Today in Rock & Roll History: December 26th

1956: “See You Later, Alligator” by Bill Haley and His Comets was released by Decca Records. The record became Haley’s last major hit, reaching #6 on the pop charts and #14 on the R&B chart. It was also his third and final million-selling single.

1963: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles was released by Capitol Records in the US. The record later became the group’s first American #1.

1964: The Beatles began a three-week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Feel Fine,” the group’s third #1 on the chart that year.

1966: Backstage before a show at London’s Uppercut Club, Jimi Hendrix scribbled out the lyrics to “Purple Haze.”

1967: On Boxing Day, the first telecast of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour movie aired on BBC 1. Paul McCartney was reportedly disappointed with the black and white broadcast, claiming it ruined the intended psychedelic color effects.

1967: The Monkees began recording the Boyce and Hart song “Valleri,” with session musician Louie Shelton contributing a flamenco-esque guitar solo.

1968: Led Zeppelin began their first American tour at the Auditorium Arena in Denver, Colorado, opening for Vanilla Fudge, Spirit, and MC5.

1970: “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison became the first solo single by a member of the Beatles to top the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. The single had reached the top of the Cash Box singles chart the week before.

1970: The Supremes topped Billboard’s R&B chart for the last with “Stoned Love.” The single was also the group’s last to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #7.

1970: Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “If You Could Read My Mind,” which later became a top 10 hit, reaching #5.

1979: The Concerts for the People of Kampuchea benefit premiered at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. The four-day concert event featured Paul McCartney, the Who, Queen, the Clash, Elvis Costello, Rockpile, the Specials, and more.

Birthdays Today

Abdul “Duke” Fakir, founding member of the Four Tops, was born in Detroit, MI in 1935.

Phil Spector, highly influential producer and songwriter, known for his “wall of sound” production technique and his association with the collective of Los Angeles session musicians known as “the Wrecking Crew,” was born in The Bronx, NY in 1939.

Bob Carpenter, keyboardist and accordionist for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1946.

Gordon Edwards, guitarist, keyboardist, and vocalist for the Pretty Things, was born in Southport, Lancashire, England in 1946.

John Scofield, pioneering jazz and funk guitarist, was born in Dayton, OH in 1951.

Steve Witherington, drummer for Ace, was born in Enfield, Middlesex, England in 1953.

Stuart David, co-founder of Belle and Sebastian and bassist of the group until 2000, was born in Dumbarton, Scotland in 1969.

James Russell Mercer, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and leader of the Shins, was born in Honolulu, HI in 1970.