January 25: On This Day in Music

 

. 1759 ~ Burns Night commemorates the life of the Scottish bard (poet) Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759. Burns’ best-known work is “Auld Lang Syne”.

Learn more about Burns Night

. 1858 ~ Felix Mendelssohn’s overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was first used as a wedding march. The bride was Queen Victoria’s daughter, the groom was the Crown Prince of Prussia.

. 1886 ~ Wilhelm Furtwängler, German conductor and composer

. 1905 ~ Julia Smith, American composer, pianist, and author on musicology

. 1913 ~ Witold Lutoslawski, Polish composer
More information about Lutoslawski

. 1921 ~ Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovych, composer, died at the age of 43.  One of his most famous works was Carol of the Bells.

. 1938 ~ Etta James, Singer

. 1940 ~ Mary Martin recorded My Heart Belongs to Daddy — for Decca Records. The song was her signature song until she starred in “South Pacific” in 1949. Then, Larry Hagman’s mother had a new trademark: “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair…”

. 1945 ~ Richard Tucker debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City in the production of “La Gioconda”.

 

. 1945 ~ Vaughn Moore made it to the top of the Billboard Pop Chart with his hit, “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” The song is still one of the most popular holiday songs to this day.

. 1964 ~ The Beatles reached the #1 spot on the music charts, as their hit single, I Want to Hold Your Hand, grabbed the top position in “Cash Box” magazine, as well as on the list of hits on scores of radio stations. It was the first #1 hit for The Beatles. “Billboard” listed the song as #1 on February 1. The group’s second #1 hit song, She Loves You, was also released this day – but not on Capitol Records. It was on Swan Records. Other songs by The Beatles were released on Vee Jay (Please, Please Me), M-G-M (My Bonnie with Tony Sheridan), Tollie (Twist and Shout), Atco (Ain’t She Sweet) and the group’s own label, Apple Records, as well as Capitol.

. 1981 ~ Alicia Keys is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, pianist and actress. She was born in one of the roughest areas on New York (Hell’s Kitchen) where it was known in earlier decades as the home of organized crime. Keys attended Professional Performing Arts School where a number of other notable artists have attended including Britney Spears, and graduated at sixteen. She has had a successful career as a solo artist winning eleven Grammy Awards, and 4 top selling albums Songs in A Minor, The Diary of Alicia Keys, Unplugged and As I Am . She has also had a number of singles that have not only topped the charts in the US but around the world including “Fallin'” and “No One”.

. 1999 ~ Robert Shaw passed away.  Shaw was an American conductor most famous for his work with his namesake Chorale, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Shaw received 14 Grammy awards, four ASCAP awards for service to contemporary music, the first Guggenheim Fellowship ever awarded to a conductor, the Alice M. Ditson Conductor’s Award for Service to American Music; the George Peabody Medal for outstanding contributions to music in America, the Gold Baton Award of the American Symphony Orchestra League for “distinguished service to music and the arts,” the American National Medal of Arts, France’s Officier des Arts et des Lettres, England’s Gramophone Award, and was a 1991 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

. 2004 ~ Ronald Fredianelli, a co-founder of the 1950s pop vocal group the Gaylords, died in Las Vegas. He was 73. Fredianelli, who performed as Ronnie Gaylord teamed with Bonaldo Bonaldi and Don Rea in the early 1950s. Bonaldi performed as Burt Holiday. Their debut song, Tell Me You’re Mine, was a Top 10 hit in 1953. Other hits included From the Vine Came the Grape and The Little Shoemaker. Although the Gaylords formed in Detroit, Fredianelli and Bonaldi became a staple in Nevada showrooms, where they performed for decades as Gaylord and Holiday. Bonaldi and Rea live in Reno. One of Fredianelli’s sons, Anthony, is the guitarist for the rock group Third Eye Blind.

. 2015 ~ Artemios “Demis” Ventouris Roussos (June 15 1946-January 25, 2015) was a Greek singer and performer who had international hit records as a solo performer in the 1970s after having been a member of Aphrodite’s Child, a progressive rock group that also included Vangelis. He has sold over 60 million albums worldwide.

