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!.

1959: Bill Haley and His Comets released their ninth rock and roll album, “Strictly Instrumental.” Recorded over a period of eighteen months, it was the group’s last album of new material for Decca Records.

1959: The Dave Brubeck Quartet released the seminal album, Time Out. A blend of cool and West Coast jazz using unorthodox time signatures, it became one of the best selling jazz albums, and the single “Take Five” became the first jazz single to sell a million copies.

1959: Dion and the Belmonts released their version of the 1937 showtune “Where or When.” It became their biggest hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as their only single to chart in the UK.

1961: The Miracles released “What’s So Good About Goodbye.” It became their second top 40 pop hit and was included on the group’s 1962 album, I’ll Try Something New.

1962: Bob Dylan released his first single, “Mixed-Up Confusion” backed with “Corrina, Corrina.” The song was recorded a month earlier during sessions for his second studio album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, and according to legend, Dylan wrote the song in a cab on the way to the Columbia studios for the session.

1962: Bassist Billy Wyman made his live debut with the Rolling Stones (then called 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 second studio LP, Sounds of Silence, which was released the following month.

1968: “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells entered the Billboard Hot 100. In February, it became their second of two #1 singles on the chart.

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.

1971: Canned Heat released Historical Figures and Ancient Heads, the band’s eighth album and first not to feature original member and songwriter Alan Wilson and bassist Larry Taylor. Wilson had died the previous year and Taylor had left to join John Mayall’s band. New members of the LP were guitarist Joel Scott Hill and bassist Tony de la Barreda, who both left after completing the album and the subsequent tour.

1972: Born to Boogie, a biographical film about T. Rex’s Marc Bolan that was released by the Beatles’ Apple Films, directed by Ringo Starr, and stars Elton John, premiered at the Oscar One Cinema in London.

1973: Yes released their sixth studio album, Tales from Topographic Oceans. Frontman Jon Anderson devised the concept album during the band’s 1973 Japanese tour after reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. It was the group’s first album with drummer Alan White, who replaced Bill Bruford the previous year. Some critics characterized the album as an example of alleged progressive rock excess, and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who disagreed with the entire project, left the group in May the following year.

1974: Joe Walsh released his third studio album, So What.

1979: The Clash released their third studio album, London Calling. 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.

1987: Pink Floyd released “On the Turning Away,” the second single from the group’s thirteenth studio album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

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.

Jerry Daniels, tenor vocalist and guitarist for The Ink Spots, was born in Indianapolis, IN in 1915.

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

Johnny Moore, one of the lead vocalist for The Drifters, was born in Selma, AL in 1934.

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, keyboardist for Them, a solo artist, and co-founder of The Belfast Gypsies, 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, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and founding member of the Waterboys, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1958.

Andy Diagram, musician for several bands best known as the trumpet player for James, was born in 1959.