Singer Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence-Foster-Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins was an American socialite and amateur soprano who was known and mocked for her flamboyant performance costumes and notably poor singing ability. The historian Stephen Pile ranked her “the world’s worst opera singer … No one, before or since, has succeeded in liberating themselves quite so completely from the shackles of musical notation.”

Despite (or perhaps because of) her technical incompetence, she became a prominent musical cult figure in New York City during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Cole Porter, Gian Carlo Menotti, Lily Pons, Sir Thomas Beecham, and other celebrities were fans. Enrico Caruso is said to have “regarded her with affection and respect”.

In 2016 Meryl Streep made Jenkins famous (again)

In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her ambition far exceeds her talent. The voice Florence hears in her head is beautiful, but to everyone else it is quite lousy. Her husband St. Clair goes to extreme lengths to make sure his wife never finds out how awful she truly is. When Florence announces her plans for a concert at Carnegie Hall, St. Clair soon realizes that he’s facing his greatest challenge yet.

 

September 27: On This Day in Music

today

• 1898 ~ Vincent Youmans, Songwriters’ Hall of Famer, musician, composer, worked with Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II

• 1924 ~ Bud Powell, American jazz pianist and composer

• 1930 ~ Igor Kipnis, American harpsichordist 1933 ~ NBC radio debuted Waltz Time, featuring the orchestra of Abe Lymon. The program continued on the network until 1948.

• 1938 ~ Clarinet virtuoso Artie Shaw recorded the song that would become his theme song. Nightmare was waxed on the Bluebird Jazz label. 1938 ~ Thanks for the Memory was heard for the first time on The Bob Hope Show on the NBC Red radio network. Who was the bandleader? If you said Les Brown, you’d be … wrong. It was Skinnay Ennis accompanying Hope at the time.

• 1941 ~ Don Nix, Baritone sax with The Mar-Keys, Booker T and the M.G.’s, composer

• 1942 ~ Just after leaving CBS radio, Glenn Miller led his civilian band for the last time at the Central Theatre in beautiful Passaic, NJ. Miller had volunteered for wartime duty.

• 1943 ~ Randy Bachman, Guitarist, singer with Bachman-Turner Overdrive

• 1945 ~ Misha Dichter, American pianist, married to Cipa Dichter

• 1951 ~ Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday), Singer, actor

• 1953 ~ Greg Ham, Saxophone, flute, keyboards with Men at Work

• 1954 ~ The Tonight show debuted on NBC-TV. Steve Allen hosted the late-night program which began as a local New York show on WNBT-TV in June 1953. Tonight became a launching pad for Steve and hundreds of guests, including Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Skitch Henderson and orchestra provided the music. Ernie Kovacs was the host from 1956 until 1957.

• 1958 ~ Shaun Cassidy, Singer, son of Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones, half-brother of David Cassidy

• 1962 ~ Detroit secretary Martha Reeves cut a side with a group called The Vandellas and the result was I’ll Have to Let Him Go. Soon thereafter, the hits of Martha and The Vandellas just kept on comin’.

• 1962 ~ After a concert that featured folk music at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times gave a glowing review in a story about “Bob Dylan: A Distinctive Folk Song Stylist.”

• 1970 ~ “Round and round and round it goes and where it stops, nobody knows.” Ted Mack said, “Good night from Geritol” for the last time. After 22 years on television, the curtain closed on The Original Amateur Hour on CBS. The show had been on ABC, NBC, CBS and originated on the Dumont Television Network.

• 1979 ~ Gracie Fields died

• 2003 ~ Donald O’Connor, American dancer and actor (Singin’ in the Rain), died at the age of 78
(PIano students: No jumping on the piano allowed!)