. 2018 ~ John Morris, American film and Broadway composer who commonly worked alongside Mel Gibson and Gene Wilder, died of a respiratory infection at the age of 91.

. 2021 – People celebrated the Chinese New Year:

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Muzio Clementi!

Muzio Clementi lived from January 23, 1752 until  March 10, 1832. He was a composer and pianist who born in Rome. In 1766 he was brought to England, where he conducted the Italian Opera in London (1777–80), toured as a virtuoso pianist (1781), and went into the piano-manufacturing business.

He wrote the Gradus ad Parnassum from 1817 to 1826, a piano method on which subsequent piano methods have been based. He composed mainly piano and chamber music.

 

January 22: On This Day in Music

polka-dots

National Polka Dot Day celebrates polka dots, and since 2016 has also been used to celebrate Minnie Mouse, who is known for often wearing the dots. She usually is seen wearing a red dress with white polka dots, and often has a matching bow. Celebrants of the holiday don polka dots to celebrate the dot and Minnie Mouse.

In the nineteenth century, garments with dots began becoming popular. Dotted-Swiss was one such type of garment. In Germany, dots on garments were called Thalertupfen. Dotted clothing could be seen in some famous paintings of the time, such as Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass and Bazille’s Family Reunion.

In the middle of that century, polka dancing became popular in Europe. The name for the dot comes from the dance, although there doesn’t seem to be any real connection between the two. “Polka” is a Polish word for “Polish woman,” and the term polka dot was first printed in 1857, in an American women’s magazine called Godey’s Lady’s Book.

The popularity of polka dots increased in the 1920s and ’30s. Miss America wore a polka dot swimsuit in 1926 and Minnie appeared with polka dots in 1928. Polka dot dresses were common during the 1930s. Following World War II, Dior began putting out dresses with polka dots, and polka dot clothing was worn by stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. In the 1960s, Yayoi Kusama began using polka dots in her paintings. Some men have worn polka dots, such as Bob Dylan, and Marvel Comics even created Polka-Dot Man. Today, polka dots are often worn nostalgically and have gained in popularity with the revival of vintage wear from the 1950s and ’60s.

Because Minnie Mouse is often seen wearing polka dots, the day has been closely tied to her. Although she appeared with Mickey in Plane Crazy on May 15, 1928, this did not have a wide release, and it is Steamboat Willie, which was released on November 18, 1928, which is widely known as Minnie Mouse’s debut. Independent, feminine, and cheerful, she is known for bringing happiness to others and helping them with troubles they may be having. Walt Disney was the first voice of Minnie, just for a short while, and many people have voiced her since. Russi Taylor began voicing her in 1986 and did so for decades afterward.

After Minnie’s debut in 1928, she appeared in many more short films throughout the 1930s. Mickey and Minnie were redesigned in the late 1930s, but Minnie was used less starting in the 1940s. It was not until the 1980s when she once again began being used more prominently in cartoons. She was in Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983 and had her first starring role in a television special with Totally Minnie in 1988. She has since appeared in films such as Mickey’s Once Upon a ChristmasMickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, and Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, and in television shows such as Mickey Mouse WorksHouse of MouseMickey Mouse ClubhouseMickey Mouse, and Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

Minnie has been featured in comics, video games, and has been a staple at Disney parks such as Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, where events have been held on the day. In 2016, an art and fashion show called “Rock the Dots” was held on Polka Dot Day in Los Angeles; it was followed by an exhibit that was open to the public. Disney began encouraging people to wear polka dots and use the hashtag #RocktheDots. Minnie received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on National Polka Dot Day in 2018, during her 90th anniversary year.

How to Observe National Polka Dot Day

Celebrate the day by wearing polka dots. D23: The Official Disney Fan Club and Shop Disney have polka dotted Minnie Mouse clothes and accessories available. Let people know you are wearing polka dots by using the hashtag #RocktheDots. The day could be spent watching films starring Minnie Mouse, such as Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie. Minnie was not wearing polka dots in those first films, but she was wearing a polka dot dress in their opening title sequences. You could also do some Minnie Mouse crafts, or plan a trip to Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World.

