August 13: Today in Music History

today

 

• 1820 ~ Sir George Grove, British musicographer and educator.  Grove was editor of the Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the latest revised editions of which still carry his name

• 1860 ~ Annie Oakley born as Phoebe Anne Oakley Moses. She was a markswoman and member of Buffalo Bill Cody’s “Wild West Show” which toured America. The Irving Berlin musical, Annie Get Your Gun, was based on her life.

• 1912 ~ Jules Massenet, French composer of the operas Werther and Manon died.
More information about Massenet

• 1919 ~ George Shearing, British-born American jazz pianist and composer

• 1924 ~ The first country music record to sell one million copies reached that point on this day. It was The Prisoner’s Song, recorded by Vernon Dalhart. He became a Country Music Hall of Famer in 1981.

• 1930 ~ Don Ho, Singer

• 1930 ~ Guy Lombardo and his orchestra recorded Go Home and Tell Your Mother, on Columbia Records.

• 1948 ~ Kathleen Battle, American soprano, Metropolitan Opera diva, performed with the NY Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris

• 1949 ~ Cliff Fish, Musician, bassist with Paper Lace

• 1951 ~ Dan Fogelberg, Singer

• 1952 ~ “Hound Dog” was recorded for the first time by Big Mama Thornton

Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” (1956) is one of the biggest and most instantly recognizable pop songs in history. It’s a song so closely associated with the King of Rock and Roll, in fact, that many may mistakenly assume that it was a Presley original. In fact, the story of the song that gave Elvis his longest-running #1 hit (11 weeks) in the summer of 1956 began four years earlier, when “Hound Dog” was recorded for the very first time by the rhythm-and-blues singer Ellie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton in Los Angeles, California.

• 1958 ~ Feargal Sharkey, Singer with The Undertones

• 1987 ~ Vincent Persichetti, American composer died at the age of 72

• 2001 ~ Neil Cooper, the founder of the ROIR rock and reggae record label, died of cancer. He was 71.
Cooper started Reach Out International Records in 1979 and put out his first release – on cassette only – in 1981 by James Chance and the Contortions.
He then produced a catalog of cassettes by rock groups such as Bad Brains, Glenn Branca, Television, MC5, G.G. Allin, Johnny Thunders, and New York Dolls. ROIR’s reggae releases included Lee “Scratch” Perry, the Skatalites, Prince Far I, and Big Youth among others.
The cassette releases were a way to sidestep the artists’ exclusive contracts with other record labels. Vinyl album and compact disc versions were later issued.
Cooper also worked as an agent for MCA and Famous Artists before starting his label.

• 2003 ~ Ed Townsend, who wrote hit songs including 1958’s “For Your Love” and Marvin Gaye’s controversial “Let’s Get It On,” died at the age of 74.   Townsend had written more than 200 songs.    Nat King Cole and Etta James were among the stars who recorded Townsend’s songs. One of his first hits was “For Your Love” – which Townsend recorded himself.
Townsend also wrote and produced the Impressions’ 1974 No. 1 R&B hit “Finally Got Myself Together (I’m A Changed Man).”

Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

 

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

 

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

 

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

 

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

 

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!