Saturday, December 17, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 18

1957:  Tom & Jerry released the first single of their career, called "Hey, Schoolgirl".  We now know them as Simon & Garfunkel.  (Note:  some websites mistakenly show the name of the song as "Hey School Girl"; the correct title is "Hey, Schoolgirl", as shown on the 45 above.)
1961:  "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, a perennial fast mover this time of year on the chart, was up from 66 to 33.
1961:  "The Twist" by Chubby Checker set a Rock Era record at the time with 23 weeks on the chart.

Staggering list of Rock deaths in 2016

Unfortunately, we were very prophetic when we told you last New Year's Eve in our annual production of Rock & Roll Heaven* that the number of Rock Era deaths would skyrocket in the years to come.  That has come to pass, and the number we have lost this year, including some of the giants in the business, is crushing.

As of now, over 180 artists, musicians, managers and record executives have died in 2016, nearly twice as many as last year, which was then a record.  Millions of people will recognize nearly 100 of those.

Please help us honor these fallen greats December 31 on Inside The Rock Era.  Due to the number, we will have to break the special into several segments.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 17

Today's six songs will put us over 100 of The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time* that we have presented thus far since December 1.  I've listened to thousands of Christmas songs over the last 40 years and these are the ones that consistently rate as the most popular.  Unlike most lists of this type, we actually let you listen to the songs so you can decide on your personal favorites.

Friday, December 16, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 17

1955:  Carl Perkins wrote "Blue Suede Shoes".
1957:  Sam Cooke ruled over the R&B chart for a fourth week with "You Send Me".

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 16

Inside the Rock Era is presenting six new songs each day.  All of them make up The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 16

1957:  For the fourth week, Sam Cooke sat atop the R&B chart with "You Send Me".

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 15

We've listened to thousands of Christmas songs over the years, and when you hear a 24-hour Christmas channel or satellite television channel you know there is much filler that you'd really rather not bother with.  Instead, choose the cream of the crop.  We've done the research so you can listen to only the best.  Choose the ones that you particularly like and they make great background music for Christmas parties or on Christmas Day itself.  Our family likes to sit by the Christmas tree listening to these and talking about the songs and why they are so great, sharing memories, and spending quality time together.

Here are six more of The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Jim Lowe Has Died

Jim Lowe, who had the #1 hit "The Green Door" in 1956, died December 12 in East Hampton, New York after a long illness.

Lowe was a successful DJ after graduating from college and recorded the song the same year he started at WCBS in New York City.  

Lowe was 93.

This Date in Rock Music History: December 15

1956:  Elvis Presley performed on the Louisiana Hayride, broadcast live on KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, for the final time after 50 appearances.
 1956:  Fats Domino had one of the biggest R&B songs of all-time with "Blueberry Hill", #1 for a ninth straight week.
1958:  A new soul artist debuted on the chart with "Try Me"; it was the first single by James Brown.
1958:  "Lonely Teardrops" by Jackie Wilson took over at #1 on the R&B chart.
1958:  The Teddy Bears held on to #1 for a third week with "To Know Him Is to Love Him".  There were two new entries in the Top 10:  The great song "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" by the Platters at #6 and, moving from 37 to 10--"The Chipmunk Song" by the Chipmunks.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 14

We are a little more than halfway in our Christmas spectacular in 2011--The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  Here are six more great ones:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 14

1956:  Bill Haley starred in the movie Don't Knock the Rock which opened in theaters (it had premiered December 12 in New York City.)
1959:  The Kingston Trio took over at #1 on the Album chart with Here We Go Again!".
1962:  Bill Wyman made his live debut with the Rollin' Stones (as they were known back then) at the Ricky Tick Club in the Star and Garter Hotel in Windsor, England.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 13

We continue with six more great Christmas songs!:

Monday, December 12, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 13

1961:  The movie The Young Ones, starring Cliff Richard, premiered in London.
1961:  Mike Smith of Decca Records saw the Beatles perform at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England.
1962:  Elvis Presley had his 13th #1 song in the U.K. with "Return To Sender".
1966:  Jimi Hendrix recorded "Foxey Lady".
1966:  Hendrix made his television debut on Ready Steady Go!  on ITV in the U.K.
1969:  The Supremes' great song "Someday We'll Be Together" took over at #1 on the R&B chart.