 

 

. 1886 ~ John J. Becker, American composer

. 1889 ~ The Columbia Phonograph Company was formed in Washington, DC.

. 1901 ~ Hans Erich Apostel, German-born Austrian composer

. 1904 ~ George Balanchine (Georgi Balanchivadze), Choreographer of Apollo, Orpheus, Firebird, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker. He founded School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet. He was married to Tanaquil Le Clercq.

. 1907 ~ The Richard Strauss opera, “Salome”, was featured with the Dance of the Seven Veils. It was copied by vaudeville performers. Soon, performances of the opera were banned at the Metropolitan Opera House.

. 1916 ~ Henri Dutilleux, French composer

. 1920 ~ William Warfield, singer (Show Boat)

. 1924 ~ James Louis “J.J.” Johnson, Trombonist, composer and bandleader. He was one of first to use the trombone in modern jazz

. 1931 ~ Clyde McCoy and his orchestra recorded Sugar Blues. The tune became McCoy’s theme song, thanks to its popularity on Columbia Records, and later on Decca, selling over a million copies.

. 1935 ~ Sam Cooke, American rhythm-and-blues singer

. 1949 ~ Steve Perry, Drummer with Radio Stars

. 1953 ~ Myung-Whun Chung, Seoul South Korea, pianist/conductor (Chung Trio)

. 2002 ~ Pete Bardens, a keyboardist who played alongside such pop stars as Mick Fleetwood, Ray Davies, Rod Stewart and Van Morrison, died of lung cancer. He was 57. He was known for his progressive and New Age rock style on synthesizer, electric piano and organ. In the 1960s, the London-born Bardens played in the Blues Messengers with Davies, who later went on to form The Kinks; Shotgun Express with Stewart; Them with Morrison; and the group Cheynes with Fleetwood and Peter Green, who went on to form Fleetwood Mac. In 1972, Bardens formed the progressive rock band Camel and stayed with it through the late 1970s. In 1978, he began a successful solo career, releasing several well-received records, including “Speed of Light”, and also played on Morrison’s album “Wavelength” and accompanied him on a world tour. Barden continued to compose, produce and perform music through the 1990s, appearing in Europe with his group Mirage.

. 2004 ~ Milt Bernhart, a big band trombonist known for his solo on Frank Sinatra’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin, died. He was 77. During his three-decade career, Bernhart played in bands led by Benny Goodman, Henry Mancini and others. He was performing in Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-Stars when Marlon Brando arranged for the band to play in the 1954 film The Wild One. Bernhart then became an in-studio musician for Columbia and other film and television studios, and in 1956 added a memorable solo to Sinatra’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Born in Valparaiso, Ind., Bernhart was drafted into the Army and was to be sent overseas during World War II before he was transferred to the service’s band. After his music career wound down in 1973, he bought Kelly Travel Service in Los Angeles. He created the Big Band Academy of America in 1986 and planned to retire as the organization’s founding president in March.

. 2004 ~ Ann Miller, a childhood dance prodigy who fast-tapped her way to movie stardom that peaked in 1940s musicals like “On the Town”, “Easter Parade” and“Kiss Me Kate”, died of lung cancer. She was 81. Miller’s film career peaked at MGM in the late 1940s and early ’50s, but she honed her chops into her 60s, earning millions for “Sugar Babies”, a razzmatazz tribute to the era of burlesque featuring Mickey Rooney. Miller’s legs, pretty face and fast tapping (she claimed the record of 500 taps a minute) earned her jobs in vaudeville and nightclubs when she first came to Hollywood. Her early film career included working as a child extra in films and as a chorus girl in a minor musical, “The Devil on Horseback”. An appearance at the popular Bal Tabarin in San Francisco won a contract at RKO studio, where her name was shortened to Ann. Her first film at RKO, “New Faces of 1937”, featured her dancing. She next played an acting hopeful in “Stage Door”, with Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball and Eve Arden.

