December 7, 2000 – The 31st annual Kennedy Center Honors salutes Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who. Also feted are Morgan Freeman, George Jones, Barbra Streisand and Twyla Tharp. Rob Thomas, Dave Grohl and Chris Cornell honor them with a live performance.
December 7, 1964 – Brian Wilson suffers a nervous breakdown on a flight from Los Angeles to Houston. Five minutes into the flight, Wilson “started crying and making shrieking noises. He screamed into a pillow, spun out of his seat and sobbed on the cabin floor.” Wilson wouldn’t appear onstage with the Beach Boys again for another 12 years.
December 7, 1984 – Foreigner release their fifth studio album Agent Provocateur. It goes on to sell three million copies in the U.S. powered by the hits “I Want To Know What Love Is” and “That Was Yesterday.”
December 7, 1987 – Uriah Heep are the first Western hard rock band to play in Russia. (Mainstream acts Elton John, Billy Joel and UB40 had previously played there.) Unbelievably, they sold out 10 shows in Moscow at the 18,500-capacity Moscow Stadium, even though the only way to obtain their music was on the black market.
Classic Rock Birthdays
December 7, 1942 – Harry Chapin, vocals, guitar (d. 1981)
December 7, 1949 – Tom Waits, vocals, guitar
December 7, 1958 – Tim Butler, bass (Psychedelic Furs)
December 7, 2016 – Greg Lake, prog rock pioneer and founding member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, dies after a long battle with cancer. He was 69. In ELP, Lake served as the sole producer for most of the group’s works, which sold more than 48 million albums. He wrote and recorded several of their biggest songs, including “Lucky Man” (which he wrote at age 12), “Still…You Turn Me On” and “From the Beginning”.
December 7, 1980 – Darby Crash (born Jan Paul Beahm), commits suicide by intentional heroin overdose. He was 22. Crash was the lead singer of the Germs, who were an L.A. punk band well known for their violent and tumultuous performances which resulted in the band being banned from nearly every rock club in Los Angeles. They were a big part of The Decline of Western Civilization movie, and in fact the promotional poster featured a close-up of Darby lying drugged-out on a stage with marker graffiti on him from the audience. Darby’s female friend, Casey “Cola” Hopkins, was supposed to have died with him as part of a suicide pact, but ended up surviving. She was in and out of mental institutions over the next few years.
December 7, 2008 – Dennis Yost dies of respiratory failure, after two years of complications after falling down a flight of stairs and suffering serious brain trauma. He was 65. Yost was the lead singer of The Classics IV, a group that had Top 10 hits with the songs “Stormy,” “Spooky,” and “Traces.” Most of his band later left to form the Atlanta Rhythm Section.