1964, The Beatles Christmas Day Concert took place at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. The evening’s events opened with The Mike Cotton Sound’s performance of Georgie Fame’s current single “Yeh Yeh,” before singer Michael Haslam joined them to sing “Scarlet Ribbons.” Next, The Yardbirds took to the stage followed by a pantomime sketch featuring The Beatles dressed as Antarctic explorers, searching for the Abominable Snowman. The opening set closed with Freddie And The Dreamers performing “Rip It Up,” “Bachelor Boy,” and “Cut Across Shorty.”  Elkie Brooks opened the second half, followed by a short set from Sounds Incorporated. Jimmy Savile then introduced The Beatles, who closed the show with performances of eleven songs: Twist And Shout, I’m A Loser, Baby’s In Black, Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, Can’t Buy Me Love, Honey Don’t, I Feel Fine, She’s A Woman, A Hard Day’s Night, Rock And Roll Music and Long Tall Sally.

1964, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Miracles, Stevie Wonder and The Marvelettes all appeared at The Fox Theatre, Brooklyn, New York.

1965, Dave Clark Five went to number one on the singles chart with “Over And Over.” They became the seventh UK act of 1965 to score a chart topping single.

1965, The Beatles sixth album Rubber Soul started a nine-week run at number one on the album chart. It spent a total of 42 weeks on the charts.

1967, MC5 appeared at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan.

1968, Led Zeppelin arrived in the United States for the very first time in preparation of their debut North American tour. The group were paid an average of $1,500 for each show.

1971, Melanie started a three week run at number one on the singles chart with “Brand New Key.”

1974, Rush played at The Agora, Cleveland, Ohio.

1976, The Eagles started a eight-week run at number one on the album chart with Hotel California.

1976, Johnny Mathis was at number one on the UK singles chart with “When A Child Is Born,”  the singer’s only UK chart topper and the Christmas hit of 1976.

1978, John Lydon’s new group Public Image Ltd played their first live gig at the Rainbow Theatre, London.

1981, The J. Geils Band performed a Christmas Day concert at the Norfolk Correctional Center outside of Boston. During the concert, singer Peter Wolf told the inmates “We wanna be the first to buy you all a free drink on the outside.”

1981, Michael Jackson phoned Paul McCartney and suggested they write and record together, with the first result being “The Girl Is Mine.”

1982, David Bowie had a number three UK hit with Bing Crosby and their duet on “Peace On Earth – Little Drummer Boy.”

1982, The Who’s “Eminence Front” backed with “One At A Time” hits the U.S. charts. Despite heavy play on MTV, the single peaks at number 68 in Billboard and number 77 in Cash Box. It is the last Who single to appear on either chart.

1995, Singer, actor and TV host Dean Martin died. He had the 1956 UK & US number one single “Memories Are Made Of This” plus over fifteen other Top 40 singles including “That’s Amore,” “Everybody Loves Somebody,” and “Mambo Italiano.” In 1965, Martin launched his weekly NBC comedy-variety series, The Dean Martin Show.

1998, Bryan MacLean, guitarist with Love, died of a heart attack aged 62 while having Christmas dinner with a young fan who was researching a book about the band. Love had the 1966 US number 33 single “7 And 7 Is,” and the 1968 album Forever Changes.

2006, James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” died at the age of 73 after being diagnosed with severe pneumonia. Brown went to his dentist in Atlanta the previous day who told him something was wrong, and sent him to a doctor immediately.

2008, American actress, singer, and cabaret star Eartha Kitt died from colon cancer at her Weston, Connecticut home at the age of 81. Best known for her 1953 Christmas song “Santa Baby.”

Born on December 25: O’Kelly Isley, The Isley Brothers (1937); Phil Spector (1940); Trevor Lucas, Fairport Convention (1943); Henry Vestine, guitar, Canned Heat (1944); Noel Redding, The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1945); Jimmy Buffett (1946); Annie Lennox,  The Tourists,  Eurythmics; Robin Campbell, UB40 (1954); and Noel Hogan, guitar, The Cranberries (1971)

Link to Today in Rock History archive