1 January, 2018 Grupo Stereo Siete
January 1st: On this Day
1953, American singer-songwriter and musician singer Hank Williams died of a heart attack brought on by a lethal cocktail of pills and alcohol aged 29. Williams is regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time. 35 of his singles (five released posthumously) were placed in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, 11 of which ranked at No.1, including ‘Cold, Cold Heart,’ ‘Hey, Good Lookin’, ‘I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,’ and ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart.’ During his last years Williams’s consumption of alcohol, morphine and painkillers severely compromised his professional life.
1956, Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ went to No.1 on the UK singles chart for the second time. The single is often cited as the biggest-selling vinyl rock and roll single of all time with sales over 25m.
1957, BBC Television aired its new rock & roll show ‘Cool For Cats’ for the first time. With a miniscule budget, the program was forced to rely on artists miming and the talents of a resident dance group (led by Douglas Squires). Ker Robertson, the first host, was succeeded after a few weeks by Kent Walton, later better known for his ITV wrestling commentaries
1959, Johnny Cash played a free concert for the inmates of San Quentin Prison, California. One of the audience members was 19 year-old Merle Haggard, who was in the midst of a 15 year sentence (he served three years) for grand theft auto and armed robbery.
1962, The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records in West Hampstead, London. A&R boss at Decca Dick Rowe turned them down in what is considered one of the biggest mistakes in music industry history, Decca decided to reject the band, selecting instead Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.
1964, The first edition of the BBC TV show Top Of The Pops was transmitted from an old church hall in Manchester, England. Acts miming to their latest releases included The Rolling Stones, (I Wanna Be Your Man), The Dave Clark Five, (Glad All Over), The Hollies, (Stay), and The Swinging Blue Jeans, (Hippy Hippy Shake). The first song played was Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You’. Also featured on disc and film, The Beatles (I Want to Hold Your Hand), Freddie & the Dreamers, Cliff Richard and the Shadows and Gene Pitney.
1966, Simon and Garfunkel started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘The Sounds Of Silence’, a No.13 hit in the UK.
1967, The Doors made their first live television appearance lip-synching their first single ‘Break on Through’ on Shebang, KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles. The single peaked No. 126 on the US chart mainly due to lack of airplay after censors objected to the drug use implied by the line “she gets high”, which is repeated in the middle section of the song.
1968, Billboard magazine reported that for the first time albums had outsold singles in the US with album sales reaching over 192 million units.
1969, Marmalade were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with their version of The Beatles song ‘Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da’, which features on The White Album.
1977, Genesis played the first of three nights at the new-look Rainbow Theatre, London, tickets cost £2.50 ($4.25). The theatre had been completely renovated at a cost of £80,000 ($136,000).
1977, The Clash played the opening night at punk’s first real venue, The Roxy Club in London.
1982, ABBA made their final live appearance as a group when they played in Stockholm, Sweden.
1984, Alexis Korner died of lung cancer aged 55. Know as “the Founding Father of British Blues”, he was a major force behind the UK early 60’s R&B scene. Formed Blues Incorporated; members at various times included Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, Graham Bond and Charlie Watts. Had hits with CCS, including a version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ which was used as the theme for BBC’s Top Of The Pops for several years. Became a radio presenter in the 70’s.
1989, Nirvana signed a one-year recording contract with Sub Pop records. The Seattle based label began not as a record label but as a fanzine (called Subterranean Pop), in the early 80’s, also signed Soundgarden and Mudhoney.
1990, New American radio station WKRL in Florida played the Led Zeppelin track ‘Stairway To Heaven’ for 24 hours, as a prelude to an all Zeppelin format.
1997, American singer songwriter Townes Van Zandt died age 52. His music has been covered by such notable and varied musicians as Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Cowboy Junkies, Andrew Bird, Alison Krauss, and Gillian Welch. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song ‘Pancho and Lefty’, scoring a No.1 hit on the Billboard country music charts.
2002, Eric Clapton married 25-year old Melia McEnery the mother of his baby daughter at a secret ceremony at the 15th Century St Mary Magdalen Church in Ripley, Surrey, England.
2005, In most of Europe, copyright expired on a number of classic pop and rock-and-roll songs recorded in 1954 and earlier, including Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’, and ‘Only You’ by The Platters.
2007, Queen beat The Beatles to be crowned greatest British band of all time by BBC Radio 2 listeners in the UK. They pipped the Fab Four in a live contest, trouncing other finalists The Rolling Stones, Oasis and Take That. The bands were judged on song-writing, lyrics, live performances, originality and showmanship. More than 20,000 listeners voted by email, text and phone.
2008, The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reported that the number of music downloads sold in the UK in the final week of 2007 was double the total of 12 months earlier. In total there were 2.95 million downloads in seven days, the highest ever recorded for any weekly period. And when the whole of the year was taken into account, 77.5 million downloads were sold in the UK in 2007.
2009, According to official UK sales figures Duffy’s debut album Rockferry came top of the year-end chart, with 1.685 million copies sold. Take That had the second biggest seller with The Circus, Kings of Leon, Only By The Night was third, Spirit by Leona Lewis was fourth and Coldplay had the fifth biggest seller with Viva La Vida. X Factor winner Alexandra Burke had the UK’s top-selling single after her version of Hallelujah sold 888,000 copies in the last two weeks of the year.
2011, Chuck Berry cut short a concert at Congress Theater, Chicago, Illinois after collapsing on stage an hour into the show. Berry slumped over a keyboard and did not move for a couple of minutes before being helped off stage, he returned 15 minutes later only to be forced off again almost immediately. The 84 year-old later re-emerged on stage but told fans he had no strength to continue performing.
2013, Patti Page, one of the most popular artists of the 1950s, died at the age of 85. She recorded four US No.1 hits, including ‘Tennessee Waltz’ and the novelty record ‘(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window’. Page recorded her first hit single, ‘Confess’ in 1947. Because of a strike, background singers were not available to provide harmony vocals for the song, so instead, Page decided to overdub her own, thus, Page became the first pop artist to overdub her vocals on a song.
2013, Ultravox’s 1981 hit ‘Vienna’ was voted the UK’s favourite number two single. The song topped a poll by BBC Radio 2 and the Official Charts Company to find the greatest track to miss out on the number one spot. Vienna was held off by novelty track ‘Shaddup You Face’ by Joe Dolce. ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl was voted into second place. Other songs to feature included The Beatles ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’, The Who’s ‘My Generation’ and Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’.