This Month In Vocal Group History

December 1, 1956

Pat Cordell & The Crescents “Darling Come Back” and The Youngsters “Christmas In Jail” were released.

December 1, 1958

After publisher Al Nevin played a demo of “The Diary” by Neil Sedaka to RCA’s Steve Sholes, the A&R man signed Sedaka as an artist.

Top Single:
“The Love I Lost”
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes” #1 R&B 1973

“To Know Him Is To Love Him”
The Teddy Bears #1 1958

Birthday:
Billy Paul (Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes) 1934
Lou Rawls (The Pilgrim Travelers) 1935

December 2, 1957

Due to a last minute cancellation by Little Anthony & The Imperials, newcomers Danny & The Juniors performed their new single “At The Hop” on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. A month later the record was #1.

December 2, 1967

When The Monkees “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd” LP reached #1 it became the 4th Monkees album of the year to do so setting a record for new releases.

Top Single:
“The Rain, The Park & Other Things”
The Cowsills #2 1967

“Daydream Believer”
The Monkees #1 1967

Birthday:
Roebuck “Pop” Staples (The Staple Singers) 1915

December 3, 1958

The Skyliners recorded their timeless classic “Since I Don’t Have You” (#12 Pop, #3 R&B) at Capitol Studios in N.Y.C.

Top Single:
“Only You”
The Hilltoppers #9 1955

Birthday:
Joe McIntyre (New Kids On The Block) 1972

December 4, 1961

The Shirelles “B” side, “Baby It’s You”, was issued soon becoming one of their biggest hits (#8).

December 4, 1988

1988 Roy Orbison played his final show at the Front Row Theater in Highland Heights, Ohio.

Top Single:
“I Can Never Go Home”
The Shangri-Las #9 1965

“Family Affair”
Sly & The Family Stone” #1 1971

Birthday:
Dennis Wilson (The Beach Boys) 1944

December 5, 1953

The Harptones standard “A Sunday Kind Of Love” was released. It was their first of 29 singles between 1953 and 1982.

December 5, 1968

Graham Nash left The Hollies. Within a year he would be part of the “Super Group” Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Top Single:
“A Thousand Stars”
Kathy Young & The Innocents #5 1960

“Are You Lonesome Tonight”
Elvis Presley #1 1960

December 6, 1956

Savory Records signed The Jive Five Bombers six days after their momentous “Bad Boy” session.

December 6, 1969

The Rolling Stones held a free concert at Altamont Raceway in Livermore, California but unlike Woodstock four months earlier, Altamont was a deadly affair as an 18 year old was beaten to death by the supposed security, a cover for Hell’s Angels.

Top Single:
“Eli’s Coming”
Three Dog Night #10 1969

“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”
Steam #1 1969

Birthday:
Len Barry (Dovells) 1942

December 7, 1988

Rock great Roy Orbison died at his mother’s home of a heart attack. He was 52. Bruce Springsteen, at Orbison’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame said “I want to write words like Bob Dylan that sound like Phil Spector but with singing like Roy Orbison, but nobody sings like Roy Orbison.”

Top Single:
“Love Child”
The Supremes #1 1968

December 8, 1956

The Schoolboys classic “Please Say You Want Me/Shirley” (#13 Pop, #15 R&B) was released as were The Flamingos “Would I Be Crying” The Jaguars “The Way You Look Tonight” and The Moonglows “I Knew From The Start”

December 8, 1980

John Lennon was gunned down by a madman outside his New York apartment who earlier in the day had sought and received Lennon’s autograph.

Top Single:
“Don’t Hang Up”
The Orlons #4 R&B

“To Know Him Is To Love Him”
The Teddy Bears #1 1958

Birthday:
Jerry Butler (The Impressions) 1939

December 9, 1957

On the strength of their American Bandstand performance on December 2nd, Danny & The Juniors “At The Hop” was picked up by ABC Paramount from the small Philadelphia label, Singular and went on to sell over two and a half million copies.

December 9, 1967

The Doors Jim Morrison, who spent almost as much time being arrested as performing, was taken into custody for breach of the peace in New Haven, Connecticut.

Top Single:
“Day Dream Believer”
The Monkees #1 1967

“If You Don’t Know Me By Now”
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes #1 1972

Birthday:
Sammy Strain (The Imperials & The O’Jays” 1940
Donny Osmond (The Osmonds) 1957

December 10, 1955

The Cadillacs immortal “Speedo” charted on its way to (#17 Pop, #3 R&B).

