On December 29, 1939 country singer Ed Bruce is born William Edwin Bruce Jr. in Keiser, Arkansas, but is raised in Memphis, Tennessee. The rich-voiced performer works as a vocalist, actor, commercial spokesman and songwriter. He is perhaps best known for penning “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”
Born on this day in Stourport-on-Severn, England in 1942: Ray Thomas, flautist and percussionist for The Moody Blues. Also born on December 29, 1942: Rick Danko of The Band. He was born in Blayney, Ontario, Canada. Danko dropped out of school at age 14 to become a musician.
In 1947, rock drummer Cozy Powell was born Colin Flooks in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England. He was drummer for Whitesnake, ELP, Rainbow and Black Sabbath as well as having a solo career. Powell was killed in a car crash in England on 5th April 1998.
Glen Phillips, vocalist and guitarist for Toad The Wet Sprocket was born on this day in 1970 in Santa Barbara, California.
On the day in 1962, During his first visit to the UK, Bob Dylan performed at The Troubadour in London.
In 1964, The Liverpool Youth Employment Service announced that some graduates were finding it difficult to get jobs because their ‘Beatle’ style haircuts and clothing were unacceptable to employers.
In 1966, The Jimi Hendrix Experience made their debut on the UK TV show Top Of The Pops performing ‘Hey Joe’.
In 1967, British guitarist and singer Dave Mason quit Traffic after differences of musical opinion just as the group is releasing its debut album. Mason wrote ‘Hole in My Shoe’, a psychedelic pop song that became a hit in for Traffic. Unlike the other members of the group, Mason didn’t want to collaborate on writing songs, setting up something of a rivalry with fellow founder Steve Winwood and prompting Mason to pursue a solo career. In spite of this, mason will return twice before finally quitting for good.
In other December 29 breakup news, in 1975 Grace Slick and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane break up after living together for 7 years. Slick marries the band’s lighting engineer the next year.
This day in 1969 Capitol released Merle Haggard’s live Okie From Muskogee album.
In 2002, Readers of Sugar magazine voted Pink as their No.1 role model. The Top 10 was: 1. Pink; 2. Britney Spears; 3. Ms Dynamite; 4. Kelly Osbourne; 5. Kylie Minogue; 6. Victoria Beckham; 7. Avril Lavigne; 8. Jennifer Lopez; 9. Sarah Michelle Geller and 10. Holly Valance.
On December 29, 2013 Nashville’s morning newspaper, The Tennessean, names Taylor Swift the Tennessean of the Year. The same day, a one-of-a-kind signed hardback copy of Autobiography by Morrissey, the only copy of the full-color hardback signed by the author, sold on eBay for £8,300, with all proceeds going to PETA as a New Year’s present to help prevent the slaughtering of animals for meat. Morrissey signed only one copy of the book – the cover of which pictures the singer-songwriter bare-chested in a swimming pool.
On the Charts on December 29:
- 1956: Elvis Presley made chart history by having 10 songs on Billboards Top 100 for week ending Dec 29th.
- 1973: Jim Croce scored his second No.1 US single of the year when ‘Time In A Bottle’ went to the top of the charts. Croce was killed in a plane crash on the way to a concert on September 20th 1973.
- 2001: Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” spent the first of five weeks at #1 in Billboard
December 29 News of the Weird – Music Edition
1999, Three ferrets named Beckham, Posh Spice and Baby Spice were used to lay power cables for a rock concert being held in Greenwich, London, England, (workers were not allowed to dig up the turf at the Royal Park). Organizers found that rods could not push the cables through the tiny tunnels, which frequently bend and dog-leg. The ferrets were eased into tiny nylon harnesses with wires which where then attached to a rope, the animals ran into a series of ducts which were under the stage like rabbit runs, leading the cables with them. The ferrets instinctively make for any hole in the ground and are enticed to the end of the duct by a slab of smelly meat. The New Years Eve concert featured Simply Red, Eurythmics and Bryan Ferry.