When Cyd Charisse broke a leg before starting “Easter Parade” at MGM with Fred Astaire, Miller replaced her. That led to an MGM contract and her most enduring work. She was teamed with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in “On the Town”, Red Skelton in “Watch the Birdie”, and Bob Fosse in “Kiss Me Kate“. Other MGM films included: “Texas Carnival”, “Lovely to Look At”, “Small Town Girl”, “Deep in My Heart”, “Hit the Deck” and “The Opposite Sex.” The popularity of musicals declined in the 1950s, and her film career ended in 1956. Miller remained active in television and the theater, dancing and belting songs on Broadway in “Hello, Dolly” and “Mame”. In later years, she astounded audiences in New York, Las Vegas and on the road with her dynamic tapping in “Sugar Babies.” The show opened on Broadway in 1979 and toured for years. In 1990, she commented that “Sugar Babies” had made her financially independent. While her career in Hollywood prospered, Miller became a regular figure in the town’s nightlife, and she caught the eye of Louis B. Mayer, all-powerful head of MGM. After dating, she declined to marry him because her mother would not allow it. She later married and divorced steel heir Reese Milner and oilmen William Moss and Arthur Cameron.

. 2004 ~ Dick Rodgers, an insurance salesman known as the “Polka King” when he hosted a regional television show from the 1950s to the 1970s, died. He was 76. Rodgers’ television show was on the air from 1955-78, starting on WMBV in Marinette, which later moved to Green Bay and became WLUK-TV. The program was shown on 17 Midwestern stations at its height. Rodgers’ accomplishments included membership in the International Polka Music Hall of Fame (1976) and in the World Concertina Congress Hall of Fame (1996). He also was named Orchestra Leader of the Year by the Wisconsin Orchestra Leaders Association in 1967.

January 21 ~ On This Day in Music

hug-day

 

. 1626 ~ John Dowland, English composer (In Darkness We Dwell), died at the age of 62

. 1899  ~ Alexander Tcherepnin, pianist and composer

. 1903 ~ First performance of “The Wizard of Oz” as a Broadway musical

. 1917 ~ Billy Maxted, Pianist, songwriter, arranger and bandleader

. 1927 ~ The first opera to be broadcast over a national radio network was presented in Chicago, IL. Listeners heard selections from “Faust” by Charles Gounod.

. 1932 ~ Annunzio Paolo Mantovani gave a memorable concert at Queen’s Hall in England to ‘glowing notices’. This was the beginning of the musician’s successful recording career that provided beautiful music to radio stations for nearly five decades. Better known as just Mantovani, his music still entertains us with hits like Red Sails in the Sunset, Serenade in the Night, Song from Moulin Rouge and Charmaine.

. 1939 ~ Wolfman Jack (Robert Smith), Disc jockey, icon of ’60s radio, broadcasting from XERF, then XERB in Mexico and heard throughout a major part of the U.S.; TV announcer: The Midnight Special; actor: American Graffiti; author: Have Mercy! Confessions of the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal

. 1941 ~ Placido Domingo, Spanish tenor and conductor
More information about Domingo Grammy winner
Washington Honored Eastwood, Baryshnikov, Domingo, Berry in 2000

 

. 1941 ~ Ritchie Havens, American rock singer

. 1942 ~ Mac (Scott) Davis, Singer, actor, host of The Mac Davis Show, songwriter, ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1975

. 1942 ~ Nostalgia buffs will want to grab the greatest hits CD of Count Basie (on Verve) and crank up One O’Clock Jump. Just one of the many signature tunes by Bill Basie; the tune was originally recorded on Okeh Records this day.

. 1948 ~ Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Italian composer and teacher

. 1950 ~ Billy Ocean, Grammy Award-winning R&B Male Vocal in 1984

. 1957 ~ Singer Patsy Cline appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s nighttime TV show. She sang the classic, Walking After Midnight, which quickly launched her career.

