22 December

Pick a Day

22 DECEMBER

In Music History

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2020 Mountain guitarist Leslie West dies at 75 after suffering a heart attack.

2014 Joe Cocker dies of lung cancer at age 70 at his home in Colorado.

2012 Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood marries his girlfriend Sally Humphreys; Wood at age 65 and Humphreys at 34. Coincidentally, the world did not end on the day before, as proponents of the Mayan calendar would have it. Perhaps this bolstered their optimism?

2007 Eleven years after her death, Eva Cassidy goes to #1 in the UK with "What a Wonderful World," a duet blending her recording of the song with fresh vocals from Katie Melua.

2006 At the beginning of their last day in space for the STS-116 mission to the International Space Station, the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery is greeted by Perry Como's "(There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays."

2006 The producer Swizz Beatz and his wife, the singer Mashonda Tifrere, have their first child, Kasseem Dean Jr. In 2016, Kasseem's stepmother Alicia Keys writes a song for him called "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)."

2003 Country singer Dave Dudley dies of a heart attack in Danbury, Wisconsin, at age 75.

2001 T.I. is arrested in his native Atlanta for illegal gun possession. He allegedly tells police that his name is Douglas Morgan rather than his real name, Clifford Harris. The rapper is released without serious conviction.

2000 The Coen Brothers movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? hits theaters. With the song "Man Of Constant Sorrow" a centerpiece of the film, it ignites interest in bluegrass music. The soundtrack, produced by T-Bone Burnett, sells over 7 million copies in America.

1991 Gregg Allman (of The Allman Brothers Band) makes his acting debut as a drug kingpin in the movie Rush.

1990 At the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Pearl Jam, still known as Mookie Blaylock, open for Alice in Chains. Chris Cornell comes on stage and puts Eddie Vedder on his shoulders at one point.

1989 Jordin Sparks is born in Phoenix, Arizona. At age 17, she wins the sixth season of American Idol (2007).

1988 During an interview, Phil Collins jokes about wanting to make a film version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" with Danny DeVito and Bob Hoskins. DeVito later reads the interview and contacts Phil about actually making the movie. Hoskins also signs on (as well as Kim Basinger as Goldilocks) but the film is never made.

1985 Dennes Boon of the Minutemen is killed in a van accident in Tucson, Arizona, at age 27.

1979 Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" hits #1 on the Hot 100. It retains the top spot for two more weeks, becoming the last chart-topper of the '70s and the first of the '80s.

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The Chipmunk Song hits #1.

1958

The Chipmunks' "The Chipmunk Song" hits #1 on the Hot 100, the last Christmas song to ever top the chart.


It would be the last Christmas song to hit #1 in the US and remarkably, it stays at the top of the chart for three more weeks - well into January. The Chipmunks are the creation of Ross Bagdasarian, who uses the stage name David Seville. By speeding up recordings of his voice, he is able to simulate the sound of cartoon rodents - at least what they would sound like if they could speak English and sing. Seville is already a legitimate songwriter, having written a hit for Rosemary Clooney called "Come-On-A My House." He comes up with the Chipmunk vocal sound by recording his voice into a tape recorder that is running at half speed. His first squeaky single, however, has nothing to do with furry animals - it is called "Witch Doctor," and the voice belongs to a shaman who shares a love chant ("Oo ee, oo ah ah...). The song goes to #1 in 1958, a particularly strong year for novelty songs ("The Purple People Eater" is also a chart-topper that year). Taking his concept to the next level, Seville creates different voices and starts calling his act "The Chipmunks" (he claims that a Chipmunk in the road gave him the idea). He develops personalities for the creatures, including the impetuous Alvin, who becomes the Diana Ross of this Supremes. Thanks to "The Chipmunk Song," they become a sensation, and in 1961 get their own TV show. Chipmunk fatigue sets in by the end of the '60s, and they are largely forgotten in the '70s. They go back on the air in 1983 with another cartoon series, which lasts until 1990. The '00s mark another Chipmunk resurgence, with a series of movies and some successful songs, including a new version of "The Chipmunk Song" in 2007. In 2015, they get their third TV series: ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks.

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