December 28, 1968 – The Miami Pop Festival takes place near Miami, FL and attracts over 100,000 people over its three-day run. Featured acts include The Amboy Dukes, Canned Heat, the Grateful Dead, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Fleetwood Mac, Procol Harum, The Turtles, Joni Mitchell, Three Dog Night and the Grass Roots.
December 28, 1998 – Ronnie Hammond of The Atlanta Rhythm Section is shot by Macon police after he attacks an officer with a hammer and a broken guitar handle. Hammond was threatening to commit suicide.
Classic Rock Birthdays
December 28, 1946 – Edgar Winter, vocals, keyboards (The Edgar Winter Group)
December 28, 1950 – Alex Chilton (born William Alexander Chilton), guitar, vocals (The Box Tops, Big Star) (d. 2010)
December 28, 2018 – Ray Sawyer, vocalist with Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, dies in Daytona Beach, FL after a short illness. He was 81. Although Sawyer was usually the backing vocalist and sometime percussionist, he did sing lead on the band’s breakout song “The Cover of Rolling Stone.” He was also a distinctive presence due to his ever-present cowboy hat and the eye patch he wore after losing his eye in a car accident in 1967.
December 28, 2015 – Lemmy (born Ian Fraser Kilmister), lead vocalist and bassist with Motörhead, dies at his home in Los Angeles, CA, of cancer. He was 70. Lemmy played in several rock groups in the 1960s, and worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and the Nice, before joining the space rock band Hawkwind in 1971. The classic lineup of Motörhead featured Lemmy and guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. Although revered by rock fans worldwide, Lemmy revealed that he made more money from the royalties for co-writing Ozzy Osbourne’s song “Mama I’m Coming Home” than he had in his entire time with Motörhead. He was also a huge influence on his peers – Metallica, Dave Grohl, Alice Cooper, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and many others have recognized his impact on their music. Well known for his intake of both alcohol and amphetamines, Lemmy was a fixture at the Rainbow Bar & Grill, where you can now party in “Lemmy’s Lounge” and view his commemorative statue.
December 28, 1983 – Dennis Wilson, drummer of the Beach Boys, drowns after diving beneath his friend’s yacht, trying to retrieve items he had thrown overboard three years earlier. He was 39. With the help of President Reagan, he was given a burial at sea, normally reserved for Naval personnel. Dennis was the only genuine surfer in The Beach Boys, but co-wrote just a few of their songs. After picking up two female hitchhikers who followed Charles Manson, Dennis became fascinated with Manson and his followers and allowed them to live with him for a short time and record in his studio. In 1988, Dennis was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
December 28, 1976 – Blues guitarist Freddie King dies of complications of stomach ulcers and acute pancreatitis. He was known as one of the “Three Kings” of electric blues guitar along with Albert King and B.B. King. King was a major influence on blues-rock musicians of the time, including Jimmy Vaughan, Ronnie Earl, Peter Green and Eric Clapton, who covered his “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” on his Layla album. He was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.