• 1921 ~ Herb (Mitchell) Ellis, Guitarist, singer with Soft Winds
• 1927 ~ Radio station 2XAG, later named WGY, the General Electric station in Schenectady, NY, began experimental operations from a 100,000-watt transmitter. Later, the FCC regulated the power of AM radio stations to not exceed 50,000 watts on ‘clear channels’ (where few, if any, stations would cause interference with each other).
• 1927 ~ Singer Jimmie Rodgers recorded his first sides for Victor Records in Bristol, TN. He sang Sleep Baby Sleep and Soldier’s Sweetheart.
• 1929 ~ Gabriella Tucci, Italian soprano
• 1938 ~ Simon Preston, British organist
• 1939 ~ Frankie Ford (Guzzo), Singer
• 1940 ~ Timi (Rosemarie) Yuro, Singer
• 1943 ~ David Carr, Keyboards with The Fortunes
• 1978 ~ Frank Fontaine passed away. He was an American stage, radio, film and television comedian and singer.
• 2000 ~ Jerome Smith, founding guitarist of KC & The Sunshine Band, died after being crushed in a construction accident. He was 47. KC & The Sunshine Band reached the top of Billboard Magazine’s charts in 1975 with Get Down Tonight. Before Smith left the group, it had five No. 1 songs, including Boogie Shoes and That’s the Way (I Like It), and three Grammys.
• 1949 ~ B.B. (Morris) Dickerson, Bass and singer with War
• 1951 ~ Johnny Graham, Guitarist with Earth, Wind and Fire
• 1963 ~ The Beatles made their final appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. The group was about to leave its hometown behind for unprecedented worldwide fame and fortune.
• 1963 ~ The Beach Boys’ Surfer Girl, was released on Capitol Records. It became one of their biggest hits. Surfer Girl made it to number seven on the hit music charts on September 14, 1963
• 1963 ~ Comedian Allan Sherman’s summer camp parody, Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter from Camp) was released on Warner Brothers Records. The melody was based on the Dance of the Hours from Ponchielli’s opera La Giaconda. This dance was also performed in the original Disney movie Fantasia.
• 1971 ~ Paul McCartney formed a new band called Wings. Joining McCartney in the group were Denny Laine, formerly of The Moody Blues, Denny Seilwell and McCartney’s wife, Linda.
• 1998 ~ Alfred Schnittke, one of the most original and influential composers to emerge from the Soviet Union, died. He was 63.
• 2001 ~ Jeanne Loriod, the leading performer of an electronic instrument used in film scores and symphonic works to produce mysterious glassy tones, died in southern France. She was 73. Loriod, who played the ondes martenot – invented by the French musician Maurice Martenot – died of a stroke in Juan-les-Pins, Le Monde newspaper reported.
She was the younger sister of pianist Yvonne Loriod, who was married to composer Olivier Messiaen. The three musicians often collaborated.
The ondes martenot – which translates as “Martenot waves” – produces electronic waves from a system of transistors, a keyboard and a ribbon attached to a ring on the performer’s forefinger.
Loriod’s career took her all over the world. She performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, among others.
Composers such as Tristan Murail, Jacques Charpentier and Michael Levinas wrote works for her, according to Le Monde. Loriod had also been planning to collaborate with the pop group Radiohead, the paper wrote.
• 2008 ~ Louis Teicher died at 83. He was half of the piano duo Ferrante & Teicher, which toured for four decades and released 150 albums, some as suitable for elevators as for concert halls.
• 2016 ~ Ricci Martin, an entertainer/musician son of Dean Martin, died at the age of 62.
• 1926 ~ The first demonstration of the Vitaphone system, that combined picture and sound for movies, was held at the Warner Theatre in New York City. John Barrymore and Mary Astor starred in the demonstration film for the new moving picture projector.
• 1935 ~ Hank Cochran, Pop Singer and songwriter
• 1937 ~ Garth Hudson, Musician, keyboard with The Band
• 1937 ~ Benny Goodman and his quartet recorded Smiles for Victor Records. Playing with Goodman’s clarinet on the famous song were Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa.
• 1941 ~ Doris Kenner-Jackson (Coley), Singer with The Shirelles
• 1943 ~ Kathy Lennon, Singer with The Lennon Sisters
• 1951 ~ Andrew Gold, Singer, son of composer Ernest Gold
• 1991 ~ Jeri Southern passed away
• 1997 – Nigeria’s musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who popularized the Afro-music beat globally, died of AIDS aged 58.
• 2000 ~ Helen Quinn, who for more than 30 years presided over the Metropolitan Opera patrons who lined up to buy standing-room tickets, died at the age of 76. Often called the Queen of Standees by those who allowed her to take charge of the ticket queue, Quinn was herself a veteran of standing-room lines at the Met, and attended five or six performances a week, almost always as a standee. In 1966, on her own initiative, she imposed a system on the standee process that the throng of regulars was apparently happy to abide by, and to which the Met gave tacit approval.
