2003 – Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson is arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and drunken violent behavior at a New Year’s Eve party at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Naples, Fla. Officers say a stun gun was needed to subdue the Canadian prog rock great.
2003 – Ozzy Osbourne’s son from his first marriage, Louis Osbourne, marries Louise Lennon (no relation to John) in Ireland. Ozzy is unable to attend, as he’s recuperating from a near-fatal ATV crash.
2003 – OutKast return to the top of the US album charts with Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. The highest new entry is Juvenile’s Juve the Great, in at No. 32.
2003 – The White Stripes and the Flaming Lips play a New Year’s Eve gig in Chicago. At midnight, both bands jam on the Stripes’ “We’re Going to Be Friends.”
2003 – The Strokes and their crusty Southern pals Kings of Leon play a New Year’s Eve show in Las Vegas’ Cox Pavilion. The band manage to stumble through “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight.
2003 – Scottish punk/funkers Franz Ferdinand see in the New Year with a gig in a pal’s Edinburgh apartment after their Hogmanay show with the Coral and Erasure is cancelled due to bad weather.
2003 – The New York Times alleges Michael Jackson was paid $1 million by CBS for his 60 Minutes interview about child abuse charges, as well as an entertainment special to be broadcast on the channel.
2003 – Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Elton John and Kiss perform on Dick Clark’s 32nd annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Newlyweds Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey join the ageless TV impresario to countdown the New Year in Times Square.
2003 – The coroner investigating the death of Elliott Smith says he is unable to ascertain whether the “Miss Misery” songwriter committed suicide. Smith was found dead earlier this year with two stab wounds in his chest.
2003 – They used to call him “God,” but now you can call him “Eric Clapton CBE.” The Cream guitarist and The Kinks’ Ray Davies are both made Commanders of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors List.
2003 – Kevin MacMichael, guitarist with Cutting Crew died of lung cancer aged 51. (1987 US No.1 & 1986 UK No.4 single ‘I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight’). Also worked with Robert Plant and The Rankin Family.
2003 – Anita Mui, a Canto-pop singer and major Hong Kong film star, dies in Hong Kong of complications from cervical cancer. She is 40. Mui was often dubbed the “Hong Kong Madonna” because of her ever-changing image.