This Week in Music History
December 7th, 1991 – Michael Jackson starts his seven week run at No.1 on the singles chart with ‘Black Or White’, his 12th solo No.1, also a No.1 in the UK. It was the fastest chart topper since The Beatles’ ‘Get Back,’ and made Jackson the first artist to have No.1 hits in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
December 8th, 1963 – Frank Sinatra’s son was kidnapped at gunpoint from a hotel in Lake Tahoe. He was released a couple days later after Frank payed the $240,000 ransom demanded by the kidnappers, who were later captured, and sentenced to long prison terms. In order to communicate with the kidnappers via a payphone the senior Sinatra carried a roll of dimes with him throughout this ordeal, which became a lifetime habit, he is said to have been buried with a roll of dimes.
December 9th,1967 – Police arrest Jim Morrison as he performs onstage in New Haven, Conn. It’s the culmination of a wild night for the Lizard King, who clashed with a cop trying to hassle him and his lady before the gig. The cop in return maced him. When Morrison began complaining about his treatment by the New Haven police to the crowd, the house lights were turned up and Morrison was busted for breaching the peace.
December 10th, 1967 – Otis Redding is killed in a plane crash, aged 26. Redding and his band had made an appearance in Cleveland, Ohio on the local ‘Upbeat’ television show the previous day. The plane carrying Redding and his band crashed into icy waters of Lake Monoma near Madison. Redding was killed in the crash along with members from the The Bar-Kays, Jimmy King, Ron Caldwell, Phalin Jones and Carl Cunningham. Trumpet player Ben Cauley was the only person to survive the crash.
December 11th, 1988 – Days after the death of the great Roy Orbison, Don Henley, Tom Petty, and Graham Nash perform a concert in his honor at the Wiltern Theatre in LA.
December 12th, 1970 – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles start a two week run at No.1 on the singles chart with ‘Tears Of A Clown’. It was the group’s 26th Top 40 hit and first No.1. The song was written by Stevie Wonder in 1966, and his producer Hank Cosby, but Smokey Robinson wrote the lyrics.
December 13th, 1969 – Diana Ross takes a Philadelphia Casino to court suing them for $27,500 after her two pet dogs died after eating cyanide tablets left by an exterminator in her dressing room.