portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


December 31st

1962 - Bob Dylan
 Dylan had arrived in the UK on 17th Dec after British TV director Philip Saville had heard Dylan perform in Greenwich Village, and had invited him to take part in a BBC television drama: The Madhouse On Castle Street.

1963 - The Kinks
The site of the Lotus House
The Kinks made their live debut when they played at the Lotus House Restaurant, London. Now recognised as one of the most important and influential rock acts of the era, brothers Ray Davies and Dave Davies remained members throughout the group's 32-year run.
1966 - Neil Diamond
The Monkees started a 7-week run at No.1 on the US singles charts with the Neil Diamond song 'I'm A Believer'. Also No.1 in the UK in 1967.
1967 - Bert Berns
American songwriter and producer Bert Berns died of heart failure aged 38. He wrote many classic songs including 'Twist And Shout', 'Hang On Sloopy', ‘Here Comes the Night’, ‘I Want Candy’, ‘Under the Boardwalk’, ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ and 'Brown Eyed Girl'.

1970 - Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney filed a suit against the rest of The Beatles to dissolve their partnership. According to the court documents, McCartney's main reason for wanting to legally break up the group stemmed from the decision taken by the others to to appoint Rolling Stones manager Allan Klein as their manager. McCartney didn't trust Klein and had wanted his new in-laws, Lee and John Eastman, to look after their affairs. The suit took more than four years of court hearings, with the group officially disbanding in January 1975.

1979 - David Bowie
David Bowie performed an acoustic version of 'Space Oddity' on the UK TV 'Kenny Everett New Year's Show'. Bowie was also seen on the Dick Clark TV show in the US on this date, on his Salute To The Seventies.

1982 - Max's Kansas City closes

Max's Kansas City in New York City closed down. The venue had been a launching pad for such artists as The New York Dolls, Bruce Springsteen and The Velvet Underground.
Paul Morrisey, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Tim Buckley
They all turned up at Max's - Willem De Kooning
Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe at the bar at Max's
The Pistols at Max's

1985 - Ricky Nelson
Ricky Nelson was killed along with six others, when his charted light aircraft crashed in Texas. It's rumoured that freebasing cocaine caused an onboard explosion. Nelson had played himself on his parent's US TV 'The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet.' (1958 US No.1 'Poor Little Fool', 1961 UK No.2 single 'Hello Mary Lou' plus over 30 US Top 40 hit singles).

1991 - Nirvana
Pearl JamNirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers all appeared on the same bill at the Cow Palace, San Francisco, California.

1996 - Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney became a Sir after he was listed in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.
1999 - Manic Street Preachers
The Manic Street Preachers performed to 57,000 fans at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. The Guinness Book of Records confirmed that the concert set a new record as the biggest indoor show ever staged in Europe, tickets £30.

2005 - John Lennon
The John Lennon song Imagine was voted the nations favourite song a quarter of a century after his death. A UK radio station conducted the poll of 7,000 listeners. The Beatles were voted into second and third place with 'Hey Jude' and 'Let It Be.'

2006 - George Michael

George Michael was paid a reported £1.5m for an hour's concert at a Russian billionaire's New Year party. The unnamed businessman paid for Michael to entertain his 300 guests on his private estate 20 miles outside Moscow. Michael had just finished the British leg of his Twentyfive tour which included a free concert for nurses in London.
George and the concert for nurses
George's free concert for Nurses
2009 - Status Quo
Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi from Status Quo were both appointed OBEs for services to music and charity.

2012 - John Lennon & Eric Clapton
A draft of a letter John Lennon written to Eric Clapton on Sept. 29, 1971 asking him to collaborate on a musical project sold for $35,000 at an auction. Still in pristine condition, the letter was originally estimated to fetch somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000.

2015 - Natalie Cole
American singer, songwriter Natalie Cole died aged 65 due to congestive heart failure. The daughter of Nat 'King' Cole, she had the 1989 UK No.2 single 'Miss You Like Crazy', and the hits 'This Will Be', 'Inseparable', and 'Our Love'. In the 1990s, she re-recorded standards by her father, resulting in her biggest success, Unforgettable... with Love, which sold over seven million copies and also won Cole numerous Grammy Awards.


