This Day in Rock Music History January 1
1964 - Top of the Pops
Today in rock music history, the BBC broadcasts its first "Top of the Pops" television program. Also known as the TOTP, this show featured performance from the week's most popular musicians. In 1994, a spinoff was created - Top of the Pops 2. The spinoff ran for several months after the original program was already canceled.
The first broadcast occurred on New Year's Day 1964 in Longsight, Manchester. Here's who was featured on the premiere broadcast, in order:
The Rolling Stones - I Wanna Be Your Man
Dusty Springfield - I Only Want to Be With You
The Dave Clark Five - Glad All Over
The Hollies - Stay
The Swinging Blue Jeans - The Hippy Hippy Shake
The Beatles - I Want to Hold Your Hand (Besides, what UK music show during the 1960s would've been complete without an appearance from The Beatles).
The custom of the show was to play the week's biggest hit at the end of the show to keep the viewers tuned in. The Beatles played their #1 hit from the previous week as teenage girls got weak-kneed watching from the studio or from the homes.
The DJs for the show rotated each week between Savile, Pete Murray, Alan Freeman and David Jacobs. There was also a "disc girl" that appeared each week - Samantha Juste - who later went on to marry one of The Monkees.
The artists on Top of the Pops almost always lip-synched their songs and the producers didn't try to hide it. Maybe if Ashlee Simpson had taken a cue from the producers of this show, she wouldn't have been laughed off the SNL stage and she might still have a career.
Although TPOP was originally slated to be on for a short time, it ran for more than four decades. During its most popular time in the 1970s, it drew about 15 million viewers every week. Ratings began to decline, however, in 1996 when it was moved from its original time slot and forced to compete against "Coronation Street" - one of the UK's most popular soap operas.
"Top of the Pops" ended its original run in 2006. The last show included many of the same people involved with the original, including the Rolling Stones who performed the song "The Last Time." Other musicians that appeared include Madonna, David Bowie, Wham, Beyonce and even Gnarls Barkley.
The show still airs holiday specials to remember those days of long ago when Christmas wasn't a bad word to say. You can find a list of the hundreds of performers that made appearances during the show's 42 years here.
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1968 - CCR Changes Name
Today in rock music history, the Blue Velvets officially changed their name to something you might recognize - Creedence Clearwater Revival.
The first incarnation of this superstar band began in 1959. At that time, it was nothing more than an instrumental trio that included John Fogerty on guitar, Stu Cook on piano and Doug Clifford on drums. A year later, Tom Fogerty - John's older brother - began singing with the band.
Beginning in the San Francisco Bay region, the Blue Velvets enjoyed minimal success even though one of their singles was on the area's top 40 playlist.
In 1964, the band recorded songs for Fantasy Records, another San Francisco record label. When the first song was released by the label, the co-owner changed the band's name to The Golliwogs. Again, the band had some success, but there was more to come.
Toward the end of 1966, John Fogerty began managing the band and writing all of the songs. He also took control of the lead vocals and learned how to play several other instruments. By the next year, he was producing albums and recordings for the band.
In December 1967, the band discussed changing their name. Fantasy Records changed hands and the new owner offered the band the opportunity to record an entire album, but only if they changed their name. Their much-discussed name came from three ideas:
Creedence: This came from a friend of Tom Fogerty's whose name was Credence Nuball;
Clearwater: Refers to the band's concern for ecology and the environment; and
Revival: Describes each band member's re-dedication to their music and each other. They quit their day jobs and began playing and rehearsing their music full-time.
Creedence Clearwater Revival's most popular songs include:
Proud Mary - This song went to #2 on the Billboard charts and became one of the most covered songs in music history with more than 100 different versions available.
Bad Moon Rising - This song went to #2 in 1969.
Good Golly Miss Molly - Also went to #2
And many, many others that are often featured in movies, TV shows and other pop culture media.
Unfortunately, the band began to dissolve in the early 1970s when Tom Fogerty left the band. CCR continued to tour and release albums, but none of them enjoyed the success of the band's first years under their iconic name. Another factor that led to the dissolution was the fact that John Fogerty allowed the other band members to have total control over one of their last albums after they complained about their lack of creative input over the years. That album totally bombed and led to further animosity toward the band's gravely-voiced singer.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, three years after Tom Fogerty died of tuberculosis. The animosity that tore the band apart two decades earlier was still evident as John Fogerty refused to perform with his former band mates. The two remaining members now do concerts under the name of Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
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