ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: DECEMBER 31

#1 R&B Song 1955:   “Adorable,” the Drifters

 

Born:   Odetta (Odetta Gordon), 1930; Donna Summer, 1948

 

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1949   The Orioles charted R&B with their seasonal classic “(It’s Gonna Be a) Lonely Christmas,” reaching #5. Its B-side, the appropriately titled “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” would reach #9 after only two weeks on the charts.

 

1960   The future standard “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by the Shirelles entered the charts on this last day of the year, rising to #2 R&B and #1 pop. (The Shirelles were the first girl group [and my all-time favourite girl group] with a #1 hit single on the  Billboard Hot 100, with “Will You Still Love Me”, which was written by the great Carole King (who wrote another song entitled, “On the First Day in August,” which has the same sweet beauty and poignancy to it as this song). It took the Shirelles to put the song on the charts. The Shirelles ( Shirley Owens (the main lead singer; later known as Shirley Alston, then Shirley Alston Reeves), Doris Coley(later known as Doris Coley Kenner, then Doris Kenner Jackson; she sang lead on Dedicated to the One I Love“, “Welcome Home Baby”, “Blue Holiday” and a number of B-sides and album cuts),  Beverly Leeand  Addie ‘Micki’ Harris.

 

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The Shirelles

 

1960   A former gospel vocalist in the Manhattans and the Royaltones, Maxine Brown reached the hit list with “All In Your Mind,” her first of fifteen charters through 1969.

 

1962   Advertised as an all-night gospel sing, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Caravan Singers, the Swanee Quartet, Sam Cooke, and Cooke’s previous group the Soul Stirrers performed at the Armory in Newark, NJ.

 

1986   Freddie Jackson, Gladys Knight, Melba Moore performed on CBS-TV’s Happy New Year America show.

 

1990   The O’Jays performed on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve ABC-TV show.

 

1991   Bell Biv Devoe performed on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve ABC-TV show.

 

1993   The Isley Brothers performed at Atlanta, GA’s Fox Theater for their New Year’s Eve Show.

 

1993   Donna Summer performed at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ, for Merv Griffin’s third annual New Year’s Eve special, which was shown on Fox-TV. It was also Summer’s forty-fifth birthday.

 

1993   Grandmaster Flash, Kool Moe Dee, Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Melle Mel, and Biz Markie performed at the Apollo Theater’s New Year’s Eve show.

 

1994   Babyface and Boyz II Men performed to a sellout audience of more than 16,000 fans at Madison Square Garden in New York.

 

1994   Stevie Wonder performed at Detroit’s Fox Thearter to a sell-out crowd.

 

1995   Chaka Khan performed at a New Year’s Eve show at the Beacon Theater in New York.

 

 

Well, that’s it for tonight. Next post will be the first of the New Year.  Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year, and a prosperous life ahead!

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