December 26th: The Biggest Music Headlines

Scroll down the page to see all the music headlines, stories and events for December 26 throughout music history

George Harrison

George Harrison Becomes the First Beatles Alum to Score a No.1 Hit

On this day in music, December 26, 1970, George Harrison began a four-week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “My Sweet Lord,” making him the first Beatle to score a No.1 hit as a solo artist in the US. The tender ballad, which appeared on Harrison’s broadly acclaimed album, All Things Must Pass, gave the “Quiet Beatle” similar bragging rights in the UK, where it topped the charts for five weeks and became the biggest-selling single of 1971.

In 1999, soul star Curtis Mayfield died at the age of 57. After rising to fame as a member of The Impressions, Mayfield embarked on a highly successful solo career, highlighted by his most celebrated release, the 1972 soundtrack for Super Fly. A double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mayfield won a Grammy Legend Award in 1994 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.

In 1976, The Sex Pistols recorded “God Save The Queen” at Wessex Studios in London. The controversial song, which was released during Queen Elizabeth II’s 1977 Silver Jubilee, flew to No.2 on the UK pop chart.

In 1979, Pink Floyd’s The Wall began a 15-week run at the top of the US album chart.

In 2007, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black was named the biggest-selling album of the year in the UK. Today, it remains one of the territory’s best-selling albums of all time.

In 1967, BBC1 celebrated Boxing Day by airing The BeatlesMagical Mystery Tour in black and white. Less than two weeks later, the film aired in color on BBC2. While the soundtrack was well-received, the film fared decidedly less well with the public and the press.

In 1979, the first in a series of benefit concerts was held at London’s Hammersmith Odeon for the People of Kampuchea (Cambodia). Queen, The Clash, The Pretenders, The Who, Elvis Costello, and Wings were among the start-studded acts who performed.

In 1981, AC/DC began a three-week run at the top of the Billboard 200 with their seminal album, For Those About To Rock We Salute You.

In 1968, Led Zeppelin embarked on their first North American tour, supporting Vanilla Fudge and Spirit.

Looking for more things that happened on this day in music?
Keep scrolling for all of the headlines for December 26.


1935: Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir (The Four Tops)
1939: Phil Spector
1953: Henning Schmitz (Kraftwerk)
1963: Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
1966: Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt)
1971: Jared Leto (30 Seconds to Mars)
1979: Chris Daughtry

