. 1643 ~ Girolamo Frescobaldi, Italian composer/organist, died at the age of 59
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. 1810 ~ Frédéric Chopin, Polish composer and pianist
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. 1826 ~ John Thomas, Welsh composer and harpist
. 1904 ~ Glenn Miller, American trombonist and bandleader
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. 1922 ~ Michael Flanders, Songwriter, comedian with the duo: Flanders and [Donald] Swann, made humorous mockery of English and American failings, died in 1975
. 1927 ~ Harry Belafonte, American calypso and folk singer, UNICEF goodwill ambassador, father of Shari Belafonte
. 1928 ~ Paul Whiteman and his orchestra recorded Ol´ Man River for Victor Records. The featured vocalist on the track was 29-year-old Paul Robeson. The song became an American classic.
. 1930 ~ Benny Powell, Jazz musician, trombone with the Ernie Fields band, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie veteran
. 1941 ~ FM Radio began in the U.S. when station W47NV in Nashville, TN started operations on this day. W47NV was the first commercial FM radio station to receive a license, some 20 years after its AM radio counterpart, KDKA in Pittsburgh. FM stands for ‘frequency modulation´ as opposed to ‘amplitude modulation´.
. 1941 ~ Downbeat magazine scooped the entertainment world with news that Glenn Miller’s renewed contract with Chesterfield Cigarettes was worth $4,850 a week (for three 15-minute programs).
. 1944 ~ Roger Daltrey, Singer with The Who
. 1968 ~ Country music stars Johnny Cash and June Carter got married on this day. Johnny walked down the aisle knowing that his 1956 hit, Folsom Prison Blues, was about to be redone for a June release. Cash has a daughter, Rosanne, (previous marriage) who became a country star in her own right in the 1980s.
. 1968 ~ Elton John’s first record, I’ve Been Loving You, was released by Philips Records in England. Philips, not realizing the potential of the soon-to-be superstar, released him in 1969, just prior to his teaming with lyricist Bernie Taupin. Elton then signed a contract with Uni Records and began to turn out what would become a string of more than 50 hits over the next 25 years.
. 1973 ~ The Robert Joffrey Dance Company opened with a unique presentation in New York City. The show featured music of the Beach Boys in “Deuce Coupe Ballet”. A clever show, even if it didn’t do much to bring the masses to ballet.
. 1985 ~ A Beatles song was used for the first time in a U.S. TV commercial. The rights for Lincoln-Mercury to use the song, HELP!, cost $100,000, helping boost the fortunes of the Ford Motor Company.
. 1985 ~ Eugene List, American concert pianist and teacher (Eastman School of Music), died at the age of 66. List performed internationally during the mid-to-late 1900s. He championed the works of the American pianist and composer–New Orleans born– Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869). Gottschalk played this piece, with all its fanfares and flourishes reminiscent of an imaginary band concert, at all his concerts.
. 2003 ~ Nadine Conner, a soprano who performed for nearly two decades at the Metropolitan Opera after singing on national radio, died. She was 96. Conner debuted at the Met in 1941 as Pamina in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” conducted by Bruno Walter. She performed there 249 times over 18 seasons. She won acclaim not only for her Mozart roles, including Zerlina in “Don Giovanni” and Susanna in “The Marriage of Figaro,” but also for her portrayals of Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Mimi inPuccini’s “La Boheme,” Gilda in Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” and Rosina in Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” Conner began her career singing on national radio from Los Angeles, and appeared with such stars as Bing Crosby and Gordon MacRae and toured with film star Nelson Eddy. She joined a fledgling opera troupe in Los Angeles, making her debut as Marguerite in Gounod’s “Faust.” Her Met farewell, in 1960, also was in “Faust.”