1948 - Donna Summer
US singer Donna Summer, LaDonna Adrian Gaines (1977 UK No.1 single 'I Feel Love' 1979 US No.1 & UK No.11 single 'Hot Stuff, over 25 other top 40 hits). Summer became the first act to be signed by David Geffen to his new Geffen record label. She died on May 17, 2012, at her home in Naples, Florida at the age of 63. She was diagnosed with lung cancer not related to smoking.  A non-smoker, she herself blamed the disease on inhaling dust from the September 11 attacks. Here's her signature tune

1943 - Pete Quaife
English musician Pete Quaife, the original bass guitarist for The Kinks from 1963 until 1969. Known for the 1964 UK No.1 & US No.7 single 'You Really Got Me', the 1967 UK No.2 single 'Waterloo Sunset'.

1942 - Andy Summers
English guitarist Andy Summers, The Police who scored the 1983 UK & US No.1 single 'Every Breath You Take', plus four other UK No.1 singles. Their second album Reggatta de Blanc became the first of five consecutive UK No. 1 albums and The Police won six Grammy Awards and two Brit Awards. Summers has composed music for films including 2010, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, The Wild Life and Weekend at Bernie's.

1930 - Odetta
American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a civil and human rights activist Odetta. She influenced many of the key figures of the folk-revival of that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin. Time magazine included her song 'Take This Hammer' on its list of the 100 Greatest Popular Songs. Martin Luther King Jr. called her the queen of American folk music. Odetta died on 2 December 2008 age 77.


R.I.P 1944-2019

No words will suffice but another brother from another mother is lost to us and the wonderful Neil Innes is mourned across all levels of music and comedy. From 'I'm The Urban Spaceman' to Grimms' 'Rockin' Duck', I adored Neil and his 'How Sweet To Be an Idiot' always struck a poignant chord for me and the missing fifth (seventh ?) Python, friend to the stars (George Harrison) lune and funster without equal we are all a bit more sad today as we hear of Neil's death. The giggling will stop

Monday, December 30, 2019


December 30th

1963 - The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones performed at Studio 51 in Soho, London, on the same bill as Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions, who featured a young Rod Stewart. The Stones played a regular Sunday afternoon gig at the club from 4pm until 6.30pm and were billed as Rhythm and Blues with The Rolling Stones.

1965 - The Who
The KinksThe Who, Manfred Man, The Hollies and Gerry and the Pacemakers all appeared on tonight's episode of TV pop show 'Shindig!' 
1966 - UFO presents Night Tripper
Pink Floyd and Soft Machine appeared at the UFO presents Night Tripper at the Blarney Club, London, England.
Poster by Hapsash and The Coloured Coat
1967 - U.S. Charts
The Beatles scored their 15th US No.1 with 'Hello Goodbye', Gladys Knight and the Pips were at No.2 with 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' and The Monkees at No.3 with 'Daydream Believer'

1968 - Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin (who were advertised as Len Zefflin), appeared at Gonzaga University Gymnasium, Spokane on their first North American tour supporting Vanilla Fudge.

Not the only place to struggle with the spelling in the USA!
prior to the first album even coming out

1969 - Peter Tork
Peter Tork quit The Monkees buying himself out of his contract which left him broke. He went on to form a group called Release and played banjo on George Harrison's soundtrack to the film Wonderwall.
1998 - Johnny Moore
American rhythm and blues singer Johnny Moore who was lead singer for The Drifters on their 1960s hit 'Under The Boardwalk', died at the age of 64. Moore began as lead singer of the Cleveland based group the Hornets, before being discovered by the Drifters. He joined the group as lead vocalist in New York in 1955, at age 21. Moore also sang lead on the hits ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’, ‘Come On Over To My Place’ and ‘Up In The Streets Of Harlem’.

1999 - George Harrison
George Harrison and his wife Olivia were attacked when an intruder broke into their home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Olivia beat off the attacker with a poker and heavy lamp. Harrison who was stabbed in the chest was admitted to hospital and treated for a collapsed lung and various minor stab wounds. His wife, Olivia, was treated for cuts and bruises she had suffered in the struggle with the intruder. Police later arrested Michael Abram from Liverpool who had nursed an irrational obsession with The Beatles.

2002 - Joe Strummer
The funeral of former Clash singer and guitarist Joe Strummer took place in London. Strummer had died of a suspected heart attack on 22nd Dec 2002 aged only 50.
Luci and Joe

I was never a Clash fan for reasons best understood by someone else but Joe and Mick I always liked especially later on

2002 - Diana Ross
Diana Ross was arrested for drink driving by the Arizona highway patrol after a motorist called to report a swerving vehicle in the western state of Arizona. When asked to walk in a straight line she fell over, could not count to 30 or balance on one foot. Police said the singer was twice over the drink drive limit with a blood-alcohol of 0.20, the legal limit is 0.08.
The Evidence
2009 - Neil Young
Singer, songwriter Neil Young was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Other Canadian musicians who have been given the award include Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen and the members of Rush.
Neil Young - poet singer songwriter and force of nature has gone from strength to strength 

2012 - The Beatles
A rare copy of a Beatles LP signed by all four members sold - for the sum rejected at auction in Sussex a few weeks earlier. Chris Collins, from Eastbourne, and his sister, Liz Chambers, from Worthing, initially turned down a £12,000 bid for a copy of the album, Please Please Me. They had hoped to get £15,000 for the LP, which was given to their late father during a drinking session. But the siblings later accepted £12,000 from private buyers. The album was signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartneyGeorge Harrison and Ringo Starr after they used it as a drinks coaster during a card game in 1963.