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December 26th

On this day in music
26 Dec 2019
American singer, musician and actor Sleepy LaBeef died age 84. As a rockabilly artist he was noted for his extensive repertoire, and for his live performances, at one time undertaking some 300 performances a year and claimed to know 6,000 songs.
26 Dec 2017
Jim Burns, the co-creator of MTV's iconic MTV Unplugged series, famous for hosting shows by artists as diverse as Eric Clapton, Nirvana and Jay-Z died at the age of 65. He was struck by a taxi while crossing Fifth Avenue in Manhattan three days earlier walking with his seeing-eye dog near his Upper East Side home.
26 Dec 2012
Fontella Bass, the US female singer, pianist, who had the 1965 US No.4 and UK No.11 single 'Rescue Me' died of complications following a heart attack aged 72.
26 Dec 2007
Amy Winehouse's second album ‘Back to Black’ was named as the biggest-selling album of the year. Released at the end of 2006 the album had now sold more than 1.5m copies in the UK, achieving five platinum sales awards, Winehouse was also nominated for six Grammys including song of the year. Leona Lewis's ‘Spirit’ was the second best seller, Lewis sold 1.27m copies in just five weeks, becoming the fastest-selling debut in UK history and making the former X Factor winner the fastest female million-seller in the UK. Mika's ‘Life in Cartoon Motion’ were the third best selling album of 2007.
26 Dec 2006
Michael Jackson filed a lawsuit against his former accountants, claiming they withdrew $2.5 million a year from his bank accounts but did not properly pay his bills. Jackson hired the Los Angeles-based firm in 2003 for book-keeping, opening bank accounts and filing personal, corporate and real estate taxes.
26 Dec 1999
American soul, R&B, and funk singer, songwriter Curtis Mayfield died aged 57. He was a member of The Impressions, (1965 US No.7 single 'Lilies Of The Field') and solo, (1971 UK No.12 single 'Move On Up', 1972 US No.4 single 'Freddie's Dead, Theme From Superfly').
26 Dec 1998
The Spice Girls scored their 8th UK No.1 single with 'Goodbye', (the first single without Geri Halliwell). It gave the group the Christmas No.1 for the third year in a row equaling the record set by The Beatles from 1963, 64 and 65.
26 Dec 1981
AC/DC started a three-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'For Those About To Rock We Salute You' the follow-up to their highly successful album 'Back In Black'. The name of the album was inspired by a book Angus Young read, entitled 'For Those About to Die, We Salute You', about Roman gladiators.
26 Dec 1979
The first night of a series of concerts were held at The Hammersmith Odeon in London for the People of Kampuchea, featuring Queen, The Clash, The Pretenders, The Who, Elvis Costello, Wings, and many more artists. The events which were organised by Paul McCartney and Kurt Waldheim were aimed to raise money for the victims of war-torn Cambodia.
26 Dec 1979
Pink Floyd’s The Wall was at No.1 on the US album chart. (The album spent a total of 15 weeks at No.1 during a 35-week stay on the chart). The Wall also spent a total of 5 weeks at No.1 on the UK chart.
26 Dec 1976
The Sex Pistols recorded 'God Save The Queen' at Wessex Studios London, England. The song was released during Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977. The record's lyrics, as well as the cover, were controversial at the time, and both the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority refused to play the song. The song reached No.1 on the NME charts.
26 Dec 1970
George Harrison started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'My Sweet Lord', making him the first Beatle to score a No.1 US hit. The song was originally intended for Billy Preston.
26 Dec 1968
Led Zeppelin started their first North American tour supporting Vanilla Fudge and Spirit at Denver Auditorium, Colorado, tickets for this Sunday night gig cost $5.
26 Dec 1967
BBC Television broadcast The Beatles movie ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ in black and white. The next day, the British press and the viewing public pronounce the film an utter disaster. The negative reaction was so strong that a US television deal for broadcasting the movie was cancelled.
26 Dec 1966
John Lennon appeared as a men's room attendant in Peter Cook's and Dudley Moore's BBC TV UK show 'Not only... But also'.
26 Dec 1966
The Jimi Hendrix Experience played an afternoon show at The Uppercut Club, London, (where he was billed as "The American Top soul Singer - Jimi Hendrix"). Hendrix also wrote the lyrics to Purple Haze in the dressing room on the same day.
26 Dec 1965
While spending Christmas at his father's home in Cheshire, Paul McCartney crashed from the moped he was riding and suffered a five-inch cut to his mouth.
26 Dec 1964
The Beatles started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'I Feel Fine'. It was the group's 6th No.1 of the year in which they had 30 entries on the chart, giving them a total of 18 weeks at the top of the charts.
26 Dec 1964
The Rolling Stones placed an advertisement in the music paper New Musical Express, wishing starving hairdressers and their families a Happy Christmas.
26 Dec 1963
Stevie Wonder arrived in the UK for appearances on the TV shows 'Ready Steady Go!' and 'Thank Your Lucky Stars.'
26 Dec 1963
Capitol Records, the EMI-affiliated company which rejected the US rights to every Beatles record that they were offered until then, finally released 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' backed with 'I Saw Her Standing There'. The song was currently topping the UK chart with 'This Boy' on the flip side. Within five weeks, the record would rise to number one in the US, where it would stay for seven weeks. The song was recorded the previous October and the hit version was take number 17.
Born on this day in music
26 Dec 1990
Andy Biersack, American singer and pianist, founder and lead vocalist for the American rock band Black Veil Brides.
26 Dec 1979
Chris Daughtry, American guitarist, singer. Daughtry was the fourth-place finalist on the fifth season of American Idol. His band's self-titled debut 2007 US No.1 album sold more than 1 million copies after just five weeks of release, becoming the fastest selling debut rock album of all time.
26 Dec 1971
Jared Joseph Leto, American musician with 30 Seconds to Mars. Their 2018 album America peaked at No.2 on the US chart and No.4 in the UK.
26 Dec 1966
Jay Farrar, American songwriter and musician who formed Uncle Tupelo (with Jeff Tweedy later of Wilco), and Son Volt.
26 Dec 1963
Lars Ulrich, drums, Metallica, (1991 UK No.5 single 'Enter Sandman', 1991 US & UK No.1 album 'Metallica').
26 Dec 1963
Dana Baldinger, bass, Popinjays, (1990 UK album 'Bang Up To Date With The Popinjays').
26 Dec 1953
Henning Schmitz from the German electronic music and pop band Kraftwerk who had the 1982 UK No.1 single 'Computer Love / The Model'.
26 Dec 1943
Fleming Williams from American pop and soul trio The Hues Corporation, who scored the 1974, US No.1 & UK No.6 single 'Rock The Boat' which sold over 2 million copies. Williams died on 15 February 1998.
26 Dec 1939
Phil Spector, producer, 'The Spector Wall Of Sound’. Spector was a member of Teddy Bears, who had the 1958 US No.1 single 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'. He went on to produce many classic songs including; Ben E King, 'Spanish Harlem', The Crystals, 'Da Doo Ron Ron', The Ronettes, 'Baby I Love You', The Righteous Brothers, 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling', Ike and Tina Turner, 'River Deep, Mountain High'. Also produced albums for The Ramones, John Lennon, George Harrison, The Beatles, Cher and Harry Nilsson. The 2003 shooting of actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, California home led to his 2009 conviction of murder in the second degree. Spector died in prison January 16, 2021, age 81.
26 Dec 1935
Abdul 'Duke' Fakir, The Four Tops, (1965 US No.1 single 'I Can't Help Myself', 1967 UK No.6 single 'Standing In The Shadows of Love').
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