Paul McCartney

December 25th, 1967: Singer Paul McCartney & actress Jane Asher get engaged.

Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and record and film producer who gained worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist, co-songwriter, and bassist for the Beatles. One of the most successful composers and performers of all time, he is known for his melodic approach to bass-playing, his versatile and wide tenor vocal range, and his musical eclecticism, exploring styles ranging from pre-rock ‘n’ roll pop to classical and electronica. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history.

Born in Liverpool, McCartney taught himself piano, guitar and songwriting as a teenager, having been influenced by his father, a jazz player, and rock ‘n’ roll performers such as Little Richard and Buddy Holly. He began his career as a member of the Quarrymen in 1957, which evolved into the Beatles in 1960. Sometimes called “the cute Beatle”, McCartney later involved himself with the London avant-garde and spearheaded the incorporation of such experimental aesthetics into the Beatles’ studio productions. Starting with the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, he gradually became the band’s de facto leader, providing the creative impetus for most of their music and film projects. Many of his Beatles songs, including “And I Love Her”, “Yesterday”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Blackbird”, rank among the most covered songs in history.

After the Beatles disbanded, he debuted as a solo artist with the 1970 album McCartney and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine. Led by McCartney, Wings was one of the most successful bands of the 1970s, with more than a dozen international top 10 singles and albums. He resumed his solo career in 1980 and has toured as a solo artist since 1989. Without Wings, his UK or US number-one hits have included “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” (with Linda), “Coming Up”, “Pipes of Peace”, “Ebony and Ivory” (with Stevie Wonder) and “Say Say Say” (with Michael Jackson). Beyond music, he has taken part in projects to promote international charities related to such subjects as animal rights, seal hunting, land mines, vegetarianism, poverty, and music education.

Reginald Fessenden

December 24th, 1906: Reginald A Fessenden became 1st to broadcast music over radio.

Reginald Fessenden (October 6, 1866 – July 22, 1932) was a Canadian-born inventor, who did a majority of his work in the United States and also claimed U.S. citizenship through his American-born father. During his life he received hundreds of patents in various fields, most notably ones related to radio and sonar.

Fessenden is best known for his pioneering work developing radio technology, including the foundations of amplitude modulation (AM) radio. His achievements included the first transmission of speech by radio (1900), and the first two-way radiotelegraphic communication across the Atlantic Ocean (1906). In 1932 he reported that, in late 1906, he also made the first radio broadcast of entertainment and music, although a lack of verifiable details has led to some doubts about this claim.

Cat Steves

December 23rd, 1977: Singer Cat Stevens formally converts to Islam, taking the name Yusuf Islam.

English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian, and education philanthropist. Born Steven Georgiou, he changed his name to Cat Stevens early on in his career and released his debut album “Matthew and Son” in 1967. Stevens’ music became more folk rock and led to a series of successful albums with such worldwide hits such as “Wild World” “Peace Train” and “Moonshadow”.

Steven converted to Islam in 1977 after a near-death experience, almost drowning off the coast of California. He changed his name to Yusuf Islam and gave up his musical career, concentrating on Muslim humanitarian and peace endeavors. Stevens eventually returned to recording and performing in the 1990s. His first performance in English came in 2003 at Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS benefit concert alongside Peter Gabriel in Cape Town. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

Born: July 21, 1948
Birthplace: London, England
Age: 73 years old

Ludwig van Beethoven

December 22nd, 1808: Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 5 and No. 6, Choral Fantasy and Piano Concerto No. 4 premiere at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria.

Beethoven is widely regarded as the most important musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western music, and as one of the greatest classical composers to ever live.

First taught by his father from the age of 5, who sought to popularise his son as a child prodigy following Mozarts success, Beethoven did not attract attention until his adolescence.

His hearing began to deteriorate from his late twenties, and he experienced the last decade of his life in almost complete silence. After giving up public conducting and performing in 1811, he nevertheless continued to compose and produced some of the greatest masterpieces in his career.

Born: December 16, 1770
Birthplace: Bonn, Germany

Died: March 26, 1827 (aged 56)
Cause of Death: Liver disease

Frank Sinatra

December 19th, 1960: Frank Sinatra’s 1st session with Reprise Records (Ring-A-Ding-Ding).

Frank Sinatra first came to fame as a idol for bobbysoxers in the 1940s. Sinatra also had a career in film, before his break-through role in ‘From Here to Eternity’ for which he won an Oscar for best supporting actor. He went on to star in films such as ‘Man with the Golden Arm’, ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘Oceans Eleven’. He started Reprise Records in 1961 and continued to record successful albums with such hits as ‘Strangers in the Night’, ‘Somethin’ Stupid’ and ‘My Way’. Sinatra performed and recorded into his 1980s and became one of the best selling recording artists ever.