September 30: On This Day in Music

• 1852 ~ Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Irish composer and organist

• 1908 ~ David Oistrakh, Russian violinist

 

 

• 1922 ~ Oscar Pettiford, Bass, cello. He played with Charlie Barnet, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, and Stan Getz

• 1933 ~ The theme song was Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here and it opened the National Barn Dance. The half-hour country music and comedy show, originally heard on WLS, Chicago since 1924, moved to the NBC Blue network this night. National Barn Dance was broadcast from the Eighth Street Theater in Chicago, where the stage was transformed into a hayloft every Saturday night. The host was Joe Kelly. Uncle Ezra was played by Pat Barrett who was known to say, “Give me a toot on the tooter, Tommy,” as he started dancing. A few of the other Barn Dance characters were Arkie, the Arkansas Woodchopper; Pokey Martin; the Hoosier Hotshots; the Prairie Ramblers; cowgirl, Patsy Montana; Pat Buttram; Lulu Belle and the Cumberland Road Runners. Gene Autry and Red Foley were heard early in their careers on National Barn Dance. Although there were plenty of sponsors (Alka Seltzer, One-A-Day vitamins, Phillips Milk of Magnesia), the National Barn Dance was one of the few radio shows to charge admission!

• 1935 ~ Jill Corey (Norma Jean Speranza), Singer

• 1935 ~ Johnny Mathis, American singer of popular music

• 1935 ~ “Summertime … and the livin’ is easy.” Porgy and Bess was presented for the first time, at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. It was a flop! It was revived in 1942. It wasn’t a flop that time. It ran longer than any revival in the history of U.S. musical theater.

• 1941 ~ The Larry Clinton Orchestra recorded their version of That Solid Old Man, on Bluebird Records.

• 1942 ~ Frankie Lymon, Singer: recorded at age 14

• 1942 ~ Dewey Martin, Drummer, singer with Buffalo Springfield

• 1943 ~ Marilyn McCoo (Davis), Singer with The Fifth Dimension, TV hostess of Solid Gold from 1981 to 1984 and 1986 to 1988, TV music reporter

• 1946 ~ Sylvia Peterson, Singer with The Chiffons

• 1953 ~ Deborah Allen (Thurmond), Singer

• 1954 ~ Julie Andrews, who would later become a household name in movies, TV and on records, opened on Broadway for the first time. The future star of The Sound of Music appeared in The Boy Friend this night.

• 1976 ~ Mary Ford passed away

• 1977 ~ President Jimmy Carter designated October as the official country music month.

• 1979 ~ Clio-Danae Othoneou, Greek actress, musician and pianist

• 1989 ~ Virgil Thomson, US composer/critic (4 saints in 3 acts), died at the age of 92

• 2003 ~ Ronnie Dawson, the rock singer known as the “Blonde Bomber,” died. He was 64. Dawson was diagnosed in 2002 with throat cancer but continued to perform. One of his last gigs was an emotional performance at the Rockabilly Rave festival in England in February. He enthralled fans at the Big D Jamboree in the 1950s and at Carnegie Hall in the 1990s. Among Dawson’s songs as a teenager in the 1950s were Action Packed and I Make the Love. He was famous for live performances where he would jump from the stage, run through the audience and play his guitar while standing on a table. In the late 1950s, Dawson recast himself as an R&B artist named Snake Monroe, signed briefly with Columbia Records, and then joined the local Western swing pioneers the Light Crust Doughboys. In the 1960s, he packed the Levee Club with the Levee Singers, a folk act that appeared nationally on “The Danny Kaye Show” and “The Jimmy Dean Show.” After the Levee Singers broke up, he formed a country band, Steel Rail, and later sang television and radio jingles.

• 2003 ~ Robert LaMarchina, conductor of the Honolulu Symphony from 1967 to 1978, died. He was 75. Born in New York City, Robert LaMarchina began studying the cello at the age of 7. At 8, he made his first appearance as a solo cellist with the St. Louis Symphony. LaMarchina was 15 when famed conductor Arturo Toscanini hired him to perform with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. LaMarchina made is first appearance as a conductor in 1951 in Japan in the Fujiwara Opera’s production of “Madame Butterfly”. He later taught music at Indiana University, traveled with the Ambassadors of Opera and conducted operas on the West Coast.