December 24 – Silent Night, Amahl, When We Touch, Bee Gees, Vitalogy


Mohr and Gruber

World-favorite Christmas carolSilent Night‘ is performed for the first time in Oberndorf, Austria.

The original lyrics were composed by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr and 6/8 time signature tune by headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber. Original version  In 1859 Florida bishop John Freeman Young translates the usual English lyrics.
Robert Fripp (1979) 


Chet Allen, 1951

NBC-TV and Hallmark Hall of Fame commission and air in prime time the first performance of one-act opera Amahl and the Night Visitors.

A disabled shepherd-boy turned beggar and his mother are visited by three strangers.

One of dozens of operas by Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti, Amahl is (strangely) inspired by Bosch‘s famous painting  Adoration of the Magi. The popular performance, aired live from a relatively tiny studio in Radio City Music Hall, is repeated the following Easter. (*) (*)

In black-and-white the first two years, live until 1963, the work is repeated yearly through 1966 — when Menotti, tired of dealing with TV executives, pulls it. (Maybe they’re the Bosch.) 1955 ‘Don’t Cry’  But to this day it’s still highly popular, staged at Christmas throughout the world.

Menotti also wrote the first opera for NBC radio, ‘The Old Maid and the Thief’, which aired April 22, 1939. He followed it with The Medium (1949) and The Consul (1950). Alas, Chet Allen was an early victim of childhood stardom.

2007 performance (46m) 

Toronto native, pop singer-songwriter Dan Hill breaks into the US top-40 charts with fragile ballad Sometimes When We Touch.
Co-written by master pop songwriter Barry Mann, the lead track from Hill’s album Longer Fuse eventually climbs to US#3. It’s been covered by many major artists, including Tina Turner, Barry Manilow and many more.
( Hill site( Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil site


Australian poppers Bee Gees score a US#1 single with ‘How Deep is Your Love.

The single’s from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, still among the top-ten best-selling albums with 40M sold.

The brothers Gibb, began playing in 1958. Their first UK#1 single (US#11) was Sep. 1967’s Massachusetts. By 2003 — not always ruling the charts but with albums often in the top-40 and 15 top-10 singles — they’d moved over 200 million records worldwide.
 ( Website


Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam gets a US#1 album with Vitalogy.(*)

Tense times for the band soon result in the firing of drummer Dave Abbruzzese and rehab for lead guitarist Mike McCready. Luckily the guys got past that period.  ( Website