- 1967 – The Youth International Party, popularly known as the "Yippies", is founded.
- 1961 - The Pendletones made their live debut using their new name, the Beach Boys, when they appeared at Long Beach Civic Auditorium, California, at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance, headlined by Ike & Tina Turner
- 1963 - The Kinks made their live debut at the Lotus House Restaurant, London
- 1982 - Closed: Max's Kansas City in New York City.
- 1985 - Ricky Nelson was killed when his charted light aircraft crashed in Texas.
- 1948 – The Cole Porter Broadway musical, Kiss Me, Kate (1,077 performances), opens at the New Century Theatre and becomes the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award.
- 1969 - Peter Tork left The Monkees.
- 1978 - Disbanded: Emerson Lake and Palmer.
- 1999 - George Harrison was stabbed in the chest when an intruder broke into their his home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Harrison's wife, Olivia, hit the attacker with a poker and a heavy lamp.
- 1914 – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the first novel by James Joyce, is serialized in The Egoist.
- 1949 – KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut becomes the first Ultra high frequency (UHF) television station to operate a daily schedule.
- 1966 - UK TV debut for The Jimi Hendrix Experience on 'Top Of The Pops.'
- 1967 - Dave Mason quits the band Traffic (For the first time).
- 1980 - Died: Tim Hardin, of a heroin overdose
- 1971 - George Harrison was at No.1 on the US singles chart with "My Sweet Lord" b/w "Isn't It A Pity"
- 1978 - At the age of 27, Big Star guitarist Chris Bell was killed after his car crashed into a telephone pole.
- 1993 - Married: Canadian singer Shania Twain and record producer Mutt Lange.
- 1831 – Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate the theory of evolution.
- 1927 – Show Boat, considered to be the first true American musical play, opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.
- 1932 – Radio City Music Hall, "Showplace of the Nation," opens in New York, New York.
- 1871 – Gilbert and Sullivan collaborate for the first time, on their lost opera, Thespis. It does modestly well, but the two would not collaborate again for four years.
- 1919 – Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox is sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee.
- 1963 – The Beatles' first Capitol 45, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" b/w "I Saw Her Standing There", are released in the United States.
- 1815 – The Handel and Haydn Society, oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States, gives its first performance.
- 1968 - Led Zeppelin arrive in the U.S. for their first stateside tour.
- Died on Christmas Day: 1995 – Dean Martin, 1998 – Bryan MacLean, 2005 – Birgit Nilsson, 2006 – James Brown, 2008 – Eartha Kitt, 2009 – Vic Chesnutt, 2011 – Jim Sherwood.
- 1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning.
- 1851 – Library of Congress burns.
- 1871 – Aida opens in Cairo, Egypt.
- 1906 – Radio: Reginald Fessenden transmits the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.
- 1913 – The Italian Hall disaster ("1913 Massacre") in Calumet, Michigan, results in the death of 73 Christmas party goers held by striking mine workers, including 59 children.
- 1954 - Singer Johnny Ace accidentally shot himself dead backstage at the City Auditorium in Houston, Texas.
- 1964 - While on tour, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys had a nervous breakdown during a flight from Los Angeles to Houston
- 2002 - Former Clash singer and guitarist Joe Strummer (John Graham Mellor) died of a suspected heart attack aged 50.
- 1969 - The Supremes made their last TV appearance together with Diana Ross on 'The Ed Sullivan show', singing their last No.1 'Someday We'll Be Together.'
- 1970 - Elvis Presley visits President Richard Nixon at the White House.
- 2005 - Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish became the first gay celebrities to register their relationship as a civil partnership.
- 2012 - Paul Simon performed his classic track The Sound of Silence at the funeral of a teacher who died in the school shooting in Connecticut on 14 December of this year.
- 1967 - Folk singer Joan Baez was sentenced to 45 days in prison after being arrested during an anti-war demonstration.
- 1957 - Elvis Presley had his draft notice served on him for the US Army.
- 1969 - Mick Jagger was fined £200 plus 50 guineas costs at Marlborough Magistrates Court for illegal possession of cannabis.
- 1966 - Tara Browne was killed when driving at high speed in his Lotus Elan after it collided with a parked lorry in South Kensington, London
- 1971 - Divorced: Jerry Lee Lewis and his wife Myra.
- 1983 - Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards married 27-year old Patti Hansen on his 40th birthday.
- 1962 - Bob Dylan arrived in England for the first time.
- 1963 - James Carroll at WWDC in Washington, D.C.
- 1971 - David Bowie released his fourth album Hunky Dory, became the first disc jockey to broadcast a Beatles record on American radio.