2014 - Pulp
The woman who inspired Pulp's hit song 'Disco 2000' died shortly after being appointed an MBE. Deborah Bone, from Hertfordshire was a childhood friend of lead singer Jarvis Cocker in Sheffield. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. The 1995 Britpop hit contains the lyric: "Your name is Deborah. Deborah. It never suited ya."
The lovely Jarvis with the even lovelier Deborah Bone M.B.E.
Deborah Bone - mental health worker and M.B.E

2016 - Allan Williams
Allan Williams the first manager of The Beatles died at the age of 86. Williams worked with The Beatles from 1960 to 1961, getting the band gigs in Britain, and in Hamburg. Williams personally drove the van to take the Beatles to Hamburg in 1960, which didn't have seats; The Beatles had to sit on their amplifiers in the back of the van.
Beatles first manager Alan Williams


1947 - Jeff Lynne
English songwriter, singer, record producer Jeff Lynne, who was a member of Idle Race, then The Move who had the 1969 UK No.1 single 'Blackberry Way'. He co-founded ELO who had the 1979 hit 'Don't Bring Me Down'. And with the Traveling Wilburys had the 1988 UK hit 'Handle With Care'. As a producer Lynne has worked with George HarrisonTom PettyRoy OrbisonPaul McCartneyBrian Wilson, Joe Walsh and others.

1946 - Patti Smith

American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist Patti Smith, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement. Smith had the 1976 album 'Horses', and the 1978 UK No.5 and US No.13 single 'Because The Night', co-written with Bruce Springsteen.
Another great guru figure, punk poetess, creative force and singer songwriter writer visual artist beyond equal,  a unique voice in the world

To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It’s freedom.”

#PattiSmith birthday
at that moment the world began again . . . . . . . . 

1945 - Davy Jones
English singer-songwriter, musician and actor Davy Jones, The Monkees who had the 1967 UK & US No.1 single 'I'm A Believer' plus 10 US & 8 UK Top 40 singles. His television acting debut was on the British television soap opera Coronation Street when he portrayed Colin Lomax, Ena Sharples' grandson. Jones died on 29 February 2012 of a severe heart attack due to atherosclerosis.

1942 - Robert Quine
Robert Quine, guitarist from Richard Hell and the Voidoids, who had the 1977 album 'Blank Generation'. Worked with Lou Reed, Brian Eno, Lloyd Cole, They Might Be Giants. Quine was found dead on May 31st 2004 of a heroin overdose.

1942 - Mike Nesmith
Mike Nesmith, vocals, guitar, The Monkees (1967 UK & US No.1 single 'I'm A Believer' plus 10 US & 8 UK Top 40 singles). He wrote 'Different Drum' (sung by Linda Ronstadt with the Stone Poneys), and was the executive producer of the cult film Repo Man (1984).
1939 - Felix Pappalardi

American music producer, songwriter, vocalist, and bass guitarist Felix Pappalardi. He produced Disraeli Gears for Cream and The Youngbloods' first album. He was a founding member of the American hard rock band/heavy metal forerunner Mountain. Pappalardi was shot and killed by his wife, Gail, on April 17, 1983, in their East Side Manhattan apartment. Gail Pappalardi was subsequently charged with second-degree murder.

1934 - Del Shannon
American rock and roll and country musician and singer-songwriter Del Shannon best known for his 1961 UK and US No.1 single 'Runaway'. Suffering from depression, for which he was taking Prozac, Shannon committed suicide on February 8, 1990, killing himself with a .22-caliber rifle at his home in Santa Clarita, California.

1928 - Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley guitarist, singer, (R&B hits, 'Bo Diddley', 'You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover', 1963 UK No.34 single 'Pretty Thing'). When The Beatles first went to the US, John Lennon was asked what he would like to see; he replied Bo Diddley. Bo Diddley died from heart failure in Archer, Florida aged 79 on 2nd June 2008.

with thanks and acknowledgments to On This Day In Music