On This Day in Rock History: January 22

My last installment for this recurring feature was Thanksgiving, so I thought it’s time for another post.

Let’s take a look what happened on January 22nd throughout rock history. As with previous posts, “throughout” mostly means the 60s and 70s, my favorite decades in rock music.

1959: Buddy Holly made his last recordings in his New York City apartment, less than two weeks before he would be killed in a tragic plane crash on Feb 3, 1959, together with two other rock & roll stars, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, along with the pilot. Accompanying himself with just an acoustic guitar, Holly taped six songs: Peggy Sue Got Married, Crying, Waiting, Hoping, That’s What They Say, What to To, Learning the Game and That Makes it Tough. All of these tunes were overdubbed and released posthumously.

1966: The Beach Boys recorded Wouldn’t It Be Nice, the opener of their legendary concept album Pet Sounds, the band’s 11th studio release and Brian Wilson’s response to The Beatles’ Rubber Soul. Written by Wilson, Tony Asher and Mike Love, Wouldn’t It Be Nice was also released as the album’s second single, paired with God Only Knows. The tune made it to No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and remained in this chart for 11 weeks.

1967: The Monkees performed a sold-out show at The Cow Palace in San Francisco. The band’s first live gig at that venue came a month after their very first live performance in Hawaii. Formed in LA in 1965 for the American television series The Monkees, this band of musician-actors could not play live initially, mostly because Micky Dolenz who was assigned to play the drums for the TV series wasn’t a real drummer and only subsequently learned how to play the instrument.

1969: The Beatles met at Apple Studios for their 11th day of the Get Back/Let It Be Sessions. This was also the first time the band was joined by Billy Preston, who happened to be in London to play with Ray Charles and had been invited by George Harrison. The session focused on three songs: Don’t Let Me Down, I’ve Got A Feeling and Dig A Pony. According to The Beatles Bible, Preston’s “presence on piano and keyboards helped flesh out the sound considerably, which was helpful given the ‘no overdubs’ rule of the sessions.”

1972: Don McLean’s defining album American Pie hit No. 1 on the Billboard Album Chart and held that spot for seven weeks. McLean’s second studio album would remain in the chart for almost one year. It’s best known for the legendary 8 1/2-minute title track, which alludes to the death of Buddy Holly in the opening verses, though the ambiguous lyrics go much beyond that, as McLean acknowledged in subsequent media interviews.

1977: Wings Over America, a live album from Paul McCartney and his band at the time, Wings, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Released six months after their U.S. tour, it was the first triple-record album to hit the top spot on this U.S. chart. For more on this fantastic album, see my post from last August.

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