. 1959 ~ The Kingston Trio (Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds and Dave Guard) received a gold record for Tom Dooley. The Kingston Trio recorded many hits, including Greenback Dollar, M.T.A., Reverend Mr. Black, Tijuana Jail, and the war protest song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?.

. 1966 ~ George Harrison of The Beatles married Patricia (Patty) Anne Boyd in Surrey, England. The two met on the set of the movie, “A Hard Day’s Night”.

. 1970 ~ ABC-TV presented “The Johnny Cash Show” in prime time. Previously, the show had been a summer replacement. The regular season series was a big boost for country music. Johnny wore black in the all-color show, however, like he still does today.

. 1978 ~ The soundtrack of “Saturday Night Fever” reached #1 on the album charts — a position it held for the next six months.

. 1987 ~ Thirty years after its release, Jackie Wilson’s single, Reet Petite (written by Motown founder Berry Gordy), ended a month at the top of England’s music charts. Three years earlier, on this same date, Jackie Wilson died after being in a coma (following a heart attack) for eight and a half years.

. 2002 ~ Peggy Lee, the singer-composer whose smoky voice in such songs as Is That All There Is? and Fever made her a jazz and pop legend, died of a heart attack. She was 81. Lee battled injury and ill health, including heart trouble, throughout a spectacular career that brought her a Grammy, an Oscar nomination and sold- out houses worldwide. In more than 50 years in show business, which began during a troubled childhood and endured through four broken marriages, Lee recorded hit songs with the Benny Goodman band, wrote songs for a Disney movie and starred on Broadway in a short-lived autobiographical show, Peg. A string of hits, notably Why Don’t You Do Right?, made her a star. Then she fell in love with Goodman’s guitarist, Dave Barbour, and withdrew from the music world to be his wife and raise their daughter, Nicki. She returned to singing when the marriage fell apart. Lee’s other notable recordings included Why Don’t You Do Right? I’m a Woman, Lover, Pass Me By, Where or When, The Way You Look Tonight, I’m Gonna Go Fishin‘ and Big Spender. The hit Is That All There Is? won her a Grammy for best contemporary female vocal performance in 1969. She collaborated with Sonny Burke on the songs for Disney’s The Lady and the Tramp, and was the voice for the wayward canine who sang He’s a Tramp (But I Love Him).

. 2022 ~ Marvin Lee Aday (Meatloaf), died at age 74.  He was a singer who appeared in several television shows and films, including the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Fight Club” and “Wayne’s World.”

 

 

January 20 ~ On This Day in Music

1586 ~ Johann Hermann Schein, German composer

. 1703 ~ Joseph-Hector Fiocco, Belgian composer and violinist

. 1855 ~ Amedee-Ernest Chausson, French composer
More information about Chausson

. 1870 ~ Guillaume Lekeu, Belgian composer

. 1876 ~ Josef Hofmann, Polish pianist and composer

. 1881 ~ First American performance of Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No 94 G major aka “Surprise Symphony”.  More about this symphony.

. 1889 ~ Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, American blues guitarist, folk singer and songwriter

. 1891 ~ Mischa Elman, violinist

1894 ~ Walter Hamor Piston, American composer
More information about Piston

. 1899 ~ Alexander Tcherepnin, Composer

. 1922 ~ Ray Anthony (Antonini), Bandleader

. 1926 ~ David Tudor, American pianist and composer of experimental music

. 1935 ~ Buddy Blake (Buddy Cunningham), Recording artist: recorded for Sun Records as B.B. Cunningham and Buddy Blake; record executive: Cover Record Co., Sam Phillips’ Holiday Inn label

. 1941 ~ Ron Townson, Singer with The 5th Dimension

. 1942 ~ Harry Babbitt sang as Kay Kyser and his orchestra recorded, Who Wouldn’t Love You, on Columbia Records. The record went on to be a big hit for Kyser.

