December 29, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

today

• 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

• 1952 ~ Gelsey Kirkland, Dancer, ballerina, author of Dancing on My Grave: An Autobiography, Shape of Love

• 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.”

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