Today in Rock & Roll History: December 24th

1964: The Yardbirds opened for Another Beatles’ Christmas Show at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. Addtional guests included Freddie And The Dreamers, Sounds Incorporated, Elkie Brooks, The Yardbirds, Michael Haslam, The Mike Cotton Sound and Ray Fell. Up-and-coming songwriter Graham Gouldman later wrote “For Your Love” with them in mind after seeing them perform. The new pop direction heralded by the group’s recording of the song soon lead to Eric Clapton’s departure.

1964: The Beatles had the Christmas #1 on the UK chart for the second year with their sixth British #1 song “I Feel Fine,” which had topped the singles charts for the third week.

1965: The Beatles had the #1 album in the UK for the third Christmas in a row with Rubber Soul.

1966: At a Christmas Eve taping session at Allegro Studios, Tommy James recorded his vocals for “I Think We’re Alone Now.” Like many early releases by Tommy James and the Shonells, James and Eddie Gray sang lead while the band’s remaining members provided backing vocals. Studio musicians were used to make up the rhythm section. The song became the group’s fourth #1 song in the US and sold over a million copies.

1966: “(I Know) I’m Losing You” by The Temptations went to #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart.

1971: The New York Dolls made their live debut at a Christmas Party at the Endicott Hotel in New York City.

1972: David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars kicked off a short UK tour with a triumphant homecoming show at the Rainbow Theatre in London.

1972: When neighbors complained about noise from a concert by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band at the University of Miami, local police shut the show down, resulting in a two-hour student riot so fierce the band was forced to retreat to their dressing room.

1974: Husband and wife James Taylor and Carly Simon invited a small group that included Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell to their Los Angeles residence. They reportedly went caroling door to door through the Hollywood Hills before heading to the Troubadour nightclub.

1977: Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch had his first solo top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Sentimental Lady,” a song originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac for the group’s sixth studio album, Bare Trees, in 1972. Mick Fleetwood was invited to play drums for the song and Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham provided backup vocals. The group’s members also served as the track’s producers.

1994: Pearl Jam scored their second #1 on the Billboard pop chart with their third studio album, Vitalogy. First released on vinyl, it held the record for most vinyl sales in one week since sales tracking began in 1991 until 2014. Upon its CD release, Vitalogy became the second-fastest selling album in history, only behind the band’s previous release Vs., selling 877,000 copies in its first week.

Birthdays Today

Dave Bartholomew, bandleader, composer, arranger, record producer, and prominent New Orleans musician whose biggest success came from his partnership with Fats Domino, was born in Edgard, LA in 1918.

Lee Dorsey, 1960s pop and R&B singer known for his 1961 hit “Ya Ya” and for writing “Working in a Coal Mine,” was born Irving Lee Dorsey in New Orleans, LA in 1924.

Michael Curb, musician, record producer, record executive, founder of Curb Records, politician, and leader of his own group, the The Mike Curb Congregation, was born in Savannah, GA in 1944.

Jan Akkerman, co-founder and guitarist of Focus and a solo artist, was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1946.

Gary Lachman aka Gary Valentine, bassist for Blondie, was born in Bayonne, NJ in 1955.

Ian Burden, keyboardist and bass guitarist for The Human League, was born in Newark-on-Trent, England in 1957.

Darren Wharton, keyboardist and vocalist for Thin LIzzy, was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, England in 1961.

Mary Ramsey, half of folk duo John & Mary and violinist for 10,000 Maniacs who became the group’s lead singer after Natalie Merchant’s departure, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1963.

Doyle Bramhall II, guitarist, songwriter, and producer, was born in Dallas, TX in 1968.