Martin Luther King, Jr Day.
. 1875 ~ First American performance of Johannes Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances”
. 1886 ~ Death of Italian opera composer Amilcare Ponchielli, in Milan
. 1891 ~ French Composer Leo Delibes died in Paris
. 1905 ~ Ernesto Halffter, Spanish composer and conductor
. 1908 ~ Ethel Merman (Zimmerman), American singer of popular music, Tony Award-winning actress (musical), Musical Theater Hall of Fame. She is most famous for Call Me Madam in 1951, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, There’s No Business Like Show Business and Alexander’s Ragtime Band
. 1929 ~ Marilyn Horne, American mezzo-soprano
. 1934 ~ Bob Bogle (Robert Lenard Bogle), Guitarist, bass with The Ventures
. 1938 ~ Béla Bartók and his wife, Ditta performed their first public concert featuring his Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion
. 1938 ~ Benny Goodman and his band, plus a quartet, brought the sound of jazz to Carnegie Hall in New York City. When asked how long an intermission he wanted, he quipped, “I don’t know. How much does Toscanini get?”
. 1942 ~ Bill Francis, Keyboard, singer with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show
. 1942 ~ Kay Kyser and the band recorded A Zoot Suit for Columbia Records. The tune is about the problems associated with wearing this garish, exaggerated ‘hep’ fashion.
. 1946 ~ Katia Ricciarelli, Italian soprano
. 1946 ~ Ronnie Milsap, Grammy Award-winning singer in 1976, CMA Male Vocalist of the Year (1974, 1976, 1977), CMA Entertainer of the Year (1977), blind since birth, he learned to play several instruments by age 12
. 1950 ~ Debbie Allen, Dancer, actress, choreographer, sister of actress Phylicia Rashad
. 1957 ~ Conductor Arturo Toscanini died in New York
. 1957 ~ The Cavern Club opened for business in Liverpool, England. The rock club was just a hangout for commoners. Then, things changed — big time. It all started in the early 1960s when four kids from the neighborhood popped in to jam. They, of course, turned out to be The Beatles.
. 1962 ~ Paul Webb, Bass with Talk Talk
. 1964 ~ “Hello Dolly!” opened at the St. James Theatre in New York City. Carol Channing starred in the role of Mrs. Dolly Levi. The musical was an adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s play, “The Matchmaker”. The show, with an unforgettable title song, was hailed by critics as the “…possible hit of the season.” It was possible, all right. “Hello Dolly!” played for 2,844 performances. And, it returned to Broadway in the 1990s, again starring Carol Channing.
. 1972 ~ David Seville died on this day in Beverly Hills, CA. Born Ross Bagdasarian, the musician was the force, and artist, behind the Alvin and the Chipmunks novelty songs of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
. 1973 ~ Clara Ward passed away. Ward was an American gospel artist who achieved great artistic and commercial success in the 1940s and 1950s.
. 1976 ~ The album, “Frampton Comes Alive”, was released by Herb Alpert’s A&M Records. The double LP soon reached the top spot of the album charts and stayed perched there for 17 weeks. It sold 19 million copies in its first year.
. 1984 ~ Michael Jackson received eight awards at the 11th annual American Music Awards this night.
. 2001 ~ Eleanor Lawrence, a flutist who played often in chamber music performances and with several orchestras in New York City, died of brain cancer at the age of 64. She is credited with transforming a simple newsletter into an important source for flutists. Lawrence studied the flute at the New England Conservatory with the principal flutist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, James Pappoutsakis. She later studied with flutists from the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. She joined the American Symphony Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic after moving to New York in the 1960s. She played periodically with the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera. Besides performing, Lawrence taught at the Manhattan School of Music. She served three times as the president of the New York Flute Club. She edited The National Flute Association Newsletter, now The Flutist Quarterly, from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, expanding it from a brief information sheet to a publication with regular interviews.