Today's birthdays include Rex Allen, the "Arizona Cowboy," who was born in 1924 (age 78); folksinger Odetta in 1930 (age 72); Police guitarist Andy Summers in 1942 (age 60); the late John Denver in 1943; original Kinks bassist Peter Quaife, also in 1943 (age 59); Patti Smith in 1946 (age 56); Burton Cummings, with the Guess Who before going solo, in 1947 (age 55); disco diva Donna Summer in 1948 (age 54); Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton in 1951 (age 51); rapper Vanilla Ice, a.k.a. Robert Van Winkle, in 1968 (age 34); and Joe McIntyre of NKOTB, a.k.a. New Kids On The Block, in 1972 (age 30).
Today's musical milestones:
In 1929, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians made their first annual New Year's Eve broadcast over the CBS radio network from the Roosevelt Grill in New York City.
In 1943, there was a near-riot in New York's Times Square as Frank Sinatra opened a singing engagement at the Paramount Theater.
In 1961, the Beach Boys performed for the first time under that name at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Center in Long Beach, Calif. They were paid $300.
In 1966, the Monkees' "I'm A Believer" topped the charts.
Also in 1966, the Buckinghams' "Kind Of A Drag" and the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Loving" were released.
In 1969, Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies -- with Buddy Miles on drums -- debuted at the Fillmore East in New York City.
In 1971, Bob Dylan and The Band played New York's Academy of Music. The session yielded the "Rock of Ages" album.
In 1974, Mick Fleetwood invited Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham -- sight unseen -- to join Fleetwood Mac.
In 1976, the Cars made its concert debut at Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire.
In 1978, Bill Graham's Winterland Auditorium in San Francisco hosted its final show -- a concert starring the Grateful Dead, the Blues Brothers and the New Riders of the Purple Sage.
In 1982, E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt married Maureen Santora in Asbury Park, N.J. Bruce Springsteen was Van Zandt's best man. "Little Richard" Penniman, an ordained minister, performed the wedding ceremony. Percy Sledge entertained at the reception.
In 1984, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen suffered injuries in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of an arm a few days later.
In 1985, Rick Nelson, his fiancee and five band members were killed when their private plane crashed in northeastern Texas en route to a Dallas gig. Nelson was 45. It was widely speculated that freebasing cocaine started a fire aboard the DC-3, but survivors said it was a faulty cabin heater.
In 1991, rocker and bow-hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent served venison -- including meat from three deer he'd shot -- at a Salvation Army soup kitchen in Detroit.
In 1992, Daily Variety reported that Billy Ray Cyrus's debut album "Some Gave All" was the top-selling album of 1992. Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was the lead single.
In 1993, Barbra Streisand gave the first of two performances at the MGM Grand Garden Hotel in Las Vegas. The shows were her first paid concerts in 27 years.
In 1994, Bobby McFerrin conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a New Year's Eve "pops" concert.
Also in 1994, Keith Sweat was a no-show at his own concert in Chicago.
In 1996, Paul McCartney became the first Beatle to be knighted.
Also in 1996, Kenny Rogers brought his girlfriend, Wanda Miller, onstage during his Las Vegas concert and proposed to her. She said yes.
In 1998, Backstreet Boys, Barenaked Ladies, Monica, Chicago, Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Fastball performed at Harrah's Las Vegas on Dick Clark's "New Year's Rockin' Eve '99."
Also in 1998, Marilyn Manson performed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
And in 1998, a six-week tour featuring the "original" Black Sabbath line-up -- Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward -- kicked off in Phoenix.
And in 1998, Boz Scaggs' 21-year-old son died of an apparent drug overdose in San Francisco.
In 1999, rapper-turned-actor Will Smith hosted the star-studded America's Millennium Gala at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In 2000, Dick Clark rang in the New Year for the 29th consecutive time from New York's Times Square. ABC added two hours to "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," putting Clark on the air for three-and-a-half hours, including -- for the first time ever -- a primetime start for the show.
Today's musical quiz:
Only one other person besides Dick Clark has ever hosted "American Bandstand." Who? Answer: Donna Summer, doing so in 1979.