. 1851 ~ The first performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto” was given in Venice.
“Rigoletto lacks melody. This opera has hardly any chance of being kept in the repertoire.” ~ Gazette Musicale de Paris, reviewing Rigoletto shortly after its premiere.
. 1876 ~ Carl Ruggles, American composer
. 1897 ~ Henry Dixon Cowell, American composer
More information about Cowell
. 1903 ~ Lawrence Welk, American accordionist and conductor of “champagne” music
More information about Welk
. 1914 ~ William Lloyd Webber, English composer
. 1919 ~ Mercer Ellington, Trumpeter, bandleader, songwriter, only son of Duke Ellington. He led the Duke’s band after he died.
. 1921 ~ Astor Piazzola, Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player and arranger
. 1942 ~ Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra recorded the classic, Sleepy Lagoon. It was the last song Monroe would record for Bluebird Records. Vaughn sang on the track while Ray Conniff played trombone. Both later moved to different record companies. Monroe went with RCA and Conniff to Columbia. The big-voiced baritone of Monroe was regularly heard on radio and he was featured in several movies in the 1950s. He died in May 1973. Racing With the Moon and Ghost Riders in the Sky were two of his greatest contributions to popular music.
. 1950 ~ Bobby McFerrin, Singer, pianist, jazz musician, songwriter, improvisational solo, McFerrin can sing all vocal parts and imitate instruments.
. 1968 ~ Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for the single, (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay. Redding was killed in a plane crash in Lake Monona in Madison, WI on December 10, 1967. The song was recorded just three days before his untimely death. He recorded 11 charted hit songs between 1965 and 1969. Otis Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
. 1975 ~ Philip Bezanson, composer, died at the age of 59. He helped guide the Department of Music at UMass Amherst through its period of rapid expansion in the late 1960s and early 1970s (when Mrs. O was a student there!). After graduate study (PhD 1954) and appointment to the faculty at the University of Iowa, Bezanson was brought to UMass in 1964 to become Head of the Music Department and helped to expand and reorient the program, recruiting an increasingly accomplished faculty, including his former student Frederick Tillis.
. 1985 ~ DJs around the U.S. began questioning listeners to see which ones could name the 46 pop music stars who appeared on the hit, We Are the World. The song, airing first on this day as a single, contains a “Who’s Who” of contemporary pop music.
. 2000 ~ Roy Henderson, a baritone famed for his performances of Frederick Delius’ works and a teacher of Kathleen Ferrier, died. He was 100.
. 2003 ~ Sidney Lippman, a songwriter who helped compose hits for Nat King Cole and other artists, died. He was 89. Lippman, who studied musical composition at the Juilliard School in New York, wrote or co-wrote several well-known songs, including Too Young, a song Cole took to the top of the charts in 1951. That hit, co-written by longtime collaborator Sylvia Dee, came two years after he teamed up with Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise on ‘A’ You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song), a No. 1 hit performed by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters.
. 2007 ~ Betty Hutton [Elizabeth June Thornburg], American actress, dancer, singer and comedian (Greatest Show on Earth), died of colon cancer at the age of 86
. 2015 ~ Jimmy Greenspoon died. He was an American keyboard player and composer, best known as a member of the band, Three Dog Night.
. 2018 ~ Ken Dodd, British singer and comedian described as “the last great music hall entertainer,” died of complications from a chest infection at the age of 90.