Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Music History Today: December 16, 2020

December 16, 1988: Disco sensation Sylvester (Sylvester James Jr.) died of AIDS at 41.

Dick Clark couldn't get his American Bandstand crowd to stop cheering. His studio audience had just heard Sylvester and his backup singers, Two Tons O' Fun, perform their first hit, "Dance (Disco Heat)".

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After an awkward interview, the gender-bending singer performed his follow-up single. The song, "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," hit the top of Billboard's dance chart that year. 

Read more: NPR

December 16, 1957: Elvis Presley's Elvis' Christmas Album hit Number 1 in America. 

Want to know how revolutionary Elvis was in Fifties America? 


Irving Berlin, the author of "White Christmas," was so scandalized by Elvis's 1957 version of the song that he tried to get it banned from radio.

Read more: Rolling Stone

December 16, 1978: One of the hottest songs, "Please Come Home For Christmas" by the Eagles, moved up the chart from 78 to 45.

In 1978, the rock band Eagles covered and released "Please Come Home for Christmas" as a holiday single.  

The Eagles

Their version peaked at #18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the first Christmas song to reach the Top 20 on that chart since Roy Orbison's "Pretty Paper" in 1963. 

Read more: Wikipedia

December 16, 1978: Steve Martin continued to sit at Number 2  on Billboard's album chart with A Wild and Crazy Guy.

“A Wild and Crazy Guy” was the second comedy album from Steve Martin. Rising unexpectedly to number two on the “Billboard” charts, it defined a new era of comedy.


Comedy’s outrageous rebels reaped the benefit when obscenity laws were overturned as unconstitutional in the early 1970s. Within a few short years, the rebel comedians were fully assimilated into the mainstream.

Read more: Library of Congress

December 16, 1989:  "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel was Number 1 again, with Phil Collins in hot pursuit with "Another Day In Paradise."

“We Didn’t Start The Fire” became Joel’s third and final #1 hit by the end of ’89. You can blame Sean Lennon. 

Billy Joel

Lennon, who would’ve been around 13 when it was written, visited the 40-year-old Joel in the studio where the two had a conversation about their respective generation’s troubles. That’s what inspired the song’s rhyming list of historical events, 1949-1989. 

Read more: Stereogum

You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

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