December 20 Music et al
Roots of Rock
December 20, 1957: while spending the Christmas holidays at Graceland, his newly purchased Tennessee mansion, rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley received his draft notice for the United States Army. RCA had released his Elvis Christmas Album on October 15 that year. It became the Billboard #1 album on December 15 and stayed there for four weeks. Like many things rock-related, especially concerning Elvis (and especially concerning the pre-Army Elvis), there was controversy. In this case the dust up swirled around his cover of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. Listening to it today, one wonders how there could be any issue, yet Berlin had his staff call radio stations and tell them to not only not play Elvis's cover, but to not play anything from the entire album. Most US radio stations ignored Berlin's request. In 1954, the Drifters had covered the song in what is today also considered classic. They also did the song in non-traditional style. Segregation kept the song out of white ears and not until the release of the Home Alone movie in 1990 did Clyde McPhatter's voice reach a huge white audience. (History site article) (see Dec 27)
December 20, 1968, The Beatles send out their penultimate Christmas recording, The Beatles 1968 Christmas Record. For the first time, the four did not record the disc together. The gift is a collection of various song pieces and messages from each Beatle. Paul McCartney say "Happy Christmas, Happy New Year." John recited poems "Jock and Yono" and "Once Upon a Pool Table." Guest Tiny Tim sings "Nowhere Man." DJ and friend Kenny Everett organized the disc and for the first time American fans received a disc. (see Dec 28)
December 20 Music et al
Peter, Paul and Mary
December 20 – 26, 1969: “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul, and Mary #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. As popular as the trio was, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" was Peter, Paul and Mary's only #1 song. John Denver wrote the song and originally named it "Baby I Have To Go," but his producer insisted he change the title. While their version is the most famous, others have covered it and Denver himself included his own version on his greatest hits album. Denver sued the group New Order claiming their song "Run 2" included a instrumental snip of "Leaving." Slide up to the 38 second mark to listen and decide for yourself. There was an out-of-court settlement.
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