. 1858 ~ Dame Ethel Smyth, British composer
. 1912 ~ Kathleen Ferrier, British contralto singer, born. Best known for her emotional performances of Gustav Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” (“Song of the Earth”).
1916 ~ Yehudi Menuhin, American violinist
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. 1921 ~ Candido (Camero), Musician: bongos, congas, tres, bass: over 100 recording credits with famous jazz, Latin and R&B artists
. 1922 ~ Charles Mingus, American jazz double-bass player, pianist, composer and bandleader
. 1922 ~ Lou Stein, pianist (Tonight! America After Dark)
. 1936 ~ Glen Campbell, Grammy Award-winning singer
. 1940 ~ The first all-Chinese commercial radio program was broadcast over KSAN radio in San Francisco, CA. Later, KSAN would become a pioneer in playing ‘underground rock’ music.
. 1943 ~ Mel Carter, Singer
. 1950 ~ Peter Frampton, Singer, guitarist
. 1956 ~ Elvis Presley made his Las Vegas debut on this night at the Frontier Hotel. With Heartbreak Hotel at the top of the pop charts, one can imagine the excitement generated by the new ‘King of rock and roll’. Even with a number one hit, Elvis was not yet well-received by the middle-aged audience. Management of the Frontier was so unimpressed, they gave Elvis his walking papers after one week of a two-week engagement.
. 1978 ~ Steve Martin & THE TOOT UNCOMMONS performed KING TUT on Saturday Night Live, popularizing goofy Egyptian dancing. The song, which portrays the pharaoh as his “favorite honky,” went on to sell over 500,000 copies.
Nearly three months after it was featured in the skit, the novelty tune peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Some of the backing musicians on the track, who called themselves the Toot Uncommons, were actually members of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
The record, which paid homage to Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen, would go on to sell over a million copies.
The song was also included on Martin’s album A Wild and Crazy Guy.
In the book Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, authors Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad write that the sketch was one of the most expensive productions the show had attempted up to that point.
Martin had brought the song to the show and asked if he could perform it, not expecting the production that occurred—producer Lorne Michaels put everything behind it.
. 1983 ~ Earl “Fatha” Hines, American jazz pianist and bandleader, died at the age of 79
. 2001 ~ Jazz pianist-composer Isaac Cole, brother of the late singer Nat King Cole who worked on his niece Natalie’s multiple Grammy-winning 1991 album, died of cancer. He was 73. Ike Cole said he may have benefited from being compared with his more famous brother, who died in 1965 of lung cancer at 45, but that he disliked being accused of “trying to live off the name.” Ike Cole said he decided against changing his name because, shortly before dying, Nat asked him not to. He and brother Freddy toured in 1990 with a show saluting their famous brother. Ike Cole had played the bass drum in an Army band but in 1957, he formed the Ike Cole Trio in Chicago, where he was born, and went on the road. Winning major TV exposure, he soon was booked steadily for Las Vegas shows. His trio also regularly toured Japan, Australia and Europe as well as the United States. Though he often sang a medley of his older brother’s hits, Ike primarily was a jazzman. He played keyboard when Natalie Cole recorded her late father’s songs for a 1991 album that won three Grammys.
. 2013 ~ Richie Havens, American singer-songwriter and guitarist, died from a heart attack at the age of 72