Read the whole report here
Read the whole report here
“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world; its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scout youth movement, in many countries, uses it as a close to jamborees and other functions.
The song’s Scots title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”, “days gone by” or “old times”. Consequently “For auld lang syne”, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as “for (the sake of) old times”.
Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours’ hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.
It is one of the many folk songs from the great Lowland Scots tradition collected and fashioned by the pen of one of the world’s greatest songwriters. Burns devoted the last years of his life to the song tradition, and often a mere fragment from some old ballad was transformed by his alchemy into a memorable love song or Scots poem. With Auld Lang Syne, though, the brilliance was already there; this is the Bard’s first mention of it in a letter to Mrs Dunlop in 1788:
“… Light be the turf on the breast of the heaven inspired Poet who composed this glorious fragment.”
One of the most interesting facts is that the Auld Lang Syne tune which is sung from Times Square to Tokyo, and has conquered the world, is not the one Robert Burns put the original words to. The older tune though is still sung by traditional singers. It has a more douce, gentle, nostalgic feel to it than the popular tune a mood evoked by the subtle use of the traditional air sung by Mairi Campbell in the first Sex and the City movie. However, whichever tune it is sung to, and wherever in the world it is sung, Auld Lang Syne retains the great emotional resonance of the original traditional song of the Scottish people of those days in the distant past. Lets leave the last word to Burns himself:
“… is not the Scots phrase, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, exceedingly expressive – there is an old song and tune which has often thrilled thro’ my soul”.
Fancy singing along yourself? Here are the verses of the words to Auld Lang Syne:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.
And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago
And surely youll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.
We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.
We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.
And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.
Here is an old kinescope from over 50 years ago!! For 100 years, the slow drop of a lighted glass ball on New Year’s Eve from atop One Times Square in New York City has become an American tradition. A huge crowd gathers every year to welcome in the New Year.
Beginning in 1956, Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians entertained the US on New Year’s Eve with a combination of music and the live “ball drop” at Midnight. Guy continued this tradition until his death in 1977. His band still played on at CBS Television on New Years for an additional 2 years. (Dick Clark’s Rockin New Years Eve began in 1972 on ABC and still broadcasts annually.) This broadcast began right after the 15-minute news and ran for an hour. Guy plays the music and newsman Robert Trout announces the beginning of the New Year.
If you look closely, you’ll see acerbic television personality Henry Morgan in the crowd. TV was very primitive 50 years ago. Harsh lighting, a cheap office clock and a World War II searchlight scans the crowd below.
I hope you’ll enjoy ringing in the New Year – 1958! Recorded: December 31, 1957
Auld Lang Syne played on bagpipes (as it should be)
This is from the 2015 Edinburgh Tattoo which we attended:
• 1894 ~ Ernest John Moeran, English composer who had strong associations with Ireland.
• 1904 ~ Nathan Milstein, Russian-born American violinist and composer
• 1922 ~ Rex Allen, ‘The Arizona Cowboy’, entertainer, rodeo star, singer, songwriter who published over 300 songs
• 1923 ~ Singer Eddie Cantor opened in the lead role of Kid Boots. Broadway critics called the production, “A smash musical hit!” Eddie made several of the songs from that show into smash hits also, like Alabamy Bound and If You Knew Susie. Three years later, If You Knew Susie became the title song for a movie starring Cantor.
• 1928 ~ Ross Barbour, Singer with The Four Freshmen
• 1929 ~ Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played Auld Lang Syne as a New Year’s Eve song for the first time. Auld Lang Syne had been the band’s theme song long before 1929. However, this night was the start of a New Year’s Eve tradition as Lombardo’s famed orchestra played at the Hotel Roosevelt Grill in New York City to usher in the new year. Where did it Auld begin? Scottish poet Robert Burns said he heard an old man singing the words, and wrote them down; but Burns is considered the original author. The literal translation means “old long since”; less literal means “days gone by”. Auld Lang Syne and Happy New Year!
• 1930 ~ Odetta (Holmes Felious Gordon), American folk-blues singer, guitarist, songwriter and actress
• 1940 ~ As a result of a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP (the American Society of Composers and Publishers), the radio industry was prevented from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten months. An ASCAP competitor, BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) made giant strides, expanding to include 36,000 copyrights. Many radio stations had to resort to playing public domain songs, such as marches and operas, to keep their stations on the air. Even kids songs were played over and over again until the ban was lifted. One of the most popular songs to be played was Happy Birthday to You, which was performed in many different languages just to get past the ban. The original song is now, in fact, a copyrighted piece of music, though it wasn’t at the time.
