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: Capitol Records released the Beatles’ first US single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” backed with “I Saw Her Standing There.” A little over a month later, the single reached #1 in the US.

1964: The Beatles began three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Feel Fine,” the group’s third #1 single 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, who contributed the song’s flamenco-esque guitar solo.

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

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 time 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.

1971: America’s self-titled debut album was released in the UK, where the band had formed. The LP was released in the US in March and went to #1 on the Billboard pop chart for five weeks.

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.

1980: Warren Zevon released his first live album, Stand in the Fire. The LP was recorded during a five-day residency at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, California and was dedicated to film director Martin Scorsese.

1988: Fine Young Cannibals released “She Drives Me Crazy,” the second single from group’s second studio album, The Raw & the Cooked.

2006: David Gilmour released a live version of “Arnold Layne,” a song written by Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett and recorded by the band in 1967. The three track single included two new versions of the song both performed at Gilmour’s recent performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London—one with guest vocalist David Bowie and another with former Pink Floyd bandmate and the song’s original lead singer, Richard Wright.

Birthdays Today

Abdul “Duke” Fakir, singer and 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.

George Porter Jr., bassist and singer for The Meters who has performed and recorded with many other artists, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1947.

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.

Henning Schmitz, sound engineer and keyboardist for Kraftwerk, was born in Germany 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.