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Music History Events: Christmas

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November 29, 2016 Minneapolis-based musicians Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski flame a cultural debate about gender roles when they post a reinterpreted version of the Christmas song "Baby It's Cold Outside" with new lyrics: Instead of pressuring her to spend the night, the guy respects her decision to leave and helps her get home safely.More

December 19, 2014 Darlene Love sings "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on David Letterman's show for the final time, as the host has announced his retirement.More

December 4, 2014 ASCAP lists its Top 30 Holiday Songs of the Century, with "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" topping the tally.

October 9, 2007 Josh Groban releases his Christmas album Noël. It becomes the top-selling album of 2007 and one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time.

December 7, 1998 The Indiana University a cappella group Straight No Chaser perform their zany rendition of "Twelve Days of Christmas" at the school. In 2006, a video of the performance is uploaded to YouTube and goes viral, earning the group a record deal and sending the song to #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

December 3, 1994 Adam Sandler performs "The Chanukah Song" on the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live, enlightening us to the fact that Harrison Ford, Paul Newman and David Lee Roth (among many others) are, in fact, Jewish. Released as a single the following year, the song reaches #10 US and becomes a seasonal favorite.More

November 1, 1994 Mariah Carey's album Merry Christmas is released. By the end of the year, it has sold over 3 million copies in America, becoming one of the most popular Christmas albums of all time.More

December 27, 1985 The Krush Groove Christmas party becomes the first rap show held at Madison Square Garden. A tie-in with the movie Krush Groove, the concert features performances by LL Cool J, Run-DMC, Whodini and other acts who appeared in the film. The event makes headlines for the violence that follows, as 14 people are arrested for various crimes.

December 25, 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.

December 25, 1980 Michael Jackson calls Paul McCartney to wish him Merry Christmas and suggest they write some songs together. They end up recording three duets together (including the lead single to Thriller), but their friendship ends when Jackson buys the publishing rights to McCartney's songs.More

November 30, 1977 Bing Crosby's last Christmas special airs. The program was recorded in September, and Crosby died that October. The show is remembered for Crosby's unusual duet with David Bowie, where they sing a modified version of "Little Drummer Boy," with Bowie singing the new "Peace On Earth" lyrics composed by the show's writers.

September 11, 1977 David Bowie joins Bing Crosby to record the crooner'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 before the show airs, and the duet becomes a Christmas classic, growing even more popular when MTV starts playing the clip a few years later.

April 29, 1975 Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" marks the end of the Vietnam War as the American Radio Service plays the tune during the Fall of Saigon - a signal for American personnel to evacuate. Many songs were written in reaction to the war, which ramped up in the late '60s. A few songs, notably "Still in Saigon" by The Charlie Daniels Band and "Born In The U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen, explore the plight of veterans on their return home.More

December 10, 1974 The Rankin/Bass animated holiday special The Year Without A Santa Claus airs on ABC.More

December 9, 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas makes its debut, airing on CBS in place of The Munsters. The famous score, which becomes synonymous with the Peanuts, is written by the jazz musician Vince Guaraldi and performed by his trio.More

December 23, 1964 After appearing on the TV show Shindig! where they perform their Christmas hit "Little Saint Nick," The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson has a nervous breakdown on a flight to Houston, where they begin a two-week tour. Wilson decides to stop performing, and Glen Campbell replaces him on the tour.

December 3, 1964 The animated TV special Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer debuts on CBS, with Burl Ives as the voice of Sam the Snowman. The special is based on the 1949 song, which has become a perennial favorite.More

December 22, 1958 The Chipmunks' "The Chipmunk Song" hits #1 on the Hot 100, the last Christmas song to ever top the chart.More

December 2, 1957 Al Priddy, a disc jockey at the Portland, Oregon, radio station KEX, is fired for playing the Elvis Presley version of "White Christmas," which the station has banned, their program manager saying it "desecrates the Spirit of Christmas and transgresses the composer's intent." The story makes national news, but it turns out to be a brilliant publicity stunt - Priddy is back on the air two weeks later, with the station claiming letters were pouring in to support the DJ. As part of the stunt, Priddy recorded the GM calling in to "fire" him for playing the song and played the conversation on his show before he left.

August 4, 1942 The movie Holiday Inn premieres in New York, introducing Bing Crosby's holiday classic "White Christmas."

February 12, 1937 On the Avenue, a musical starring Dick Powell and Alice Faye, debuts in movie theaters and introduces the holiday classic "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm."

December 24, 1818 A church choir in Austria introduces a new Christmas song for their Midnight Mass: "Stille Nacht!" better known as "Silent Night." More

December 11, 2006 "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey becomes the first ringtone certified Gold for sales of over 500,000.

November 20, 2001 Deana Carter releases Father Christmas.

October 30, 2001 Barbra Streisand releases Christmas Memories.

November 20, 2000 Aretha Franklin, Snoop Dogg, and Brian McKnight are among the performers who take part in the third annual "Soul Train" Christmas Starfest at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The show features top R&B artists performing holiday favorites.

November 20, 1999 Patty Loveless kicks off the holiday season by traveling aboard a CSX Transportation train bearing gifts to families along a route from Pikeville, Kentucky - Loveless' hometown - to Kingsport, Tennessee. The transportation system has distributed 15 tons of gifts annually to people living in Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Tennessee and Western Virginia.

November 25, 1984 In London, Bono, George Michael, David Bowie, Jody Watley, Paul McCartney and a passel of other stars record vocals for "Do They Know It's Christmas?," the first big all-star charity single. Released a week later (in time for Christmas), it becomes a holiday favorite and raises over $14 million for famine relief in Africa.

August 26, 1983 The film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, starring David Bowie, opens in New York City.

December 19, 1978 The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait airs on ABC.

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