• 1942 ~ Andy Summers (Somers), Guitarist, singer with The Police
• 1943 ~ John Denver (Deutschendorf), American singer and songwriter of popular music
• 1943 ~ Pete Quaife, Bass with The Kinks
• 1946 ~ Patti Smith, Songwriter, singer, playwright
• 1947 ~ Burton Cummings, Jr., Singer with The Guess Who
• 1948 ~ Donna Summer (LaDonna Gaines), Grammy Award-winning singer
• 1951 ~ Tom Hamilton, Bass with Aerosmith
• 1960 ~ After playing California nightclubs as The Pendletones, Kenny and the Cadets, and Carl and the Passions, a new group emerged this day: The Beach Boys. The group’s first national hit, Surfin’ Safari, was soon to be. They recorded for local (Los Angeles) Colpix Records and at the height of their popularity, Capitol Records. The Beach Boys also recorded under the Reprise Records banner. The revitalized group still tours and Capitol continues to reissue various greatest hits packages. The Beach Boys were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
• 1972 ~ Joe McIntyre, Singer with New Kids on the Block
• 1975 ~ Elvis Presley performed before 60,000 fans at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI. He earned $800,000 for the concert, a world record for a single concert by a single artist.
• 1985 ~ Over 54,500 people played kazoos in downtown Rochester, New York. The assembled multitude played A Bicycle Built for Two. Any idea why? Well, they felt it was appropriate for the last day of the year and it got the crowd listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for ‘Most Kazoo-ers’.
• 2000 ~ Tanaquil Le Clercq, the ballerina who dazzled the world in the 1940s and ’50s before her career was cut short by paralytic polio, died of pneumonia at the age of 71. Le Clercq contracted the disease, which left her paralyzed below the waist, in 1956. At the time, she was the fourth wife of George Balanchine and had attracted an adoring public because of her long-legged elegance. She later became a teacher at Dance Theater of Harlem, wrote two books and regularly attended dance performances. The New York City Ballet, of which Le Clercq was a charter member, paid tribute to her in 1988, when it opened its 50th-anniversary season. She acknowledged a thunderous New York State Theater ovation from her wheelchair. Le Clercq was blessed with an elongated physique that she used with refinement or humor. She epitomized the modernized look in classical dancing, which enthralled Balanchine, who once cast her as a dragonfly. As the first City Ballet ballerina trained since childhood by Balanchine, she was naturally identified with the roles he created for her in his major works, such as the ballets “Symphonie Concertante,” “Symphony in C” and “La Valse,” in which her doomed heroine danced herself to death. She was equally unforgettable in the ballets of Jerome Robbins and as the white-faced allegorical figure of Sacred Love in “Illuminations” in 1950.
• 2000 ~ José Greco, the famed flamenco dancer and choreographer who founded the José Greco Spanish Dance Company,of heart failure at the age of 82. Born in Montorio nei Frentani, Italy, of Spanish-Italian parents, he moved to Seville, Spain, at the age of 3, then was raised in Brooklyn from the age of 10. He began his career in 1937 and became known as the greatest Spanish dancer in the world. In 1941, the already famous Argentine-born dancer La Argentinita (known off the stage as Encarnacion Lopez) was preparing for an American tour when she saw Greco dance and asked him to perform as her partner and the featured male performer in her company until she died in 1945. After that, Greco danced with her sister Pilar Lopez. In 1951, Greco shared with Carol Channing the title of “New Broadway Personality of the Year.” The José Greco Dance Company, which helped integrate flamenco with mainstream ballet, toured extensively in North America, and six times worldwide, over the following two decades. In 1962, he Greco was knighted by the Spanish government. In 1971, Greco formed the Foundation for Hispanic Dance. His autobiography, “Gypsy in My Soul: The Autobiography of Jose Greco,” was published in 1977.
• 2000 ~ Eddy Shaver, a guitarist who performed with his father Billy Joe Shaver and Dwight Yoakam, died at the age of 38. Eddy Shaver grew up around music because of his father, a celebrated songwriter whose songs include I’m Just an Old Chuck of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday) and Georgia on a Fast Train. Dickie Betts of The Allman Brothers Band helped teach Eddy Shaver to play and gave him his two favorite guitars, one formerly owned by the late guitarist Duane Allman. Eddy Shaver began playing guitar with his father at 13, and gradually became Billy Joe Shaver’s musical partner and sometime co-writer. Billy Joe Shaver merged from country to a more rock-influenced sound because of his son. Albums by the band Shaver include “Tramp on Your Street,” the live “Shaver: Unshaven,” and “Electric Shaver.” A new album, “The Earth Rolls On,” was released on March 20, 2001.
