Today in Rock & Roll History: December 12th

1955: Bill Haley and His Comets recorded “See You Later, Alligator” for Decca Records in New York City. The song became their third and final million-selling top 10 single in the US. In Britain, the song was the group’s second of eight songs to reach the top 10.

1963: The Beatles had their third #1 in the UK with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

1964: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by the Righteous Brothers entered the Billboard Hot 100. The song became their first top 40 single and, in February, their first #1 on the US and UK charts. Produced by Phil Spector, the song is considered to be the ultimate expression of Spector’s “Wall of Sound” recording technique.

1965: The Beatles’ final UK tour ended with two concerts at the Capitol Cinema in Cardiff, Wales.

1966: Pink Floyd performed their first concert at the Oxfam Benefit at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

1969: Live Peace in Toronto 1969 by the Plastic Ono Band was released. The album had been recorded at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival festival in September at the Toronto’s Varsity Stadium. The festival’s promoters had called John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono the day before the show, asking Lennon to be the master of ceremonies. Lennon offered instead to perform and assembled a band that included Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman, and Alan White. It was the first live album released by any member of the Beatles separately or together.

1970: The Doors performed their last concert with Jim Morrison at the Warehouse in New Orleans, debuting several new songs from their upcoming LP, L.A. Woman.

1970: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles achieved their first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart with “The Tears of a Clown.” The week before, it had become the group’s fourth record to top the R&B chart. First appearing on the group’s 1967 album Make It Happen, the song was released in the US as a single after it went to #1 on the UK chart in September.

1970: “Love the One You’re With,” the lead single from Stephen Stills’ debut self-titled album, entered the Billboard Hot 100. It later became Stills’ first solo record to chart on in the US as well as his only top 20 hit on the Hot 100. The song had been inspired by a frequent remark by keyboardist Billy Preston.

1974: Guitarist Mick Taylor quit the Rolling Stones just before the band began recording their Black and Blue album in Munich, Germany. One of the session guitarists on the LP, the Faces’ Ronnie Wood, later became Taylor’s permanent replacement.

1976: “Night Moves,” the title track and first single from Bob Segers’ ninth studio album and first credited to the Silver Bullet Band, was released. The record became Seger’s first top 10 hit in the US, reaching #4.

1981: The Human League scored their first #1 record with “Don’t You Want Me,” which reached the top of the UK chart. The single became the group’s first #1 in the US the following July.

1995: “Free as a Bird,” by the Beatles was released in the US. Released a week earlier in the UK, it was the group’s first new song in 25 years as well as the promotional single from the compilation album, Anthology 1.

1998: John Fogerty began recording his first solo live album, Premonition, at Warner Bros. Sound Studios.

2003: Mick Jagger was knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Several individuals such as Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards and David Bowie publicly objected to Jagger accepting the honor, and it has been speculated that the queen, who had also been displeased with the nomination, had scheduled knee surgery to avoid the ceremony.

Birthdays Today

Frank Sinatra, influential singer, actor, and producer, was born in Hoboken, NJ in 1915.

Dick James, singer, music publisher, co-founder of the Beatles’ publishing company, Northern Songs, and founder of the the DJM Records label who later signed Elton John and Bernie Taupin, was born in London, England in 1920.

Terry Kirkman, songwriter and singer with The Association, was born in Salina, KS in 1939.

Dionne Warwick, singer, actress, and television host, was born in Orange, NJ in 1940.

Grover Washington, Jr., saxophonist, arranger, and producer considered to be one of the founders of smooth jazz, was born in Buffalo, NY in 1943.

Dickey Betts, guitarist, singer, songwriter, composer, and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, was born Forrest Richard Betts in West Palm Beach, FL in 1943.

Melvyn “Deacon” Jones, organist and founding member of Baby Huey and the Babysitters, who later worked with Curtis Mayfield, Freddie King, John Lee Hooker, Gregg Allman, Elvin Bishop, Lester Chambers, Albert Collins, Pappo, and Buddy Miles, was born in Richmond, IN in 1943.

Rob Tyner, lead singer and co-founder of MC5, was born Robert Derminer in Detroit, MI in 1944.

Alan Ward, lead guitarist for the Honeycombs, was born in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England in 1945.

Clive Bunker, drummer and founding member of Jethro Tull, was born in Luton, Bedfordshire, England in 1946.

Ralphs Scala, keyboardist and vocalist for Blues Magoos, was born in 1947.

Ray Jackson, mandolinist, harmonica player, and joint lead vocalist of Lindisfarne, was born Lindsay Raymond Jackson in Wallsend, Northumberland, England in 1948.

Sheila E., percussionist, singer, author, and actress, was born Sheila Cecelia Escovedo in Oakland, CA in 1957.