Happy Boxing Day! Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their masters, employers or customers, in the United Kingdom,The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other former British colonies. Today, Boxing Day is a public holiday usually falling on 26 December.
• 1678 ~ Johann Georg Pisendel, German violinist/composer
• 1762 ~ Franz Wilhelm Tausch, composer
• 1879 ~ Julius Weismann, German pianist, conductor, and composer
• 1921 ~ Steve Allen, Comedian, author, musician, composer, TV host of The Tonight Show, The Steve Allen Show; films: The Benny Goodman Story, married to Jayne Meadows
• 1926 ~ Earle Brown, American avant-garde composer
• 1931 ~ George Gershwin’s musical, Of Thee I Sing, opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. The show became the first American musical to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
• 1935 ~ Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, Singer with The Four Tops
• 1939 ~ W.C. Handy of Memphis, TN one of the legendary blues composers of all time, recorded the classic St. Louis Blues. W.C. and his band recorded in New York for Varsity Records. Handy was one of the first to use the flat third and seventh notes in his compositions, known in the music world as ‘blue’ notes. The music awards for blues artists’ are called the W.C. Handy National Blues Awards.
• 1940 ~ Phil Spector, ‘Tycoon of Teen’, record company executive, the originator of Wall of Sound, sang with The Teddy Bears, songwriter
• 1942 ~ Adriana Maliponte, Italian soprano
• 1952 ~ André-Michel Schub, French-born American pianist
• 1963 ~ Capitol Records rushed to release its first single by the Fab Four, otherwise known as The Beatles. I Want to Hold Your Hand, backed with I Saw Her Standing There, reached #1 on February 1, 1964. The flood of music by John, Paul, George and Ringo had started the British Invasion; changing contemporary music forever.
• 1964 ~ More Beatles news: The Fab Four got their sixth #1 hit song since February 1, as I Feel Fine became the top tune this day. The first five #1 hits by The Beatles were: I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me Love, Love Me Do and A Hard Day’s Night.
• 1967 ~ A sad day for jazz fans, as the Dave Brubeck Quartet formally disbanded after sax man Paul Desmond left the group. Desmond was a fixture with the quartet for 16 years and can be heard on all the immortal Brubeck standards, including Take Five.
• 1999 ~ Curtis Mayfield passed away
• 2001 ~ Edward Downes, a professor best known as host of the “Texaco Opera Quiz” heard during live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, died at the age of 90. Opera experts answered questions from listeners in the opera quiz, held during opera intermissions from 1958 to 1996. Known for his wit and mellow baritone voice, Downes put his panelists at ease and offered teasing hints to the answers when experts were stumped. Born in Boston, Downes began attending operas at a young age with his father, Olin Downes, who later became chief music critic at The New York Times. Edward Downes, who never completed an undergraduate degree, received a Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University at the age of 47. He later taught at Wellesley College, the Longy School of Music, the University of Minnesota and Queens College.
• 2017 ~ Bonnie Hearne, singer, piano player and half of a celebrated musical couple that entertained New Mexico audiences with their folk and country music for decades, died at the age of 71.
Happy Boxing Day!
Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their masters, employers or customers, in the United Kingdom,The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other former British colonies.
Today, Boxing Day is a public holiday usually falling on 26 December.
• 1912 ~ Tony Martin (Alvin Morris), Singer, actor, married to dancer Cyd Charisse
• 1915 ~ Pete Rugolo, Bandleader, arranger, scored TV’s The Fugitive
• 1931 ~ Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera was Hansel und Gretel by Humperdinck, heard on the NBC network of stations. In between acts of the opera, moderator Olin Downes would conduct an opera quiz, asking celebrity guests opera-related questions. The program’s host and announcer was Milton Cross. He worked out of the Met’s Box 44.
• 1932 ~ Little Richard, American rock-and-roll singer, pianist and songwriter
• 1937 ~ O’Kelly Isley, Singer with the Grammy Award-winning group, The Isley Brothers
• 1937 ~ Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of Symphony of the Air over NBC radio.
• 1939 ~ The Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, was read by Lionel Barrymore on The Campbell Playhouse on CBS radio. The reading of the tale became an annual radio event for years to come.
• 1941 ~ Don Pullen, pianist/composer
• 1944 ~ Henry Vestine, Guitarist with Canned Heat, sideman for Frank Zappa
• 1945 ~ Noel Redding, Bass with Noel Redding Band and also The Jimi Hendrix Experience
• 1946 ~ Jimmy Buffett, Songwriter, singer
• 1948 ~ Barbara Mandrell, CMA Entertainer of the Year (1980, 1981), Female Vocalist of the Year in 1979
• 1954 ~ Robin Campbell, Guitar, singer with UB40
• 1954 ~ Annie Lennox, Singer with Eurythmics
• 1957 ~ Shane MacGowan, Songwriter, musician: guitar, singer with The Pogues
Messiah (HWV 56) is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Psalms. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.
