Today in Rock & Roll History: December 14th

1959: The Kingston Trio went to #1 on Billboard’s mono album chart with their fifth LP, Here We Go Again!.

1962: Bassist Billy Wyman made his live debut with the Rollin’ Stones at the Ricky Tick Club in the Star and Garter Hotel in Windsor, England.

1965: “I Am a Rock,” originally the opening track of Paul Simon’s first solo album, “The Paul Simon Songbook,” was re-recorded by Simon & Garfunkel. The new version became the final track on their “Sounds of Silence” album, which was released the following month.

1968: “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells entered the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately reaching #1 in February.

1968: Joe Cocker debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with his cover of the Beatles’ song “With a Little Help From My Friends.” The record was a #1 hit in the UK and reached #68 in the US.

1968: Marvin Gaye started seven weeks at #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts with “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” his first #1 on the pop chart, his fifth record to top the R&B chart, as well as his first #1 in the UK.

1972: The film Born to Boogie, a biopic of T. Rex’s Marc Bolan, released by the Beatles’ Apple Films, directed by Ringo Starr, and starring Elton John, premiered at the Oscar One Cinema in London.

1979: The Clash’s third studio album London Calling was released. Recorded earlier that summer after a change in management and period of writer’s block, the double album reflects the band’s growing interest in styles such as reggae, rockabilly, ska, R&B, and jazz. It became the group’s second top 10 LP in the UK and their first to enter the top 100 in the US, reaching #27.

1982: “Shame on the Moon,” the lead single from Bob Seger’s twelfth studio album and fourth with the Silver Bullet Band, The Distance, was released. The song was written and recorded by Rodney Crowell for his self-titled 1981 album. Glenn Frey joins Seger on background harmony vocals on the song.

1999: Former Beatle Paul McCartney returned to the New Cavern Club stage to play his last gig of the year publicizing his new album Run Devil Run. It was McCartney’s first visit to the venue since performing there as a member of the Beatles in 1963.

2005: Jimmy Page received an Officer of the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II for his work with impoverished Brazilian children.

Birthdays Today

Spike Jones, musician and bandleader who specialized in satirical arrangements of popular songs and classical music, was born in Long Beach, CA in 1911.

Charlie Rich, eclectic country music singer, songwriter, and musician, was born in Colt, AR in 1932.

Warren Ryanes, baritone singer in 1950s doo-wop vocal group the Monotones, was born in Newark, NJ in 1937.

Gary Usher, musician, songwriter, and record producer who was an early collaborator with the Beach Boys and produced records for groups such as the Byrds, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Dick Dale, and The Firesign Theatre, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1938.

Frank Allen, bass guitarist for The Searchers since 1964, was born Francis Renaud McNeice in Hayes, Middlesex, England in 1943.

Jack McAuley, one of the keyboardist with Van Morrison’s Them, was born John McAuley in Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1946.

Lydia Pense, vocalist for Cold Blood, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1947.

Lester Bangs, author, musician, and influential rock critic, was born Leslie Conway Bangs in Escondido, CA in 1948.

Peter “Spider” Stacy, singer, songwriter, vocalist, and tin whistler with the Pogues, was born in Eastbourne, England in 1958.

Mike Scott, founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of the Waterboys, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1958.