2016 Taking the stage in Times Square to ring in the new year, Mariah Carey gets through "Auld Lang Syne" but then stops singing and narrates the technical problems to the crowd as the backing track plays on.More
2015 Natalie Cole dies of heart failure at age 65. The singer (daughter of Nat King Cole) battled health problems for much of her life; drug use led to hepatitis C, and in 2009 she had a kidney transplant.More
1994 Rod Stewart plays a free concert on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, drawing a crowd estimated at 3.5 million (the fireworks help goose that number). Guinness declares it the largest free rock concert ever.
2018 Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show dies at 81.
2017 Britney Spears wraps up her Vegas show Britney: Piece of Me, after four years. It's her last concert for a while; a subsequent residency is cancelled, and she refuses to perform under the terms of her conservatorship, which has been controlled by her father since 2008.
2014 Six months after divorcing salsa singer Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez officially drops her married name (Muñiz).
2009 Blues singer Earl Gaines dies at age 74, after his declining health forces him to cancel a European tour.
2008 At halftime of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, 40,148 fans perform the "Y.M.C.A." dance while the Village People perform, establishing a Guinness World Record. It is the most memorable part of the game, which Oregon State wins 3-0 over Pittsburgh.
2002 Phish jump back in the pond with a concert at Madison Square Garden, their first show since going on hiatus in October 2000.
2000 Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson marries actress Kate Hudson in Aspen, Colorado. Their seven-year marriage includes the birth of their son, Ryder.
1997 Floyd Cramer, pianist and forerunner of the "Nashville sound," dies of lung cancer at age 64. He played piano as a session musician on Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel."
1996 Queen Elizabeth II announces that Paul McCartney will be knighted - these announcements are traditionally made on New Year's Eve.
1991 After 62 years, Radio Luxembourg, Europe's oldest commercial radio station, goes off the air for good.
1991 Ted Nugent, who often donates meat from his kills to charity, serves about 200 pounds of venison courtesy of the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger program at a Detroit soup kitchen, telling clients, "I kill it, you grill it."
1985 Rick Nelson dies in a plane crash at age 45. A child star on The Ozzie and Harriet Show, he became a teen idol as a singer, charting 36 hits on the Top 40.
1982 E Street Band guitarist Miami Steve and/or Little Steven Van Zandt marries Maureen Santora at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Little Richard officiates, Bruce Springsteen is the best man, and Percy Sledge sings "When A Man Loves A Woman" during the reception.
1980 At the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, bass player Kathy Valentine plays her first show with The Go-Go's, establishing the lineup that in 1982 becomes the first all-girl band to land a #1 album in America.
Veteran bandleader Guy Lombardo already had a longrunning annual New Year's Eve special on CBS, featuring his Royal Canadians broadcasting from the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Dick Clark, who had his finger firmly on the pulse of popular music as the host of American Bandstand, thought Lombardo's format was stuffy and outdated and needed a fresh approach. With his New Year's Rockin' Eve special, Clark broadcasts live from the thick of Times Square, where a throng of revelers stand shoulder-to-shoulder, eager to watch the ball drop and ring in the new year. Meanwhile, some of the most popular acts of the day bring the (pre-recorded) entertainment from the ballroom of the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, including Three Dog Night, Al Green, Helen Reddy, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. After two years, the special moves to ABC, where Clark becomes a fixture of the holiday for millions of viewers over the course of four decades (though scaling back his duties after suffering a stroke in 2004). His association with the event is so ingrained in the culture, he's spoofed on The Simpsons' Halloween-themed episode "Treehouse of Horror X," where the eternally youthful host is revealed to be a robot during the millennium New Year's broadcast. "Though we're probably wallpaper in the background for a lot of people," Clark explains in a 1999 interview, "when that five minutes before midnight hits, that's an awful lot of people counting down with you." Following Clark's death in 2012, his protégé Ryan Seacrest officially takes over as host.
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