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Today In Music History

Dec. 29 in Music History: Remembering Rick Danko of the Band

The Band (left to right): Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, and Robbie Robertson in ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND, a Magnolia Pictures release.
The Band (left to right): Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, and Robbie Robertson in ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND, a Magnolia Pictures release.Elliott Landy

December 29, 2023

History Highlight:

Rick Danko, best known as the bassist and sometime lead vocalist for the Band, was born today in 1943 in Blayney, Ontario. As a member of the Hawks — alongside his future associates in the Band — he was part of the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins, and later Bob Dylan. In the late ‘60s, Danko found a pink house in Saugerties, New York. The residence, later dubbed “Big Pink,” became a home and recording space for the Band’s Music from Big Pink and The Basement Tapes, released with Bob Dylan. Danko continued with the Band until its 1976 farewell concert, which was documented as the Martin Scorsese-directed film, The Last Waltz. He released a self-titled solo album in 1977, and two albums as part of folk trio Danko/Fjeld/Andersen. Danko died in 1999 at his home at the age of 55.

Also, in:

1956 - Elvis Presley made chart history by having 10 songs on Billboard's Top 100 list for the previous week.

1962 - During his first visit to the U.K., Bob Dylan performed at The Troubadour in London.

1966 - Working at Abbey Road studios, London, Paul McCartney began work on his new song 'Penny Lane', recording six takes of keyboard tracks and various percussion effects. The song's title is derived from the name of a street near John Lennon's house, in the band's hometown, Liverpool. McCartney and Lennon would meet at Penny Lane junction in the Mossley Hill area to catch a bus into the center of the city.

1973 - Jim Croce scored his second No. 1 U.S. single of the year when "Time In A Bottle" went to the top of the charts.

1980 - Singer/songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose. Hardin wrote the songs "If I Were A Carpenter" (covered by Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash and June Carter, The Four Tops, Leon Russell, Small Faces, Robert Plant and Bob Seger,) and "Reason To Believe" (covered by Rod Stewart). Hardin is also known for his own recording career.

1982 - Sets of commemorative stamps in memory of Bob Marley were issued in Jamaica. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time and credited with popularizing reggae music around the world, as well as serving as a symbol of Jamaican culture and identity.

2010 - Pollstar reported that Bon Jovi was the highest earning touring act of the year, taking in over $200 million. AC/DC landed at number two for the second year in a row, with ticket sales from their recent trek totaling $177 million.

2011 - "Alaska: The Last Frontier" debuted on the Discovery Channel. The reality-TV series centered on the Kilcher family living in the Alaskan wilderness, including Atz Kilcher, father of folk/country singer Jewel.

2011 - Robert Lee Dickey, who performed as Bobby Purify in the '60s Soul duo James And Bobby Purify, passed away at the age of 72. The pair are most often remembered for their 1966, Billboard Top 10 hit, 'I'm Your Puppet'.

2013 - Guitarist, drummer, and songwriter Benjamin Curtis died at age 35. He was a founding member of the bands Secret Machines, School of Seven Bells, and UFOFU. He was also drummer for the band Tripping Daisy from 1997 to 1999.

2019 - English writer, musician and comedian Neil Innes died at age 75. He was best-known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Rutles and collaborating with Monty Python.


Ray Thomas of The Moody Blues was born on this day in 1941.

Whitesnake drummer Cozy Powell was born today in 1947.

James McLeish Reid, aka Jim Reid, was born on this day in 1961, making him 62 today. He is the Scottish lead singer of The Jesus and Mary Chain, which he formed with his brother William Reid in 1983. The band released six studio albums, then broke up in 1999, then reunited in 2007 and released Damage and Joy in 2017.

Bryan “Dexter” Holland, lead singer of The Offspring, is 58.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in MusicSong Facts and Wikipedia.