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Today in Rock History – December 21

1967, The Beatles held a party at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London to preview their new movie Magical Mystery Tour.

1967,  The Rolling Stones release their psychedelic-themed Their Satanic Majesties Request in the United States. The album reaches number two in the American album charts, below the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. The Beatles themselves hold a costume party at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel to celebrate their Mystery Tour film’s transmission on the BBC.

1967, Pink Floyd played at the Speakeasy Club in London, a late-night haunt for the music industry from 1966 to the late 1970s.

1968,  Janis Joplin and her Kozmic Blues Band perform at the Stax/Volt Yuletide Thing at Memphis’ Mid South Coliseum.

1968, Glen Campbell topped the US album chart with Wichita Lineman. Although the LP would stay on the chart for 46 weeks, it would be Campbell’s only chart topping album.

1969, The Supremes made their last TV appearance together with Diana Ross on The Ed Sullivan Show, singing their last number one, “Someday We’ll Be Together.”

1970, A stretch limousine carrying Elvis Presley pulled up outside the White House in Washington, D.C. The driver handed over a letter from Elvis addressed to President Nixon requesting a meeting to discuss how the King of Rock and Roll could help Nixon fight drugs. The President agreed to give Presley a Narcotics Bureau badge, but only after learning that the chief of the narcotics bureau had turned down the same request earlier that day and told Presley the only person who could overrule his decision was the President. At Elvis’ request, the meeting remained secret for more than a year, until the Washington Post broke the story on January 27th, 1972.

1970, Pink Floyd performed at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England.

1974, Mud were at number one on the UK singles chart with the Chinn & Chapman song “Lonely This Christmas,” the group’s second number one and third chart topper for Chinn & Chapman in 1974.

1974, At the Rainbow Theatre in London, Bad Company are joined for a jam onstage by Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. The group performs B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby.”

1978, The Grateful Dead played at The Summit, in Houston, Texas.

1979,  California governor Jerry Brown holds a fundraiser at the San Diego Sports Arena, with performances from the Eagles, Chicago, and Brown’s girlfriend Linda Ronstadt. A second show in Las Vegas helps to swell his campaign coffers by $450,000.

1985, Bruce Springsteen’s album, Born in the USA passed Michael Jackson’s Thriller to become the second longest-lasting LP on the Billboard US Top Ten. It stayed there for 79 weeks. Only The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews lasted longer, at 109 weeks.

1991, “Bohemian Rhapsody / These Are The Days Of Our Lives” by Queen started a five week run at number one in the UK, the 1975 world-wide hit had been re-released following the death of Freddie Mercury.

1992, American blues singer and guitarist, Albert King died from a heart attack in Memphis, Tennessee. He recorded dozens of influential songs, such as “Crosscut Saw” and “As The Years Go Passing By,” and the 1967 album, Born Under a Bad Sign.

2003, Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules went to number one on the UK singles chart with their version of the Tears For Fears song “Mad World.” The song took just 90 minutes to record in 2001 and was featured in the film Donnie Darko.

2010, A concert by Kings of Leon was postponed after a fire broke out on two of their tour buses which were parked at The O2 arena in London. The blaze began on one coach before spreading to another tour bus in the loading bay of the venue in Greenwich. About 60 firefighters were at the scene and ambulance crews treated six people for smoke inhalation. An O2 spokesman said the fire meant there was not enough time to rig the arena for the sell-out concert.

2012, Paul Simon performed his classic track “The Sound of Silence” at the funeral of a teacher who died in the school shooting in Connecticut on 14 December of this year. The 1966 song was understood to be a favorite of 27-year-old Victoria Soto, a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The singer, a family friend, performed the song in front of some 400 mourners, at Soto’s local church. Twenty six people were killed by Adam Lanza in the mass shooting the previous week.

Born on this day: Frank Zappa (1940); Carl Wilson, Beach Boys (1946); and Patrick Murphy, The Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr. (1964)

Link to Today in Rock History archive.

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