• 1933 ~ The theme song was Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here and it opened the National Barn Dance. The half-hour country music and comedy show, originally heard on WLS, Chicago since 1924, moved to the NBC Blue network this night. National Barn Dance was broadcast from the Eighth Street Theater in Chicago, where the stage was transformed into a hayloft every Saturday night. The host was Joe Kelly. Uncle Ezra was played by Pat Barrett who was known to say, “Give me a toot on the tooter, Tommy,” as he started dancing. A few of the other Barn Dance characters were Arkie, the Arkansas Woodchopper; Pokey Martin; the Hoosier Hotshots; the Prairie Ramblers; cowgirl, Patsy Montana; Pat Buttram; Lulu Belle and the Cumberland Road Runners. Gene Autry and Red Foley were heard early in their careers on National Barn Dance. Although there were plenty of sponsors (Alka Seltzer, One-A-Day vitamins, Phillips Milk of Magnesia), the National Barn Dance was one of the few radio shows to charge admission!
• 1935 ~ Johnny Mathis, American singer of popular music
• 1935 ~ “Summertime … and the livin’ is easy.” Porgy and Bess was presented for the first time, at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. It was a flop! It was revived in 1942. It wasn’t a flop that time. It ran longer than any revival in the history of U.S. musical theater.
• 1942 ~ Dewey Martin, Drummer, singer with Buffalo Springfield
• 1943 ~ Marilyn McCoo (Davis), Singer with The Fifth Dimension, TV hostess of Solid Gold from 1981 to 1984 and 1986 to 1988, TV music reporter
• 1946 ~ Sylvia Peterson, Singer with The Chiffons
• 1953 ~ Deborah Allen (Thurmond), Singer
• 1954 ~ Julie Andrews, who would later become a household name in movies, TV and on records, opened on Broadway for the first time. The future star of The Sound of Music appeared in The Boy Friend this night.
• 1977 ~ President Jimmy Carter designated October as the official country music month.
• 2003 ~ Ronnie Dawson, the rock singer known as the “Blonde Bomber,” died. He was 64. Dawson was diagnosed in 2002 with throat cancer but continued to perform. One of his last gigs was an emotional performance at the Rockabilly Rave festival in England in February. He enthralled fans at the Big D Jamboree in the 1950s and at Carnegie Hall in the 1990s. Among Dawson’s songs as a teenager in the 1950s wereAction Packed and I Make the Love. He was famous for live performances where he would jump from the stage, run through the audience and play his guitar while standing on a table. In the late 1950s, Dawson recast himself as an R&B artist named Snake Monroe, signed briefly with Columbia Records, and then joined the local Western swing pioneers the Light Crust Doughboys. In the 1960s, he packed the Levee Club with the Levee Singers, a folk act that appeared nationally on “The Danny Kaye Show” and “The Jimmy Dean Show.” After the Levee Singers broke up, he formed a country band, Steel Rail, and later sang television and radio jingles.
• 2003 ~ Robert LaMarchina, conductor of the Honolulu Symphony from 1967 to 1978, died. He was 75. Born in New York City, Robert LaMarchina began studying the cello at the age of 7. At 8, he made his first appearance as a solo cellist with the St. Louis Symphony. LaMarchina was 15 when famed conductor Arturo Toscanini hired him to perform with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. LaMarchina made is first appearance as a conductor in 1951 in Japan in the Fujiwara Opera’s production of “Madame Butterfly”. He later taught music at Indiana University, traveled with the Ambassadors of Opera and conducted operas on the West Coast.
• 1907 ~ (Orvon) Gene Autry, ‘The Singing Cowboy’, actor in over 100 cowboy westerns, singer, CMA Hall of Fame and the only person to have 5 Hollywood Walk of Fame stars. They were for film, radio, TV, stage and records.
• 1930 ~ Richard Bonynge, Australian conductor
• 1930 ~ “Ba, ba, ba, boo. I will, ba ba ba boo … marry you!” ‘Der Bingle’, better known as Bing Crosby, America’s premier crooner for decades, married Dixie Lee.
