. 1722 ~ Johann Ernst Bach, German composer of the Bach family
. 1791 ~ Ferdinand Herold, French composer
. 1904 ~ Enrico Caruso signed his first contract with Victor Records. He had debuted at the Metropolitan Opera just two months before.
. 1927 ~ Twenty years before the famous record by Art Mooney was recorded, Jean Goldkette and his dancing orchestra recorded, I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover. Though the name of the bandleader may not be so famous, two of his sidemen on this Victor recording session certainly were: Big band fans know Bix Beiderbecke and Joe Venuti.
. 1929 ~ Acker (Bernard) Bilk, Clarinetist, composer
. 1938 ~ Bill Phillips, Country singer
. 1940 ~ “Beat the Band” made its debut on NBC radio. The band was that of Ted Weems and his 14-piece orchestra, who were joined by Elmo ‘The Whistling Troubadour’ Tanner, Harry Soskind and Country Washington. One other star of the show was a barber from Pittsburgh, PA (nearby Canonsburg, actually), who would record many hits for RCA Victor from 1943 right through the dawn of the 1970s. His name was Perry Como. Beat the Band was a funky show where listeners’ questions were selected in the hopes of stumping the band. If a listener’s question was chosen, he or she received $10. The questions were posed as riddles: What song title tells you what Cinderella might have said if she awoke one morning and found that her foot had grown too large for her glass slipper? If the band played the correct musical answer, Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?, the listener lost.
. 1943 ~ Dick Taylor, Bass, guitar with The Pretty Things
. 1944 ~ John Tavener, British avant-garde composer
More information about Tavener
. 1944 ~ Brian Keenan, Drummer with groups Manfred Mann and The Chambers Brothers
. 1948 ~ Mikhail Nikolayavich Baryshnikov, Russian-born American ballet dancer Washington Honored Eastwood, Baryshnikov, Others
. 1959 ~ Dave Sharp, Guitarist with The Alarm
. 1956 ~ Elvis Presley made his first appearance on national television. No, he didn’t appear on some teenage dance show; but rather, “The Dorsey Brothers Show”, starring Tommy and Jimmy. Elvis sang Blue Suede Shoes and Heartbreak Hotel. He was backed by the instruments of the Dorsey band.
. 1968 ~ Sarah McLauchlan, Singer
. 1985 ~ 45 of the world’s top recording artists were invited to an all-night recording session at the A&M studios in Los Angeles. As each of the artists walked through the studio door, they were greeted by a hand-lettered sign — put there by Lionel Richie. It simply said, “Check your ego at the door.” The session started at 10 p.m. with producer Quincy Jones conducting. At 8 o’clock the following morning, the project, “USA for Africa”, spearheaded by promoter, Ken Kragen, was recorded and mixed. The resulting song, We Are the World, featuring Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Sting, Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross, Paul Simon and many others became the top song in the U.S. on April 13, 1985.
. 2002 ~ Michael Hammond, who became chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts just a week earlier, died apparently of natural causes. He was 69. A native of Kenosha, Wis., the conductor and composer had been dean of the School of Music at Rice University in Houston when President Bush nominated him to lead the federal agency that decides grants for the arts. After being confirmed by the Senate on Dec. 20, 2001, Hammond had assumed the post Jan. 22, 2002, and was still in the process of moving to Washington. A student of music and medicine, Hammond’s interests included music from Southeast Asia, the Renaissance and medieval times and the intersection between music and neuroscience. He received a Rhodes scholarship to study philosophy, psychology and physiology at Oxford University. He also studied Indian philosophy and music at Dehli University in India. In 1968, he left his post as director of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee to become the founding dean of music at the State University of New York at Purchase. He later served as president of the school, until he left for Rice’s Shepherd School of Music in 1986. All the while, he retained his interest in medicine, teaching neuroanatomy and physiology at Marquette Medical School and at the University of Wisconsin. Hammond also served as the founding rector of the Prague Mozart Academy in the Czech Republic, now the European Mozart Academy, was on the board of the Houston Symphony, and was vice chairman of the board of Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.
. 2002 ~ Steve Caldwell, who sang and played saxophone for the Swingin’ Medallions at the time of the band’s 1966 hit Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love), died of pancreatic cancer. He was 55. Caldwell was with the group from 1963 to 1969. After getting his master’s degree in chemistry at the University of South Carolina, he returned to his native Atlanta and ran the Norell temporary staffing agency until starting his own company in 1976. His wife, Lynn Caldwell, said he raised $1 million for charity through World Methodist Evangelism.