Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” Hits #1 on the Charts

This Week in Rock History, Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” hit #1 on the Billboard charts. The 1974 #1 hit by folk rocker Harry Chapin was the artist’s only number 1 song, but it’s a good one. The recording was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Although the song didn’t win, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011.


Here’s what else happened this week in rock history:

Born This Week in Rock History

Robben Ford: December 16, 1951 (blues, jazz, & rock guitarist)

Billy Gibbons: December 16, 1949 (vocals & guitar, ZZ Top)

Paul Butterfield: December 17, 1942 (vocals and harmonica, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band)

Paul Rodgers: December 17, 1949 (vocals, Free & Bad Company)

Chas Chandler: December 18, 1938 (bass, The Animals)

Sam Andrew: December 18, 1941 (guitar, Big Brother and the Holding Company)

Keith Richards: December 18, 1943 (guitar, The Rolling Stones)

Peter Criss: December 20, 1945 (drums, KISS)

Frank Zappa: December 21, 1940 (Guitar and Vocals, The Mothers of Invention)


Died This Week in Rock History

Big Joe Williams: December 17, 1982 (Delta blues vocalist, guitarist, composer)

Jimmy Nolen: December 18, 1983 (guitarist, James Brown)

James Gurley: December 20, 2009 (guitar, Big Brother and the Holding Company)

Albert King: December 21, 1992 (blues guitarist and vocalist)

Ma Rainey: December 22, 1939 (blues vocalist)

Joe Cocker: December 22, 2014 (blues-rock vocalist)


Music releases and top of the charts: 

Pink Floyd release “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” on December 17, 1968.

Sly and the Family Stone hit #1 with “There’s a Riot Going On”: December 18, 1971

A Day at the Races by Queen goes gold: December 18, 1976

John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over” hits #1 on the U.K. charts: December 20, 1980

The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” goes gold: December 21, 1966

The Rolling Stones release Their Satanic Majesties Request: December 21, 1967

Traffic’s John Barleycorn Must Die goes gold: December 21, 1970

Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” hits #1: December 21, 1974

The Doobie Brothers release “Black Water”: December 21, 1974

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” returns to #1 in the UK after Freddie Mercury’s death: December 21, 1991

Joni Mitchell’s For the Roses goes gold: December 22, 1972

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s Live Bullet goes gold: December 22, 1976


This Week in Rock History!


The Who perform what is supposedly their last concert, during their “farewell tour”, in Toronto. As it turns out, it’s not their last: December 17, 1982

Alice Cooper opens a restaurant in Phoenix called Cooper’stown. At the opening, Cooper performs with his original bandmates Michael Bruce and Neil Smith. The three hadn’t played toether in 24 years. On the restaurant’s menu: Welcome to My Nightmare Chili. Sounds delicious! December 18, 1998


During a Rolling Stones concert in Hampton, VA, a fan climbed onto the stage and rushed Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. To stop him, Richards took out his Telecaster and hit the man with it. A security guard escorted the fan out. Then Keith went right on playing: December 18, 1981


Carl Perkins records his song “Blue Suede Shoes”. He had written it two days prior. It would go on to become a famous cover by Elvis Presley: December 19, 1955


Ronnie Wood exits the band The Faces and joins The Rolling Stones: December 19, 1975
Jethro Tull is formed: December 20, 1967


Joe Walsh officially joins The Eagles: December 20, 1974


John Lennon’s hit single “(Just Like) Starting Over” becomes his first ever #1 hit as a solo artist in the UK. Lennon was murdered just 12 days before this achievement: December 20, 1980


Crosby, Stills & Nash perform together live for the very first time: December 21, 1968


Janis Joplin, now a solo artist, makes her live solo debut at a function for Stax/Volt. Booker T. & the MG’s also play at the event: December 21, 1968


Elvis Presley and President Nixon have a temporarily secret meeting in the White House about drug policy: December 21, 1970


The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, The Who, and Eric Burdon & The Animals all play the “Christmas on Earth Continued” festival at The Olympia, London. John Peel DJ’d the event, which went all-night and included a paddling pool, a movie theatre, and light shows: December 22, 1967


Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band makes his film acting debut in the film Rush: December 22, 1991


– Brian M. Reiser,
J&R Adventures