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  Today in Rock
December Twentieth Featured Artist

During the waning hours of Wicked Lester (with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley) there was an ad in Rolling Stone's East Coast edition that read "experienced drummer willing to do anything to make it." Enter Peter Criscoula (Criss). Finally, when Ace Frehley joined, it was the end of Wicked Lester and the beginning of KISS - lights, make-up, stage costumes, explosions and loud, driving Rock.
1940's  KISS drummer Peter Criss (born George Peter John Criscuola) has a birthday. One of the group’s co-founders, Criss develops the "cat" character for his KISS persona. 1945

Musician (Alan Parsons Project) and producer (Pink Floyd), Alan Parsons, has a birthday. 1949

1950's  Elvis Presley gets his draft notice. He’ll start his tour of duty the following year. 1957

Capitol Records releases “Meet The Beatles” in the U.S. Beatlemania officially gets underway in the states. 1963

The Beach Boys, with help from Dean Torrence (Jan & Dean), issue “Barbara Ann.” The song gets to #2. 1965

The Rolling Stones and the Kinks make their first appearance on “Shindig.” The ABC music program also has the more popular (at the time) Dave Clark 5. 1965

A native of Marietta, GA, Black Crowes’ frontman, Chris Robinson, lets out his first wail. 1966

Ian Anderson and Glenn Cornick form Jethro Tull. The name is taken from an inventor of farm tools. 1967

Bob Dylan and The Band join several folkies in a concert commemorating the legendary Woody Guthrie. It’s Dylan’s first public appearance since his motorcycle accident two years earlier. 1968

Though it spends several weeks in the Top 5, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s two-sided hit “Down On The Corner”/”Fortunate Son” can only get to #3. “Leaving On A Jet Plane” (Peter, Paul & Mary) and “Someday We’ll Be Together” (Diana Ross & The Supremes) are #1 and #2, respectively. 1969

The Rolling Stones' "Let It Bleed" knocks The Beatles' "Abbey Road" from the top spot on the U.K. album chart. 1969
1970's  Jerry Lee Lewis makes his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. Having gone Country to maintain his career, Lewis is told not to play Rock but does. Told not to swear, he does. Is the man Rock ‘n’ Roll or what! 1973

Former James Gang axe grinder Joe Walsh joins The Eagles. He replaces Bernie Leadon who seeks, unsuccessfully, a solo career. 1975

AC/DC’s “Back In Black” peaks at #4 on the U.S. album chart. 1980

The first "Rocker" to win American Idol (season 7), David Cook, is born in Houston. 1982

Ozzy Osbourne is hospitalized and treated for rabies after biting the head off a bat during a concert. 1982

Right song, right time, right place. In Belfast, U2 perform “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” live for the first time. 1982

The Bangles take a goofy novelty song, "Walk Like An Egyptian" to #1 in the U.S. 1986

The Beatles and the Beach Boys are inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. However, the Beach Boys’ Mike Love is totally ungracious and insults just about everybody in the music business, adding much needed, if stupid, edge to the affair. 1988
"Daughter" is the second single from Pearl Jam’s second album “Vs.” With lyrics by vocalist Eddie Vedder and music primarily written by guitarist Stone Gossard, the song goes on to top both the Billboard Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts. 1993

On The Tonight Show (NBC), Melissa Etheridge sings John Lennon’s "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)." 1994
2000's  Doug Robb’s battle with pneumonia causes Hoobastank to cancel their remaining December concerts. Hospitalized the previous weekend the singer is ordered to remain in bed for a week. 2004

It’s reported that Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery has quit the band and embarked on a new project with his brother, ex-Stereomud bassist Corey Lowery. The rumor mill claims they are recording with singer Brett Hestla, formerly Creed`s touring bassist. 2004

Queens Of The Stone Age are joined onstage by John Garcia, frontman Josh Homme's ex-bandmate from the stoner-rock outfit Kyuss. Three Kyuss songs get a work at the L.A. show before QOTSA ends the set with "Go With the Flow." 2005

Attention last minute Christmas shoppers. Tool 's "Schism" and "Parabol/Parabola," DVDs are out. Also, a two-CD compilation titled "Welcome To The Jungle -- The Very Best Of Guns N' Roses" arrives. 2005

Former Procol Harum keyboardist Matthew Fisher wins his court battle over royalties from the band's biggest hit, "Whiter Shade Of Pale." Fisher claims to have written the distinctive organ part on the track, which originally was credited only to frontman Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid. A London judge rules in Fisher's favor, entitling him to 40 percent of the song's future copyright earnings, as well as those amassed since the musician initiated legal proceedings in May '05. 2006

Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton says he's cancer free after undergoing radiation treatments. "I had a (diagnostic) scan (recently) and it showed that the tumor and the (cancer) cells in the adjacent lymph gland were gone." 2006

Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen make surprise appearances on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. There is much "truthiness" as the two jam to close out the show. 2006

Kid Rock starts a holiday USO tour (entertaining the troops) in Kabul. Rock performs "Sweet Home Alabama" and Robin Williams and Lance Armstrong make jokes about the French. Now that’s entertainment! 2007

Seether frontman Shaun Morgan begins a series of acoustic performances in his native South Africa. The first of six concerts is in Johannesburg. 2007

The divorce of Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli is finalized. The Van Halen guitarist and the actress agree that neither "shall take unfair advantage of the other." They married in ’81 and separated in ’01 (a respectable run). Bertinelli filed for divorce in December ‘05. 2007

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry offers a free download of his version of "Run Rudolph Run" on the band's fan site Aero Force One. "This is my favorite Christmas song and one I've always wanted to cover," says Perry of the classic popularized by Chuck Berry (written by Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie). "I hope everyone enjoys it and this makes the holidays a little happier this year." 2008

Metallica's ‘91 self-titled record (aka “The Black Album”), is the biggest album of the SoundScan era when sales surpass Shania Twain's "Come On Over." 2009

Big Brother & The Holding Company guitarist, James Gurley, dies of a heart attack at home in Palm Desert, CA, just two days before his 70th birthday. Gurley joined the band in ’65. The late Janis Joplin fronted Big Brother until she went solo. 2009
2010's  Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn places the federally funded project to archive the songs and artwork of the Grateful Dead at #4 on his list of the Top 5 Biggest Wastes of Money. "The number one thing is that it is not a federal responsibility to archive the materials of a Rock band," says John Hart, Coburn's director of communications. The Dead project costs $615,000. Guess Coburn is not a Dead Head. 2010

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