Writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, who died on Sunday, August 30, 2015 at age 82, spent his life wondering on the myriad connections among biology, thought, emotion and perception.
For those of us who obsess over the how and why of music, Sacks’ work on sound and its effects on the brain – and vice versa – was particularly illuminating. His book on the subject, “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain,” remains essential reading for those who want to understand the mechanics of music.
Through bountiful research and mesmerizing case studies, Sacks addressed topics including music and amnesia, music therapy, musical prodigies and those who suffer from debilitating aural hallucinations.
• 1931 ~ RCA Victor began demonstrating a very early version of the long-playing (LP), 33~1/3 RPM phonograph record. It would be another 17 years before RCA rival Columbia would begin mass production of the LP.
• 1940 ~ LaMont McLemore, Singer with The 5th Dimension
• 1950 ~ Fee Waybill (John Waldo), Singer with The Tubes
• 1955 ~ The Perry Como Show moved to Saturday nights on NBC~TV. Soon, U.S.A. audiences would “Sing along with me … I’m on my way to the stars…” with the incomparable Mr. C. Como’s hourlong variety show replaced his three-times-per-week, 15-minute show, which had been on the air since 1948. The new version of The Perry Como Show soon became Saturday’s highest-rated TV program, beating CBS competitor Jackie Gleason.
• 1955 ~ Capitol Records released Magic Melody, Part Two. The tune consists only of the last two notes of the musical phrase, “Shave and a haircut, two bits,” making it the shortest tune ever to be released.
• 1973 ~ Hugo Winterhalter passed away. He was an American easy listening arranger and composer.
• 2002 ~ Michael “Dodo” Marmarosa, a jazz pianist who played with luminaries like Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Dorsey and Buddy Rich in the 1940s before a military stint derailed his music career, died of a heart attack. He was 76. Marmarosa died at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Pittsburgh, where he lived the past few years, playing the piano and organ for other residents and guests. Marmarosa joined the Johnny “Scat” Davis Orchestra at age 15 in 1941. He then played with Gene Krupa’s band, Charlie Barnet’s big band, where he recorded “The Moose” and “Strollin”, and played with the great Gillespie. He played in Dorsey’s band in 1944, which included Buddy DeFranco, Sidney Block and Buddy Rich. And later that same year, Marmarosa joined Artie Shaw’s band. In 1947 Marmarosa was selected by Esquire magazine as one of the nation’s top jazz artists. Marmarosa disappeared from public view in the early 1950s after a series of personal tragedies and a stint in the Army.