January 15 was a big day in music history, especially on with musicians making TV appearances.
In 1947, Pete Waterman, producer, TV presenter and part of the Stock, Aitken & Waterman team, booked the first ever tour for The Bay City Rollers. He also signed Musical Youth and Nik Kershaw and during the 70’s was promotion consultant for John Travolta. He was one of the most successful pop writers & producers of all time producing Bananarama, Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Jason Donovan.
Born on this day in 1948, Ronnie Van Zant, vocalist with Lynyrd Skynyrd who had the 1974 US No. 8 single ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and the 1982 UK No. 21 single ‘Freebird’. Van Zant died in a plane crash between shows from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on October 20th 1977 along with bandmates Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines. Remaining band members survived, although all were seriously injured.
January 15 was Crazy Day for TV Appearances:
In 1958, The Everly Brothers made their debut on British TV on The Perry Como Show.
In 1967, The Rolling Stones performed on TV’s Ed Sullivan Show and were forced to change their lyrics of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together”, after the producers objected to the content of the lyrics. Jagger ostentatiously rolled his eyes at the TV camera while singing the changed lyrics, resulting in host Ed Sullivan announcing that The Rolling Stones would be banned from performing on his show ever again.
In 1972, Elvis Presley reportedly drew the largest audience for a single TV show to that time when he presented a live, worldwide concert from Honolulu, HI.
In 1992, Johnny Cash, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T. & the MG’s, The Isley Brothers, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Sam & Dave, and The Yardbirds, including guitarist Eric Clapton are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Other inductees include guitar maker Leo Fender and songwriter Doc Pomus. On an episode of the TV variety show Entertainment Tonight, pop star Brenda Lee criticized the selections, noting the lack of female talent – such as The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick, and Connie Francis. She calls them “the women who pioneered rock and roll” and points out that they’re just as important as the men. Lee’s remarks and others like her do eventually break the “glass ceiling” of rock recognition and Lee herself goes on to be included in several halls of fame recognizing her music talents.
In 1994, Counting Crows are the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, performing “Mr. Jones” and “Round Here.” The appearance sparks sales of their debut album and sends radio stations scrambling to add the songs to their playlists. Despite this breakthrough appearance, the band was never asked back for the show.
Recording, Releases, Awards, Charts and Signing
In 1961, Motown Records signed The Supremes to a worldwide recording contract. Originally founded as the Primettes, they became the most commercially successful of Motown’s acts and are, to date, America’s most successful vocal group with 12 No.1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. On January 15, 1966 their single “My World is Empty Without You” entered the pop charts. In related news of the Supremes’ storied career, on this day in 1983, Phil Collins had his first UK No.1 single with his version of ‘You Can’t Hurry Love,’ a hit for The Supremes in 1966. Collins’ version was the first track on the very first Now That’s What I Call Music CD.
On this day in 1968, The Byrds released The Notorious Byrd Brothers.
In 1972, Don McLean’s “American Pie” started a four week run at No.1 in the US singles chart. The song is a recounting of “The Day the Music Died” (a term taken from the song) the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.), and the aftermath. The song was listed as the No.5 song on the RIAA project Songs of the Century.
Also on January 15, 1972 Led Zeppelin’s ‘Black Dog’ made its debut on the US singles chart. The group’s third single peaked at No.15 and spent 8 weeks on the chart. The song’s title is a reference to a nameless, black Labrador retriever that wandered around the Headley Grange studios during recording.
In 1976, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here was on the UK album chart. The album’s packaging, designed by Storm Thorgerson, featured an opaque black sleeve inside which was hidden the album artwork. Thorgerson had noted that, in the US, Roxy Music’s Country Life was sold in an opaque green cellophane sleeve – censoring the cover image – and he adopted the idea, concealing the artwork for Wish You Were Here in a dark-colored shrink-wrap (making the album art ‘absent’).
Also on this day in 1976, Joe Walsh replaced Bernie Leadon on guitar for Eagles. Just one year later in 1977, The Eagles topped the US album chart with Hotel California, the group’s third US No.1 album. In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Don Henley said the song was about “a journey from innocence to experience…that’s all”.
Also on this day in 1977, David Bowie released Low. It the first of three albums produced with the help of Brian Eno in which Bowie explores electronic music. Much of the album is instrumental.
In more news of January 15, 1977, ABBA scored their second UK No.1 album when Arrival went to the top of the charts.
In 1982, The Police kicked off the North American leg of their 119-date Ghost In The Machine world tour at the (old) Boston Garden, supported by The Go-Go’s.
In 1983, Men At Work started a four week run at No.1 in the US singles chart with “Down Under” the Australian group’s second US No.1, also a No.1 in the UK.
In 1992, Garth Brooks’ No Fences and Ropin’ The Wind become the first country albums certified for shipments of 6 million, while his self-titled set goes triple-platinum.
In 2008, The iTunes Music Store reached 4 billion songs sold.
In 2013 Jason Aldean’s “Take A Little Ride” is awarded a platinum single and Bruno Mars released the single “When I Was Your Man” in the U.S.
A big day for the Rolling stones:
Aside from the previously mentioned television fiasco, January 15th marked several other occasions in the long history of the Rolling Stones:
In 1966, their album December’s Children was certified gold.
In 1973, The Rolling Stones announced that they would put on a benefit concert for the people of Managua, Nicaragua. The area had been devastated by an earthquake on December 23rd. Nicaragua is the home of Jagger’s wife, Bianca.
In more recent memory, in 2008, Ronnie Wood was recovering following an operation for a hernia after he sustained the injury during the band’s recent Bigger Bang tour. The 60-year-old guitarist was told to rest for two months after the procedure.
January 15 was not a big day for lawsuits in music history. The only incident occurred in 1964 when Vee Jay records filed a lawsuit against Capitol and Swan Records over manufacturing and distribution rights to Beatles recordings.
In 1982, Harry Wayne Casey, KC of KC and the Sunshine Band, was partially paralyzed in an automobile accident in Miami, FL. His recovery took the better part of a year.
On January 15, 1998, James Brown was admitted to a South Carolina hospital for treatment for an addiction to painkillers at the age of 64. He was released on January 21, 1998.
In 2010, Charlie Daniels was rushed to hospital after suffering a stroke. Daniels recovered and was released from the hospital two days later.
In 2014 Trace Adkins entered a treatment facility for alcohol rehab after getting into a fight with a Trace Adkins impersonator during a country music cruise.
Good Deeds, Politics and Protest:
In 1981, Stevie Wonder led a rally in Washington to get Martin Luther King’s birthday declared an official holiday. He performed his song “Happy Birthday,” written for King, which became a rallying call for the movement.
In 1991, Sean Lennon’s remake of his father’s “Give Peace A Chance” was released to coincide with the United Nation’s midnight deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. The lyrics were updated to reflect concerns of the 90s.
In 2005, Sheryl Crow, Christina Aguilera and Tim McGraw participated in a benefit for victims of a tsunami in Southern Asia.