• 1820 ~ Sir George Grove, British musicographer and educator. Grove was editor of the Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the latest revised editions of which still carry his name
• 1860 ~ Annie Oakley born as Phoebe Anne Oakley Moses. She was a markswoman and member of Buffalo Bill Cody’s “Wild West Show” which toured America. The Irving Berlin musical, Annie Get Your Gun, was based on her life.
• 1919 ~ George Shearing, British-born American jazz pianist and composer
• 1924 ~ The first country music record to sell one million copies reached that point on this day. It was The Prisoner’s Song, recorded by Vernon Dalhart. He became a Country Music Hall of Famer in 1981.
• 1930 ~ Don Ho, Singer
• 1930 ~ Guy Lombardo and his orchestra recorded Go Home and Tell Your Mother, on Columbia Records.
• 1948 ~ Kathleen Battle, American soprano, Metropolitan Opera diva, performed with the NY Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris
• 1949 ~ Cliff Fish, Musician, bassist with Paper Lace
• 1951 ~ Dan Fogelberg, Singer
• 1958 ~ Feargal Sharkey, Singer with The Undertones
• 2001 ~ Neil Cooper, the founder of the ROIR rock and reggae record label, died of cancer. He was 71.
Cooper started Reach Out International Records in 1979 and put out his first release – on cassette only – in 1981 by James Chance and the Contortions.
He then produced a catalog of cassettes by rock groups such as Bad Brains, Glenn Branca, Television, MC5, G.G. Allin, Johnny Thunders, and New York Dolls. ROIR’s reggae releases included Lee “Scratch” Perry, the Skatalites, Prince Far I, and Big Youth among others.
The cassette releases were a way to sidestep the artists’ exclusive contracts with other record labels. Vinyl album and compact disc versions were later issued.
Cooper also worked as an agent for MCA and Famous Artists before starting his label.
• 2003 ~ Ed Townsend, who wrote hit songs including 1958’s “For Your Love” and Marvin Gaye’s controversial “Let’s Get It On,” died at the age of 74. Townsend had written more than 200 songs. Nat King Cole and Etta James were among the stars who recorded Townsend’s songs. One of his first hits was “For Your Love” – which Townsend recorded himself.
Townsend also wrote and produced the Impressions’ 1974 No. 1 R&B hit “Finally Got Myself Together (I’m A Changed Man).”