• 2001 ~ Ron Townson, the portly centerpiece singer for the Grammy-winning pop group The 5th Dimension, died of renal failure after a four-year battle with kidney disease. He was 68. Other members of the reconstituted group – known for such 1960s hits as Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In, Wedding Bell Blues and Stoned Soul Picnic – performed at the Capitol Fourth music and fireworks show on July 4 in Washington, D.C. Declining health had forced Townson to retire from The 5th Dimension in 1997, bringing to an end a career that saw him tour with such music legends as Nat King’ Cole and Dorothy Dandridge, appear in operas and direct choirs. He helped front The 5th Dimension when the group’s smooth mixture of pop, jazz, gospel, and rhythm and blues won it four Grammys in 1968 for the Jimmy Webb song Up Up and Away. Other hits included One Less Bell to Answer and Sweet Blindness. As various members left The 5th Dimension in the 1970s to pursue solo projects, Townson formed the group Ron Townson and Wild Honey. Later, he reunited with McLemore and LaRue in a new version of The 5th Dimension that included Phyllis Battle and Greg Walker. He also appeared on television and in films, including the 1992 movie The Mambo Kings.
• 2002 ~ Freidann Parker, co-founder of the Colorado Ballet, died at the age of 77. Colorado Ballet co-founder Lillian Covillo met Parker in the late 1940s in a dance class taught by Martha Wilcox. The two began the Covillo-Parker School of Dance, and then a fledgling ballet company. After an ambitious double bill in 1961, they created Colorado Concert Ballet, which presented Denver’s first Nutcracker the following season. Every performance sold out. By 1978, the board of directors more than doubled its budget to $100,000, and Colorado Ballet was born. Today its budget has grown to $7 million with a roster of 40 dancers. Parker’s first dance lessons were with Iris Potter. She later trained with modern-dance pioneer Hanya Holm.
• 2020 ~ Leon Fleisher, American pianist and conductor, died at the age of 92. He was one of the most renowned pianists and pedagogues in the world. Music correspondent Elijah Ho has called him “one of the most refined and transcendent musicians the United States has ever produced”.
In 1964, Fleisher lost the use of his right hand, due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as focal dystonia. Fleisher commenced performing and recording the left-handed repertoire while searching for a cure for his condition. In addition, he undertook conducting during this time, serving at one time as Music Director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in Maryland. In the 1990s, Fleisher was able to ameliorate his focal dystonia symptoms after experimental botox injections to the point where he could play with both hands again.
• 1877 ~ Angela Diller, American pianist and educator
• 1919 ~ Oscar Hammerstein I passed away
• 1930 ~ Lionel Bart, Broadway Composer
• 1930 ~ Geoffrey Holder, Dancer
• 1939 – American bandleader Glenn Miller recorded In the Mood which later became his theme tune.
• 1942 ~ Jerry Garcia, American rock guitarist, banjo, lyricist and singer with The Grateful Dead
• 1942 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded Charleston Alley, on Decca Records.
• 1942 ~ The American Federation of Musicians went on strike. Union president James C. Petrillo told musicians that phonograph records were “a threat to members’ jobs.” As a result, musicians refused to perform in recording sessions over the next several months. Live, musical radio broadcasts continued, however.
• 1947 ~ Rick Anderson, Musician, bass with The Tubes
• 1947 ~ Rick Coonce, Singer, drummer with The Grassroots
• 1953 ~ Robert Cray, Guitar
• 1960 ~ Chubby Checker’s The Twist was released. The song inspired the dance craze of the 1960s.
• 1971 ~ The Concert for Bangladesh was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar and Billy Preston performed. A multi-record set commemorating the event was a super sales success. Together, the concert and the album raised over $11 million to help the starving minions of Bangladesh.
• 1981 ~ MTV (Music Television) made its debut at 12:01 a.m.
• 1984 ~ Singer Jermaine Jackson made a guest appearance on the TV soap opera, As the World Turns.
• 1997 ~ Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter died of a heart attack in a Moscow hospital. He was 82.
• 2007 ~ Tommy Makem, Irish folk singer died
• 2017 ~ Goldy McJohn, Canadian musician (Steppenwolf), died at the age of 72
Today’s piece is from a TV show my son used to love to watch: Inspector Gadget. The show followed the adventures of a powerful but dimwitted cyborg police inspector named Gadget as he investigates the criminal schemes of Dr. Claw and his organization, MAD, as they fruitlessly attempt to stop him. However, neither side was aware that it is Gadget’s niece, Penny, and her dog, Brain, who are truly responsible for thwarting MAD.
Find the theme in Alfred Premier Pop and Movie Hits 1B as well as other books
Now, for just the theme
One of my favorite piano duet (I have the sheet music!)
• 1946 ~ Alan Gorrie, Rock Singer with the Average White Band
• 1947 ~ Bernie Leadon, Musician, guitar with The Eagles
• 1947 ~ Brian Harold May, Musician, guitarist, singer and songwriter with Queen, who had the 1975 UK No.1 single Bohemian Rhapsody, which returned to No.1 in 1991. Queen scored over 40 other UK Top 40 singles, and also scored the 1980 US No.1 single Crazy Little Thing Called Love. May had the solo 1992 UK No.5 single Too Much Love Will Kill You. May was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for ‘services to the music industry and his charity work’. May earned a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College, London, in 2007.
