Today in Rock & Roll History: December 7th

1962: The Rolling Stones held an audition for a possible replacement for bass player and founding member Dick Taylor at the Wetherby Arms pub in London’s Chelsea neighborhood. Auditionee Bill Wyman expressed an interest in rock & roll artists like Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Cochran, to which the band insisted they were a blues band. Wyman offered the group the opportunity to freely use his Vox AC30 bass amp and Watkins Westminster amp and further sweetened the deal by buying the band’s broke members cigarettes and a round of drinks. Wyman was hired and stayed with the band for the next twenty-eight years.

1968: In Britain’s New Musical Express magazine, former Hollies member Graham Nash announced the formation of Crosby, Stills & Nash with former Byrds member David Crosby and Stephen Stills from Buffalo Springfield.

1968: The Beatles’ self-titled ninth studio album, commonly referred to as the the “White Album,” debuted at the top of the UK chart. The album remained at the #1 spot for seven of the next eight weeks. A few days before the year’s end, the album reached #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1969: Delaney & Bonnie recorded the live album On Tour with Eric Clapton at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, England. The album features the duo’s best-known touring band, which included Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, and Dave Mason, many of whom later worked with George Harrison and Eric Clapton on their debut solo albums and, along with Clapton, formed the band Derek and the Dominos.

1971: Paul McCartney’s new band, Wings, released their first album, Wild Life, in Britain and America. Paul, his wife Linda, and session drummer Denny Seiwell, who had all worked on McCartney’s previous album, Ram, were joined by former Moody Blues guitarist and vocalist Denny Laine. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios earlier in July, McCartney had been inspired by Bob Dylan’s quick recording schedule and recorded the album in less than a week. Looking to capture the raw, fresh sound of a live studio recording, five of the eight tracks were recorded in a single take.

1973: Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s fourth studio album, Brain Salad Surgery, was released in the UK. It was later released in North America in early January 1974. The album’s working title was Whip Some Skull on Ya, but was later changed to Brain Salad Surgery, a phrase likely taken from the song “Right Place, Wrong Time” by Dr. John, which had been a hit that summer.

1973: The Temptations released 1990, their eighteenth studio album and their final LP written and produced by Norman Whitfield.

1974: Jamaican Carl Douglas achieved his first hit and only #1 single with “Kung Fu Fighting.”

1976: A day before the release of the Eagles’ fifth studio album, Hotel California, the LP’s lead single, “New Kid in Town,” was released.

1979: The Clash released “London Calling,” the lead single and title track from their third studio album.

1979: “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin, from their eighth and final studio album, In Through the Out Door, was released as a single in the US with “Hot Dog” as its B-side. It was the group’s last American single before they disbanded the following year.

1991: U2’s seventh studio album, Achtung Baby, debuted at #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1991: Michael Jackson topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “Black Or White.”

1998: R.E.M. released “Lotus,” the second single from their eleventh studio album, Up.

2007: Three years after his death, Ray Charles was honored in his hometown of Albany, Georgia with the unveiling of a bronze statue of the musician as part of a newly renovated park, dubbed Ray Charles Plaza.

Birthdays Today

Louis Prima, singer, songwriter, actor, bandleader, and trumpeter known as The King of Swing, who helped popularize jump blues in the 1940s and 1950s, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1910.

Harry Chapin, singer-songwriter, activist, humanitarian, film-maker, and producer, was born in New York City in 1942.

Mandré, synthesizer and keyboard player best known for recording with Motown Records, who also toured with acts like The Who, Labelle, the Buddy Miles Band, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Frank Zappa, was born Michael Andrew Lewis in Omaha, NE in 1948.

Tom Waits, singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and actor, was born in Pomona, CA in 1949.

Tim Butler, songwriter, bassist, and co-founder of the Psychedelic Furs, was born in Teddington, Middlesex, England in 1958.