• 2001 ~ Marie Hartford, a well-known businesswoman on Music Row and widow of the late songwriter and performer John Hartford, died of lung cancer. She was 67. Marie Hartford worked at Glaser Publishing, booking the studios at the Glaser Brothers’ Music Row operation, where country music’s Outlaw movement was bred. John Hartford, who wrote the standardGentle on My Mind, died June 4 after a decade-long battle with cancer. The song was recorded more than 300 times, most prominently by Glen Campbell in 1967 but also by Dean Martin, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin.
• 2003 ~ Renata Babak, an internationally known mezzo-soprano with the Bolshoi Opera who defected from the Soviet Union in 1973, died of pancreatic cancer. She was 69. Babak gave recitals until last year, singing in a sweet but powerful and well-controlled voice described by critics as among the best in the world. Her last opera was in 1997, when she performed in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with Opera Camerata of Washington. Babak was an international star with 10 years’ experience at the Bolshoi when she defected while the opera company was playing at La Scala in Milan, slipping out of a hotel lobby wearing a wig and dark glasses. She immigrated to Canada and went into hiding for two years. Babak’s U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall in 1975 was met with enthusiastic reviews. She moved to New York and then to Washington in the hopes of working with George London, then general director of the Washington Opera. Babak joined the faculty of the Washington Conservatory of Music when London was disabled by a stroke.
• 1756 ~ Pavel Vranicky, Moravian classical composer
• 1853 ~ Andre-Charles-Prosper Messager, French composer, organist, pianist, conductor and administrator.
• 1859 ~ Josef Bohuslav Foerster, Czech composer of classical music
1904 ~ Dmitri Kabalevsky, Russian composer, pianist and conductor
More information about Kabalevsky
• 1910 ~ Paul Frederic Bowles, American composer and novelist
• 1914 ~ Bert Parks (Jacobson), Radio/TV host of Miss America Pageant, Break the Bank, Stop the Music
• 1919 ~ Sir David Willcocks, British organist, conductor and educator
• 1928 ~ Bo Diddley (Otha Ellas Bates McDaniel), Singer
• 1931 ~ Skeeter Davis (Mary Frances Penick), Singer
• 1936 ~ The famous feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen was ignited. After a 10- year-old performer finished a violin solo on The Fred Allen Show, Mr. Allen said, “A certain alleged violinist should hide his head in shame for his poor fiddle playing.” It didn’t take long for Mr. Benny to respond. The humorous feud lasted for years on both comedian’s radio shows.
• 1937 ~ John Hartford, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, banjo, fiddle, guitar on Glen Campbell’s Good Time Comedy Hour
• 1939 ~ Del Shannon (Charles Westover), Singer, songwriter, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
• 1942 ~ Michael Nesmith, Guitarist with The Monkees, formed The First National Band, movie producer of the first Grammy-winning video
• 1945 ~ Davy Jones (David Thomas Jones), Singer with The Monkees, actor
• 1947 ~ Jeff Lynne, Singer, guitar with The Electric Light Orchestra, songwriter
• 1948 ~ Alfred Drake and Patricia Morrison starred in Kiss Me Kate which opened at the New Century Theatre in New York City. Cole Porter composed the music for the classic play that was adapted from Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. The show ran for 1,077 performances on the Great White Way.
• 1942 ~ Frank Sinatra opened at New York’s Paramount Theatre for what was scheduled to be a 4-week engagement (his shows turned out to be so popular that he was booked for an additional 4 weeks). An estimated 400 policemen were called out to help curb the excitement. It is said that some of the teenage girls were hired to scream, but many more screamed for free. Sinatra was dubbed ‘The Sultan of Swoon’, ‘The Voice that Thrills Millions’, and just ‘The Voice’. Whatever he was, it was at this Paramount Theatre engagement that modern pop hysteria was born.
• 1954 ~ Pearl Bailey opened on Broadway in the play, House of Flowers, about two madams with rival bordellos. Diahann Carroll was also cast in the play, written by Truman Capote. Harold Arlen provided the musical score.
• 1970 ~ Paul McCartney sued the other three Beatles to dissolve the partnership and gain control of his interest. The suit touched off a bitter feud between McCartney and the others, especially his cowriter on many of the Beatles compositions, John Lennon. The partnership officially came to end in 1974.
• 1976 ~ The Smothers Brothers, Tom and Dick, played their last show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business. Each continued as a solo artist. They reunited years later for another stab at TV (on NBC) plus concert appearances that proved very successful.
• 2000 ~ Bohdan Warchal, a violinist and conductor who was one of Slovakia’s most popular musicians, of an unspecified illness at the age of 70. A violinist in the Slovak Philharmonic, Warchal, who died on Saturday, won acclaim as the founder and conductor of the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, which has given concerts all over the world ever since it was established in 1960. Warchal was awarded a medal by President Rudolf Schuster for his life-time work last year.
