1957: Jerry Lee Lewis marries Myra Gale Brown…she’s his third wife, third cousin and 13 years old…the media furor that follows puts a serious kink in The Killer’s career…also this week, Al Priddy, a disc jockey at station KEX in Portland, Oregon, is fired for playing Elvis Presley’s version of “White Christmas”…the station manager, who canned the DJ by phone, says, “It is not in the good taste we ascribe to Christmas music. Presley gives it a rhythm and blues interpretation. It doesn’t seem to me to be in keeping with the intent of the song.
1960: Gregg Allman turns 13 and gets a guitar for his birthday…14 year-old brother Duane soon eclipses him on that instrument while Greg excels at organ and vocals…they’ll play together in the Kings, the Allman Joys, and Hourglass before they rule the Southern rock universe with the Allman Brothers Band, which they’ll form in 1969.
1967: Soul music great Otis Redding is killed when his tour plane crashes into the frigid waters of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin…he’s 26 and at the height of his career.
1968: The Rolling Stones film Rock & Roll Circus in front of a live audience in London…guests include The Who, Marianne Faithfull, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal and temporary rock supergroup Dirty Mac, consisting of John Lennon, Mitch Mitchell, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards.
1971: Frank Zappa is pushed off the stage at the Rainbow Theatre in London… he gets the shove from the jealous boyfriend of an ardent young fan…Frank suffers a broken leg, broken ankle, fractured skull and crushed larynx, but it’s spinal damage that keeps him in a wheelchair for most of a year.
1977: Saturday Night Fever premieres in New York…the movie will spread the disco craze across the country and the soundtrack will become one of the biggest sellers of all time…
1985: Keyboardist Ian Stewart dies of a heart attack…known as ”The Sixth Stone,” he was an original member of The Rolling Stones predating Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman…when Andrew Loog Oldham became the band’s manager he felt Stewart lacked the right look and Stewart thus became the band’s road manager and sometimes keyboardist…a devoted bluesman, he refused to play piano on “Wild Horses” on account of the song’s non-blues chord structure.
1988: A poll of U.S. listeners reveals that in order of preference, their favorite artists for providing accompaniment to romance are: Neil Diamond, Beethoven and Luther Vandross…there’s no word from Barry White, Marvin Gaye or Al Greene on this obviously rigged result.
1991: Rita Marley is finally awarded Bob Marley’s contested estate after years of legal wrangling.
1995: The surviving members of The Grateful Dead disband in the wake of Jerry Garcia’s death the previous August.
1999: Rapper Notorious B.I.G.’s second posthumous album Born Again sells nearly half a million copies in its first week while bumping Celine Dion out of the top spot.
2003: Ozzy Osbourne is crushed under the all-terrain vehicle he is riding at his country estate in Buckinghamshire, England…the accident puts him in the hospital for nearly a month…injuries include a fractured left collarbone, eight fractured ribs, and crushed neck vertebrae…Ozzy awakes from a coma-like condition with no sense of smell or taste.
2012: A stash of love letters sent by Mick Jagger in 1969 to singer Marsha Hunt fetch £187,250 at auction…Hunt is commonly thought to be the inspiration for the Stones song “Brown Sugar.”
2014: With ticket sales for his Broadway musical faltering, Sting steps into the lead role of The Last Ship…though the move sparks improved box office, the show is put into dry dock in January 2015, less than three months after its Broadway opening.