The late Johnny Mercer (Academy Award winning composer of‘Moon River’, ‘Days Of Wine And Roses’ and ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine’, and the co-founder of Capitol Records) was born in 1909

The late Hank Ballard (born John Henry Kendricks – ‘Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go’) was born in 1927 … Many sites list his birth date as 1936 but his grave marker in Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta, GA shows it as 1927
Rock Factoid: In 1958, Ballard wrote and recorded ‘The Twist’. The song was issued as the B-side of ‘Teardrops On Your Letter’ and was quickly forgotten. But a year later, teenagers in Baltimore began imitating the song’s dance steps on a locally televised dance party.
Dick Clark became aware of the sensation and began auditioning Ballard wanna-be’s. He discovered Chubby Checker, who took the song to #1 not once, but two times, in 1960 and 1962.

Kirk Hammett (lead guitarist with Metallica – ‘Enter Sandman’) is 52

John Parr (‘St. Elmo’s Fire’) is 60

Graham Parker (lead singer with Graham Parker & The Rumour – ‘Passion Is No Ordinary Word’) is 64

Rudy Sarzo (bass guitar with Quiet Riot – ‘Metal Health’) is 64

Conleth ‘Con’ Cluskey (The Bachelors – ‘Diane’) is 73

Bill Haley married his pregnant girlfriend four days after he divorced his first wife—1952

ABC Radio Network banned Rosemary Clooney’s ‘Mambo Italiano’ due to concerns over the song’s “offensive lyrics”—1954

Ricky Nelson recorded ‘Stood Up’—1957

London newspapers reported the Church of England had asked The Beatles to record a traditional Christmas song (the band declined)—1963

The Spiral Starecase recorded ‘More Today Than Yesterday’—1968

Ted Heath (musician and big band leader who led Britain’s greatest post-war big band, recording more than 100 albums and selling over 20 million records) died (after a lengthy illness)—1969

Three Dog Night released the ‘Naturally’ album—1970
Rock Factoid: It produced three Top 20 hits: ‘Joy To The World’, ‘Liar’ and ‘One Man Band’.

Hal Kratzsch (original member of The Four Freshmen – ‘It’s A Blue World’) died (leukemia)—1970

The Dave Clark Five released ‘The Dave Clark Five Play Good Old Rock N’ Roll’ in the U.S.—1970
Rock Factoid: No, it wasn’t an album. The A-side of the single contained a medley of ‘Rock N’ Roll Music’, ‘Blueberry Hill’, ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’, ‘My Blue Heaven’, ‘Keep A Knockin’ and ‘Lovin’ You’. The B-side featured ‘One Night’, ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ and ‘Memphis, Tennessee’.
Rock Factoid #2: It didn’t chart. Maybe it was the cover photo.

Blues legend Herman ‘Junior’ Parker (‘Drownin’ On Dry Land’) died (during surgery on a brain tumor)—1971

Danny Whitten (guitarist with Crazy Horse, Neil Young’s backing band – ‘Down By The River’) died (drug overdose)—1972
Rock Factoid: Young wrote and recorded ‘The Needle And The Damage Done’ (before Whitten’s death) with direct references to Whitten’s addiction and its role in the destruction of his talent.
Rock Factoid #2: In October 1972, Whitten – who had been fired by Young in 1970 for his drug dependency – was asked by Young to play rhythm guitar on Young’s upcoming tour. While the rest of the group rehearsed, Whitten lagged behind, never in sync with the rest of the group. Young felt he had no choice but to once again fire Whitten from the band. Later that night Whitten died from a fatal combination of Valium, which he was taking for severe knee arthritis, and alcohol, which he was using in an attempt to get over his heroin addiction.

Doug Roberts (drummer with Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs – ‘Sugar Shack’ and ‘Bottle Of Wine’) died (cause unknown)—1981

Paul McCartney released ‘Spies Like Us’ / ‘My Carnival’—1985
Rock Factoid: The single peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the last time (to date) McCartney would reach the Top 10.

Phil Collins’ film Buster premiered—1988

Paul McCartney’s birth certificate sold for $18,000 at auction—1990

Nirvana taped their appearance for MTV Unplugged at Sony Music Studios in New York City. It aired the following month and the following year it entered the Billboard 200 album chart at #1—1993

Cabell ‘Cab’ Calloway, jazz singer and orchestra leader who was known as the ‘Hi De Ho Man’ (the nickname came from the chorus of his most famous song, ‘Minnie The Moocher’) died (complications following a stroke)—1994
Rock Factoid: In 1941, Calloway fired a member of his orchestra after an onstage fight erupted when Calloway was hit with spitballs. He wrongly accused the trumpet player, who then stabbed Calloway in the leg with a small knife. You might remember that guy. His name was Dizzy Gillespie.

Twenty minutes of a Rolling Stones concert (at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX) were streamed on the Internet, making it the first live concert to do so—1994

John Denver’s last recording (‘The Unplugged Collection’) was released in the U.S.—1997

Doug Sahm (lead singer and guitarist with The Sir Douglas Quintet – ‘She’s About A Mover’) died (heart attack)—1999
Rock Factoid: He made his radio debut at the age of five and released his first record ‘A Real American Joe’ at the age of eleven.
Rock Factoid #2: On December 19, 1952, he played on stage with Hank Williams Sr. at the Skyline Club in Austin, Texas. It was Hank Williams’ last performance. He died 13 days later.
Rock Factoid #3: The Sir Douglas Quintet chose their name in an effort to make the band seem British to benefit from the British Invasion. This image had its problems; particularly Sahm’s Texas accent in addition to two of the five band member being Hispanic. Some early publicity photos were shot in silhouette to hide that fact.

The Beatles Revolution documentary aired on ABC—2000

Michael Kamen (composer, orchestral arranger and conductor, songwriter – co-wrote ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It for You’ with Bryan Adams) died (heart attack)—2003>

Cy Coleman (composer – ‘Witchcraft’ and Broadway producer) died (heart attack)—2004

John Hughey (pedal steel guitar player for Conway Twitty – ‘Hello Darlin’) died (heart disease)—2007
Rock Factoid: A member of the Pedal Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, Hughey was known for a distinctive playing style called “crying steel”, which focused primarily on the higher range of the guitar.
Rock Factoid #2: In addition to working with Twitty for 20 years, Hughey recorded and toured with Vince Gill (‘Look At Us’ and ‘I Still Believe In You’) for over a decade, and also recorded songs with Elvis Presley (‘In The Ghetto’), Shania Twain (‘You’re Still The One’), Loretta Lynn, Marty Stuart, Willie Nelson, The Allman Brothers and others.

Johnny Almond (saxophonist with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – ‘Room To Move’ and The Mark-Almond Band – ‘One Way Sunday’) died (cancer)—2009

Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2014 All Rights Reserved.
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