• 2003 ~ Hong Kong’s Canto-pop diva and actress Anita Mui died. She was 40 years old. Mui began her career after winning a singing contest in Hong Kong in 1982. She rose to stardom with her song Homecoming in 1984. Canto-pop refers to hits sung in Cantonese, the dialect of Chinese that is widely spoken in Hong Kong and in many overseas Chinese communities. Mui also turned to acting and won Taiwan’s Golden Horse film award for best actress in 1987 for her role as a tormented ghost in the movie “Rouge.”
You’ve all heard it before. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
We took the easier route with the tour December 1, 2014. Unfortunately, I wasn’t posting much in my travel blog yet so I don’t remember everything that happened. I do highly recommend the tour if you’re in New York City.
If you want to go, other than practicing, Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.
The tour was very inexpensive, maybe $10 each. We were taken by elevator up to the Main Hall (Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage) first. The stories that were told were fascinating! I don’t remember most but I remember the guide telling us that after renovations audience members complained of a buzzing sound. The floor had to be removed…
SOURCE OF CARNEGIE HALL COMPLAINTS DISCOVERED: CONCRETE UNDER STAGE
MARY CAMPBELL , Associated Press
Sep. 13, 1995 11:53 PM ET
NEW YORK (AP) _ For nine years, the people who run Carnegie Hall insisted there was nothing wrong with the acoustics at the famed concert hall.
Wednesday, they sang a different tune
This summer, a layer of concrete, apparently left over from a major renovation job in 1986, was discovered under the stage. The concrete was ripped out and a new floor was installed that administrators say should improve acoustics.
Since the renovation, musicians and critics have complained about the acoustics, saying the sound the hall was world famous for wasn’t the same, that the bass had become washed out and the higher instruments harsh.
Executive Director Judith Arron said Wednesday she had been assured there was no concrete under the stage since arriving at the hall in 1986.
But the tongue-in-groove maple stage floor, which usually lasts 20 years, had warped so badly after just nine years, it was difficult to push a piano across it.
The hall closed for repairs after three Frank Sinatra tribute concerts the last week in July. “As we tore the whole floor up,” Arron said, “we learned we had a lot more hard substance than we had anticipated.”
She speculated the concrete was added to reinforce the stage while scaffolding was on it during the 1986 renovation and then simply left there in workers’ haste to finish.
The concrete had been placed under two layers of plywood, on which the maple stage floor rests.
“Concrete retains moisture,” Arron said. “As the moisture collected in the concrete, it went into the plywood, which expands with moisture and pushed up the floor.”
Jim Nomikos, the hall’s director of operations, compared the removal of hundreds of pounds of concrete to “an archeological dig.”
Nomikos said the floor is now constructed the way it was from Carnegie Hall’s opening in 1891 until 1986.
“In my opinion we’re not reconstructing the floor. We just restored it,” he said. “I think what we have now is a floor that will have some resonance, as opposed to a floor that was dead.”
The project cost $180,000.
Aaron said there are no plans to sue anybody for the way the floor was laid in 1986. “We’ve been focused on doing the job right,” she said. “We think this is going to be great.”
The new floor will meet its first test Sept. 26, when the Philadelphia Orchestra plays. The hall’s official gala opening for its 105th season will be Oct. 5 by the Boston Symphony.
I remember the guide not being happy with us because I knew the answers to some of the questions she asked such as Tchaikovsky conducting at the opening. When she mentioned that Ignacy Jan Paderewski had made his debut there, Tom piped up that he had lived near Steinway Hall (and that Michael and I had just played there in the final concert in the old building). She gave us the evil eye and we stopped talking so much 🙂
There were many, many pictures on the walls of people who had performed there. All in all, a fantastic tour. Take it if you’re in NYC!
1891 Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall opened
Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall opened with a five-day music festival beginning on May 5.
Guest of honor Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducted his Marche Solennelle on Opening Night and his Piano Concerto No. 1 several days later.
William Tuthill’s design reflects Gilded Age architectural tastes and engineering. Since the Hall was built shortly before the advent of structural steel construction, its walls are made of fairly heavy brick and masonry, to carry the full load of the structure without the lighter support that a steel framework soon made possible. The Italian Renaissance design of the exterior reflects the eclectic architectural tastes of the period, which look to European models of earlier centuries for inspiration. Tuthill deliberately chose to keep the styling and decorative elements simple, elegant, and functional, focusing his energies on designing an excellent acoustic environment.
I came across this interesting 1947 movie about Carnegie Hall for my Music Studio Blog and I’m posting it here, as well.
