Friday, December 2, 2011

This Week in Rock History

1956—Elvis Presley made an unannounced stop by the Sun Records studio to find Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash watching Carl Perkins in the studio. The foursome ended up doing some impromptu recording, the results of which would be released years later as The Million Dollar Quartet.

1960—After a mysterious fire breaks out in their hotel room, Paul McCartney and Pete Best are forcibly deported from Germany on charges of arson.

1965—Keith Richards steps on a microphone cable and is electrocuted and knocked unconscious during a Rolling Stones concert in Sacramento, California. After a short break, he recovers and is able to continue.

1969—President Richard Nixon, Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew, and forty US governors view "simulated acid trip" films and listen to Rock music in order to comprehend the generation gap. It didn't work.

1970—An over-zealous fan with a flare gun sets the Montreaux Casino on fire during a Frank Zappa & The Mother's of Invention concert. The members of Deep Purple, who are recording just across the lake from the casino, witness the fire and write the song “Smoke On The Water” in response, including the line “some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground...”

1979—Anita Pallenburg, the common-law wife of Rolling Stones Keith Richards, is cleared of murder charges in the shooting death of her young male companion, whose body had been found in her New York state home. Pallenburg had been in a relationship with Brian Jones before leaving him for Richards, leading to strain and an increase in the drinking that eventually lead to Jones' dismissal from the band.

1979—Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand top the Billboard charts with their duet “You Don't Bring Me Flowers.” Both artists had previously recorded solo versions of the song and were persuaded to re-record it as a duet after a DJ spliced together vocals from both solo version and played it on the air to positive response.

1979—Just three months after Keith Moon's death, tragedy struck The Who again, when eleven people were trampled to death while trying to reach unreserved concert seats at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati.

1980—A retrospective compilation album of John Lennon's solo music called "The John Lennon Collection" started a six-week run at #1 on the UK album chart. The front and back covers for the LP were taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz on December 8th, 1980, just five hours before Lennon was murdered.

1993—Whitney Huston's recording of Dolly Parton's “I Will Always Love You” reaches the #1 position on the charts where it will remain until March of the following year.

1993—Composer/guitarist/singer Frank Zappa passes away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 54. News of his death is not announced until two weeks later, giving his family time to bury him in an unmarked grave without interference from fans or reporters.

2001—George Harrison succumbs to cancer at a friend's home. Though he had battled cancer for years, his death came as a surprise, as he had not publicly announced his latest relapse.

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