July 18 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 0064 ~ Rome burned on this day – while Nero fiddled, literally.

• 1670 ~ Giovanni Battista Bononcini, Italian composer

• 1909 ~ Harriet Nelson (Hilliard) (Peggy Lou Snyder). Singer in Ozzie Nelson’s orchestra; actress in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Follow the Fleet and Rick & Dave’s mother

• 1910 ~ Lou Busch (Joe ‘Fingers’ Carr), Musician: piano, arranger, composer

• 1913 ~ Red (Richard) Skelton, Emmy Award-winning comedian: The Red Skelton Show ATAS Governor’s Award, recording artist

• 1927 ~ Kurt Masur, German conductor

• 1929 ~ Screamin’ Jay (Jalacy) Hawkins Rhythm and Blues singer, pianist. I Put a Spell on You was voted one of 50 greatest songs of the 1950s by Rolling Stone magazine

• 1931 ~ ‘Papa Dee’ (Thomas) Allen, Musician, keyboards

• 1939 ~ Dion DiMucci born, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer with Dion and the Belmonts

• 1939 ~ Brian Auger born, Musician, keyboards with the Mahavishnu Players

• 1941 ~ Lonnie Mack (McIntosh) born, Musician: guitar: Memphis

• 1941 ~ Martha Reeves, American Rhythm and Blues singer with Martha and the Vandellas

• 1964 ~ The 4 Seasons reached the top spot on the record charts with Rag Doll, the group’s fourth hit to climb to the #1 position. The song stayed on top for two weeks. Other #1 hits by Frankie Valli and company include, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, and December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night).

• 1968 ~ Hugh Masekela struck gold with the breezy, latin-soul instrumental Grazing in the Grass, while Gary Puckett and The Union Gap received a similar honor for the hit, Lady Willpower. Masekela, a trumpeter since age 14, saw Grazing in the Grass go to number one for two weeks (July 20/27). Grazing was his only entry on the pop music charts. The Union Gap scored three more million-sellers in the late 1960s: Woman, Woman, Young Girl and Over You. The Union Gap was formed in 1967 and named after the town of Union Gap, Washington.

• 1983 ~ Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel took to the road to begin a 19-city tour beginning in Akron, OH. It was the first tour by the popular singing duo since their success in the 1960s.

 

• 2001 ~ Mimi Farina, sister of folk singer Joan Baez and founder of an organization that brought free live music performances to the sick and imprisoned, died of complications related to cancer. She was 56. She founded Bread & Roses in 1974. The organization produced 500 shows annually for audiences in senior centers, psychiatric, rehabilitation and correctional facilities as well as centers for abused and neglected children. Long part of the San Francisco Bay area’s folk music elite as a singer herself, Farina drew many fellow musical luminaries to take part in performances. Her sister, Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt and Peter, Paul and Mary all volunteered their services to make Bread & Roses and long running success. Farina was the youngest of three daughters and was raised a Quaker alongside siblings Joan Baez and Pauline Bryan. She learned the guitar with her sister Joan during the folk music revival of the late 1950s and frequently played the folk scene around Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass.

• 2002 ~ Seymour Solomon, co-founder of Vanguard Records, a label that dominated American folk music with stars such as Joan Baez, died. He was 80. Solomon founded Vanguard in 1950 with his brother, Maynard. The label recorded famed artists like Odetta, Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie. It also signed such jazz and blues legends as Mississippi John Hurt and Buddy Guy and maintained a strong classical list. From its earliest days, the Solomons took risks, signing performers like the Weavers and Paul Robeson who had been blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Starting in 1959, Vanguard recorded the Newport Folk Festival, and later recorded the Newport Jazz festival as well. Solomon and his brother sold Vanguard in 1985 to the Welk Record Group, and three years later opened Omega Classics. He later bought back Vanguard’s old classical catalog and reissued it on compact disc. Solomon had studied violin at the Juilliard School and played in the Air Corps Orchestra during World War II. After the war, he studied musicology and worked as a critic and commentator for music magazines and radio stations.

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