1969:  "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" by B.J. Thomas zoomed to #1 on the Adult chart.  
1969:  B.J. Thomas moved into the Top 10 overall with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head".
1969:  Abbey Road was one of the great albums of the Rock Era to this point and on this date, the Beatles made it seven weeks at #1.  
1970:  Dave Edmunds topped the U.K. chart with "I Hear You Knocking".

1971:  Climax re-released the great 45 "Precious And Few", one of The Top Love Songs of the Rock Era*.  The song was originally released on Carousel Records in July, but a cease and desist order by the owner of an already established Carousel Records forced the company to rename themselves Rocky Road Records and release the Climax single on that label.
1974:  George Harrison had lunch at the White House with U.S. President Gerald Ford.
1975:  Barry Manilow was on a roll and "I Write The Songs" was the new #1 song on the Adult chart.

1975:  Chicago IX, the group's Greatest Hits package, rose to #1 on the Album chart.  Red Octopus by Jefferson Starship was still hanging around and Rock of the Westies by Elton John reversed course and headed back up.  Windsong from John Denver was third with the self-titled debut by K.C. and the Sunshine Band #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  Paul Simon slipped with Still Crazy After All These Years, Gratitude jumped from 98 to 7 for Earth, Wind & Fire, History/America's Greatest Hits was #8, Alive!  by Kiss edged up and Save Me from the Silver Convention cracked the Top 10.
1975:  A song on the move for C.W. McCall--"Convoy", up from #82 to #29 on this date.

     The Brothers Gibb were well underway in their "second career"...

1975:  The Silver Convention were holding steady at #1 for a third week with "Fly, Robin, Fly".  Right behind them, the Staple Singers ("Let's Do It Again") and Jigsaw's "Sky High".  K.C. and the Sunshine Band fell down with "That's The Way (I Like It)" while newcomers the Bay City Rollers were up to 5 with "Saturday Night".  The rest of the Top 10:  The Ohio Players burst onto the scene with "Love Rollercoaster", the Bee Gees were up to 7 with their great song "Nights On Broadway", Diana Ross jumped from 19 to 8 with the song from the movie in which she starred in--"Theme From 'Mahogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To)", Simon & Garfunkel scored their 17th hit with "My Little Town" and Sweet crawled into the list with "Fox On The Run".
1980:  Stevie Wonder was doing fine on the R&B chart, as "Master Blaster (Jammin')" was #1 for a seventh week.
1980:  Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits was the new #1 album as he was certainly as hot as anyone at the time.
1980:  Newcomer Christopher Cross took over at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Never Be The Same".

                     Pat reached the Top 10 for the first time...

1980:  Kenny Rogers remained at the top for the fifth week with "Lady".  Leo Sayer had his biggest career hit with "More Than I Can Say" while Queen, by now #1 in most markets, was third with "Another One Bites The Dust".  The late John Lennon moved up with "(Just Like) Starting Over" and Stevie Wonder maintained at 5 with "Master Blaster".  The rest of the Top 10:  Neil Diamond with "Love On The Rocks", Bruce Springsteen found himself at #7 with "Hungry Heart", Barbra Streisand was at #8 with "Woman In Love" and also moved from 14-9 with her duet "Guilty" with Barry Gibb and Pat Benatar reached the Top 10 for the first time with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot".

1982:  The Stray Cats released the single "Stray Cat Strut".
1983:  During Robert Plant's solo concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, former Led Zeppelin mate Jimmy Page joined him to perform the old Roy Head song "Treat Her Right".
1985:  Phil Collins was a guest star on the television show Miami Vice.

            "The Way It Is", ahh but don't you believe them!

1986:  The Way It Is" moved to #1 for newcomer Bruce Hornsby & the Range.  The Bangles were within striking distance with "Walk Like An Egyptian".  Huey Lewis & the News peaked at 3 with "Hip To Be Square" and Sun Valley, Idaho's Peter Cetera slipped from #1 with "The Next Time I Fall", his duet with Amy Grant.  The rest of the Top 10:  Wang Chung was "chungin'" with "Everybody Have Fun Tonight", Bon Jovi's former #1 "You Give Love A Bad Name", Billy Idol moved up three with "To Be A Lover", "Notorious" entered the list for Duran Duran, Gregory Abbott had a big hit with "Shake You Down", which moved from 15 to 9 and Ben E. King amazingly came back to the Top 10 25 years after he originally was there with "Stand By Me", spurred by the movie of the same name.

1986:  Bruce Hornsby & the Range were at #1 again on the Adult Contemporary chart with "The Way It Is".