Top Single:
“I’m Ready For Love”
Martha & The Vandellas #6 1966

Birthday:
Jessica Cleavers (Friends of Distinction) 1948
Ralph Tavares (Tavares) 1948

December 11, 1958

The Coasters recorded “Charlie Brown” (#2 Pop and R&B) in New York City.

December 11, 1957

Jerry Lee Lewis wed his 13 year old cousin Myra Gale Brown while still married to his wife Jane Mitcham.

Top Single:
“Please Mr. Postman”
The Marvelettes #1 1961

Birthday:
Jermaine Jackson (The Jackson 5) 1954

December 12, 1964

The Righteous Brothers wall-of-sound winner “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” charted reaching #2.
The harmony included The Ronettes and Cher. Bobby Hatfield of the brothers wasn’t sure about the records possibilities asking co-writer Phil Spector “What do I do while he (Bill Medley) is singing the whole first verse?” Spector’s blunt response was, “You can go directly to the bank!”

December 12, 1965

The Beatles played their last concert in Britain at the Capitol Theatre in Cardiff, Wales.

Top Single:
“Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go”
Hank Ballard & The Mignighters #2 R&B 1960

“Are You Lonesome Tonight”
Elvis Presley #1 1960

Birthdays:
Dionne Warwick (The Drinkard Singers & The Gospelaires) 1940
Terry Kirkman (The Association) 1941

December 13, 1947

The Ravens first release on National “Write Me A Letter” became the first R&B record to breach the Pop Top 25 reaching #25.

December 13, 1986

Jackie Wilson’s debut hit of 1958, “Reet Petite” reentered England’s charts 28 years after first appearing and two years after Wilson died.

Top Single:
“Walk Like An Egyptian”
The Bangles #2 1986

“The Way It Is”
Bruce Hornsby #1 1986

December 14, 1964

The Left Banke’s Mike Brown met Rene Fioden at a recording session in New York. The meeting inspired himto write the hit “Walk Away Renee”.

Top Single:
“Heartaches” by The Numbers”
Guy Mitchell #1 1959

December 15, 1956

The Nutmegs “Comin’ Home” and The Cufflinks “Guided Missiles” were released.

December 15, 1985

“Do They Know It’s Christmas” entered the British charts at #1 and became the biggest U.K. single in British history, selling three million copies.

Top Single:
“Beep Beep”
The Playmates #4 1958

“Big Girls Don’t Cry”
The Four Seasons

Birthdays:
Alan Freed 1922
Cindy Birdsong (The Bluebells) 1939
Harry Ray (Ray, Goodman & Brown) 1946
Steve Lundy (Force Md’s) 1965

December 16, 1931

The Mills Brothers recorded their second #1 “Dinah” only this time the lead singer was Bing Crosby.

December 16, 1983

The Who disbanded.

Top Single:
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
Gladys Knight & The Pips #2 1967

“Jailhouse Rock”
Elvis Presley #1 1957

December 17, 1941

The Four Vagabonds recorded “The Duke of Dubuque” their first of 16 singles, just 10 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.

Top Single:
“Time Will Reveal”
DeBarge #1 R&B 1983

Birthdays:
Arthur Neville (The Neville Brothers) 1937
Eddie Kendricks) The Temptations 1939
Wanda Hutchinson (The Emotions) 1951

December 18, 1954

The Rivileers “For Sentimental Reasons” and The Counts “Let Me Go Lover” were released.

December 18, 1971

Jerry Lee Lewis’ marriage to his 13 year old cousin ended in divorce after 13 years.

Top Single:
“Rubberband Man”
The Spinners #2 1976

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
The Tokens #1 1961

December 19, 1955

One of the first singles on George Goldner’s Gee label, “You Baby You” by The Cleftones was issued. Carl Perkins recorded his immortal “Blue Suede Shoes” at Sun Studios.

Top Single:
“Rags To Riches”
The Dominoes #3 R&B 1953

“Come See About Me”
The Supremes #1 1964

December 20, 1954

The Penguins headlined the Christmas show at the Embassy Auditorium in Los Angeles.

December 20, 1980

Jackie English, a white songwriter who became known for only having song recorded by black artists such as Geroge Benson, Ronnie Laws, Patrice Rushen and Eloise Laws among others finally had a record by a white artist when she charted with “Once A Night” from the movie “Hopscoth”. The artist was herself.

Top Single:
“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”
Steam #4 1969

“Leaving On A Jet Plane”
Peter, Paul & Mary #1 1969

December 21, 1968

The Brooklyn Bridge debut single “Worst That Could Happen” charted on it’s way to #3. The vocalists in “The Bridge” were Johnny Maestro of The Crests and Dion’s former back up group The Del-Satins.

