Today in Rock & Roll History: December 18th

1961: Sam Cooke recorded “Twistin’ the Night Away” at RCA’s studios in Hollywood with session musicians from Los Angeles’ Wrecking Crew.

1961: Just over a week after reaching the top of the Cash Box chart, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by the Tokens hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Originally written and recorded in South Africa in 1939, the song was adapted to English and covered by several pop and folk artists in the 1950s and 1960s. The Tokens’ version became the most well-known and was the group’s only top 10 hit.

1962: The Beatles returned to Hamburg, Germany for the fifth and final time to begin a 13-day residency playing at the Star Club.

1965: After signing with RCA Victor Records a month earlier, Jefferson Airplane had their first recording session in Los Angeles, where they recorded their debut single, “It’s No Secret,” written by vocalist Marty Balin.

1968: Janis Joplin began rehearsals with her new group the Kozmic Blues Band in San Francisco.

1971: Sly and the Family Stone had their first and only #1 album on the Billboard pop chart with their sixth LP, There’s a Riot Goin’ On. The lead single, “Family Affair,” was also at the top of the singles chart for its third and final week.

1975: At a press conference in London, Rod Stewart announced the breakup of the Faces with plans to start a new band. A spokesperson for Stewart cited guitarist Ron Wood’s increasing association with the Rolling Stones as the reason for the band’s breakup. Shortly after, Wood was declared an official member of the Stones after the departure of Mick Taylor.

1978: Led Zeppelin completed work on their eighth and final studio album, In Through the Out Door.

1982: Hall and Oates scored their fifth #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with their biggest hit, “Maneater.”

Birthdays Today

Allen Klein, businessman, music publisher, founder of ABKCO Music & Records, and business manager for artists that included Sam Cooke, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles, was born in Newark, NJ in 1931.

Chas Chandler, bassist for the Animals who, after becoming a talent scout, found then-unknown guitarist Jimmy James performing at Greenwich Village’s Cafe Wha? and convinced him to go to England, where they formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience with Chandler as manager, was born Bryan James Chandler in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 1938.

Sam Andrew, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of Big Brother and the Holding Company who left in 1968 with Janis Joplin to form the Kozmic Blues Band, was born in Taft, CA in 1941.

Keith Richards, singer, songwriter, guitarist, solo artist, and co-founder of the Rolling Stones, was born in Dartford, Kent, England in 1943.

Bobby Keys, saxophonist who recorded and performed with the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Harry Nilsson, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, George Harrison, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and others, was born in Slaton, TX in 1943.

Bill Nelson, chief songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist of Be-Bop Deluxe, was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England in 1948.

Elliot Easton, lead guitarist for the Cars, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1953.