December – In Rock History
Number One Songs
1957 Jailhouse Rock – Elvis
1961 Please Mr Postman – The Marvelettes
1964 Leader Of The Pack – The Shangri-Las
1966 Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
1967 Daydream Believer – The Monkees
1971 Family Affair – Sly & The Family Stone
1972 Me And Mrs Jones – Billy Paul
1975 Fly Robin Fly – Silver Connection
1978 Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? – Rod Stewart
1981 Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie
1982 Mickey – Toni Basil
1986 The Final Countdown – Europe
1988 Every Rose Has It’s Thorn – Poison
1991 Set Adrift On Memory Bliss – PM Dawn
1994 Here Comes The Hotstepper – Ini Kamoze
1996 No Diggity – Blackstreet ft Dr Dre
2000 Stan – Eminem
2003 Hey Ya! – Outkast
Glenn Miller’s plane crashes and goes missing over the English Channel. Later, evidence suggests that the plane may have been shot down accidentally by a missile from a Royal Air Force plane.
Carl Perkins records ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ at Sun Studios in Memphis. Several months earlier he witnessed a dancer getting angry with his date for scuffing his blue suede shoes and just days afterwards Johnny Cash remarked that a song about blue suede shoes would be a good idea. Perkins couldn’t sleep the night of Cash’s comment so he got out of bed and wrote the song.
Four Sun Records stars, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash (later known as The Million Dollar Quartet) record and impromptu session in Sun Studios by chance. Carl Perkins plans to record several songs and Sam Phillips insists that he use a piano man, Jerry Lee Lewis, to ‘fatten’ up the sound. During the session both Elvis and Johnny Cash ‘pop in’ to the studio. Phillips records the entire session and even rings the local newspaper for some publicity. The following day an article entitled “The Million Dollar Quarter” appears in the Memphis Press-Scimitar. The recordings, however, are not released for another 25 years.
The Beatles release ‘Rubber Soul’, which is certified Gold (100,000 sales) by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) only two-and-a-half weeks after it’s release.
Ray Charles is convicted for a drug possession charge from a bust that occurred two years ago in Boston. Charles, who has been a heroin addict for nearly 20 years, quits the drug and pays a ten thousand dollar fine.
Montreaux Casino burns to the ground during a concert by The Mothers Of Invention. The incident is later immortalised by the opening band at the gig, Deep Purple, when they write the song ‘ Smoke On The Water’.
One week later Frank Zappa is pushed into an orchestra pit by a fan and suffers a broken leg and ankle as well as a fractured skull. He has to spend nine months in a wheelchair and an additional three months in a surgical brace.
‘Saturday Night Fever’ premieres in New York City, which popularizes and spreads the Disco craze.
The film is based on a 1976 New York magazine article entitled “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night”, whose author knew nothing about the Disco subculture, so he used his imagination and made the entire story up.
The film is one of the first to use cross-media marketing, where the single from the soundtrack, ‘Stayin’ Alive’ was used to promote the film and after it’s release the film made the entire soundtrack popular.
The ‘Saturday Night Fever’ album would go on to become the biggest selling soundtrack of all time.
‘Escape (The Pina Colada Song)’ by Rupert Holmes ends the year at Number 1 and spends a total of three weeks in the top spot.
Hall & Oates have the Number 1 song in the US Singles chart with ‘Maneater’. The song would go on to become their biggest hit and help them become the most popular recording duo of all time.
Lionel Richie reaches Number 1 in the US Singles chart with ‘Say You Say Me’. It marks the ninth consecutive year that Richie has a chart topping hit, which began in 1977 with the Commodores and the song ‘Three Times A Lady’.
Kenny G sets a world record during a promotional stop in J&R Music World for his greatest hits album in New York. He takes a deep breath and then holds an E-flat tune on his saxophone for an amazing 45 minutes and 12 seconds.
James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, dies at the age of 73 after being hospitalized in Atlanta for pneumonia.