Top Single:
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
Marvin Gaye #1 1968

December 22, 1956

The Los Angeles born and bread Four Preps had their debut 45 “Dreamy Eyes” chart.

December 22, 1962

The Crystals “He’s Sure The Boy I Love” was released rising to #11 only it wasn’t The Crystals but studio singers Darlene Love & The Blossoms.

Top Single:
“In The Still Of The Night”
The Five Satins #8 R&B 1956

“Telstar”
The Tornadoes #1 1962

Birthday:
Robin & Maurice Gibb (The Bee Gees) 1949

December 23, 1955

The Five Keys and The Turbans among others tore the house downat Dr. Jive’s Brooklyn Paramount Christmas show.

December 23, 1964

Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) suffered a nervous breakdown during a flight from Los Angeles to Houston. He gave up performing and was replaced for gigs by studio musician Glen Campbell and later ex-Rip Chord member Bruce Johnson.

Top Single:
“Teardrops”
Lee Andrew & The Hearts #29 1957

“You Send Me”
Sam Cooke #1 1957

Birthday:
Eugene Record (The Chi-Lites) 1940

December 24, 1999

Zeke Carey, leader of The Flamingos of “I Only Have Eyes For You” and “I’ll Be Home” fame died today. The Flamingos were considered by many fans and historians as the greatest vocal group of all time. Zeke, born January 24, 1933 was 66.

Top Single:
“How Deep Is Your Love”
The Bee Gees #1 1977

December 25, 1965

The former backup group for Major Lance, the Chicago based, Artistics made their chart debut with “This Heart of Mine” eventually reaching #25.

December 25, 1954

The Penguins classic “Earth Angel” charted en route to #8. It is considered to be the most popular Rock & Roll oldie of all time.

Top Single:
“Don’t Think Twice”
The Wonder Who #12 1965

“Brand New Key”
Melanie #1 1972

Birthday:
O’Kelly Isley (The Isley Brothers) 1937

December 26, 1964

“Let’s Lock The Door” by Jay & The Americans charted en route to #11. It was their 4th of 18 hits in 8 years. During the groups career they had two lead singers named Jay. Original lead Jay Traynor for the first few hits and Dave Blatt who changed his name Jay Black.

Top Single:
“Goin’ Out Of My Head”
Little Anthony & The Imperials #6 1964

“I Feel Fine”
The Beatles #1 1964

Birthday:
Abdul “Duke” Fakir (The Four Tops) 1935
Phil Spector (The Teddy Bears) 1940

December 27, 1964

The Supremes made their TV debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.

December 27, 1975

The Four Seasons charted with “December 1963 (Oh What A Night)”. It went to #1.

Top Single:
Someday We’ll Be Together”
Diana Ross & The Supremes #1 1969

Birthday:
John “Buddy” Bailey (The Clovers) 1931

December 28, 1983

Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, the only real surfer in the group, drowned while swimming off his boat moored in Marina Del Rey, California. He was 39.

Top Single:
“Why”
Frankie Avalon #1 1959

December 29, 1962

The Crystals charted with “He’s Sure The One I Love” (#11). Unfortunately, as with their previous hit “He’s A Rebel” it wasn’t The Crystals singing on the record but Darlene Love & The Blossoms thanks to the decision making shenanigans of producer Phil Spector.

December 29, 1956

Elvis Presley set a record that will doubtless stand forever. In his first year of Pop chat success he registered 17 singles on the Top 100, the last being his audition song at the age of 10 “Old Shep”.

Top Single:
“White Christmas”
The Drifters #12 R&B 1956

“The Chipmunk Song”
The Chipmunks #1 1958

Birthday:
Jerry Gross (The Dovels) 1942

December 30, 1950

Billy Ward & The Dominoes (with bass Bill Brown on lead) recorded their mega-hit “60 Minute Man” which went on to spend three and a half months at #1 R&B in 1951 (#17 Pop).

December 30, 1957

The Diamonds 10th hit “The Stroll” charted giving rise to the popular dance of the same name.

Top Single:
“I Second That Emotion”
The Miracles #4 1967

“Hello, Goodbye”
The Beatles #1 1967

December 31, 1960

“There’s A Moon Out Tonight” by The Capris charted eventually reaching #3. The group had given up two years earlier and disbanded only to regroup when the record hit the charts.

Top Single:
I Know I’m Losing You”
The Temptations #8 1966

Birthday:
John Denver (The Mitchell Trio) 1943

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