The Beatles were at EMI studios in London (still not commonly referred to as Abbey Road) today in 1967 recording their 5th annual Christmas message to fan club members. They started doing them in 1963 as a way to appease the many fans who sent mail to the fan club, which they were unable to answer in timely fashion due to the massive increase in volume. For the third year in a row, the flexi-disc they produced, full of greetings, skits, and carols was only sent to British fans (American fans got a postcard), and this year included an original song (Christmas Time Is Here Again) that wouldn’t be released again until the 1995 Beatles Anthology.
Deep Purple were playing the first of four nights at the Fillmore in San Francisco tonight in 1968 as they launched their first ever North American tour.
Welsh guitarist Dave Edmunds snagged the highly-coveted just-before-Christmas #1 spot on the British singles chart (It went to #4 in the U.S.) today in 1970 with a cover of I Hear You Knocking, originally recorded by American R&B star Smiley Lewis in 1955. In an interview with Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner right after the breakup of the Beatles, John Lennon said it was his favourite new recording.
John Lennon made his last-ever concert appearance tonight in 1974, when he joined Elton John on stage at Madison Square Garden for renditions of I Saw Her Standing There, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, and the #1 song the two had done together, Whatever Gets You Through The Night. John was making good on his promise to Elton that he would join him on stage if that song ever got to the top of the charts. After his performance, John was greeted backstage by Yoko Ono, ending their 18 month separation often referred to as “The Lost Weekend”. Yoko revealed in 2010 that the intermediary who got them back together was Paul McCartney.
The ARMS concert (Action into Research for Multiple Sclerosis) made the first stop of it’s American tour in Dallas tonight in 1983. Conceived as a one-off fundraiser at the Royal Albert Hall in London in September by Small Faces and Faces bass player Ronnie Lane who suffered from MS, the show featured Lane, Bill Wyman, John Paul Jones, Steve Winwood, Andy Fairweather-Low, Kenny Jones, Charlie Watts, and marked the first time all three of the Yardbirds trinity of guitar gods (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page) played together on the same stage. American promoter Bill Graham was so smitten with the performance he talked them into taking the show to the States for 9 dates. Joe Cocker joined them for the American dates, and as Stevie Winwood was unable to come, Jimmy Page invited Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers, which led to them working together as The Firm a year later.
Nirvana were at the BBC studios in London today in 1991, taping an appearance on Top Of The Pops. When asked to lip-synch to their recording of Smells Like Teen Spirit, Kurt Cobain protested by singing in a low-pitched, strange voice, and Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl made little attempt to play along with the backing track.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Motown Records founder Berry Gordy is 83.
Singer, songwriter, and pianist Randy Newman is 69. Born and raised there, he still loves L.A.
Soundgarden and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron is 50. Educated at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts, Matt is also an accomplished songwriter, having penned many of Soundgarden’s more rocking numbers. When Neil Peart of Rush went on an 80,000 mile motorcycle ride following the untimely deaths of his wife and daughter, Geddy Lee selected Matt to play on his My Favorite Headache solo album, and Matt and Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist Mike McCready played on Peter Frampton’s 2006 album Fingerprints.