Music History: December 4th:
2014 The day after a fake MSNBC story reports the death of Axl Rose, the very much alive Guns N' Roses frontman tweets: "if I'm dead do I still have to pay taxes?"
2014 ASCAP lists its Top 30 Holiday Songs of the Century, with "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" topping the tally.
2013 REO Speedwagon, Styx, Richard Marxand Survivor play a "Rock to the Rescue" concert in Bloomington, Illinois to benefit victims of a November 17 tornado in the area. Longtime REO guitarist Gary Richrath joins the band for "Ridin' the Storm Out," his first appearance with the group since he left in 1989. It's the last time he plays with the band, as he dies in 2015.
2011 Chicago blues musician Hubert Sumlin, a member of Howlin' Wolf's band, dies of heart failure at age 80.
2007 Pimp C (real name Charles Lamont Butler) is found dead in a West Hollywood, California, hotel room. The 33-year-old rapper had ingested promethazine and codeine, drugs used in the "purple drank" referred to in many rap songs.
1988 In Akron, Ohio, Roy Orbison plays his last concert (his final song: "Running Scared"). The legendary singer dies of heart failure two days later.
1987 16-year-old Alison Krauss releases her debut album, Too Late To Cry, backed by her band Union Station.
1979 Fleetwood Mac fans at The Forum in Inglewood get a brassy surprise when the USC Trojan Marching Band is brought out to perform "Tusk." The USC band, which appears on the recording, makes four more appearances at Forum concerts with Fleetwood Mac over the next seven days.
1976 Tommy Bolin, age 25, dies from a drug overdose in a Miami hotel room, after opening for Jeff Beck at the Jai-Alai Fronton in Miami. Hours before the guitarist's death, Bolin responded to a news reporter's well wishes by saying, "I've been taking care of myself my whole life. Don't worry about me. I'm going to be around for a long time."
1975 Kiss earn their first Gold album with Alive!.
1971 Sly and the Family Stone's "Family Affair" hits #1 for the first of three weeks.
1970 Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Stephen Stills' Super Session album is certified gold.
1969 President Richard Nixon, Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew, and forty US governors view "simulated acid trip" films and listen to rock music in order to comprehend the generation gap.
1969 Santana's self-titled debut album is certified gold.
1965 Jacques Brel makes his American concert debut, performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1965 The Rolling Stones release December's Children (And Everybody's) in the US.
1965 The Knickerbockers' "Lies" enters the pop charts.
1964 The Beatles release Beatles For Sale.
1962 Sponge frontman Vinnie Dombroski is born in Detroit, Michigan.
1959 BoDeans bassist Bob Griffin is born in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
1956 At Sun Studio in Memphis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis jam together on a few tunes. Johnny Cash shows up later to get in the picture and complete what becomes known as the "Million Dollar Quartet."
1954 The Chordettes' "Mr. Sandman" hits #1.
1951 Gary Rossington is born in Jacksonville, Florida. He becomes a founding member and guitarist of both Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Rossington-Collins Band. Rossington is inducted into the Rock and Hall of Fame in 2006 as a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
1948 Southside Johnny, of the Jersey Shore rock band Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, is born in Neptune, New Jersey.
1942 Chris Hillman (of The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds) is born in Los Angeles, California.
1942 Bob Mosley (bass player for Moby Grape) is born in Paradise Valley, California.
1940 Rock 'n' roll singer Freddy Cannon is born Freddy Picariello in Revere, Massachusetts.
1934 Ethel Merman records "I Get A Kick Out Of You."
1928 Louis Armstrong records "Basin Street Blues."
1915 Jazz pianist Eddie Heywood, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia.
1879 The Irish composer Herbert Hamilton Harty is born.
Blaze In Montreaux Sparks "Smoke On The Water"
During a Frank Zappa concert, the Montreux Casino in Switzerland catches fire when someone fires a flare gun, inspiring Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water." Deep Purple are there to record their album Machine Head the following day, but end up using the Grand Hotel and including the song as a last-minute addition.
1993 Frank Zappa dies of terminal prostate cancer at age 52 in Los Angeles, California.
1980 Led Zeppelin makes it official: they will not continue after the death of their drummer, John Bonham. They never fully reform, but do play some shows with Jason Bonham filling in for his father.
1969 Jay-Z (Shawn Corey Carter) is born in housing projects in Brooklyn - something he will remind us of many times in his raps.
1965 The Byrds' "Turn! Turn! Turn!" hits #1 for the first of three weeks. Written by folk singer Pete Seeger, its lyrics were taken from The Bible's book of Ecclesiastes.
1944 Dennis Wilson (of The Beach Boys) is born in Inglewood, California.