1782 ~ John Field, Composer
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• 1791 ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Franz Xavier Mozart, Mozart’s son. He didn’t give his first concert until he was 13 and never achieved his father’s fame
• 1874 ~ Serge Koussevitzky, Russian-born American conductor, double-bass player and music publisher, He was conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and founder of the Tanglewood Music Festival.
• 1882 ~ Richard Wagner’s opera “Parsifal” was first performed, at Bayreuth, western Germany.
• 1914 ~ Erskine Hawkins, ’20th Century Gabriel’ Trumpeter bandleader, composer of Tuxedo Junction (with Julian Dash and Bill Johnson)
• 1919 ~ Eva (Evita) Peron
• 1924 ~ Louie Bellson (Balassoni), Drummer with the Duke Ellington Band, drum solo on Skin Deep, composer, music director for wife Pearl Bailey, played with Dorsey Brothers and Count Basie bands
• 1929 ~ Alexis Weissenberg, Bulgarian-born French pianist
• 1939 ~ Sixteen-year-old singer Kay Starr got a big break. She recorded Baby Me with Glenn Miller and his orchestra on Victor Records. Starr was filling in for Marion Hutton who, at the last minute, was unable to attend the recording session.
• 1941 ~ Bobby Hebb, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, singer, Grand Ole Opryat age 12
• 1943 ~ Dobie Gray (Leonard Ainsworth), Singer, songwriter
• 1943 ~ Mick Jagger, British rock singer and songwriter. 41 hits [1964 to 1989], 5 gold records, 8 number one hit, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. In 2003 he was knighted for his services to popular music and in early 2009 he joined the electric supergroup SuperHeavy.
• 1945 ~ Rick White, Singer
• 1949 ~ Roger Taylor (Meadows-Taylor), Drummer with Queen
• 1992 ~ Mary Wells passed away
• 2001 ~ Cleveland Johnson, a crusader for equality through his Tampa Bay-area newspaper, the Weekly Challenger, died of lung cancer. He was 73. Johnson wrote over the years about the need for social change, warning of the devastating effects of drugs on the black community and preaching the virtues of black economic power. Johnson, whose first love was music, studied at the Juilliard School and the Boston Conservatory. He operated a jewelry and dress store in Miami before moving to St. Petersburg in the mid-1960s and taking a job at the new Weekly Challenger, where he discovered that he had a talent for selling advertising. When founder M.C. Fountain died, Johnson kept the paper. Starting in the 1980s, he urged blacks to spend their money in black-owned businesses.
• 2002 ~ Buddy Baker, musical director for nearly 200 Disney movies and TV shows including “The Mickey Mouse Club,” died. He was 84. The composer penned incidental music and special songs sung by for “The Mickey Mouse Club” child stars and was responsible for music in the 1981 cartoon feature “The Fox and the Hound.” He was nominated for an Academy Award for the score to the 1972 children’s drama “Napoleon and Samantha.” He also scored incidental music for the Disney theme park attractions “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln,” “It’s a Small World,” and “The Haunted Mansion.” Disney Studios hired him in 1954. He worked on arrangements for the TV show “Davy Crockett” and three “Winnie the Pooh” cartoons and composed original music for the 1975 film “The Apple Dumpling Gang” and 1976’s “The Shaggy D.A.”
• 2002 ~ Kenny Gardner, a tenor who sang with Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, died. He was 89. Gardner, the featured crooner, was remembered for such songs as Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think and Frankie and Johnny. The band, one of the most popular orchestras in American dance music, sold more than 100 million recordings and became known for its New Year’s Eve broadcasts of Auld Lang Syne. Gardner started singing for radio shows in Los Angeles. He joined the band after Elaine Lombardo heard him on the air in 1940. Gardner left the group to serve in the military, where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. He returned to perform with the band until his retirement in 1978.