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. Cole won nine Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist of 1975 and Record of the Year for "Unforgettable in 1992."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.
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.
"We're missing some of the vocals, but it is what it is," she says, as her hit "Emotions" plays without her and the dancers continue their choreography. She starts singing her next song, "We Belong Together," but quickly abandons it, closing with a sarcastic comment: "It just don't get any better." Ryan Seacrest, hosting the event as part of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, throws to commercial with no mention of the meltdown. "No matter what Mariah does, the crowd absolutely loves it," he says. "You can't go wrong with Ms. Carey and those songs everybody knows." The performance airs unedited three hours later on the West Coast broadcast. Later that night, Carey posts on Twitter and Instagram: "S--t happens. Have a happy and healthy new year everybody! Here's to making more headlines in 2017." Carey's manager explains that her in-ear monitors never worked, so she couldn't hear the backing track over the crowd, and that Dick Clark Productions "set her up to fail." With no backup singers on stage, Carey couldn't hear anything but the cacophony of Times Square. Carey gets lambasted on social media, with lots of comments along the lines of "her career ended before the ball dropped." She responds in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, where she says, "Dick Clark was an incredible person and I was lucky enough to work with him when I first started in the music business. I'm of the opinion that Dick Clark would not have let an artist go through that and he would have been as mortified as I was in real time."
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