Today in rock history; Jackson Browne On Empty, R.I.P. Roy Orbison and more

Tragedy at Altamont and milestones for the Silverdome, too.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1978, singer/songwriter Jackson Browne released his fifth album, the incredibly successful Running On Empty. A unique document of life on the road, the album was recorded live but not in the conventional way; while a portion of the album’s selections were recorded in front of a concert audience, some of the selections were recorded in hotel rooms, tour buses or backstage by Browne and his touring band. The record has been revered as Browne’s boldest and most daring work and its popularity was unparalleled; being the most successful album of his career, the record peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s pop albums chart and remained on that chart for a little more than a solid year. Hit singles from the album included the double-sided hit “The Load Out”/”Stay” (a remake of the 1960 Maurice Williams doo-wop hit) as well as the enduring title track. “Running On Empty” has sold over 7 million copies making it the best-selling album of Jackson Browne’s lengthy career. Browne has a January 18 show set for Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall. Read our review of his 2016 set in the same room here.

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Concert review: Jackson Browne goes solo at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater

Today in rock history: on this date in 1975, rambunctious British rock and roll band The Who became the first ever rock band to perform at the newly opened Pontiac Silverdome stadium in Pontiac, Michigan. The band was in the midst of the U.S. leg of their tour to promote itsalbum released that same year, The Who By Numbers. The concert was a sell-out and the newly unveiled stadium was packed to the rafters; the band set a new world record for attendance with a total number of 75,962 fans turning out for the event…the largest gathering ever to see a single solo indoor attraction. The record was short lived though. In April of 1977, Led Zeppelin broke that record when they attracted 76,229 fans at the very same venue. Ironically, the Pontiac Silverdome was (also almost) demolished two days ago on December 4, 2017.

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R.I.P. — Tom Petty dead at 66

Today in rock history: on this date in 1988, legendary American singer and songwriter Roy Orbison passed away at the age of 52 as a result of a heart attack. One of the most successful and admired artists and vocalists of the 1960s, Orbison scored over 20Top 40 hits during the years of 1960-1964 including the smashes “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Only The Lonely” and “Crying.” Orbison was enjoying a rebirth of his career near the time of his death. He’d served as a member of The Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne and he’d recorded his solo album Mystery Girl which featured the hit “You Got It” which were released months after his unexpected death and rose to the top of the charts. Orbison’s voice remains one of the truly unique and most recognizable voices of the rock era.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1969, in the event that many felt signaled the grim ending to the peace and love era of the 1960s, tragedy and chaos tarnished the free Altamont Free Concert at the Altamont Speedway in Northern California. Staged in the hopes of rivaling the Woodstock Festival that had risen to the level of cultural phenomenon earlier in the year, Altamont was a complete and utter disaster and instead wound up being regarded as grave mistake. Headliners The Rolling Stones were at the top of the bill with The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Flying Burrito Brothers and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young scheduled to perform. The local chapter of motorcycle gang Hell’s Angels were chosen to serve as security for the event that went downhill before it ever really began. The Grateful Dead refused to play in reaction to the violence that was erupting at the event that was supposed to be a peaceful all day music festival. Things turned deadly when a fan who supposedly pointed a gun at Mick Jagger while The Rolling Stones were performing was brutally stabbed to death by a Hell’s Angels member. The chaotic event was captured in an intriguing full length documentary film created by famed filmmakers Albert and David Maysles and released in 1970 under the title Gimmie Shelter.

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About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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