Jascha Heifetz (violinist) Tchaikovsky – “Violin Concerto in D, First Movement” – New York Philharmonic, Fritz Reiner, conductor
Harry James (trumpeter)
Vaughn Monroe (band leader)
Jan Peerce (vocalist)
Gregor Piatigorsky (cellist)
Ezio Pinza (vocalist)
Lily Pons (vocalist)
Fritz Reiner (conductor)
Artur Rodzinski (conductor)
Arthur Rubinstein (pianist)
Rise Stevens (vocalist)
Leopold Stokowski (conductor)
Bruno Walter (conductor)
Walter Damrosch (conductor)
Olin Downes (music critic)
New York Philharmonic Quintette (John Corigliano Sr., William Lincer, Nadia Reisenberg, Leonard Rose, Michael Rosenker)
New York Philharmonic
A mother (Marsha Hunt) wants her son (William Prince) to grow up to be a pianist good enough to play at Carnegie Hall but, when grown, the son prefers to play with Vaughan Monroe’s orchestra. But Mama’s wishes prevail and the son appears at Carnegie Hall as the composer-conductor-pianist of a modern horn concerto, with Harry James as the soloist. Frank McHugh is along as a Carnegie Hall porter and doorman, and Martha O’Driscoll is a singer who provides the love interest for Prince. Meanwhile and between while a brigade of classical music names from the 1940’s (and earlier and later) appear; the conductors Walter Damrosch, Bruno Walter, Artur Rodzinski, Fritz Reiner and Leopold Stokowski; singers Rise Stevens, Lily Pons, Jan Peerce and Ezio Pinza, plus pianist Arthur Rubinstein, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and violinist Jascha Heifetz.
• 1876 ~ Pablo Casals, Spanish cellist and conductor
More information about Casals
• 1912 ~ Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Australian composer and music critic
• 1922 ~ Rose Lee Maphis, Entertainer, half of the team: Mr. and Mrs. Country Music with husband Joe, Hee Haw regular
• 1942 ~ Ray Thomas, Flute, saxophone, harmonica, singer with The Moody Blues
• 1943 ~ San Fernando Valley was recorded by Bing Crosby. He chose the tune because he felt it would be a big hit. He was right. Within a week after its release, the song became a popular favorite everywhere, including the San Fernando Valley in California.
• 1945 ~ Sheb Wooley recorded the first commercial record made in Nashville, TN. The song was recorded on the Bullet label; but it was 13 years before Wooley would finally score with a big hit (The Purple People Eater was #1 for six weeks in June and July, 1958). Wooley (whose first name is Shelby) played the part of Pete Nolan on TV’s Rawhide, recorded novelty tunes under the name, Ben Colder, and acted in High Noon, Rocky Mountain, Giant and Hoosiers.The Country Music Association honored him with the title of Comedian of the Year in 1968. If you remember the TV show Hee Haw, with Buck Owens and Roy Clark, it was Sheb Wooley who wrote the theme song.
• 1951 ~ Yvonne Elliman, Actress, singer joined Eric Clapton in his 1974 comeback tour
• 1957 ~ Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married. They became popular singers on the The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, and as Las Vegas showroom regulars and recording artists. They are still together in one of Hollywood’s most enduring marriages.
• 1961 ~ Mark Day, Guitarist with Happy Mondays
• 1963 ~ Much to the chagrin of the disc jockeys at 50,000-watt WABC in New York, the 5,000-watt blowtorch known as WMCA and its famed ‘Good Guys’ became the first New York radio station to play The Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand. It didn’t take long for WABC to get revenge. It started calling itself the ‘official’ Beatles station (W-A-Beatle-C).
• 1967 ~ Orchestra leader Paul Whiteman passed away at the age of 76. Known as the King of Jazz, Whiteman had 28 #1 hits between 1920 and 1934 including Three O’Clock in the Morning, My Blue Heaven, All of Me and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.
• 1980 ~ American singer, songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose. Hardin wrote the songs ‘If I Were A Carpenter’ (covered by Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash and June Carter, The Four Tops, Leon Russell, Small Faces, Robert Plant and Bob Seger,) and ‘Reason To Believe’, (covered by Rod Stewart). Hardin appeared at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
• 2001 ~ Cassia Eller, one of the most irreverent singers of Brazilian rock music, died at the age of 39. Eller’s fame peaked in 2001 with the sale of about 250,000 copies of her “MTV Unplugged” album and a performance in January’s Rock in Rio festival in front of hundreds of thousands of fans, singing along with one of her hits, I just ask God for a little indecency.
