, The Drum Club and Eat Static.
1994 Music weekly Melody Makers Top singles of 1993; No.3 Pulp, ‘Razzamtazz’, No.2, Radiohead ‘Creep’ and No.1 The Breeders, ‘Cannonball’. Top 3 albums, ‘Star’ by Belly No.3, Afghan Whigs ‘Gentleman’ No.2 and No.1 Tindersticks self-titled debut album.
1995 Garth Brooks started a six week run at No.1 on the US album charts with ‘The Hits.’
1998 A mystery buyer paid £31,000 ($52,700) for the car number plate ‘OAS 15’at auction in Cheltenham. It was rumoured that a member from Oasis had bought the plate.
2002 Eric Clapton married 25-year old Melia McEnery the mother of his baby daughter at a secret ceremony at the 15th Century St Mary Magdalen Church in Ripley, Surrey, England.
2002 Welsh singer Shakin’ Stevens spent several hours in police custody after being arrested for drink driving. The 80’s singer was charged and released to appear before magistrates on January 16th.
2002 The Top five selling UK albums of 2001, No. 5, Shaggy, ‘Hot Shot’, No.4, Travis, ‘The Invisible Band’, No.3 Eva Cassidy, ‘Songbird’, No.2, David Gray, ‘White Ladder’ and No.1, Dido, ‘No Angel’.
2005 In most of Europe, copyright expired on a number of classic pop and rock-and-roll songs recorded in 1954 and earlier, including Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ‘Only You’ by The Platters.
2007 Queen beat The Beatles to be crowned greatest British band of all time by BBC Radio 2 listeners in the UK. They pipped the Fab Four in a live contest, trouncing other finalists The Rolling Stones, Oasis and Take That. The bands were judged on song-writing, lyrics, live performances, originality and showmanship. More than 20,000 listeners voted by email, text and phone.
2007 Beyonce went to no.1 on the Australian Singles Chart with “Irreplaceable”. Staying at No.1 for 3 weeks.
2008 The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reported that the number of music downloads sold in the UK in the final week of 2007 was double the total of 12 months earlier. In total there were 2.95 million downloads in seven days, the highest ever recorded for any weekly period. And when the whole of the year was taken into account, 77.5 million downloads were sold in the UK in 2007.
2009 According to official UK sales figures Duffy’s debut album Rockferry came top of the year-end chart, with 1.685 million copies sold. Take That had the second biggest seller with The Circus, Kings of Leon, Only By The Night was third, Spirit by Leona Lewis was fourth and Coldplay had the fifth biggest seller with Viva La Vida. X Factor winner Alexandra Burke had the UK’s top-selling single after her version of Hallelujah sold 888,000 copies in the last two weeks of the year.
2011 Chuck Berry cut short a concert at Congress Theater, Chicago, Illinois after collapsing on stage an hour into the show. Berry slumped over a keyboard and did not move for a couple of minutes before being helped off stage, he returned 15 minutes later only to be forced off again almost immediately. The 84 year-old later re-emerged on stage but told fans he had no strength to continue performing.
2013 Patti Page, one of the most popular artists of the 1950s, died at the age of 85. She recorded four US No.1 hits, including ‘Tennessee Waltz’ and the novelty record ‘(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window’. Page recorded her first hit single, ‘Confess’ in 1947. Because of a strike, background singers were not available to provide harmony vocals for the song, so instead, Page decided to overdub her own, thus, Page became the first pop artist to overdub her vocals on a song.
2013 Ultravox’s 1981 hit ‘Vienna’ was voted the UK’s favourite number two single. The song topped a poll by BBC Radio 2 and the Official Charts Company to find the greatest track to miss out on the number one spot. Vienna was held off by novelty track ‘Shaddup You Face’ by Joe Dolce. ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl was voted into second place. Other songs to feature included The Beatles’ ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’, The Who’s ‘My Generation’ and Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’.
1942 Joe McDonald, vocals, Country Joe and the Fish, 1968 US hit ‘I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die.’