26 December

Pick a Day

26 DECEMBER

In Music History

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2016 Pink gives birth to her second child, a baby boy named Jameson Moon. The father is the singer's motocross-star husband, Carey Hart.

2012 R&B singer Fontella Bass, known for the 1965 hit "Rescue Me," dies of complications from a heart attack at age 72.

2003 Matthew West releases his major label debut album, Happy. The album includes the hit single "More."

1986 The Beastie Boys kick off their Licensed To Ill tour with a show at The Ritz in New York City. By the time the tour is over, Licensed To Ill will be America's first #1 rap album, and thousands of Volkswagen emblems will go missing as fans steal them to emulate Mike D's signature look.More

1981 The AC/DC album For Those About to Rock We Salute You goes to #1 in America for the first of three weeks. It's their first #1 album in that country, and the first hard rock album to top that chart.

1979 Chris Daughtry (Daughtry) is born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.

1973 The horror movie The Exorcist hits theaters, with a portion of the Mike Oldfield instrumental "Tubular Bells" as the theme music. A 3:18 version of the song (it's 25-minutes long on the album) is released as a single, going to #7 in the US.

1969 Peter Klett (lead guitarist for Candlebox) is born in Bellevue, Washington.

1968 D.A. Pennebaker's documentary Monterey Pop, which chronicles the 1967 Monterey International Pop Music Festival (where The Who smashed their instruments and Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire) opens in theaters.

1967 The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour film debuts on BBC-TV.

1967 The Osborne Brothers release "Rocky Top."

1966 Jimi Hendrix writes the lyrics to "Purple Haze" in his dressing room between performances at London's Uppercrust Club.

1966 J. Yuenger (guitarist for White Zombie) is born Jay Noel Yuenger in Chicago, Illinois.

1961 Jay & the Americans record "She Cried."

1958 Stan Freberg presents a check for $1,000 to the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California as his royalties from the first year's release of "Green Chri$tma$" (he gives all proceeds from the single charity).

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Led Zeppelin Opens For Vanilla Fudge In First US Concert

1968

Led Zeppelin's first US tour begins in Denver. They're the opening act for Vanilla Fudge.


The British Invasion bands (The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones...) followed the same plan: become wildly popular in their home country, wait for word to spread to America, go there and conquer it. Led Zeppelin is the first to take a different approach, setting their sights on the US from the get-go, long before anyone there has heard of them. The band is led by guitarist Jimmy Page, known for his work in The Yardbirds and as a top session musician. On bass is John Paul Jones, also established as a session player and great with arrangements. Frontman Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham are relative newcomers bursting with talent. In September, they toured Scandinavia as "The New Yardbirds," working up material along the way. In October, they recorded their self-titled debut album, funded by Page and manager Peter Grant, using about 30 hours of studio time at Olympic Studios in London - a remarkable feat of efficiency. In November, they sign with Atlantic Records, who touts them as "the hot, new English group" in a little-seen press release. After playing 16 small shows in the UK, Led Zeppelin headed to America over Christmas to kick off their first US tour, starting out as an opening act for Vanilla Fudge, known for their heavy cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On." On the first show, in Denver, they are third on the bill, behind a mercurial California band called Spirit, whose song "Taurus" sounds very similar to the intro of "Stairway To Heaven," which Led Zeppelin releases in 1971. This is the point in the story where you might be expecting to hear about how "Led Zeppelin blew away Vanilla Fudge." Not so. The show was sold out before Zep was added, and the crowd was there to see the headliner. "When they went on, the audience was yelling, 'Bring on The Fudge,'" drummer Carmine Appice says. "It was hilarious." "They were great musicians with a very confident delivery," Robert Plant adds. "They encouraged us to open it up." Vanilla Fudge hold their own, but Zeppelin makes an impression, especially when Jimmy Page plays his guitar with a violin bow during "Dazed And Confused." They begin building their legend as the tour moves forward, winning over the audience at every stop (at Spokane, Washington, five shows in, they are listed as "Len Zefflin" in adverts). Their debut album isn't released until January 12, and there are no advance singles. They also buck convention by restricting interviews to local and music-oriented outlets, and rarely performing on TV, where the sound quality is never up to snuff. By the end of the tour in February 1969, word has spread about this hard rock powerhouse. When Led Zeppelin return to the US in the summer, they play some shows as co-headliners with Vanilla Fudge. John Bonham's drums are much bigger this time around, thanks to Carmine Appice, who turned him on to oversize Ludwigs.

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