• 2001 ~ Jazz pianist Ralph Sutton, a leading practitioner of the stride piano, died at the age of 79. Born in St. Charles, Mo., in 1922, Sutton made his professional debut at age 11 with his father’s band. He later signed on with trombone great Jack Teagarden, and played at several clubs along New York’s famed 52nd Street. To create his eclectic style, Sutton drew from the jazz piano, from ragtime and the blues to stride, in the style made famous by James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith, and Fats Waller. Critics hailed Sutton as one of the best contemporary jazz pianists with a mastery of his instrument. He was a founding member of the 1968 World’s Greatest Jazz Band, which performed at Elitch Gardens in Denver.
• 2003 ~ Manny Dworman, who owned a Greenwich Village nightspot where comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano and Jon Stewart performed, died. He was 73. Dworman, a musician who played the oud, guitar and mandolin, owned the Comedy Cellar and the Olive Tree Cafe upstairs. The club was previously the site of Cafe Feenjon, a Middle Eastern nightclub that originally opened as a coffeehouse in 1960. Dworman performed at Cafe Feenjon with his band, the Feenjon Group, which recorded five albums, performed at Carnegie Hall and inspired the radio show “Music From Around the World.” Comedy Cellar, which opened in 1980, also hosted performances by Chris Rock and Colin Quinn. Discussions at the club inspired the Comedy Central show “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.” Dworman was featured in the 2002 documentary “Comedian” by Jerry Seinfeld.
• 2004 ~ Jerry Orbach, American singer and actor for the musical theater and longtime star of the “Law & Order” television series, died at 69. Orbach, a lanky actor with a deep voice and a slicked mop of black hair, first made his name on Broadway, winning a Tony for “Promises, Promises.” He was also in the original cast of “Chicago” and “42nd Street.”
• 1812 ~ Julius Rietz, German composer, conductor and cellist
• 1896 ~ Roger Sessions, American composer
• 1911 ~ San Francisco established its own symphony orchestra as part of its comeback from a disastrous earthquake.
• 1921 ~ Johnny Otis (Veliotes), ‘Inventor of R&B’, composer, song writer, drummer vibes with The Johnny Otis Show
• 1930 ~ Edmund Thigpen, Jazz Drummer
• 1932 ~ Dorsey Burnette, Singer, brother of singer Johnny Burnette
• 1938 ~ Charles Neville, Saxophone, flute, percussion with The Neville Brothers
• 1943 ~ Bobby Comstock, Singer
• 1944 ~ The musical, On the Town, opened in New York City for a run of 462 performances. It was Leonard Bernstein’s first big Broadway success. The show’s hit song, New York, New York, continues to be successful.
• 1946 ~ Edgar Winter, American rock vocalist, saxophonist, guitarist and keyboardist
• 1946 ~ Carrie Jacobs Bond passed away. She was an American singer, pianist, and songwriter who composed some 175 pieces of popular music from the 1890s through the early 1940s
• 1947 ~ Dick Diamonde (Dingeman Van Der Sluys), Bass with The Easybeats
• 1950 ~ Alex Chilton, Guitarist, singer
• 1953 ~ Richard Clayderman, Pianist
• 1953 ~ Joe Diffie, Country Singer
• 1957 ~ At The Hop, by Danny and The Juniors, hit #1 on the music charts. It stayed at the top spot for seven weeks. The title of the tune was originally Do the Bop, but was changed at the suggestion of ‘America’s Oldest Living Teenager’ Dick Clark. Trivia: Danny and The Juniors filled in for a group that failed to appear on Clark’s American Bandstand show in Philadelphia. He called The Juniors to come into the studio immediately. They did and lip-synced At The Hop (written by Junior, Dave White and a friend, John Medora). It took off like a rocket to number one. (A few years later, Danny and The Juniors handed stardom to Chubby Checker when they failed to appear on Clark’s show.)
• 1964 ~ Principal filming of the movie classic, Dr. Zhivago, began on location near Madrid, Spain. When completed, the film was 197 minutes long and so spectacular that it received ten Oscar nominations, winning five of the Academy Awards, including Best Original Score. Lara’s Theme was first heard in this movie.
• 1981 ~ WEA Records (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) raised the price of its 45 rpm records from $1.68 to $1.98 this day. The company was the leader of the pack with other labels soon boosting their prices. Within a few years, the 45 rpm record was boosted right out of existence.
• 2001 ~ Frankie Gaye, whose combat experience during the Vietnam War was credited with influencing his older brother Marvin’s legendary Motown album “What’s Going On,” died of complications following a heart attack. He was 60. Gaye was a radio operator stationed in Vietnam in the 1960s when he wrote letters to his brother expressing his dissatisfaction with the war. His experiences influenced several songs on his brother’s 1971 album, including Save The Children, Inner City Blues and Mercy Mercy Me, according to Ralph Tee in the book “Soul Music Who’s Who.” Gaye, like his brother, had begun singing in church as a youngster. He went on to work with several Motown artists, including Mary Wells and Kim Weston and provided background vocals on many of his brother’s albums, including “What’s Going On” and 1977’s “Marvin Gaye, Live at the London Palladium.” On his own, Gaye composed the soundtrack to the 1972 film “Penitentiary 1” and toured extensively, both in the United States and England. He also released the singles Extraordinary Girl in 1989 and My Brother in 1990.
