Today in rock history: on this date in 1974, John Lennon became the final ex-Beatle to ever land a #1 solo single in the U.S. when he scored a chart-topping hit with his upbeat rocker, "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night". The song was the first single to be released from Lennon's fifth solo album, Walls and Bridges. Recorded with Elton John, who added his piano playing and harmony vocal talents to the song, the single became the only No. 1 solo hit John Lennon would ever enjoy while alive; he'd achieve this feat again after his untimely passing in 1980 with "(Just Like) Starting Over," a single from his final album Double Fantasy which hit the top spot a few weeks after his death. Elton John assured Lennon that "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" would go to the No. 1 spot and a bet rode on it; when John's prediction proved true, Lennon agreed to join Elton onstage at New York City's legendary arena Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving night in late November 1974. Elton introduced Lennon who appeared onstage to perform his newly achieved No. 1 hit as well as two Beatles songs. The performance would prove to be Lennon's final live onstage performance.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1970, Flint, Michigan rock and roll power trio Grand Funk released its very first live concert album the aptly titled Live Album. While panned by critics, the double-LP set was a huge success with its steadily growing legion of fans. The record achieved gold sales status, reaching the mark of 500,000 copies sold within the first week of its release. The record soon topped the one million copies sold sales mark and charted respectably on Billboard's pop albums chart as well as making a surprising showing on the publication's R&B chart as well. "Mean Mistreater" was released as a single from this live set and soon became a staple on Album-Oriented Rock FM radio stations. The album is considered by many Grand Funk fans to accurately capture the excitement and the energy the hard rocking band was able to achieve on a concert stage.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1970, famed Boston, Massachusetts bar band The J. Geils Band released its very first album. The self-titled record introduced the world to the blues and soul inspired good time rock and roll band which had already gained a following in the northeast part of the U.S. due greatly to its reputation as a red-hot live concert attraction. The record contained several original compositions as well as smoking cover versions of songs by blues legends Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker and Albert Collins. The band's rollicking cover of "First I Look At The Purse," originally recorded in 1965 by Motown Records act The Contours, proved to be the first taste of radio airplay J. Geils would get and would kick off its long and successful reign as one of the most dynamic live bands of the 1970s.
The Year in Music: 2016 in memoriam
Today in rock history: on this date in 1973, a specially filmed performance by David Bowie entitled "The 1980 Floor Show" was broadcast on American television as part of the popular weekly late night music program, The Midnight Special. The performance was recorded over several days inside the small London live concert nightclub The Marquee and the private audience in attendance for the recording of this special performance was limited to current members of Bowie's fan club. Several songs were performed often in order to capture various takes and camera angles since the venue in which the filming took place was so small that it could only accommodate two movie cameras. Bowie performed several songs for the show, which was intended to help promote his all-covers album Pin Ups in America. The performance marked the very last time Bowie would appear in his Ziggy Stardust characterization as he'd soon change his look and his persona and would put Ziggy to rest forever. Special guests for the show included British songstress Marianne Faithfull and rock and roll band The Troggs. The show was shown only in America and not in Bowie's home country of England and the recordings of the broadcast, although never officially released, have proven to be a heavily bootlegged Bowie collector's piece for decades.