December 24, 1974: Rock Stars Go Caroling

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James Taylor Carly SimonOn this day in 1974, four of the biggest names in popular music went Christmas caroling in the Hollywood Hills. Husband-and-wife music royalty James Taylor and Carly Simon invited a small group that included Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell and their dates over for Christmas eve.

The gathering are said to have begun to sing holiday songs – oh, to be a fly on the wall for that occasion. Though details are scarce, the minstrels apparently then went door-to-door before heading to the Troubadour, the Los Angeles nightclub known then and now for showcasing rising music acts such as Elton John, Jackson Browne, as well as these four prominent performers.

At the time, Ronstadt was enjoying the fruits of her breakthrough album Heart Like A Wheel with the one-two punch of “You’re No Good” and “When Will I Be Loved.” Taylor, Simon and Mitchell were well-established as singer-songwriters.

On this Christmas eve night, the merrymakers, who also included actor Albert Brooks, did an impromptu set of holiday songs before a surprised crowd that had paid to see headliners Flo and Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan), who toured then as now performing mostly songs from their days in the Turtles.

No audio, video or playlist is known to exist, although a photo of Mitchell on stage, by legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz, appears on her website.

Taylor and Simon had married on November 3, 1972. They divorced in 1983.

Related: Classic rock Christmas albums

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