1965 - "A Charlie Brown Christmas" made its debut, airing on CBS in place of The Munsters. The special was commissioned and sponsored by Coca-Cola, was quickly written over a period of several weeks, and produced on a shoestring budget in only six months. It has since been honored with both an Emmy and a Peabody Award, and became an annual presentation in the U.S., airing during the Christmas season every year since its debut. Its famous jazz score, written by Vince Guaraldi and performed by his trio, also achieved commercial success, selling four million copies in the U.S.
1978 - Chic started a seven-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Le Freak". The single achieved sales of seven million and also scored number seven in the U.K. singles chart. In the song, the lyrics invite the listener to "Come on down to the 54", which is a reference to Studio 54 – a popular nightclub at that time. According to guitarist Nile Rodgers, the song was devised during New Year's Eve of 1977, as a result of his and bassist Bernard Edwards' being refused entrance to Studio 54.
1978 - The Blues Brothers released their first single, a cover of "Soul Man." The original was by Sam & Dave, whom the Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) emulated to create their act. The Blues Brothers made their national TV debut with Belushi and Aykroyd outfitted in the bee costumes they often wore for another sketch, performing (naturally enough) Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee," and in the months to follow they grew in popularity, appearing on the program with increasing regularity. They quickly snowballed to become a true phenomenon, complete with hit records, a sold-out concert tour, and even a feature film. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
1980 - The airwaves were filled with the music of John Lennon, who was shot and killed the previous evening. In Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen opened his concert by telling the crowd, "It's hard to come out here and play tonight, but there's nothing else to do."
1988 - A poll was published with the curious finding that the music of Neil Diamond was favored as the best background music for sex. Beethoven was the second choice, and Luther Vandross was voted third.
2003 - After the runaway success of the bluegrass soundtrack for O Brother Where Art Thou?, producer T Bone Burnett helms another Appalachian-inspired album for the Civil War movie Cold Mountain. Alison Krauss sings the Sting-written "You Will Be My Ain True Love" and "The Scarlet Tide," both of which were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Jack White also appears on the soundtrack and in the film.
John Traynor of Jay and the Americans ("This Magic Moment") was born today in 1943.
Dan Hicks was born on this date in 1941
Neil James Innes of the Rutles and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, also collaborated with Monty Python is 76.
Alice Cooper Band bassist Dennis Dunaway who co-wrote "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out" is 74.
Joan Armatrading is 70.
Donny Osmond is 63.
Brian Bell of Weezer is 52.
Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers is 51.
Geoff Barrow of Portishead is 49.
Frank Wright III (Tre Cool) of Green Day is 48.
On This Day in Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts, allmusic and Wikipedia.