Born: December 12, 1915
Birthplace: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA

Died: May 14, 1998 (aged 82)

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

December 18th, 1892: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” premieres in Saint Petersburg, Russia, now the world’s most performed ballet.

The first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, which he bolstered with appearances as a guest conductor later in his career in Europe and the United States. One of these appearances was at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891.

Despite his many popular successes, his life was punctuated by personal crises and depression.

Born: May 7, 1840
Birthplace: Votkinsk, Russia

Died: November 6, 1893 (aged 53)
Cause of Death: Cholera (although suicide has been suggested)

Glenn Miller

December 15th, 1994: Bandleader Major Glenn Miller, lost over the English Channel.

The best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1943, leading his self-titled band the “Glenn Miller Orchestra”. Miller’s hits include “In the Mood”, “Pennsylvania 6-5000”, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, “A String of Pearls” and “Little Brown Jug”.

He disappeared in 1944 in bad weather over the English Channel while traveling to entertain allied troops in France during World War II in a suspected plane crash. His body was never found. In 2014, long overlooked military documents were discovered which indicate Miller’s plane probably crashed in the English Channel after its fuel intakes froze.

Born: March 1, 1904
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, USA

Died: December 15, 1944 (aged 40)
Cause of Death: Probable plane crash over the English Channel

Scott Joplin

December 14th, 1975: Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha” closes at Uris Theater NYC after 64 performances.

Scott Joplin is known as the “King of Ragtime”, famous for such compositions like “The Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer”.

A travelling musician, Joplin was at the Chicago World Fair in 1893, where Ragtime became a national craze. He went on to publish his own Ragtime compositions before starting his own Opera Company and composing operas, self-publishing his ” Treemonisha” opera in 1911.

Joplin’s music was largely forgotten after his death in 1917 but rediscovered in the 1960s and 1970s. The film “The Sting” (1973) featured music inspired by Scott Joplin and Marvin Hamlisch won an Academy Award for his soundtrack. His version of the “The Entertainer” then became a top ten hit.

Born: November 24, 1868
Birthplace: Texarkana, Texas, USA

Died: April 1, 1917 (aged 48)
Cause of Death: Syphilitic dementia

Donny Osmond

December 10th, 1963: 6-year old Donny Osmond’s singing debut on Andy Williams Show.

Donald Clark Osmond (born December 9, 1957) is an American singer, dancer, actor, television host, and former teen idol. Osmond first gained fame performing with four of his elder brothers as the Osmonds, earning several top ten hits and gold albums. Then, in the early 1970s, Osmond began a solo career, earning several additional top ten songs.

Osmond further gained fame due to the success of the 1976–1979 variety series Donny & Marie. The Donny & Marie duo also released a series of top ten hits and gold albums and hosted a syndicated and Daytime Emmy Award–nominated 1998–2000 talk show. Most recently, Donny & Marie retired from headlining an 11-year Las Vegas residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas (2008–2019).

Osmond also successfully competed on two reality TV shows, winning season 9 of Dancing with the Stars and being named runner-up for season 1 of The Masked Singer. He also hosted the game show Pyramid from 2002 to 2004.

Jim Morrison

December 9th, 1967: Jim Morrison arrested on stage for disturbing the peace at the New Haven Arena, Connecticut, making him the 1st rock star to be taken into custody during a performance.

James Douglas Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was an American singer, poet and songwriter who was the lead vocalist of the rock band the Doors. Due to his wild personality, poetic lyrics, distinctive voice, unpredictable and erratic performances, and the dramatic circumstances surrounding his life and early death, Morrison is regarded by music critics and fans as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock history. Since his death, his fame has endured as one of popular culture’s most rebellious and oft-displayed icons, representing the generation gap and youth counterculture.

Together with pianist Ray Manzarek, Morrison co-founded the Doors in 1965 in Venice, California. The group spent two years in obscurity until shooting to prominence with their number-one single in the United States, “Light My Fire”, taken from their self-titled debut album. Morrison recorded a total of six studio albums with the Doors, all of which sold well and received critical acclaim. Morrison was well known for improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live. Manzarek said Morrison “embodied hippie counterculture rebellion”.

Morrison developed an alcohol dependency throughout the band’s career, which at times affected his performances on stage. In 1971, Morrison died unexpectedly in Paris at the age of 27, amid conflicting witness reports. His premature death made him a member of the infamous 27 club. Since no autopsy was performed, the cause of Morrison’s death remains disputed. Although the Doors recorded two more albums after Morrison died, his death severely affected the band’s fortunes, and they split up two years later. In 2011, a Rolling Stone readers’ pick placed Jim Morrison in fifth place of the magazine’s “Best Lead Singers of All Time”. In another Rolling Stone list, entitled “The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time”, he was ranked 47th. He was also ranked number 22 on Classic Rock magazine’s “50 Greatest Singers in Rock”. In 1993, Morrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Doors.