Christmas Countdown: We Three Kings
1770 ~ Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony was featured in the Walt Disney movie Fantasia and his Symphony Number 5 in Fantasia 2000
Listen to Beethoven’s music
More information on Beethoven
If composers had Facebook: Beethoven’s profile
1882 ~ Zoltán Kodály, Hungarian composer and collector of folk songs
More information on Kodály
• 1893 ~ Antonin Dvorák attended the first performance of his New World Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
• 1899 ~ Sir Noel Coward, British composer of musical comedies, actor and producer
• 1905 ~ Sime Silverman published the first issue of Variety, the weekly showbiz magazine. The first issue was 16 pages in length and sold for a nickel. Variety and Daily Variety are still going strong.
• 1907 ~ Eugene H. Farrar became the first singer to broadcast on radio. He sang from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. The song was Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?
• 1940 ~ Bob Crosby and his Bobcats backed up brother Bing as San Antonio Rose was recorded on Decca Records.
• 1960 ~ Lucille Ball took a respite from her weekly TV series to star in the Broadway production of Wildcat, which opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. The show ran for 171 performances.
• 1967 ~ The Lemon Pipers released Green Tambourine on an unsuspecting psychedelic world this day. The tune made #1 on February 3, 1968.
• 1971 ~ Melanie (Safka) received a gold record for the single, Brand New Key, about roller skates and love and stuff like that. This one made it to #1 on Christmas Day, 1971.
• 1971 ~ Don McLean’s eight-minute-plus (8:32) version of American Pie was released. It became one of the longest songs with some of the most confusing (pick your favorite interpretation) lyrics to ever hit the pop charts. American Pie hit #1 on January 15, 1972.
• 1972 ~ Paul McCartney’s single, Hi, Hi, Hi, was released. It peaked at #10 on the top tune tabulation (February 3, 1973).
• 2003 ~ Singer and guitarist Gary Stewart, who had a No. 1 country hit in 1975 with She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles), died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 58. A native of Letcher County, Ky., Stewart was a compelling songwriter and performer of guitar-driven, honky-tonk country. His last album, Live at Billy Bob’s Texas, was released in 2003. Besides the 1975 chart-topper, his hits included Drinkin’ Thing and Out of Hand. He worked with Southern rock greats Dickie Betts and Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band on the 1980 album Cactus and a Rose.
• 2017 ~ Z’ev, a percussionist, performer, composer, instrument builder, visual artist, poet and theorist who explored visceral and mystical dimensions of sound — becoming a pioneer of industrial music along the way — died in Chicago, where he lived. He was 66.
• 2017 ~ Keely Smith, American jazz and popular music singer (Mrs. Louis Prima), died from heart failure at the age of 89