Born on December 22:
In 1938, Country singer-songwriter Red Steagall is born Russell Steagall in Gainesville, Texas. He is probably best known for discovering Reba McEntire in 1975.
In 1948, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick).
And in 1949, Maurice and Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees.
To the chagrin of parents everywhere, on December 22, 1958, The Chipmunks’ “The Chipmunk Song” hits #1 on its way to becoming the best-selling Christmas song of 1958.
Also charting on this day in 1973, Elton John started a two-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, it also had a eight week run at No.1 on the US chart. The album contains the Marilyn Monroe tribute, ‘Candle in the Wind’, as well as three successful singles: ‘Bennie and the Jets’, ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, and ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’.
In news of music and money:
In 1981, A Sotheby’s auction in London features an enameled Abbey Road street sign ($600), an autographed program from the Beatles’ Royal Command Performance ($2,000), a letter of introduction from Buddy Holly to Decca Records (also $2,000), the marriage certificate of John Lennon and first wife Cynthia ($850), an autographed program from the world premiere of the Beatles’ movie Help! ($2,100) and a jacket once worn by Tom Jones ($12).
In 1975 Ike and Tina Turner were robbed of $86,000 when a suitcase was stolen containing concert receipts.
On December 22, 1976 Isaac Hayes filed for bankruptcy.
In happier news from December 22, 1976, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s Live Bullet album is certified gold.
80s fans may remember these December 22 events:
- 1979 Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” hits #1 on the Hot 100. It would retain the top spot for two more weeks, becoming the last chart-topper of the ’70s and the first of the ’80s.
- In 1987, Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue was pronounced ‘dead on arrival’ in an ambulance when his heart stopped beating for two minutes. Sixx was given two shots of adrenaline in his chest to revive him. Fellow band members were prematurely informed of his death.
- 1984 Madonna started a six-week run at No.1 in the US charts with ‘Like A Virgin’, her first US No.1. Produced by Nile Rodgers, family groups sought to ban the song as they believed that the song promoted sex without marriage. Speaking of Madonna and marriage – on December 22, 2000, Madonna married film director Guy Ritchie at Skibo Castle, Scotland. Celebrities attending the wedding included Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Sting and fashion designers Donatella Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier and Stellla McCartney. The couple divorced in Nov 2008.
- In 1988 During an interview, Phil Collins jokes about wanting to make a film version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” with Danny DeVito and Bob Hoskins. DeVito later reads the interview and contacts Phil about actually making the movie. Hoskins also signs on (as well as Kim Basinger as Goldilocks) but the film is never made.
In country music news, on December 22:
In 1995, The Recording Industry Association of America awards a platinum album for Clint Black’s “One Emotion”
In 1994, John and Martina McBride welcome their first child, a 6-pound, 4-ounce daughter, Delaney Katharine McBride
In 1973 Merle Haggard is perched at #1 on the Billboard country singles chart with “If We Make It Through December”
On this day in 1944, Hank Williams married Audrey Sheppard, with the ceremony taking place at a gas station Their son, Randall Hank Williams, would achieve fame in his own right as Hank Williams, Jr., who was born on May 26, 1949. The marriage ended in divorce on May 29, 1952.
In 1967 in Paris, the members of The Beach Boys had their own audience with guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and learned transcendental meditation.
On December 15, 1969 John Lennon mad his last stage appearance in England when he performed with the Plastic Ono Band at the UNICEF “Peace For Christmas” charity concert in London. George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Keith Moon join him on stage.