- 1977 - The first record buyer to receive a Gold Disc -Mr. David Ackroyd -for purchasing the one-millionth copy of Wings' 'Mull Of Kintyre', by Wings in the UK.
- 1977 - George Harrison played an unannounced live set for the regulars at his local pub in Henley-On-Thames near his home in the UK.
- 1965 - The Beatles' single, 'Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out,' became their ninth UK No.1 and their third Christmas chart topper in a row.
- 1966 - The Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut single,'Hey Joe', was released in the UK on Polydor records.
- 1971 - Frank Zappa's movie, '200 Motels,'opened at London's Piccadilly Classic Cinema in the UK.
- 1974 - Rolling Stones' guitarist Mick Taylor announced he was leaving the band after five and a half years.
- 1944 - Hank Williams married Audrey Sheppard
- 1969 - John Lennon's final gig in the UK: UNICEF 'Peace For Christmas' benefit.
- 1977 - The Sex Pistols were refused entry into the USA two days before a scheduled NBC TV appearance.
- 1962 - Bill Wyman made his live debut with The Rollin' (sic)Stones.
- 1969 - The Jackson Five made their first network television appearance in the US when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.
- 1966 - Jimi Hendrix made his TV debut on ITV's 'Ready Steady Go!' (Marc Bolan was also on the show).
- 1974 - George Jones leaves Tammy Wynette permanently
- 1957 - Jerry Lee Lewis secretly marries his 13-year-old cousin Myra Brown in Hernando, Mississippi, though he is not yet divorced from his second wife.
- 1955 - Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley all appeared at the National Guard Armory, Armory, Mississippi.
- 1970 - The Doors, with Jim Morrison, played what would be their last ever live show when they played at the Warehouse in New Orleans.
- 2003 - Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stone became a Sir after being knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
- 1934 – Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, takes his last drink and enters treatment for the last time.
- 1964 - Soul singer Sam Cooke was shot dead at the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California
- 1968 – The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, featuring the Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, the Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and the Dirty Mac (John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards on bass, Mitch Mitchell, with Yoko Ono), is filmed in Wembley, London.
- 1982 - The Jam played their last ever gig as a band when they appeared in Brighton, England.
- 1684 – Isaac Newton's derivation of Kepler's laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, is read to the Royal Society by Edmund Halley.
- 1884 – Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published for the first time.
- 1927 – The phrase "Grand Ole Opry" is used for the first time on-air.
- 1949 - Fats Domino recorded his first tracks for Imperial Records.
- 1965 – The Grateful Dead's first concert performance under this new name.
- 1967 - Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash, aged 26.
- 1971 - Playing the first of two scheduled nights at London's Rainbow Theatre, Frank Zappa was pushed off stage by jealous boyfriend Trevor Howell.
- 1973 - The CBGB Club (Country, BlueGrass, and Blues), opened in the lower eastside of New York City.
- 1999 - Rick Danko died in his sleep at his home near Woodstock, New York
- 2005 - Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood marry at their home in Owasso, Oklahoma.
- 1935 – Walter Liggett, American newspaper editor and muckraker, is killed in a gangland murder.
- 1958 – The John Birch Society is founded in the United States.
- 1966 - Supergroup Cream released their debut studio album 'Fresh Cream' in the U.K.
- 1967 - The Doors appeared at the New Haven Arena, New Haven, Connecticut. Before the show a policeman found singer Jim Morrison making out with an 18 year-old girl in a backstage shower and after an argument the policeman sprays mace in Morrison’s face. Morrison tells the story of the backstage episode on stage, taunts the police. They drag him off the stage and arrest him.
- 1992 - George Harrison was the recipient of the first Century Award, presented by Tom Petty at the third Billboard Music Awards in Universal City, California.
- 1996 - Faron Young shoots himself in the head in Nashville, apparently distraught over his slumping career. He dies a day later.
- 2005 - The movie "Brokeback Mountain" opens in theaters.
- 1813 – Premier of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.
- 1961 - "Surfin'," the Beach Boys first single, was released on Candix Records, a small label based in Los Angeles.
- 1963 - Frank Sinatra, Jr., was kidnapped at gunpoint from a hotel in Lake Tahoe.
- 1980 – John Lennon is murdered by a deranged fan in front of his home at The Dakota in New York City.
- 1982 - Marty Robbins dies in Nashville of a heart attack just two months after his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
- 1869 – American outlaw Jesse James commits his first confirmed bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.
