Today In Oldies Music History: December 25--
Births1907: Cab Calloway
1912: Tony Martin
1915: Pete Rugolo
1929: Billy Horton (The Silhouettes)
1929: Chris Kenner
1934: McKinley Mitchell
1937: O'Kelly Isley (The Isley Brothers)
1943: Trevor Lucas (Fairport Convention)
1944: Henry Vestine (Canned Heat)
1944: John Edwards (The Spinners)
1945: Noel Redding (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
1945: Steve Mancha (100 Proof Aged in Soul)
1946: Jimmy Buffett
Deaths1954: Johnny Ace
1995: Dean Martin
1998: Bryan MacLean (Love)
1998: Damita Jo
2006: James Brown
Events1954: Johnny Ace, an up-and-coming R&B singer whom the press has picked as a star in the making, is killed backstage at his concert in Houston. Although official reports say Ace was playing Russian Roulette, other theories maintain he was murdered, perhaps by his manager, whose contract Johnny had recently tried to break out of. When he hears the news, a twelve-year-old Lou Reed wears a black armband all day in mourning.
1954: Although it was released in 1947, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" only now enters the pop charts in the US, owing to years of seasonal airplay buildup. Eventually, it would become the largest-selling single in world history, a title it would hold for four decades.
1958: Hugely influential DJ Alan Freed puts on his first "Christmas Rock & Roll Spectacular" at Loews State Theatre in Manhattan, featuring, among others, Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson, Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran, The Moonglows, The Everly Brothers, Frankie Avalon and Johnnie Ray.
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.
1964: George Harrison's new girlfriend, model Pattie Boyd, is attacked by fans at the Beatles' Christmas Show in London. One year later to the day, George would ask Patti to be his wife.
1969: 16-year-old Robbie Bachman of Winnipeg, Canada receives his first drum kit for Christmas and begins to play along with his older brother, guitarist Randy. Just three years later, Randy asks him to join his new band, named Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
1981: The J. Geils Band plays a gig for prisoners at Boston's Norfolk Correctional Center, with lead singer Peter Wolf telling his captive audience, "We wanna be the first to buy you all a free drink on the outside."
1981: Michael Jackson calls Paul McCartney to wish him Merry Christmas, and at the same time, 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 "Little Drummer Boy / Peace On Earth," an unlikely duet broadcast five years earlier on a TV special, becomes an even more unlikely hit, reaching #1 in the UK.
1990: When soldiers at Fort Jackson, SC, are held over for Christmas because of the impending Gulf War instead of being sent home, the currently-incarcerated James Brown is given a four-day furlough in order to perform a free concert for the troops. It it his first gig in two years.
Charts1960: Mary Wells' "Bye Bye Baby" enters the charts
1965: Lou Christie's "Lightning Strikes" enters the charts
1965: The Young Rascals' "I Ain't Gonna Eat My Heart Out Anymore" enters the charts
1965: The Dave Clark Five's "Over And Over" hits #1
1971: Melanie's "Brand New Key" hits #1
1976: The Eagles' Hotel California hits #1