1935 ~ Jerry Lee Lewis, American rock-and-roll singer and pianist
More information about Lewis
• 1947 ~ Dizzy Gillespie presented his first Carnegie Hall concert in New York, adding a sophisticated jazz touch to the famous concert emporium. Diz would become one of the jazz greats of all time. His trademark: Two cheeks pushed out until it looked like his face would explode. But, as the hepcats said, “Man, that guy can blow!”
• 1948 ~ Mark Farner, Guitar: singer with Grand Funk Railroad
• 1953 ~ Danny Thomas, who many now remember as Marlo’s dad and Phil Donahue’s father-in-law, is also remembered for many things that influenced television. At the suggestion of his friend, Desi Arnaz, Thomas negotiated a deal that would allow him to retain ownership rights to his programs, like Make Room for Daddy, which debuted this day on ABC-TV. Later, in 1957, the show would move to CBS under the Desilu/Danny Thomas Productions banner. The rest is, literally, TV history. His success allowed him to give something back to the world, in the form of his philanthropic efforts to build St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. “All I prayed for was a break,” he once told an interviewer, “and I said I would do anything, anything, to pay back the prayer if it could be answered. All I needed was a sign of what to do and I would do it.” And so it was.
• 1962 ~ My Fair Lady closed on this day after a run of 6½ years. At the time, the show held the Broadway record for longest-running musical of all time. 3,750,000 people watched the wonderful show and heard tunes like Wouldn’t it Be Loverly, Show Me, Get Me to the Church on Time, I’m an Ordinary Man, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face and the Vic Damone/Robert Goulet standard, On the Street Where You Live. The team of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe turned George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion, into a colorful, musical production. They gave a new life to the rough- around-the-edges, cockney, flower girl; the subject of a bet between Professor Higgins (Just You Wait, ’Enry ’Iggins) and a colleague. The Professor bet that he could turn Eliza Doolittle into a proper lady (The Rain in Spain). With a Little Bit of Luck he did it. Eliza, looking and acting very much like a princess, sang ICould Have Danced All Night. After its Broadway success, My Fair Lady was made into a motion picture (1964) and won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture.
• 1983 ~ On the Great White Way, A Chorus Line became the longest-running show on Broadway, with performance number 3,389. Grease, the rock ’n’ roll production, had been the previous box-office champ since 1980.
• 2001 ~ Dan Cushman, a prolific fiction writer whose 1953 novel “Stay Away, Joe” was made into a movie starring Elvis Presley, died of heart failure. He was 92. The former New York Times book critic wrote dozens of books and was best known for “Stay Away, Joe.” The book’s portrayal of American Indians stirred controversy in Montana, and Indian novelist James Welch vetoed an excerpt for inclusion in “The Last Best Place,” a Montana anthology. In 1998 Cushman received the H.G. Merriam Award for Distinguished Contributions to Montana Literature, joining such notables as Richard Hugo, A.B. Guthrie Jr. and Norman Maclean. Cushman was first paid for his writing when he received $5 a week for reporting news for a newspaper in Big Sandy, Mont. “It was in Big Sandy where I learned all the trouble you can cause by printing all the news of a small town,” Cushman said. He wrote books set in the South Pacific, the Congo and the Yukon, and drew on his colorful life for much of his fiction. Cushman worked as a cowboy, printer, prospector, geologist’s assistant, advertising writer and radio announcer.
• 2015 ~ Frankie Ford, rock and roll and rhythm and blues singer whose 1959 hit Sea Cruise brought him international fame, died at the age of 76.
• 1928 ~ Glen Gray’s orchestra recorded Under a Blanket of Blue, with Kenny Sargeant on vocals.
• 1930 ~ Tommy Collins (Leonard Sipes), Singer, songwriter
• 1938 ~ Ben E. King (Benjamin Earl Nelson), Singer, songwriter
• 1946 ~ Helen Shapiro, Singer, actress
• 1968 ~ The Beatles rode the nearly seven-minute-long Hey Jude to the top of the charts for a nine week-run starting this day. Talk about your microgroove recording! Copies of this Apple release were shipped by the dozen to radio stations because the platters wore out after just a few plays.
