Martin Luther King, Jr Day.
. 1775 ~ Giovanni Battista Sammartini, composer, died
. 1890 ~ Premiere of The Sleeping Beauty, ballet by Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky. After the less-than-promising 1877 debut of Swan Lake, marred by a largely amateur production, over a decade lapsed before the composer was commissioned by the Director of the Imperial Theatres in St. Petersburg to supply music for a ballet on the Perrault fairy tale, The Sleeping Beauty. Tchaikovsky threw himself arms-deep into the project. Not only was the composer again on happy turf, he was currently in a state of delight by the occasional presence of a three-year old little girl; children seemed to tap a joyful vein in Tchaikovsky. The little girl’s proximity fed a spirit of fantasy which transmitted to this most lighthearted of the composer’s scores. Most musicologists and historians concede that Sleeping Beauty is the most perfectly wrought of Tchaikovsky’s three ballet scores, classic in its restraint, yet possessing the right amount of color and panache to render it pure Tchaikovsky; its waltz remains a Pops favorite.
. 1896 ~ Alexander Scriabin made his European debut as a pianist at the Salle Erard in Paris
. 1904 ~ Ellie Sigmeister, Classical composer
. 1925 ~ Ruth Slenczynska, pianist, born in Sacramento, California
. 1941 ~ Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet), Singer with Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, artist
. 1942 ~ Kenny Sargent vocalized with the Glen Gray Orchestra on Decca Records’ It’s the Talk of the Town.
. 1948 ~ Ronnie Van Zandt, Singer, songwriter with Lynyrd Skynyrd
. 1951 ~ Charo (Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza), ‘The Hootchy Cootchy Girl’, actress, singer, wife of Xavier Cugat
. 1951 ~ Martha Davis, Singer with The Motels
. 1959 ~ Peter Trewavas, Bass with Marillion
. 1964 ~ The soundtrack album of the musical, “The King and I”, starring Yul Brynner, earned a gold record.
. 1967 ~ Ed Sullivan told the Rolling Stones to change the lyrics and the title to the song, Let’s Spend the Night Together, so it became Let’s Spend Some Time Together.
. 1972 ~ Elvis Presley, who was also censored from the waist down by Ed Sullivan, reportedly drew the largest audience for a single TV show to that time. Elvis presented a live, worldwide concert from Honolulu on this day.
. 1987 ~ Ray Bolger died. He was an American entertainer of vaudeville, stage and actor, singer and dancer best known for his portrayal of the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.
. 1993 ~ Sammy Cahn passed away. He was an was an American lyricist, songwriter and musician.