December 17, 1994 – Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi marries actress Heather Locklear in Paris. They divorce in 2006.
December 17, 1969 – Singer Tiny Tim marries Miss Vicki Budinger on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson with 40 million people watching. The program receives the second largest ratings of any show up to that time. Tiny Tim was known for singing the song “Tiptoe Through The Tulips.”
Classic Rock Birthdays
December 17, 1949 – Paul Rodgers, vocals (Free, Bad Company, The Firm, The Law, Queen)
December 17, 1958 – Mike Mills, bass, vocals (R.E.M.)
December 17, 1959 – Bob Stinson, guitar (The Replacements) (d. 1995)
December 17, 1947 – Jim Hodder, drums, vocals (Steely Dan) (d. 1990)
December 17, 1942 – Paul Butterfield, vocals, harmonica (The Paul Butterfield Blues Band) (d. 1987)
December 17, 1948 – Jim Bonfanti, drums (Raspberries)
December 17, 2010 – Captain Beefheart (born Don Glen Vliet, later changed to Don Van Vliet) dies of complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 69. A frequent collaborator with Frank Zappa, music critic Lester Bangs cited Beefheart as “…one of the four or five unqualified geniuses to rise from the hothouses of American music in the Sixties.” Rolling Stone said, “Because it breaks so many of rock’s conventions at once, Beefheart’s music has always been more influential than popular.” He remained a longtime influence on everyone from The Sex Pistols to the White Stripes.
December 17, 2006 – Denis Peyton dies of cancer in England. He was 63. Peyton was the saxophonist and occasional guitarist and harmonica player of The Dave Clark Five. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
December 17, 1982 – Big Joe Williams (born Joseph Lee Williams) dies in Macon, Mississippi. He was 79. Williams was an American Delta blues musician and songwriter who popularized the song “Baby Please Don’t Go,” which became a popular rock song after Them, led by Van Morrison, recorded it in 1964. The song has been inducted into both the Blues and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. Williams was also famous for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar.