May 1: On This Day in Music

 

Hooray, Hooray – it’s May Day

• 1786 ~ The Marriage of Figaro premiere in Vienna

• 1904 ~ Czech composer Antonin Dvorák, noted for his ninth symphony, “From the New World”, died.

• 1909 ~ Kate Smith, American singer of popular music, God Bless America, When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain

• 1928 ~ Sonny James (James Loden), The Southern Gentleman, singer

• 1931 ~ Singer Kate Smith began her long and illustrious radio career with CBS on this, her birthday. The 22-year-old Smith started out with no sponsors and a paycheck of just $10 a week for the nationally broadcast daily program. However, within 30 days, her salary increased to a more respectable $1,500 a week!

• 1939 ~ Judy Collins, American guitarist, songwriter and singer of folk and popular music

• 1939 ~ The two-part Sy Oliver arrangement of Lonesome Road was recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Listening carefully, one might note that the lead trombone is not that of Tommy Dorsey, but of Dave Jacobs, instead.

• 1945 ~ Rita Coolidge, American rhythm-and-blues and country music singer

• 1967 ~ Elvis Presley got hitched to a girl he had dated since his army days in West Germany. Elvis and Priscilla Beaulieu married in Las Vegas, NV. The wedding cake, incidentally, cost $3,500. The marriage lasted until 1973.

• 1970 ~ Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin combined for the first time on Elton’s first American album simply titled, Elton John. The LP contained Elton’s first hit, Your Song, which made it to the top ten on the music charts in December.

• 1975 ~ Willie Nelson released his iconic album, “Red Headed Stranger”.

• 1978 ~ Aram (Ilyich) Khachaturyan passed away
More information about Khachaturyan

• 2001 ~ Fred Alley, a 38-year-old performer and playwright who was due to receive an award this month from Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, collapsed while jogging and died. Alley and Milwaukee native James Valcq co-wrote a stage musical version of the film “The Spitfire Grill,” which won the Academy of Arts and Letters 2001 Richard Rodgers Production Award in February. The award, which was to be presented later this month in New York, included a $100,000 grant that is being used to partially finance an off-Broadway production of the show. “The Spitfire Grill” had a successful run last fall at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey. Alley also co-wrote with James Kaplan “The Bachelors” and “Guys on Ice,” both musicals.

• 2003 ~ Barry White, American soul singer, suffered a stroke while being treated for kidney failure. The singer died two months later on July 4th, 2003.

• 2005 ~ Bruce Springsteen went to No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Devils & Dust’ the American singer-songwriters sixth UK No.1.

• 2015 ~ Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars gave The Gap Band a writing credit on their huge hit ‘Uptown Funk’, due to its similarities with their 1979 track ‘Oops Up Side Your Head’. ‘Uptown Funk’, which had topped the UK chart for seven weeks and the US chart for 14, originally had six songwriters but was now credited to The Gap Band as well.

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