1991:  Mariah Carey released the single "Someday".
1991:  John Denver hosted the special John Denver's Montana Christmas Skies on CBS.

1994:  Enigma released the single "Return To Innocence".
1994:  Prince was on The Late Show with David Letterman.
1996:  The great movie Jerry Maguire, which starred Glenn Frey, opened in theatres.

   The Girls were red-hot with "Spice Up Your Life"...

1997:  Spiceworld, the Spice Girls' follow-up album, moved into the Top 10.

1997:  Elton John's tribute to the late Princess Diana from England ("Candle In The Wind 1997") was now at 10 weeks at #1.  At this point, only seven songs in the Rock Era had stayed at the top longer.  And Elton was not done.  
1999:  BMI announced that the most-performed song of the century (and it isn't even close) was "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling".
2000:  Melody Maker magazine announced it was shutting down after 74 years.

2000:  Sir Paul McCartney signed copies of his new book Paul McCartney Paintings at Waterstone's in Piccadilly, London.
2000:  Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Aerosmith and Queen were announced as the new inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
2002:  Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin' Spoonful died of a heart attack in Kingston, Ontario, Canada at the age of 57.
2003:  Lauryn Hill doesn't know how to act like the polite guest.  During a performance at the Vatican, Hill read a statement criticizing the Catholic Church for harboring pedophilic priests.  "There is no acceptable explanation for defending the church," she said.
2007:  Joe Cocker received an Officer of the Order of the British Empire medal from Queen Elizabeth of England at Buckingham Palace.

2015:  Luigi Creatore (left), part of the songwriting team Hugo & Luigi with cousin Hugo Peretti ("Can't Help Falling In Love" for Elvis Presley and English lyrics for the Tokens classic "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", among many others), producer for Perry Como, Sam Cooke ("Chain Gang", Twistin' The Night Away and "Wonderful World"), Little Peggy March ("I Will Follow Him"), Van McCoy ("The Hustle") and Jimmie Rodgers ("Honeycomb" and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine"), among others, and co-owner of Roulette Records and Avco Records, died from complications of pneumonia in Boca Raton, Florida at age 93. 

Born This Day:

1933:  Lou Adler, founder of Dunhill Records, producer of the Mamas & Papas, Johnny Rivers, the Grass Roots, Carole King and Barry McGuire and the famous Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 and manager of Jan & Dean, was born in Chicago, Illinois.

1948:  Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, was born in Washington, D.C.
1948:  Ted Nugent was born in Redford, Michigan.  (Note:  Nugent's official website lists that he was born in Detroit, but he doesn't realize that Redford, a suburb of Detroit where he was born, is actually a town.)
1948:  Tony Gomez, organist of the Foundations ("Build Me Up Buttercup") was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  (Note:  several websites show Tony's birth year as 1940; in fact, some list it as both 1940 and 1948!  According to 'The Encyclopedia of Popular Music' by Colin Larkin', Gomez was born in 1948.)

1949:  Randy Owen, guitarist and lead singer of Alabama, was born in Fort Payne, Alabama.

1949:  Tom Verlaine, elite guitarist of the group Television, was born in Wilmington, Delaware.  (Note:  some websites show his birthplace as Morristown, New Jersey, or Mt. Morris, New Jersey.  According to the book 'The Rough Guide to Rock' by Peter Buckley, Tom was born in Wilmington.)
1950:  Davy O'List of Roxy Music and the Nice was born in Chiswick, West London.
1953:  Berton Averre, guitarist of the Knack, was born in Van Nuys, California.
1970:  Daniel Patrick Lohner, who played bass, guitar and keyboards with Nine Inch Nails, was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. 
1974:  Nick McCarthy, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist of Franz Ferdinand, was born in Blackpool, England.

1975:  Tom DeLonge, guitarist and a lead vocalist of Blink-182, was born in Poway, California.
1981:  Amy Lynn Lee, lead singer of Evanescence, was born in Riverside, California.

1989:  Taylor Swift was born in Reading, Pennsylvania.  (Note:  some websites show her birthplace as Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.  According to Taylor's official website, she was born in Reading, and moved with her family to Wyomissing when she was nine years old.)

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 12

Here are six more songs selected to be The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*, meaning we are up to 72 so far:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 12

1955:  Bill Haley & the Comets recorded "See You Later Alligator".
1955:  Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash were at the National Guard Armory in Armory, Mississippi.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 11

We continue our Christmas special with six more Christmas favorites.