Added January 2018
January 1, 1959 – Johnny Cash performed for the inmates of San Quentin Prison, California. In the audience was 19-year-old Merle Haggard. He was doing time for grand theft auto and armed robbery. (He served 3 years of a 15-year sentence.) Haggard credits Cash for inspiring him to shape up once he was released…
January 2, 1969 – The entire shipment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album “Two Virgins” was seized by authorities in New Jersey because the cover displayed a full frontal nude photograph of the couple. Eventually, the album was wrapped in plain brown paper in record stores.
January 3, 1987 – Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not only did this solidify Franklin as the Queen of Soul and one of the most powerful voices in music, but it also kicked the door wide open for other female artists.
January 4, 1936 – Billboard Magazine introduced the first-ever pop music chart that ranked records on national sales. Italian-American jazz musician and pioneer jazz violinist. Joe Venuti, was the first No.1. (January 4th is also Pop Music Chart Day.)
January 5, 1967 – Pink Floyd appeared at The Marquee Club in London, England with Eyes of Blue. A review in Queen Magazine said, “The two guitarists looked moody, the drummer thrashed wildly about and the lights kept flashing. After about 20 minutes it became very boring and after half an hour I left.”
January 6, 2017 – One year ago today – Norway announced that it would become the first country in the world to gradually stop using the FM radio network. By ditching the analogue platform in favour of a digital one called Digital Audio Broadcasting, the move would bring a clearer sound to the nation’s five million people.
January 7, 1955 – ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley and his Comets entered the UK chart for the first time. The original full title of the song was ‘We’re Going to Rock Around the Clock Tonight!’ With sales over $25 million, it is often cited as the biggest-selling vinyl rock and roll single of all time.
January 8, 1969 – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were asked to leave the Hotel Crillon in Lima, Peru, after refusing to change their clothes. They were both barred from the exclusive hotel for wearing nothing but “op art” pants.
January 9, 1955 – Rosemary Clooney was at No. 1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Mambo Italiano’. The song was banned by all ABC owned stations in the US because it “did not reach standards of good taste”.
January 10, 2013 – Claude Nobs – the founder and general manager of the Montreux Jazz Festival – died at the age of 76. During a 1971 Frank Zappa concert at the Montreux Casino, the venue caught fire. Nobs saved several young people who had hidden in the casino. (They thought they would be sheltered from the flames.) This act earned Nobs a mention (as Funky Claude in the line, “Funky Claude was running in and out, pulling kids out the ground”) in the Deep Purple song, ‘Smoke on the Water’, which is about the incident.
January 11, 1964 – ‘Louie Louie’ by The Kingsmen was the No. 1 song on the US Cash Box music chart. A handful of US radio stations actually banned the song for a while because of its indecipherable lyrics, which were rumoured to contain some naughty words. Even the F.B.I. investigated the song, but finally concluded they could find nothing wrong.
January 12, 1993 – Van Morrison failed to show up at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner. That made him the first living inductee not to attend.
January 13, 2005 – A report showed that more songs had been written about Elvis Presley than any other artist. Over 220 songs were listed including: “Graceland” (Paul Simon), “A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel” (U2), “Calling Elvis” (Dire Straits), “Happy Birthday Elvis” (Loudon Wainwright III), “I Saw Elvis in a UFO” (Ray Stevens), “Elvis Has Left the Building” (Frank Zappa), and “My Dog Thinks I’m Elvis” (Ray Herndon).
January 14, 1978 – The Sex Pistols played their last show at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. At the outset, Johnny Rotten yelled to the crowd, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?!” It was the last time the band played with bassist Sid Vicious.
January 15, 1972 – Led Zeppelin’s ‘Black Dog’ made its debut on the US singles chart. The group’s 3rd single peaked at No. 15 and spent 8 weeks on the chart. The song’s title is a reference to a nameless black Lab that wandered around the studios at Headley Grange during recording.
January 16, 1980 – Paul McCartney was jailed for nine days in Tokyo for possession of marijuana. He was found with 219 grams on his arrival at Narita Airport in Japan. In 2004, McCartney said, “This stuff was too good to flush down the toilet, so I thought I’d take it with me.”