2005 – Sheryl Crow, Christina Aquilera and Tim McGraw participate in a benefit for victims of the tsunami in Southern Asia. The hour-long music and celebrity-driven broadcast airs live at 8 p.m. on the East Coast and is tape-delayed on the West Coast across NBC’s broadcast and cable channels, which include USA Networks, Bravo, Trio, SCI FI, MSNBC and CNBC.
2005 – Legendary Spanish opera singer Victoria de los Angeles dies in Barcelona aged 81. The soprano had been admitted to hospital on New Year’s Eve with a bronchial infection.
2003 – Songwriter Doris Fisher, who wrote for Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, and Billie Holiday, among others, dies in a Los Angeles hospital. She is 87.
1999 – Marion Ryan, a popular U.K. singer of the ’50s and mother of ’60s British hitmakers, twins Paul and Barry Ryan, dies of a heart attack in Florida. Ryan, 67, was best known for her 1958 hit “Love Me Forever” on Pye Nixa.
1998 – Junior Wells, a pioneer in blues harmonica dies of lymphoma at the age of 63. Wells was known for his sweeping harmonica solos punctured with sharp, staccato wails.
1995 – Vic Willis, an early partner to Hank Williams and a longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry, dies after a one-car accident near Hohenwald, Tenn. The Willis Brothers’ country hits include “Bob,” “A Six Foot Two by Four,” and the 1964 Top 10 country hit “Give Me 40 Acres (to Turn This Rig Around).”
1994 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson dies in his sleep at age 52. Nilsson never fully recovered from a heart attack the previous February. The performer was born Harry Edward Nelson III. He had his first hit with the No. 6 song “Everybody’s Talking’ ” from the movie “Midnight Cowboy.” His biggest hit was the million-selling 1971 song “Without You,” which topped Billboard’s singles chart for four weeks.
1993 – Songwriter Sammy Cahn dies of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles at age 79. Cahn won Academy Awards for “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “All the Way,” “High Hopes” and “Call Me Irresponsible.”
1987 – No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: “Shake You Down,” Gregory Abbott.
1975 – No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: “Mandy,” Barry Manilow. The song is Manilow’s first single to reach Billboard’s Hot 100 singles pop chart.
1960 – No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: “Running Bear,” Johnny Preston. The singer was a protègè of the Big Bopper, a DJ who wrote this song before his death in 1959.
1941 – Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) is born in Glendale, Calif. He is later to be a high-school friend of Frank Zappa, with whom he forms an unsuccessful band, the Soots.