. 1685 ~ Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer birthday (Old Style)
Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor was featured in the Walt Disney movie Fantasia and the new Fantasia 2000
Listen to Bach’s music
Read quotes by and about Bach
More information about Bach
. 1839 ~ Modeste Mussorgsky, Russian composer
More information about Mussorgsky
. 1869 ~ Florenz Ziegfeld, Producer, Ziegfeld Follies ~ annual variety shows famous for the Ziegfeld Girls from 1907 to the 1930s
More information about Ziegfeld
. 1882 ~ Bascom (Lamar) Lunsford, Appalachian folk songwriter, started the first folk music festival in 1928 ~ annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival at Asheville, N.C. He was responsible for the formation of the National Clogging and Hoedown Council.
. 1921 ~ Arthur Grumiaux, Belgian violinist
. 1921 ~ Astor Piazzolla, Argentinian composer
More information about Piazzolla
. 1934 ~ Franz Schreker, Austrian composer and conductor, died
. 1935 ~ Erich Kunzel, American orchestra conductor. Called the “Prince of Pops” by the Chicago Tribune, he performed with a number of leading pops and symphony orchestras, especially the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, which he led for 32 years.
. 1936 ~ Alexander Glazunov died. He was a Russian composer of the late Russian Romantic period, music teacher and conductor.
. 1939 ~ God Bless America, written by Irving Berlin back in 1918 as a tribute by a successful immigrant to his adopted country, was recorded by Kate Smith for Victor Records on this day in 1939. Ms. Smith first introduced the song on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938, at the New York World’s Fair. It was a fitting tribute to its composer, who gave all royalties from the very popular and emotional song to the Boy Scouts. The song became Kate Smith’s second signature after When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain and the second national anthem of the United States of America. On several occasions, it has even been suggested that the U.S. Congress enact a bill changing the national anthem to God Bless America.
. 1941 ~ Singer Paula Kelly joined Glenn Miller’s band. Her husband, also a part of the Miller organization, was one of the four singing Modernaires.
. 1955 ~ NBC-TV presented the first “Colgate Comedy Hour”. The show was designed to stop the Sunday popularity of Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” on CBS. Gordon MacRae, the Gabor sisters and Mama Gabor, in addition to a host of singers and dancers were in the opening program with the gangway of the nation’s biggest ship, the “S.S. United States” as the stage. In addition to MacRae, other hosts of the “Colgate Comedy Hour” included: Fred Allen, Donald O’Connor, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante.
. 1961 ~ The Beatles made their debut in an appearance at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where they became regulars in a matter of months.
. 1963 ~ A year after opening in the Broadway show, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand tied the matrimonial knot.
. 1964 ~ Singer Judy Collins made her debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City and established herself “in the front rank of American balladeers.” She would first hit the Top 40 in 1968 with Both Sides Now, a Joni Mitchell song. Her versions of Amazing Grace and Send In the Clowns also became classics.
. 1970 ~ The Beatles established a new record. Let It Be entered the Billboard chart at number six. This was the highest debuting position ever for a record. Let It Be reached number two a week later and made it to the top spot on April 11, overshadowing Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water.
. 1991 ~ Leo Fender, the inventor of The Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars died from Parkinson’s disease. He started mass producing solid body electric guitars in the late 40s and when he sold his guitar company in 1965, sales were in excess of $40 million a year.
. 1998 ~ Galina Ulanova, the leading ballerina at the Bolshoi Theater for nearly two decades, died aged 88.
. 2000 ~ Jean Howard, a Ziegfeld girl-turned-starlet who became known as a legendary Hollywood hostess and photographer, died at the age of 89. She wasn’t interested in becoming a film star. Instead, she came to wield power as favorite Hollywood hostess and photographer, turning her portraits into the books “Jean Howard’s Hollywood” in 1989 and “Travels With Cole Porter” in 1991.
. 2005 ~ Legendary cabaret singer Bobby Short, an icon of old-world style who played for more than three decades at New York’s Carlyle Hotel, died at the age of 80.