Part II of the Messiah covers the Passion, death, resurrection, ascension, and the later spreading of the Gospel, concluded by the “Hallelujah Chorus”.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings the classical and beloved Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
And also on Nov.13 2010 unsuspecting shoppers got a big surprise while enjoying their lunch. Over 100 participants in this awesome Christmas Flash Mob.
• 1719 ~ Johann Christoph Altnikol, German organist, bass singer, and composer. He was a son-in-law and copyist of Johann Sebastian Bach
• 1818 ~ Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany, composed the music for “Silent Night” to words written by Josef Mohr. The traditional song was sung for the first time during Midnight Mass on this night.
• 1824 ~ Peter Cornelius, German composer and writer
• 1871 ~ Opera-goers in Cairo, Egypt were treated to Verdi’s Aida in its world premiere. The composer was commissioned to write the opera for festivities celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal
• 1887 ~ Lucrezia Bori, Spanish lyric composer
• 1893 ~ Harry Warren (Salvatore Guaragna), Composer, Song Writer’s Hall of Famer: Best Song Oscar
• 1906 ~ Professor Reginald A. Fessenden sent his first radio broadcast from Brant Rock, MA. The program included a little verse, some violin and a speech.
• 1918 ~ Zara Nelsova, Canadian-born American cellist
• 1914 ~ Ralph Marterie, ‘Caruso of the trumpet’: musician, bandleader
• 1924 ~ Carol Haney, Dancer, member of Jack Cole dance company, worked with Bob Fosse, in films
• 1928 ~ The first broadcast of The Voice of Firestone was heard. The program aired each Monday evening at 8:00. The Voice of Firestone became a hallmark in radio broadcasting. It kept its same night, time (in 1931 the start time changed to 8:30) and sponsor for its entire run. Beginning on September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semiclassical music was also seen on television.
• 1930 ~ Robert Joffrey (Khan), Choreographer with The Joffrey Ballet; died in 1988
• 1931 ~ Ray Bryant, Pianist, composer
• 1944 ~ Mike Curb, Music executive, producer, Oscar-winner
• 1944 ~ The Andrews Sisters starred in the debut of The Andrews Sisters’ Eight-To- The-Bar-Ranch on ABC radio. Patti, Maxine and LaVerne ran a fictional dude ranch. George ‘Gabby’ Hayes was a regular guest along with Vic Schoen’s orchestra. The ranch stayed in operation until 1946.
• 1945 ~ Lemmy (Ian Kilmister), Bass, singer with Motorhead
• 1946 ~ Jan Akkerman, Guitar, lute with bands: Friendship Sextet, Johnny and the Cellar Rockers
• 1951 ~ Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors”, the first opera composed for television, made its debut on NBC-TV. Amal and the Night Visitors became a Christmas classic.
• 1955 ~ The lovely Lennon Sisters debuted as featured vocalists on The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC-TV. They became regulars with Welk within a month and stayed on the show until 1968.
• 1957 ~ Ian Burden, Keyboards with Human League
• 1977 ~ The Bee Gees spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve at the top of the music charts. How Deep is Your Love became #1 this day and stayed that way for three weeks.
• 2000 ~ Felix Popper, a conductor and music administrator at the New York City Opera, died at the age of 92. Popper joined the New York City Opera in 1949 as an assistant conductor and vocal coach. By 1958 he was named music administrator, and he played an important role in guiding the opera through a period in which the house truly established itself. During this time, the company is credited with discovering important American singers such as Johanna Meier, Tatiana Troyanos, Gianna Rolandi, Faith Esham and Jane Shaulis. Popper retired from the opera in 1980 but continued to work as a consultant and vocal coach.
• 2000 ~ Longtime Detroit blues radio personality and promoter Famous Coachman died of an apparent heart attack. He was 75. Coachman was host of the weekend blues and gospel show on Detroit’s WDET for 21 years until 1997 and remained busy in the city’s music world until his death. “Everybody knew Coachman,” said JoAnn Korczynska, blues music director for WHFR at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn. “He really did know B.B. King and John Lee Hooker. When I met John Lee Hooker, one of the first things he said to me was `How is Coachman doing?'” Coachman said he was named “Famous” because “my mother knew I would be.”
• 2000 ~ Nick Massi, an original member of the Four Seasons who handled bass vocals and vocal arrangements throughout the band’s glory days, died of cancer at the age of 73. Massi was born in Newark as Nicholas Macioci. The longtime West Orange resident performed with several bands before joining Frankie Valli in a group called the Four Lovers. By 1961, the group had evolved into the Four Seasons. Massi remained with the group until 1965, when he grew tired of touring, Valli said. Massi performed on hits such as Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man and Rag Doll, which friends said was his favorite. During his tenure, the group made the Billboard Top 40 chart 17 times and toured throughout the United States and overseas, melding doo-wop vocals with a contemporary beat. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Valli’s falsetto was the band’s trademark, but he said Massi was his musical mentor. “He could do four-part modern harmonies that would amaze musicians who had studied for years. And he did it all in his head without writing it down,” Valli said.