Historically speaking, the third week in December has been marked by a trove of memorable rock events. Carl Perkins recorded a rock and roll classic, one of Motown’s best-loved vocal groups performed together for the last time, and one of alternative rock’s greatest bands began work on their first album. A spate of classic LPs was released as well, including landmark records by Spirit, the Rolling Stones, and George Harrison and Friends. Read on for a look back at other significant moments that shaped rock and roll during this historically eventful week.

Events

1955 – Carl Perkins records “Blue Suede Shoes.”

1957 – Elvis Presley receives his draft notice for the U.S. Army.

1961 – The Tokens’ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” begins a three-week run atop the U.S. singles chart.

1962 – The Beatles kick off their final series of shows at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany.

1967 – Jethro Tull is formed.

1968 – Crosby, Stills and Nash stage their first public performance.

Crosby, Stills & Nash

1969 – Peter, Paul and Mary’s recording of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – a song written by John Denver three years earlier -- tops the U.S. singles chart.

1969 – The Supremes perform together for the last time, singing “Someday We’ll Be Together” on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

1970 – Elton John’s first U.S. hit, “Your Song,” enters the Billboard Hot 100.

1971 – Sly and the Family Stone top the U.S. album chart with There’s a Riot Going On.

1971 – The New York Dolls stage their first live show, performing at a Christmas party in Manhattan.

NY Dolls

1972 – Filming begins for Bob Dylan’s role in the movie, “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid.”

1975 – Ronnie Wood leaves the Faces to join the Rolling Stones.

1975 – Joe Walsh joins the Eagles, replacing Bernie Leadon.

1978 – Kenney Jones, former drummer for the Faces, joins The Who. Original Who drummer Keith Moon had died two months earlier.

1988 – Nirvana begin recording Bleach, their first album. The sessions are financed with a $600 loan from a friend of the band.

1998 – Alice Cooper celebrates the opening of Cooper’stown, his restaurant in Phoenix, by performing with his original bandmates Michael Bruce and Neal Smith. It’s the first time the three have appeared on-stage together since 1974.

2004 – A Gibson SG played by John Lennon and George Harrison during the Beatles years sells for approximately $570,000 at auction.

2013 – Leonard Cohen performs what turns out to be his last concert, wrapping up his five-year “Grand Tour” with a show in Auckland, New Zealand.

2015 – Michael Jackson’s Thriller album becomes the first album to sell more than 30 million copies in the U.S.


Releases

1964 – The Dave Clark Five:  Coast to Coast         

1965 – The Pretty Things:  Get The Picture?

1966 – Fred Neil:  Fred Neil

1967 – The Beach Boys:  Wild Honey

1968 – Spirit:  The Family That Plays Together

1968 -- The Soft Machine:  The Soft Machine

1969 – The Jackson 5:  Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5

1970 -- T. Rex:  T. Rex

T-Rex

1970 – Nico:  Desertshore

1970 – Free:  Highway

1970 -- Ry Cooder:  Ry Cooder

1970 – Ten Years After:  Watt

1971 -- George Harrison and Friends:  The Concert for Bangladesh

1971 – The Rolling Stones:  Hot Rocks 1964–1971

1973 -- Bachman–Turner Overdrive:  Bachman–Turner Overdrive II

1973 – Donovan:  Essence to Essence

1973 – The Ozark Mountain Daredevils:  The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

1984 – Frank Zappa:  Thing-Fish

1989 – Peter Murphy:  Deep

1997 -- A New Found Glory:  It's All About the Girls (EP)

1999 – The Specials:  Best of the Specials

1999 – Frank Zappa:  Everything Is Healing Nicely

2002 -- Yngwie Malmsteen:  The Genesis              

2005 – Ryan Adams:  29


Deaths

Bobby Darin – Dec. 20, 1973

Jimmy Nolen – Dec. 18, 1983

Albert King – Dec. 21, 1992

Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic) – Dec. 23, 1992

Kirsty MacColl – Dec. 18, 2000

“Pops” Staples – Dec. 19, 2000

Robert Buck (10,000 Maniacs) – Dec. 19, 2000

Joe Strummer – Dec. 22, 2002

Larry Knechtel (Bread) – Dec. 20, 2009

Lee Dorman (Iron Butterfly) – Dec. 21, 2012

Joe Cocker – Dec. 22, 2014

Rick Parfitt (Status Quo) – Dec. 24, 2016


Births

Professor Longhair – Dec. 19, 1918

Chas Chandler – Dec. 18, 1938

Phil Ochs – Dec. 19, 1940

Frank Zappa – Dec. 21, 1940

Jorma Kaukonen – Dec. 23, 1940

Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire) – Dec. 19, 1941

Tim Hardin – Dec. 23, 1941

Carla Thomas – Dec. 21, 1942

Keith Richards – Dec. 18, 1943

Keith Richards

Bobby Keys – Dec. 18, 1943

Zal Yanovsky (The Lovin’ Spoonful) – Dec. 19, 1944

Alvin Lee – Dec. 19, 1944

Peter Criss – Dec. 20, 1945

Lemmy Kilmister – Dec. 24, 1945

Carl Wilson – Dec. 21, 1946

Ariel Bender (Mott the Hoople) – Dec. 23, 1946

Jan Akkerman (Focus) – Dec. 24, 1946

Paco de Lucia – Dec. 21, 1947

Alan Parsons – Dec. 20, 1948

Rick Nielsen – Dec. 22, 1948

Maurice Gibb – Dec. 22, 1949

Robin Gibb – Dec. 22, 1949

Adrian Belew – Dec. 23, 1949

Elliot Easton (The Cars) – Dec. 18, 1953

Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) – Dec. 23, 1956

Billy Bragg – Dec. 20, 1957

Billy Bragg

Victoria Williams – Dec. 23, 1958

Eddie Vedder – Dec. 23, 1964

Chris Robinson (Black Crowes) – Dec. 20, 1966