December 27, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

today
• 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 theater 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.

• 1931 ~ Walter Norris, Pianist, composer

• 1932 ~ Radio City Music Hall, in New York City, opened. It was the largest indoor theater in the world. The gala grand opening show was a six-hour extravaganza that lost half a million dollars within three weeks. The theater 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.<

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