• 1879 ~ “Bunk” Johnson, American jazz trumpeter
• 1901 ~ Marlene Dietrich, German singer and actress
• 1903 ~ The barbershop quartet favorite, Sweet Adeline, was sung for the first time, in New York City. The song was composed by Henry Armstrong with the words of Richard Gerard. The title of the song came from a theatre marquee that promoted the great operatic soprano, Adelina Patti. Now female barbershop quartets call themselves Sweet Adelines.
• 1906 ~ Oscar Levant, American pianist, composer, writer and radio personality
• 1911 ~ Anna Russell, Operatic parodies
• 1927 ~ The Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) musical, Show Boat, opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. Its star, Helen Morgan, received excellent reviews from critics of the show; a musical about riverboat show people and their romances and disappointments.
• 1932 ~ Radio City Music Hall, in New York City, opened. It was the largest indoor theatre in the world. The gala grand opening show was a six-hour extravaganza that lost half a million dollars within three weeks. The theatre has since been renovated to recapture its original decorative charm. An Art Deco cathedral of entertainment, it seats more than 6,200 people and is still a must-see for those visiting New York. During the holiday season, audiences continue to get a kick out of seeing the world- famous Rockettes perform in precision on Radio City Music Hall’s nearly 10,000-square-foot stage which is a combination movie palace and live theater. It remains a showcase for many exciting musical events. It has a seating capacity of 6,200 seats.
• 1939 ~ The Glenn Miller Show, also known as Music that Satisfies, started on CBS radio. The 15-minute, twice-a-week show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes and was heard for nearly three years.
• 1940 ~ Singer Al Jolson and actress Ruby Keeler were divorced after 12 years of marriage. They had separated a year earlier; but Jolson talked Keeler into co-starring with him in the Broadway show, Hold on to Your Hats. She left the show before the opening and then left the marriage.
• 1941 ~ Leslie Maguire, Pianist with Gerry and The Pacemakers
• 1944 ~ Mick Jones, Guitarist with Foreigner
• 1952 ~ David Knopfler, Guitarist, singer with Dire Straits
• 1953 ~ Elliot Easton (Shapiro), Guitarist with The Cars
• 1975 ~ The Staple Singers reached the top spot on the pop music charts for the second time in their career. This time with Let’s Do It Again. The song, the theme from the movie soundtrack of the same name, was the last hit the group would have. I’ll Take You There was The Staple Singers’ first number one hit (June 3, 1972).
• 1980 ~ The John Lennon hit, (Just Like) Starting Over, began a five-week stay at #1 on the pop charts. The hit was from the album, Double Fantasy. Lennon was murdered on December 8th of that year, as the single and LP had started their climb up the charts.
• 2003 ~ Vestal Goodman, a pioneering gospel music singer who performed for half a century, including a stint on “The PTL Club” with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, died. She was 74. Goodman and her late husband Howard “Happy” Goodman were part of The Happy Goodman Family act, which recorded 15 No. 1 gospel music songs and performed more than 3,500 concerts. In the mid-1980s, the couple were regulars on “The PTL Club” television show starring the Bakkers. They left in 1988 after three years on the show, and were not linked to financial improprieties as others on the show were. The Happy Goodman Family was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998. They were original members of “The Gospel Singing Jubilee” syndicated TV program that was a pioneer in gospel music broadcasting, appearing on more than 100 U.S. stations. The Goodmans sang at the White House in 1979 for President Carter.
• 2003 ~ Bobbie Nell Brookshire Gordon, a singer who toured in the 1970s with jazz great Duke Ellington, died. She was 64. Gordon, a Dayton native, was discovered in 1961 while singing at a bar in her hometown. She performed with pianist Betty Greenwood and had come to the attention of Ellington, the noted bandleader. Gordon toured from 1970 to 1974 with Ellington. A newly released digital video disc of a 1971 performance, “Live at Tivoli Gardens,” includes Gordon singing “Love You Madly” and “One More Time.” Gordon was featured as “Nell Brookshire” with Ellington on the cover of Jet magazine in September 1971.
