Today in Rock & Roll History: December 29th

1958: Jackie Wilson scored his first #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with “Lonely Teardrops.” By the end of January the record became Wilson’s first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 pop chart, ultimately reaching #7 in February.

1963: Influential American folk music group the Weavers gave their farewell concert at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.

1965: The Supremes released “My World Is Empty Without You,” the second single from their eighth studio album, I Hear a Symphony.

1966: The Beatles began recording “Penny Lane” at EMI’s studios in London. The song was later released along with “Strawberry Fields Forever” as a double A-side single.

1967: Singer, guitarist, songwriter, and Traffic co-founder Dave Mason quit the band just as they were releasing their debut album to begin a solo career. Mason rejoined Traffic midway through sessions for their next album only to leave again. Mason later briefly toured with Traffic in the early 1970s and afterward played with the band on and off.

1968: Motown Records reached a major milestone when five of the top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 were products of the label: “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder, “Love Child” by the Supremes, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” by the Supremes and the Four Tops, and “Cloud Nine” by the Temptations.

1973: “Living for the City,” the second single from Stevie Wonder’s sixteenth studio album, Innervisions, reached the top of the Billboard R&B chart.

1973: Jim Croce had his second and final #1 in the US with “Time in a Bottle.” Originally released as part of Croce’s third studio album, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, the song was not intended for release as a single, but the song’s subject matter of dealing with death and mortality resonated after Croce’s death in September 1973, leading ABC Records to issue it as a single.

1982: Neil Young released his twelfth studio album, Trans. It was his first album with the Geffen Records label after leaving Reprise and features an electronic sound created with instruments including a synthesizer, a Synclavier and a vocoder. Young was reportedly inspired by the work of German group Kraftwerk, but has said that the distorting of his voice reflected his attempts to communicate with his son, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Birthdays Today

Matt “Guitar” Murphy, blues guitarist who played with Memphis Slim, The Blues Brothers and Howlin’ Wolf, was born in Sunflower, MS in 1929.

Ray Thomas, singer, composer, and flautist for The Moody Blues, was born in Stourport-on-Severn, England in 1941.

Rick Danko, bassist, songwriter, and singer for The Band, was born in Blayney, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada in 1942.

Jerry Gross, member of doo-wop group The Dovells, was born Jerome David Gross in Philadelphia, PA in 1942.

Barbara Alston, singer and founding member of The Crystals, was born in Baltimore, MD in 1943.

Marianne Faithfull, singer, songwriter, and actress, was born in Hampstead, London, England in 1946.

Cozy Powell, drummer who played with many bands and artists including The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Gary Moore, Robert Plant, Brian May, Emerson, Lake & Powell, and Black Sabbath and appears on dozens of albums, was born Colin Trevor Flooks in Cirencester, England in 1947.

Charlie Spinosa, trumpet player for John Fred and his Playboy Band, was born in 1948.

Yvonne Elliman, singer, songwriter, and actress, was born in Honolulu, HI in 1951.

Jimmy Copley, drummer and session musician who worked with Jeff Beck, Graham Parker, Paul Young, Deep Purple, Tears for Fears, and Manfred Mann, was born in London, England in 1953.

Neil Giraldo, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, and husband of Pat Benatar, was born in Cleveland, OH in 1955.

Jim Reid, lead vocalist and co-founder of The Jesus and Mary Chain, was born in East Kilbride, Scotland in 1961.

Glen Phillips, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and co-founder of Toad the Wet Sprocket, was born in Santa Barbara, CA in 1970.