- 1930 – W1XAV in Boston, Massachusetts telecasts video from the CBS radio orchestra program, The Fox Trappers. The telecast also includes the first television commercial in the United States, an advertisement for I.J. Fox Furriers, who sponsored the radio show.
- 1963 - The Singing Nun started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Dominique.'
- 1964 - Beach Boy Brian Wilson married Marilyn Rovell in L.A.
- 1967 - Otis Redding went into the studio to record '(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay.'
- 1967 - The Beatles Apple boutique on 94 Baker Street, London, opened its doors.
- 1999 – A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.: The Recording Industry Association of America sues the peer-to-peer file-sharing service Napster, alleging copyright infringement.
- 1949 - American blues artist Huddie William Ledbetter (aka Lead Belly) died.
- 1961, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best met with Brian Epstein for further discussions about his proposal to manage them.
- 1964 - The film 'Ferry Cross The Mersey' premiered in London.
- 1965 - The Rolling Stones record '19th Nervous Breakdown' and 'Mother's Little Helper' at RCA's Hollywood Studios in Los Angeles.
- 1969 - The Rolling Stones played a free festival at Altamont in California, along with Jefferson Airplane, Santana, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Crosby Stills Nash & Young.
- 1988 - Recording begins for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Volume 2"
- 1988 - American singer songwriter Roy Orbison died of a heart attack aged 52.
- 2003 - Elvis Costello married jazz artist Diana Krall in a ceremony at Elton John's UK mansion.
- 1492 – Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
- 1766 – In London, James Christie holds his first sale.
- 1848 – California Gold Rush: In a message to the U.S. Congress, U.S. President James K. Polk confirms that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California.
- 1955 – E.D. Nixon and Rosa Parks lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- 1960 - Paul McCartney and Pete Best were arrested for pinning a condom to a brick wall and then igniting it
- 1968 - The release of The Rolling Stones’ new album Beggar’s Banquet, was celebrated at a party in London.
- 2000 - Lost Highway releases the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
- 1956 – The Million Dollar Quartet (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash) get together at Sun Studios for the first and last time
- 1971 – The Montreux Casino in Switzerland is set ablaze by someone wielding a flare gun during a Frank Zappa concert; the incident would be noted in the Deep Purple song "Smoke on the Water."
- 1976 - American guitarist Tommy Bolin (Deep Purple) died from a heroin overdose aged 25
- 1980 – English rock group Led Zeppelin officially disbands, following the death of drummer John Bonham on September 25th.
- 1991 – Pan Am goes bankrupt and ceases operations.
- 1993 - Frank Zappa died of prostrate cancer.
- 1927 – 'Putting Pants on Philip,' the first Laurel and Hardy film, is released.
- 1960 – The musical 'Camelot' debuted at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway, and would become associated with the Kennedy administration.
- 1961 - Brian Epstein invited the members of local Liverpool beat combo The Beatles into his office to discuss the possibility of becoming their manager.
- 1966 - Ray Charles was given a five year suspended prison sentence and a $10,000 fine after being convicted of possessing heroin and marijuana.
- 1966 - The Monkees made their live debut at the International Arena, Honolulu.
- 1969 - The Rolling Stones recorded 'Brown Sugar' at Muscle Shoals studios.
- 1976 – An assassination attempt is made on Bob Marley. He is shot twice, but plays a concert two days later.
- 1976 - While being photographed for the forthcoming Pink Floyd Animals album cover, a giant 40ft inflatable pig could be seen floating above London, England after breaking free from its moorings.
- 1979 - A concert by The Who at The Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, turned to disaster when 11 members of the audience were trampled to death after a stampede to claim unreserved seats
- 1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in what will become the United States.
- 1823 – Monroe Doctrine: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James Monroe proclaims American neutrality in future European conflicts, and warns European powers not to interfere in the Americas.
- 1969 - Cindy Birdsong of the Supremes was kidnapped at knifepoint by a maintenance man who worked in the building she lived in. She later escaped unharmed by jumping out of his car on the San Diego freeway. The kidnapper was arrested in Las Vegas four days later.
- 1983 - MTV aired the full 14-minute version of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video for the first time.
- 1913 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving assembly line.
- 1957 - Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and Sam Cooke, appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' The Crickets performed 'That'll Be The Day' and 'Peggy Sue,'and Cooke performed 'You Send Me'.
- 1976 - The Sex Pistols appeared on ITV's live early evening 'Today' show. Provoked, guitarist Steve Jones says, 'You dirty bastard...you dirty f*cker...what a f*cking rotter!'
- 1983 - Neil Young was sued by Geffen Records because his new music for the label was ‘not commercial in nature and musically uncharacteristic of his previous albums’.