December 22, 1987 – Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue is pronounced “dead on arrival” in an ambulance when his heart stops beating for two minutes. Sixx is given two shots of adrenaline in his chest, which revives him. In his book, The Heroin Diaries, Sixx says, “I ripped out my tubes and staggered in just my leather pants into the parking lot, where two teenage girls were sitting crying around a candle. They had heard on the radio that I was dead and looked kind of surprised to see me.” They gave him a ride home in their Mazda, where he claims he once again did heroin before passing out. The song “Kickstart My Heart” was written about the experience.
December 22, 1978 – Kenney Jones joins The Who, temporarily replacing Keith Moon. Jones was the drummer of Small Faces and Faces and played with the Who for about seven years until his final official performance with them at Live Aid in 1985.
Classic Rock Birthdays
December 22, 1948 – Rick Nielsen, guitar, vocals (Cheap Trick)
December 22, 1944 – Barry Jenkins (born Colin Ernest Jenkins), drums (The Animals)
December 22, 1942 – Dick Parry, saxophone (Pink Floyd)
December 22, 1949 – Michael Osborne, guitar (Axe) (d. 1984)
December 22, 1939 – James Gurley, guitar (Big Brother and the Holding Company) (d. 2009)
December 22, 2014 – Joe Cocker (born John Robert Cocker) dies of lung cancer in Crawford, Colorado. He was 70. Cocker rose to fame with his cover of the Beatles‘ “With a Little Help from My Friends,” which he performed at Woodstock. He received a Grammy award for “Up Where We Belong” and was parodied on Saturday Night Live by John Belushi for his spastic stage movements. He performed live up until his death.
December 22, 2002 – Joe Strummer (born John Graham Mellor) dies of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. He was 50. Strummer was an original member of The Clash, who were “considered one of the most overtly political, explosive and exciting bands in rock and roll history.” He and the other band members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.