Put On Your Thinking Caps: It’s Friday at the College of Rock n’ Roll Knowledge!

Good Morning, Music Lovers! Apparently, the 20th of November is a banner day in rock n’ roll history. Let’s not waste any time!

Keith Moon, on a day when he was apparently not creating problems.

Here’s today in music history:

November 20, 1955: The song that changed music forever, Rock Around The Clock, by Bill Haley & The Comets, went to #1 on the UK charts. It would re-chart six more times until 1974.

Bo Diddley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. The show requested that he play Sixteen Tons. When he went on stage, he instead sang Bo Diddley. They banned him from further appearances in punishment. (Give me a fucking break, Ed.) As Tom Petty said, “Elvis was king, but Diddley was daddy.”

November 20, 1961: Bob Dylan began recording his debut album. It was completed over two days at Columbia Recording Studios in New York. Some of the songs recorded the first day are Song to Woody, Fixin’ to Die, and Baby Let Me Follow You Down.

November 20, 1965: The Supremes had their sixth #1 single in the US with I Hear a Symphony.

November 20, 1966: The Supremes again were at #1 on the US charts with You Keep Me Hangin’ On, their seventh single.

November 20, 1967: The Strawberry Alarm Clock was at #1 with Incense And Peppermints, one of my all-time favorite songs. The opening riff is what did it for me. Oddly enough, the band hated the lyrics so much, they had a friend who was attending the recording sessions sing it instead. It worked.

November 20, 1968: Janis Joplin’s manager approaches Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites about creating her a new backing band, which becomes Janis Joplin & The Kozmic Blues Band.

November 20, 1971: Isaac Hayes hit #1 on the US singles charts with The Theme From Shaft.

November 20, 1974: Keith Moon collapsed on stage when his drink was spiked with horse tranquilizer (I wonder who did that). A 19-year-old drummer in attendance at the Cow Palace volunteered to replace him and the concert went on. Moon would also collapse on stage in Boston in 1976 when yours truly was in attendance. That was allegedly from the flu. The concert was rescheduled.

November 20, 1975: The Who kicked off a North American tour at the Summit in Houston. After that show, Keith Moon was arrested for disorderly conduct. What a guy.

November 20, 1976: Paul Simon joins George Harrison on stage on SNL where they perform Here Comes The Sun and Homeward Bound together. both John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in New York at the time and watched the show.

November 20, 1991: The Rolling Stones sign a deal with Virgin Records to make three albums over six years.

Born on This Day

We’ve got so many here, we’re making this a separate entry.

November 20, 1940: Jim Horn, American saxophonist, woodwinds player and master session musician is born. He played on solo albums by three members of The Beatles, and was on stage for George Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh in 1971. He also played flute and sax on Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys and flute on The Stones’ Goats Head Soup album.

November 20, 1941: Matthew John Rebennack, or Dr. John, was (thankfully) born. He was a pianist, guitarist and singer who was a session musician from the 50s until his death in 2019 at the age of 77. Dr. John came into his own as a performer in the late 60s when he released his album, Gris-Gris. He is absolutely one of my all-time favorites.

November 20, 1942: Norman Greenbaum of Spirit in The Sky fame, was born in Malden, Massachusetts.

November 20, 1946: Duane Allman, undoubtedly one of the greatest guitarists of all time and leader of The Allman Brothers Band is born. If you’ve listened in on our Skydog playlists, you’ll see he was one of the most sought-after guitarists on the planet, playing with everyone from Wilson Pickett to Eric Clapton. He dies tragically in a motorcycle accident in 1971 in Macon, Georgia.

November 20, 1947: Joe Walsh, singer, songwriter, guitarist with The James Gang and later, The Eagles, is born. Did you know that Joe Walsh is Ringo’s brother-in-law?

Whew! That’s it for today, Musicologists! We’ll be back with today’s line-up in a bit!

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