Daily Events of 1959

Early January

Senate subcommittee begins to look into payola. The committee looks into deejays who took gifts from record companies in return for playing their records on their shows. The record companies begin announcing that they has given money to deejays. Twenty five deejays and program directors are caught in the scandal. Among the more popular ones are Joe Niagra (WBIG, Philadelphia), Tom Clay (WJBK, Detroit), Murray "The K" Kaufman (WINS, New York) and Stan Richards (WILD, Boston) Alan Freed and Dick Clark are in the spotlight.. Freed's broadcast alliances quickly desert him.

Chuck Berry opens his own night club in his hometown of St. Louis. As a tribute to Dick Clark's influence on his career he names it Club Bandstand

January 9   
            Dion and the Belmonts sing "Don't Pity Me" on "American Bandstand"


Jerry Lee Lewis makes a court appearance in Memphis where he is charged with being $1,000 behind in alimony and child support payments to Jane Mitchum Lewis of Natchez, Mississippi.

Ricky Nelson ends filming "Rio Bravo" with John Wayne and Dean Martin

January 23 

             Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) are the headliners of "The Winter Party Dance Tour"

February 2 

               Following the "Winter Dance Party" show Buddy Holly books a private plane to fly himself and Cricket's Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup to the next
               city on the tour. The Crickets give their seats to Valens and Richardson. Holly, Valens and Richardson drive to Mason City, rent a plane to take them to                 Fargo, North Dakota, the nearest airport to the tours next stop in Moorhead, Iowa. The plane takes off just after midnight.

February 3

              It is reported that the plane carrying Holly, Valens and Richardson never reached the airport in Moorhead. At 9:30 a search party discovers the wreckage
              5 miles from the mason city airport. There are no survivors. A group called the Shadows, from Fargo, led by 16 year old Bobby Veeline, who would
              change his name to Bobby Vee, are recruited to fill in.

February 4

               Frankie Avalon and Jimmy Clanton join "The Winter Dance Party". The Shadows remain the opening act.

February 7

               The funeral for Buddy Holly is held in Lubbock, Texas at the Tabernacle Baptist Church. Members of the Crickets and Phil Everly serve as pall bearers.

February 9 

              Frankie Avalon comes down with pneumonia. Paul Anka and Fabian are brought in as replacements

February 27

               Jerry Lee Lewis' wife gives birth to their first (his second) child. The boy is named Steve Allen Lewis after Steve Allen who gave Lewis his first national


Clyde McPhatter leaves Atlantic Records and signs with M-G-M for a reported $50,0000 guarantee.

March 3

           Chuck Berry sings "Almost Grown" on "American Bandstand."

March 4

           After 10 months in the Boston court system, the most serious charge against Freed is dropped.. He still faces the misdemeanor charge of inciting a riot.

March 14

           The Everly Brothers appear on "The Perry Como" on NBC-TV.

March 18

            "Rio Bravo" with Ricky Nelson, John Wayne and Dean Martin opens nationally.

June 1

         Dion and the Belmonts lip-sync "Teenager In Love" on American Bandstand.

June 29

        Sam Cooke sings "The Cha Cha Cha on American Bandstand.

June 30

      The Drifters sing "There Goes My Baby" on "American Bandstand."

Late June

A Boston municipal judge postpones indefinitely any further hearings on charges filed against Alan Freed as the result of the May 3, 1958 riot.

July 4

       Clyde McPhatter is spotlighted on "the Dick Clark Show."

July 10

        The latest rock and roll movie "Go, Johnny, Go" opens nationally.

August 1

            Bill Haley and His Comets appear on The Dick Clark Show.

August 8

           The Dick Clark Show is broadcast live from Loa Angeles and the rest of August as Clark films "Because They Are Young."

August 10

            Four male members of the Platters are arrested and charged with aiding and abetting prostitution and "lewdness" after police raid their hotel room. It is
            reported that there are four nineteen old women, three which were white. Four months later on December 2, the men are acquitted of morals charges.


Early September following and outbreak of teen violence in New York City, including the knifing of two boys, WBBS bans "Mack the Knife."

September 13

                  At his home in Bad Nauheim, Germany Elvis Presley meets the fourteen year old daughter of an air force captain stationed at nearby Weisbaden Air
                  Force Base

September 25

                 Sam Cooke appears at the Apollo Theater

September 26

                  Dion and the Belmonts, Dee Clark and Skip and Flip appear on "The Dick Clark Show."

September 30

                 The Everly Brothers are special guests on the season premier of NBC-TV's "The Perry Como Show" as it moves from Saturday to Wednesday nights.

October 4

              Dick Clark's "World of Talent" premiers on ABC-TV at 10:30 p.m. No Rock and Roll stars will ever appear.

October 13

              Dion DiMucci leader of Dion and the Belmonts, is ordered by his doctor to take a leave of absence from touring. The Belmonts cross country tour for later
              in the month is cancelled.


Sam Cooke marries his high school sweetheart, Barbara Campbell, in Chicago.

October 16

              Sam Cooke begins three days at the Copacabana in New York

November 10

                  Fats Domino appears on "America Bandstand and sings "Be My Guest."


ABC-Paramount announces the signing of Ray Charles. Charles had been with Atlantic Records since June, 1952 but, is unable to match the three year contract, which includes Charles ownership of his recordings and the establishment of his own Tangerine publishing company.

RCA offers Sam Cooke a guaranteed $100,000 contract. Cooke will accept the offer on January 23, 1960

November 25 

                 Senate investigators complete two days of questioning Alan Freed about payola. Freed had been recently fired from his deejay jobs at WABC radio and

November 26 

                 The Coasters sing "What About Us" on "American Bandstand."

November 29 

                 At the Second Annual Grammy Awards, Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife" wins record of the year and Darin is named Best New Artist. Atlantic
                 Records owner and producer of "Mack The Knife" Ahmet Ertegun receives the Special Trustees Award for Artists and Repertoire Contributions.

December 1 

                  Chuck Berry following a show in El Paso meets a 14 year old Apache woman.   He agrees to bring her to work as a hat check girl at Bandstand Club

December 5

                Gene Vincent begins touring England.

December 12

                  Gene Vincent appears on the weekly television show "Boy Meets Girls" in London.

December 21

                 As a result of hiring the 14 year old woman, Berry is arrested in St. Louis for violating the Mann Act forbidding the transportation of a female male
                 across state lines for prostitution He is convicted and sentenced to five years in prison and fined $5,000. The original verdict is thrown out because of
                 racial comments made by the presiding judge.

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