1955: Bill Haley and his Comets had their only #1 record on the UK chart with “Rock Around the Clock.”
1957: Sam Cooke started six weeks at the top of Billboard’s R&B chart with his first hit record, “You Send Me.” A week later the song went to #1 on the “Best Sellers in Stores” pop chart.
1964: The Zombies recorded “Tell Her No.” Written by keyboardist Rod Argent, the song became one of the group’s three big American hits, reaching #6, and a minor hit in England, where it peaked at #42 in February 1965.
1965: Nearly a month after its release, “My Generation” by the Who peaked at #2 on the UK singles chart. In the US, the single reached #74 on the Billboard chart.
1966: The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their first UK gig at the Bag of Nails club in London. Attendees of the live show included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Donovan, Kevin Ayers, Brian Jones, and Terry Reid among several other rock icons.
1966: The Beatles recorded “Pantomime: Everywhere It’s Christmas,” which was distributed on flexi-disc to members of their fan club later in December.
1967: The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s debut single and biggest hit, “Incense And Peppermints,” hit #1 in the US.
1967: “Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)” by John Fred & the Playboys entered the Billboard Hot 100. It became the group’s only top 40 hit and ultimately reached #1 in January 1968.
1968: Three days after its release in Britain, the Beatles’ self-titled ninth album, commonly known as “the White Album,” was issued in the US.
1969: Four years and a month after the Beatles were made Members of the Most Honorable Order of the British Empire by the Queen in October of 1965, John Lennon returned his MBE medal as a protest against England’s involvement in the wars in Biafra and Vietnam. Lennon held a press conference, stating “Lots of people who complained about us getting the MBE received theirs for heroism in the war. They got them for killing people. We deserved ours for not killing people.” The medal itself disappeared for years, later turning up in early 2009 in a vault in St. James’ Palace in Westminster.
1970: Laura Nyro released her fourth album, Christmas and the Beads of Sweat. The final installment in a trilogy made up of 1968’s “Eli and the Thirteenth Confession” and 1969’s “New York Tendaberry,” the album was recorded with producers Felix Cavaliere and Arif Mardin.
1971: Carly Simon released “Anticipation,” the lead single and title track from her second studio album.
1971: After being forced to decide between staying in the Hollies or recording solo, lead singer Allan Clarke departed the band for the first time. He later rejoined the Hollies in the summer of 1973.
1972: The Who released “Relay,” a song written by guitarist Pete Townshend for the band’s aborted rock opera Lifehouse. It was also their last non-album single until “Real Good Looking Boy” in 2004.
1974: Aretha Franklin released her twenty-first studio album, With Everything I Feel in Me.
1976: After fifteen years of touring—first as a backing band and then as a recording act in their town right—The Band performed The Last Waltz, their “farewell concert appearance,” at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day. They were joined by an all-star ensemble that included Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, the Staple Singers, and more. The event was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and made into a documentary of the same name, released in 1978, and has since been hailed as one of the greatest concert films ever made.
1977: Eric Clapton released his fifth solo studio album, Slowhand. Titled after Clapton’s nickname, it is one of his most commercially and critically successful albums.
1978: Nicolette Larson debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Lotta Love.” Both Larson and Linda Ronstadt had sung backing vocals on the original version of the song by its writer, Neil Young, earlier that year. Larson’s version became her only top 10 single, peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ronstadt has stated that it was she who suggested Larson record the song, and Larson’s producer thanked Ronstadt by having a top-of-the-line sound system installed in her Mercedes convertible.
1984: Band Aid, an all-star ensemble of British artists that included Paul Young, Sting, Phil Collins, members of U2, Boy George, George Michael, Paul Weller, and many others, recorded “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” at SARM Studios in London. The single quickly became a best-seller and raised millions for famine relief in Ethiopia.
1985: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their first official live album, Pack Up the Plantation: Live!. The double LP was primarily recorded at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles during their 1985 tour but also includes several tracks from previous tours.
1997: Yes released seventeenth studio album, Open Your Eyes.
1997: The original lineup of the Zombies reunited onstage for the first time in 30 years at London’s Jazz Cafe to perform and promote their new box set Zombie Heaven.
Nat Adderley, jazz trumpeter and younger brother of Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, whom he supported and played with for many years, was born in Tampa, FL in 1931.
Percy Sledge, R&B, soul, and gospel singer, was born in Leighton, AL in 1940.
Bob Lind, folk singer-songwriter who helped define the 1960s folk rock movement in America and England, was born in Baltimore, MD in 1942.
Bev Bevan, drummer and original member of both the Move and Electric Light Orchestra, was born Beverly Bevan in Sparkhill, Birmingham in 1944.
Val Fuentes, drummer for It’s a Beautiful Day and New Riders of the Purple Sage, was born in Chicago, IL in 1947.
Jocelyn Brown, singer and backing vocalist for artists such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and Boy George, was born in Kinston, NC in 1950.
Bill Morrissey, folk singer-songwriter, was born in Hartford, CT in 1951.
Steve Rothery, original guitarist and the longest continuous member of Marillion, was born in Brampton, West Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1959.
Mark Lanegan, singer-songwriter, solo artist, member of the Screaming Trees, and frequent collaborator with Queens of the Stone Age, was born in Ellensburg, WA in 1964.