• 1984 ~ Saluting his 34 years in television, Bob “If There’s an Honor I’ll Be There” Hope showed outtakes of his years in television on (where else?) NBC. When he began in television’s infancy, back in 1950, Hope said he got into the new medium “…because the contract was so delicious, I couldn’t turn it down.”
• 1924 ~ Bud Powell, American jazz pianist and composer
• 1930 ~ Igor Kipnis, American harpsichordist 1933 ~ NBC radio debuted Waltz Time, featuring the orchestra of Abe Lymon. The program continued on the network until 1948.
• 1938 ~ Clarinet virtuoso Artie Shaw recorded the song that would become his theme song. Nightmare was waxed on the Bluebird Jazz label. 1938 ~ Thanks for the Memory was heard for the first time on The Bob Hope Show on the NBC Red radio network. Who was the bandleader? If you said Les Brown, you’d be … wrong. It was Skinnay Ennis accompanying Hope at the time.
• 1941 ~ Don Nix, Baritone sax with The Mar-Keys, Booker T and the M.G.’s, composer
• 1942 ~ Just after leaving CBS radio, Glenn Miller led his civilian band for the last time at the Central Theatre in beautiful Passaic, NJ. Miller had volunteered for wartime duty.
• 1943 ~ Randy Bachman, Guitarist, singer with Bachman-Turner Overdrive
• 1945 ~ Misha Dichter, American pianist, married to Cipa Dichter
• 1951 ~ Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday), Singer, actor
• 1953 ~ Greg Ham, Saxophone, flute, keyboards with Men at Work
• 1954 ~ The Tonight show debuted on NBC-TV. Steve Allen hosted the late-night program which began as a local New York show on WNBT-TV in June 1953. Tonight became a launching pad for Steve and hundreds of guests, including Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Skitch Henderson and orchestra provided the music. Ernie Kovacs was the host from 1956 until 1957.
• 1962 ~ Detroit secretary Martha Reeves cut a side with a group called The Vandellas and the result was I’ll Have to Let Him Go. Soon thereafter, the hits of Martha and The Vandellas just kept on comin’.
• 1962 ~ After a concert that featured folk music at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times gave a glowing review in a story about “Bob Dylan: A Distinctive Folk Song Stylist.”
• 1970 ~ “Round and round and round it goes and where it stops, nobody knows.” Ted Mack said, “Good night from Geritol” for the last time. After 22 years on television, the curtain closed on The Original Amateur Hour on CBS. The show had been on ABC, NBC, CBS and originated on the Dumont Television Network.
George Gershwin lived between September 26, 1898 and July 11, 1937. He is considered to be a twentieth century composer.
If you hate homework but like roller skating, you have something in common with American composer George Gershwin. Born in Brooklyn, New Yord to Russian immigrant parents, George loved to play street hockey, ‘cat’, and punch ball. He didn’t even have an interest in music until his family got him a piano when he was twelve. Nine years later he had his first hit, “Swanee”, with lyrics written by Irving Caesar. No one else in the Gershwin family was musical, but George was fascinated by music. When he heard a schoolmate play the violin, George struck up a friendship with the boym who introduced him to the world of concert music.
Gershwin’s American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue (featured in Disney’s newly released Fantasia 2000) proved that jazz was powerful enough to combine will with symphonic music. Gershwin was only 26 years old at the time when he composed Rhapsody in Blue. No matter how you hear it, “Rhapsody in Blue” will remain the signature of one of the most influential of composers, songwriters and pianists in American music history.
His play Porgy and Bess has been produced as both a film and an opera.
• 1957 ~ West Side Story opened in New York. The musical ran for 734 performances. The loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet produced several hit songs, including Maria and Tonight. Leonard Bernstein was the composer.
• 1962 ~ Tracey Thorn, Singer
• 1962 ~ “Come and listen to the story ’bout a man named Jed…” The Beverly Hillbillies aired on CBS-TV. U.S. audiences were enchanted with Jed, Ellie Mae, Granny, Jethro, Miss Jane and that banker feller. Enchanted, as in a trance, in fact, for 216 shows. Bluegrass stars Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs had the honor of composing and recording the theme song and hit record, The Ballad of Jed Clampett.
