On Dec. 24, 1954, singer Johnny Ace accidentally killed himself with a gun he did not think was loaded while backstage at a show in Houston. He was 25. His song "Pledging My Love" became a hit the next year.

In 1961, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens became the first African song to reach number one on the American pop charts.

In 1965, The Beatles earned a gold record for the album "Rubber Soul," just two-and-a-half weeks after it was released.

In 1972, police in Miami cut short a concert by Manfred Mann and his Earth Band. Fans rioted for about two hours while the band members hid in a dressing room.

In 1973, Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers was arrested in Visalia, California, for marijuana possession.

In 1978, Bjorn Ulvaeus (ul-VAY'-us) and Agnetha (ag-NET'-tuh) Faltskog of ABBA separated after seven years of marriage.

In 1984, actor Peter Lawford died. He was 61.

In 1990, actors Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were married in Telluride, Colorado. They had met while filming "Days of Thunder." They have since divorced.

In 1992, former Doobie Brothers percussionist Bobby LaKind (lah-KIHND') died after a long battle with cancer. He was 47.

In 1997, the Gin Blossoms announced their breakup. They have since reunited.

Today's birthdays: Songwriter-bandleader-producer Dave Bartholomew is 99. Actress Sharon Farrell ("Hawaii Five-0") is 71. Actor Clarence Gilyard ("Walker, Texas Ranger") is 62. Actress Stephanie Hodge ("Unhappily Ever After") is 61. Bassist-synthesizer player Ian Burden of Human League is 60. Actor Anil Kapoor (ah-NEEL' kuh-POOR') ("Slumdog Millionaire") is 58. Singer Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs is 54. Actor Mark Valley ("Boston Legal") is 53. Actor Diedrich Bader ("The Drew Carey Show") is 51. Singer Ricky Martin is 46. "Twilight" series author Stephenie Meyer is 44. TV host Ryan Seacrest ("American Idol," ''Live with Kelly and Ryan") is 43. Actor Michael Raymond-James ("Once Upon A Time," ''True Blood") is 40. Singer Louis (LOO'-ee) Tomlinson of One Direction is 26.