• 2003 ~ Dick St. John, half of the Dick & Dee Dee duo, whose 1961 hit, The Mountain’s High, made No. 2 on the Billboard pop singles chart, died. He was 63. Dick & Dee Dee’s biggest hit was The Mountain’s High, but they also cracked the Top 25 pop singles chart in 1963 with Young and In Love and 1965’s Thou Shalt Not Steal. St. John, born Richard Gosting, began performing with his friend Mary Sperling in junior high. With St. John as the chief songwriter, the two soon attracted the attention of Liberty Records in Los Angeles. St. John and Sperling, who was renamed Dee Dee by the label, combined elements of doo- wop, soul and R&B in their sound. They toured with the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones. Dick & Dee Dee were semi-regulars on such musical shows as “American Bandstand.” St. John also wrote songs that were recorded by Lesley Gore, Jan and Dean, the Four Seasons and Quincy Jones, and he contributed music to many television shows.
Happy Boxing Day! Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their masters, employers or customers, in the United Kingdom,The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other former British colonies. Today, Boxing Day is a public holiday usually falling on 26 December.
1678 ~ Johann Georg Pisendel
• 1762 ~ Franz Wilhelm Tausch
• 1931 ~ George Gershwin’s musical, Of Thee I Sing, opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. The show became the first American musical to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
• 1935 ~ Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, Singer with The Four Tops
• 1939 ~ W.C. Handy of Memphis, TN one of the legendary blues composers of all time, recorded the classic St. Louis Blues. W.C. and his band recorded in New York for Varsity Records. Handy was one of the first to use the flat third and seventh notes in his compositions, known in the music world as ‘blue’ notes. The music awards for blues artists’ are called the W.C. Handy National Blues Awards.
• 1940 ~ Phil Spector, ‘Tycoon of Teen’, record company executive, originator of Wall of Sound, sang with The Teddy Bears, songwriter
• 1942 ~ Adriana Maliponte, Italian soprano
• 1952 ~ André-Michel Schub, French-born American pianist
• 1963 ~ Capitol Records rushed to release its first single by the Fab Four, otherwise known as The Beatles. I Want to Hold Your Hand, backed with I Saw Her Standing There, reached #1 on February 1, 1964. The flood of music by John, Paul, George and Ringo had started the British Invasion; changing contemporary music forever.
• 1964 ~ More Beatles news: The Fab Four got their sixth #1 hit song since February
• 1, as I Feel Fine became the top tune this day. The first five #1 hits by The Beatles were: I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me Love, Love Me Do and A Hard Day’s Night.
• 1967 ~ A sad day for jazz fans, as the Dave Brubeck Quartet formally disbanded after sax man Paul Desmond left the group. Desmond was a fixture with the quartet for 16 years and can be heard on all the immortal Brubeck standards, including Take Five.
• 1999 ~ Curtis Mayfield passed away
• 2001 ~ Edward Downes, a professor best known as host of the “Texaco Opera Quiz” heard during live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, died at the age of 90. Opera experts answered questions from listeners in the opera quiz, held during opera intermissions from 1958 to 1996. Known for his wit and mellow baritone voice, Downes put his panelists at ease and offered teasing hints to the answers when experts were stumped. Born in Boston, Downes began attending operas at a young age with his father, Olin Downes, who later became chief music critic at The New York Times. Edward Downes, who never completed an undergraduate degree, received a Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University at the age of 47. He later taught at Wellesley College, the Longy School of Music, the University of Minnesota and Queens College.
• 1912 ~ Tony Martin (Alvin Morris), Singer, actor, married to dancer Cyd Charisse
• 1915 ~ Pete Rugolo, Bandleader, arranger, scored TV’s The Fugitive
• 1931 ~ Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera was Hansel und Gretel by Humperdinck, heard on the NBC network of stations. In between acts of the opera, moderator Olin Downes would conduct an opera quiz, asking celebrity guests opera-related questions. The program’s host and announcer was Milton Cross. He worked out of the Met’s Box 44.
• 1932 ~ Little Richard, American rock-and-roll singer, pianist and songwriter
• 1937 ~ O’Kelly Isley, Singer with the Grammy Award-winning group, The Isley Brothers
• 1937 ~ Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of Symphony of the Air over NBC radio.
• 1939 ~ The Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, was read by Lionel Barrymore on The Campbell Playhouse on CBS radio. The reading of the tale became an annual radio event for years to come.
• 1945 ~ Noel Redding, Bass with Noel Redding Band and also The Jimi Hendrix Experience
• 1946 ~ Jimmy Buffett, Songwriter, singer
• 1948 ~ Barbara Mandrell, CMA Entertainer of the Year (1980, 1981), Female Vocalist of the Year in 1979
• 1954 ~ Robin Campbell, Guitar, singer with UB40
• 1954 ~ Annie Lennox, Singer with Eurythmics
• 1957 ~ Shane MacGowan, Songwriter, musician: guitar, singer with The Pogues