• 1969 ~ The Beatles walked the road toward a hit LP for the last time, as Abbey Road was released in London. The 13th and last album for the ‘fab four’ zoomed quickly to the #1 spot on the charts and stayed there for 11 weeks. 1984 ~ History was made at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Neil Shicoff, lead tenor in the The Tales of Hoffmann, was unable to perform due to illness. His understudy, a chap named William Lewis, was a bit under the weather as well, and his voice began to falter during the performance. So, Kenneth Riegel was called in to sing the part from the orchestra pit while Mr. Lewis lip-synced the part on stage.
• 2003 ~ Yi Sung-chun, one of the most outstanding musicians of contemporary Korean classics, died at the age of 67. Born in what is now North Korea, Yi moved south during the 1950-53 Korean War and became a pioneer of Korean classics, called Gukak, or national music. Yi first entered a medical college but switched to study Korean classics two years later at the Seoul National University. He earned his doctorate and served his alma mater as a professor for 30 years. Students called him “a real model of Seonbi,” or the disciplined and well-mannered intellectual class of the old royal Korean Joseon Dynasty. Yi produced about 300 pieces of music, and helped reshape the “gayageum,” a traditional Korean instrument with nine strings, into the one with 21 strings to broaden its tones. His name was put on record in 2001 along with 30 other Korean musicians in the New Grove Dictionary of Music, an encyclopedia named after British musician Sir George Grove that lists 3,000 important music figures worldwide.
• 1932 ~ Glenn (Herbert) Gould, Canadian pianist, composer, wrote piano essay about Petula Clark
Read quotes by and about Gould
Read news items about Gould
• 1933 ~ Erik Darling, Folk singer with The Weavers and also The Tarriers
• 1934 ~ Hot Lips was recorded by Henry Busse and his orchestra in Chicago, IL.
• 1943 ~ Gary Alexander, Guitar, singer with The Association
• 1945 ~ Onnie McIntyre, Guitar with Average White Band
• 1950 ~ NBC~TV introduced a new concept in daytime programming. Kate Smith debuted an hourlong show. Her theme song for the show was When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain. Kate’s daytime show ran for four years. God Bless America.
• 1953 ~ John Locke, Keyboards with Spirit
• 1953 ~ Following in the footlights of musical greats like Ignace Jan Paderewski and Victor Borge, a piano player named Liberace made his debut at Carnegie Hall. Liberace performed before a sellout audience. His candelabra and concert grand piano were instant trademarks that lasted throughout his career.
• 1955 ~ Steve Severin (Bailey), Bass with Siouxsie & The Banshees
• 1979 ~ The third musical resulting from the collaboration of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber lit up the Great White Way. Evita opened on Broadway to rave reviews.
• 2002 ~ Bob Radonich, who for 47 years owned a local landmark cafe shaped like a coffee pot, died after suffering a series of strokes. He was 83. His cafe, Bob’s Java Jive, evokes a largely forgotten era of architecture. The street where it sits once featured toy factories shaped like castles, a gas station resembling a colossal neon gas pump and a yellow, lemon-shaped restaurant called the Lemon Lunch. Those other buildings vanished, but the Java Jive survived. Java Jive was originally known as the Coffee Pot Restaurant, built in 1927 by local veterinarian Otis G. Button and designed by an artist, inventor and promoter named Bert Smyser. Radonich bought the cafe in 1955. His wife Lylabell renamed the business for an Ink Spots’ song whose lyrics included I love coffee, I love tea, I love java jive, it loves me. The Java Jive, which was used for a scene in the 1990 movie “I Love You to Death,” was renowned for a pair of chimpanzees, Java and Jive, who played drums while Bobby Floyd, who was Bob and Lylabell’s son, entertained on the organ. Radonich’s daughter now owns and runs Bob’s Java Jive.
None of the companies that have collected royalties on the “Happy Birthday” song for the past 80 years held a valid copyright claim to one of the most popular songs in history, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled on Tuesday.
In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, the judge ruled that Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the use of the “Happy Birthday To You” song. Warner had been enforcing a copyright since 1988, when it bought Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which claimed the original disputed copyright.
Judge George H. King ruled that a copyright filed by the Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific piano arrangements of the music, not the actual song.