This Day in Music History — December 25

1954 : Annie Lennox is born in Aberdeen, Scotland.

1959 : An apprentice engineer from Liverpool named Richard Starkey, then already eighteen, gets his first real set of drums for Christmas (the young Starkey’s family couldn’t afford a proper set when he was a child). Later, he would become known as Ringo Starr.

1981 : Michael Jackson calls Paul McCartney to wish him Merry Christmas and suggests they write and record together. The result is the hit duet “The Girl Is Mine,” the first single off of the landmark album Thriller.

1982 : David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth,” an unlikely duet broadcast five years earlier on Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas TV special, becomes an even more unlikely hit, reaching #1 in the UK.

1994 : Green Day play Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s quite a leap for the band, which had been playing small clubs at the beginning of the year. During the show, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong performs wearing only socks and a strategically placed guitar.

1995 : Dean Martin, also suffering from lung cancer, dies from acute respiratory failure due to emphysema at age 78. Las Vegas honors the legend by dimming the lights along the city’s famous Strip.

2008 : Eartha Kitt dies of colon cancer in Weston, Connecticut, at age 81.

This Day in Music History — October 14

1977 : Bing Crosby dies of a heart attack after finishing a round of golf in Spain, at age 74.

1978 : R&B performer Usher is born Usher Raymond IV in Dallas, Texas.

1996 : Madonna gives birth to her first child, a daughter named Lourdes. The father is her personal trainer, Carlos Leon.

2006 : Opening for Rascal Flatts at Madison Square Garden, Eric Church goes off-kilter, playing a little “Crazy Train” and staying on stage past his allotted time. He is kicked off the tour and replaced by a talented newcomer named Taylor Swift.

2011 : After 27 years of marriage, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth announce they are breaking up.

This Day in Music History — September 11

1967 : Frank Sinatra, who is playing at The Sands casino in Las Vegas, gets in a fight when he is denied credit as part of a policy put in by the new owners. He breaks two teeth in the altercation and soon takes his talents (and money) to Caesar’s Palace.

1971 : The Jackson 5 cartoon series, called The Jackson 5ive, debuts on ABC. Each episode shows various adventures with animated versions of the group, along with Michael’s pet mice Ray and Charles, and his snake Rosie. The cartoon runs from 1971-1973.

1977 : David Bowie appears on Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas special. Bowie refuses to sing “Little Drummer Boy” with Crosby, so his part is rewritten as “Peace On Earth.” Crosby dies a month later, and the duet becomes a Christmas classic, growing even more popular when MTV starts playing the clip a few years later.

2001 : Most radio stations simulcast news after the terrorist attacks take place. As stations gradually return to music, they try to be sensitive about what songs they play, but Clear Channel Communications goes overboard with a list of 165 songs they ask their stations to avoid, including “Smooth Criminal” and “What A Wonderful World.”