In 1977, The Who perform a secret concert for fan club members at London’s Shepperton Studios. The show is filmed for Jeff Stein’s upcoming Who documentary The Kids Are Alright. Also in 1977, The Sex Pistols were denied visas to enter the U.S. only two days before they were to appear on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
In 1984, the iconic Christmas tune “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid entered the UK chart at No.1 and stayed at the top for five weeks. It became the biggest selling UK single of all time with sales over 3 and a half million. Band Aid was masterminded by former Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof, who had been moved by a TV news story of famine in Ethiopia. Geldof had the idea of raising funds with a one-off charity single featuring Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Culture Club, George Michael, Sting, Bono, Phil Collins, Paul Weller, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo and Bananarama.
In 1988, James Brown was sentenced to six and one-half years in a South Carolina prison for his interstate car chase and numerous drug, firearms, and assault offenses. He would serve a little more than two.
On December 15, 1990, ABBA singer Agnetha Faltskog married Swedish surgeon Tomas Sonnenfeld.
Love it, hate it, or love to hate it, the 90s was a big decade in music. These events took place on December 15:
1992 – Nirvana released Incesticide, a collection of b-sides and rarities.
1997 – Spice World The Movie, featuring The Spice Girls premiered at The Empire, Leicester Sq, London. The following year it was nominated for the ‘worst film’ at the Golden Raspberry Awards.
1997 – The surviving members INXS released a tape of an interview in which they talk about the life and death of the group’s late vocalist Michael Hutchence.
1998 – Backstreet Boys roadie Michael Barrett filed a $3 million lawsuit against the group claiming damages after a 50-pound cannon fell on his head during a show.
In 2000, Breathe became Faith Hill’s best-selling album, as it’s certified quintuple-platinum.
On this day in 2001, Joe Walsh received an honorary doctorate of music from Kent State University.
A slew of 2016 Grammy Nominated stars have played at the Melody Tent in recent years. We’d like to congratulate:
Little Big Town
for their nominations for Song of the Year, Best Country Group Performance, Best Country Song and Best Country Album
for Best Country Song
nominated for Best American Roots Performance and Best Blues Album
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Best Americana Album, Best American Roots song
Best Americana Album
Best Comedy Album
Best Comedy Album
We’d also like to give a special shout-out to staff favorite Chris Stapleton for his nominations for Album of the Year, Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song and best country Album. And to Hunter Hayes’ tour mate Sam Hunt for his nom for Best New Artist and Best Country Album.
Gregg Allman was born on this day in 1947. He would go on to perform solo at a sold out Melody Tent show in 2014.
On this day in Music History in 1963, Frank Sinatra, Jr. was kidnapped at gunpoint from a hotel in Lake Tahoe. He was released after his father paid out the $240,000 ransom. The kidnappers were later captured, and sentenced to long prison terms. In order to communicate with the kidnappers via a payphone the senior Sinatra carried a roll of dimes with him throughout this ordeal, which became a lifetime habit, he is said to have been buried with a roll of dimes. In 1998 the FBI opened its 1,300 page file on Frank Sinatra to the public.
On this day in 1966, The Beatles recorded “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Octopus’s Garden” in 1969. In 1980, just hours after Annie Leibovitz’s iconic photo shoot of John & Yoko, Mark David Chapman fatally shot John Lennon. Earlier in the day, Lennon had autographed an album for Chapman. 20 years later in 2000, a plaque to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death was unveiled outside his childhood home in Liverpool
In 1968 Graham Nash announced the formation of Crosby, Stills and Nash just three days after he quit the Hollies.
In 1969 Jimi Hendrix testified at his trial for possession of hashish and heroin in the Toronto Supreme Court. He claimed that he had “outgrown” drugs. The jury found him not guilty after eight hours of deliberations.
In 1976, John Denver appeared on the Carpenters’ ABC-TV special.
On December 8, 1987, Harry Chapin received a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor for his work in fighting hunger.
In 2000, Sting received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2005, Brad Paisley, Gretchen Wilson and Jerry Douglas each net four nominations, tops among country figures, as the finalists for the Grammy awards are announced at Gotham Hall in New York. Three years later, Gretchen Wilson played at the Melody Tent in the 2008 Summer Concert Series.