14 December

Pick a Day

14 DECEMBER

In Music History

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2012 Stalker Jacob Nicholas Kulke is arrested outside a residence belonging to Taylor Swift and is charged with trespassing. Kulke claims that he had been in touch with Swift through social media and had been planning to show up and "surprise her for her birthday." Though the singer had just had her birthday the previous day, she'd been overseas at the time and likely wouldn't be too happy with Kulke scaling her fence.

2011 Country singer Billie Jo Spears dies in Vidor, Texas, at age 73. Known for the 1975 hit "Blanket on the Ground."

2006 The stage production of Lou Reed's 1973 album Berlin - the story of a doomed, drug addicted couple - opens at St. Ann's Warehouse in New York City.

2001 Billy Preston pleads guilty to insurance fraud in a Los Angeles court and agrees to testify against six other defendants in the same case.

1997 Kurt Winter (guitarist for The Guess Who) dies of kidney failure at age 51.

1995 Little Richard, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are among the performers honoring Frank Sinatra on the TV special Sinatra: 80 Years My Way.

1995 The FBI, acting on a judge's order, releases most (but not all) of its documents revealing the organization's attempts to deport John Lennon.

1992 Merle Haggard, 55, files for bankruptcy on the same day that his wife gives birth to his sixth child, a son named Binion (Ben). Haggard, whose tax problems led to the filing, sells the copyrights to many of his songs to pay off the debt.

1989 It's a Beautiful Day vocalist Pattie Santos dies in a car accident in California at age 40.

1987 Dinosaur, Jr. release You're Living All Over Me. Overall sales are modest, but the album is an influential landmark in the alternative and indie music genres.

1986 In Sydney, Elton John plays the last concert on his Australian tour, which is recorded for the album Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. "Candle In The Wind" is released as a single, charting in America for the first time, where it peaks at #6. The song becomes a live favorite and in 1997 is reworked as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, after she is killed in a car accident.

1985 James Taylor marries actress Kathryn Walker.

1975 R&B singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is born in Wheatley Heights, New York.

1972 Seals and Crofts' "Summer Breeze" is certified Gold.

1971 Radical John Sinclair, who was arrested for marijuana possession in 1969 and given a 10-year prison sentence, is released from prison thanks to high-profile supporters such as John Lennon.

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Saturday Night Fever Boogies Into Theaters

1977

At the peak of the disco era, the film Saturday Night Fever opens in theaters. The soundtrack contains two previous #1 hits and four new ones.

Saturday Night Fever comes from director John Badham's fascination with the disco movement, described in British journalist Nik Cohn's 1976 article "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night." The world-weariness of working-class teens cutting loose on the dance floor every weekend is encapsulated in Tony Manero, the film's protagonist played by Welcome Back Kotter star John Travolta. Though Cohn later admits that he fabricated the article, basing it on friends from London's Mod scene of the '60s rather than the disco scene of the '70s that he knew nothing about, the film is a true-to-life experience for disco obsessees and a fascination for the disco-curious. But the big story is the soundtrack. The film is produced by Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood, who brings them into the fold and uses their 1976 #1 hit "You Should Be Dancing" in the big scene where Travolta takes over the dance floor. They also write five songs for the film: "How Deep Is Your Love" - The first single from the soundtrack, it was released ahead of the film and hits #1 on December 24, 1977, staying for three weeks. "Stayin' Alive" - #1 for four weeks, starting February 4, 1978. "Night Fever" - #1 for eight weeks, starting March 18, 1978. "If I Can't Have You" - Recorded by Yvonne Elliman, it takes over the top spot (for one week) when "Night Fever" drops off. "More Than A Woman" - Recorded by both the Bee Gees and Tavares, both versions are used in the film and appear on the soundtrack. The Tavares version is released as a single, reaching #32. The film (and soundtrack) also features the classical boogie "A Fifth Of Beethoven," a #1 for Walter Murphy in 1976, and "Disco Inferno" by The Trammps, which stalled at #53 in 1976, but reaches #11 when it is re-released thanks to the movie. But wait, there's more: The 1975 KC & The Sunshine Band album cut "Boogie Shoes" gets fresh leather; used in the film and released as a single, it goes to #35. The soundtrack album spends a staggering 24 weeks at #1 and wins the Grammy for Album of the Year. The Bee Gees are forever associated with disco, which isn't a bad thing when the genre revives in the 2010s, but it frustrating for them because the term didn't exist when they started making it. "We were not disco," Robin Gibb says. "People who emulated us were disco."

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