Cheap Who tix! -- Definitely one of Bowie's Top Three albums... -- Happy Birthday to a remarkable set of pipes...

(Courtesy of RCA Records)
(Courtesy of RCA Records)

12/17/1968 (51 years ago today) - The Who played their Christmas Party at the legendary Marquee Club in London -- Tickets for club members cost $1.80, non-members were charged $2.40 at the door -- Opening act was a brand new group calling themselves Yes. So, a pretty good night out then...

12/17/1971 (48 years ago today) - Amazing that it still sounds compellingly unique, really: David Bowie released his fourth LP "Hunky Dory", the first album to feature all the members of the band that would become known the following year as "The Spiders From Mars" -- In many ways, the record's cinematic and kaleidoscopic array of styles pretty much laid down the blueprint for his career: Bowie himself was quoted as saying the album was where he started to "communicate what I want to do. Now, what is it I want to do?". Sums it up nicely. In addition to the classic single "Changes", there are nods to Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol and Marlene Dietrich (three artists he always went back to), plus "Oh! You Pretty Things" (which predicted the arrival of "The Homo Superior", a direct pre-cursor to "Starman"), the just-too-hard-to-describe "Life On Mars?" (later covered, somewhat bizarrely, by Barbra Steisand!), and "Queen Bitch", likely the greatest tribute to The Velvet Underground anyone has ever recorded (Lou Reed was another long-admired artist of influence for David). As near-perfect as it gets, and an absolute must-have.

12/17/1949 - Happy Birthday to one of the all-time great throats, Paul Rodgers, 70 years old today -- Free were terrific, Bad Company was exceptional, The Firm with Jimmy Page was (definitely) under-appreciated, and his tour fronting Queen? Well, maybe best forgotten. Three out of four's a pretty good score though, and Bad Co. remain essential, so we cut Paul some well-deserved classic rock slack. Something like that.

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