Good Morning, Music Trivialists! We here at the College of Rock n’ Roll Knowledge draw from our own archive of totally useless information and pour over various electronic sources to bring this to you every day. As you may expect, some sites differ from others about locations of events, timing, etc. Needless to say, research, critical thinking and weed is required to complete this task.
Here’s today’s lesson!
December 4, 1956: Elvis Presley stopped by Sun Studios unexpectedly to find Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash watching Carl Perkins in the studio. The four would tape several songs together on that day, but it would be 25 years before that day would be immortalized on vinyl as The Million Dollar Quartet.
December 4, 1964: The Beatles release their fourth album, Beatles For Sale, which spends 11 weeks as the #1 album in the UK.
December 4, 1965: Turn, Turn, Turn would give The Byrds their second consecutive #1 hit, following up Mr. Tambourine Man.
December 4, 1969: President Richard M. Nixon, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and forty governors spend the day watching simulated acid trips and listening to rock music to help them understand the “generation gap.” We have been led by idiots for a very long fucking time.
December 4, 1971: Don MacLean’s eight-minute epic, American Pie, enters Billboard’s Hot 100. Before all is said and done, it will sell 3 million copies. To this day, it remains one of the most analyzed and debated songs in music history.
Also on this day, Sly & The Family Stone’s Family Affair begins a three-week run at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. This will be their third and final #1 and their last song in the top 10 before the band implodes under the weight of personal issues, and falls apart. Too bad. They were a great band.
Led Zeppelin also began a two-week stint at the top of the UK Album chart with the Four Symbols album, which includes Stairway To Heaven. The album will eventually sell 11 million copies and remained on the US charts for nearly five years.
December 4, 1980: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones announce that Led Zeppelin will not continue on after the death of drummer John Bonham.
December 4, 1982: A retrospective album of John Lennon’s solo work called The John Lennon Collection, started a six-week run at #1 on he UK Album chart. The front and back covers were shot by Annie Liebovitz on December 8, 1980, just five hours before John Lennon’s murder.
December 4, 1987: Alison Krauss, just sixteen years old, releases her debut album, Too Late To Cry, with her backing band, Union Station.
December 4, 1988: Roy Orbison (aka, Lefty Wilbury) plays his final gig at The Front Row Theater in Akron, Ohio. Orbison dies of a heart attack two days later.
Born On This Day
December 4, 1942: Chris Hillman, of The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Desert Rose Band, was born in Los Angeles.
December 4, 1944: Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys was born in Inglewood, California.
And that, my friends, is as they say — all the news that’s fit to print because there are a lot of singers we simply don’t give a shit about here in The Mermaid Lounge.