Today in Rock & Roll History: December 19th

1955: Carl Perkins recorded “Blue Suede Shoes” for Sun Records at Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee after writing the song just days earlier. Compared to the cover version by Elvis Presley, it was Perkins’ original recording that was the bigger hit, reaching #2 on Cash Box chart, making it his biggest pop hit. The song is considered one of the first rockabilly records.

1956: Breaking the record for the highest number of concurrent singles by a single artist, Elvis Presley held nine positions on Billboard 100 chart. Presley held the record until 1964 when the Beatles had fourteen entries on the chart.

1964: Petula Clark debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Downtown.” Six weeks later it became her first of two singles reach #1 on the chart.

1964: The Beatles’ fourth album “Beatles For Sale” started a seven week run at the top of the UK album chart. The group’s fourth album in just 21 months, it spent a total of eleven non-consecutive weeks at #1 and stayed in the British top 20 for 46 weeks.

1964: The Supremes reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the third of five successive chart-topping hits, “Come See About Me,” the sixth and final single from their album Where Did Our Love Go.

1964: The Rolling Stones released “Heart of Stone” as a single in the US, where it went to #19 on the Billboard chart.

1965: After being unable to join the Kinks on a trip to the US in June, the Moody Blues finally made their first visit to America, performing first on The Ed Sullivan Show. A few days later the band appeared on ABC’s Shingdig before being featured on the Murray the K Christmas Show at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre, where they played a grueling nine days with four shows each day. The band’s final stop was an appearance on NBC’s Hullabaloo on January 10 before returning to England.

1969: The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record, the group’s final Christmas record, was released to members of their fan club in the UK and US.

1987: The Pet Shop Boys scored their third UK #1 single with “Always on My Mind.” In the US, the song became their fifth top 10 hit, reaching #4.

Birthdays Today

Professor Longhair, New Orleans blues singer and pianist, was born Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd in Bogalusa, LA in 1918.

Phil Ochs, folk protest singer and songwriter, was born in El Paso, TX in 1940.

Maurice White, founder, lead singer, and songwriter of Earth, Wind, and Fire, was born in Memphis, TN in 1941.

Alvin Lee, lead singer and guitarist of Ten Years After, was born in Nottingham, England in 1944.

Zal Yanovsky, lead guitarist and singer with the Lovin’ Spoonful, was born in Toronto, Canada in 1944.

John McEuen, folk musician and founder of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, was born in Oakland, CA in 1945.

Rod Evans, vocalist and original member of Deep Purple and Captain Beyond, was born in Eton, Buckinghamshire, England in 1947.

Jeff “Stick” Davis, bassist for Amazing Rhythm Aces, was born in 1952.