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.

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This Day in Music History — September 16

1965 : The Dean Martin Show makes its debut, with Martin using his hit Everybody Loves Somebody as the theme song. The popular variety show runs until 1975, and introduces us to a group of backup dancers called The Golddiggers.

1966 : Pete Quaife, bassist for The Kinks, leaves the band after injuries from a recent car crash threaten his ability to play. He will eventually return and stay with the band through 1969.

2006 : 65-year-old Bob Dylan becomes the oldest person to top Billboard‘s album chart when Modern Times goes to #1.

2010 : Country singer Justin Townes Earle is arrested in Indianapolis after storming offstage and trashing a green room. Reports say Earle was also intoxicated and he allegedly punched a woman backstage. Earle is forced to pay $200 in damages to the venue but is released from jail on a $150 bond.