• 1949 ~ Singer Harry Belafonte began recording for Capitol Records on this day. The first sessions included They Didn’t Believe Me and Close Your Eyes. A short time later, Capitol said Belafonte wasn’t “commercial enough,” so he signed with RCA Victor (for a very productive and commercial career).
• 1952 ~ Allen Collins, Musician, guitar with Lynyrd Skynyrd
• 1952 ~ “Paint Your Wagon” closed at Shubert Theater New York City after 289 performances
• 1966 ~ Frank Sinatra married actress Mia Farrow this day.
• 1963 ~ Kelly Shiver, Country Singer
• 1980 ~ Billy Joel, pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer, earned his first gold record with It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, which reached the top of the Billboard pop music chart. He would score additional million-sellers with Just the Way You Are, My Life, Uptown Girl (for girlfriend and later, wife and supermodel Christie Brinkley) and We Didn’t Start the Fire. Joel reached the top only one other time, with Tell Her About It in 1983.
• 2000 ~ H. LeBaron Taylor, a Sony executive who pioneered the mass marketing of music rooted in black culture and fostered minority development in the corporate world, died at the age of 65 of a heart attack. He was recognized by Ebony magazine as one of the top 50 black executives in corporate America. In the 1970s, Taylor was at CBS Records, leading its Black Music Marketing department, which sold music originating in black culture and styles that sprang from it, such as blues, soul, rap and hip-hop.
• 2015 ~ Van Alexander, American composer and bandleader (A-Tisket, A-Tasket), died at the age of 100
“In the Hall of the Mountain King” is a piece of orchestral music composed for the sixth scene of act 2 in Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play Peer Gynt. It was originally part of Opus 23 but was later extracted as the final piece of Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, Op. 46. Its easily recognizable theme has helped it attain iconic status in popular culture, where it has been arranged by many artists, including for the piano.
Borrow a copy of the sheet music from the O’Connor Music Studio. I have this arranged for piano, duet, 2-piano, simplified…
8 part vocal orchestra (plus a tiny pair of cymbals)
• 1941 ~ Martha Reeves, American Rhythm and Blues singer with Martha and the Vandellas
• 1964 ~ The 4 Seasons reached the top spot on the record charts with Rag Doll, the group’s fourth hit to climb to the #1 position. The song stayed on top for two weeks. Other #1 hits by Frankie Valli and company include, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, and December 1963 (Oh, What a Night).
• 1968 ~ Hugh Masekela struck gold with the breezy, latin-soul instrumental Grazing in the Grass, while Gary Puckett and The Union Gap received a similar honor for the hit, Lady Willpower. Masekela, a trumpeter since age 14, saw Grazing in the Grass go to number one for two weeks (July 20/27). Grazing was his only entry on the pop music charts. The Union Gap scored three more million-sellers in the late 1960s: Woman, Woman, Young Girl and Over You. The Union Gap was formed in 1967 and named after the town of Union Gap, Washington.
• 1983 ~ Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel took to the road to begin a 19-city tour beginning in Akron, OH. It was the first tour by the popular singing duo since their success in the 1960s.
• 2001 ~ Mimi Farina, sister of folk singer Joan Baez and founder of an organization that brought free live music performances to the sick and imprisoned, died of complications related to cancer. She was 56. She founded Bread & Roses in 1974. The organization produced 500 shows annually for audiences in senior centers, psychiatric, rehabilitation and correctional facilities as well as centers for abused and neglected children. Long part of the San Francisco Bay area’s folk music elite as a singer herself, Farina drew many fellow musical luminaries to take part in performances. Her sister, Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt and Peter, Paul and Mary all volunteered their services to make Bread & Roses and long-running success. Farina was the youngest of three daughters and was raised a Quaker alongside siblings Joan Baez and Pauline Bryan. She learned the guitar with her sister Joan during the folk music revival of the late 1950s and frequently played the folk scene around Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass.
• 2002 ~ Seymour Solomon, co-founder of Vanguard Records, a label that dominated American folk music with stars such as Joan Baez, died. He was 80. Solomon founded Vanguard in 1950 with his brother, Maynard. The label recorded famed artists like Odetta, Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie. It also signed such jazz and blues legends as Mississippi John Hurt and Buddy Guy and maintained a strong classical list. From its earliest days, the Solomons took risks, signing performers like the Weavers and Paul Robeson who had been blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Starting in 1959, Vanguard recorded the Newport Folk Festival, and later recorded the Newport Jazz festival as well. Solomon and his brother sold Vanguard in 1985 to the Welk Record Group, and three years later opened Omega Classics. He later bought back Vanguard’s old classical catalog and reissued it on compact disc. Solomon had studied violin at the Juilliard School and played in the Air Corps Orchestra during World War II. After the war, he studied musicology and worked as a critic and commentator for music magazines and radio stations.