. 1947 ~ George Grantham, Drummer with Poco

. 1958 ~ The rock ‘n’ roll classic, Get a Job, by The Silhouettes, was released.

. 1958 ~ Elvis Presley got a little U.S. mail this day with greetings from Uncle Sam. The draft board in Memphis, TN ordered the King to report for duty; but allowed a 60-day deferment for him to finish the film, “King Creole”.

. 1964, The Beatles, a British rock group, released its first LP album, “Meet The Beatles“, in the US record stores. The album turned out to be a super hit and reached #1 position on music charts by early February.

. 1965 ~ John Michael Montgomery, Country singer

. 1965 ~ Alan Freed, the ‘Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, died in Palm Springs, CA. Freed was one of the first radio disc jockeys to program black music, or race music, as it was termed, for white audiences. In the 1950s, Freed, at WJW Radio in Cleveland, coined the phrase, “rock ‘n’ roll,” before moving to WABC in New York. He was fired by WABC for allegedly accepting payola (being paid to play records by certain artists and record companies). The 1959-1960 congressional investigation into payola made Freed the scapegoat for what was a widespread practice. Freed, not so incidentally, died nearly penniless after the scandal was exposed.

. 2002 ~ Actress, writer and musician Carrie Hamilton, daughter of actress Carol Burnett, died of cancer. She was 38. Hamilton, whose father was the late producer Joe Hamilton, appeared in the television series “Fame” and had guest roles on other shows, including “Murder She Wrote,” “Beverly Hills 90210” and “thirtysomething.” She also starred in television movies. She and her mother collaborated on a stage version of Burnett’s best-selling memoir “One More Time.” The resulting play, “Hollywood Arms,” will have its world premiere in Chicago in April, said Burnett’s publicist, Deborah Kelman. Hamilton spoke publicly in the ’80s about her struggles with addiction and her decision to go drug-free. She starred as Maureen in the first national touring version of the musical “Rent” and wrote and directed short films through the profit-sharing production company Namethkuf. She won “The Women in Film Award” at the 2001 Latino Film Festival for her short film “Lunchtime Thomas.”

. 2002 ~ John Jackson, who went from gravedigger to one of the pre-eminent blues musicians in the country, died from kidney failure. He was 77. During his long career, Jackson played for presidents and in 68 countries. Jackson earned a living as a cook, a butler, a chauffeur and a gravedigger before his music career took off. He was playing guitar for some friends at a gas station in Fairfax in 1964 when Charles L. Perdue, who teaches folklore at the University of Virginia, pulled in to get some gas. He listened as Jackson taught a song to a mailman he knew. He and Jackson became friends, and Perdue eventually helped launch Jackson’s career by introducing him to people in the music business. The seventh son of 14 children, Jackson had just three months’ education at the first-grade level. But he earned the admiration of fans from all walks of life around the world. B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and Pete Seeger are among the performers he has played with and befriended. Among his numerous awards is the National Endowment for the Arts’ Heritage Fellowship Award, which he received in 1986.

2014 ~ Death of Italian conductor Claudio Abbado.

 

Happy Birthday ~ Gene Krupa!

krupa

 

Eugene Bertram “Gene” Krupa lived from January 15, 1909 to October 16, 1973.  He was an American jazz and big band drummer, actor and composer, known for his highly energetic and flamboyant style.

One of my all-time favorite non-piano songs is Sing Sing Sing. Krupa joined Benny Goodman’s band in 1934, where his featured drum work made him a national celebrity. His tom-tom interludes on their hit “Sing, Sing, Sing” were the first extended drum solos to be recorded commercially.

The Benny Goodman big band playing Sing Sing Sing, featuring Gene Krupa at the end. We get the added benefit of hearing Mr. Harry James play a trumpet solo.

~~~

Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich: Famous Drum Battle

Rubber Ducky Day!

 

According to a 1973 Sesame Street calendar, Rubber Duckie’s Birthday is January 13 so around the country it’s National Rubber Ducky Day! A friend of Ernie and Big Bird, Duckie made his debut in a February 1970 episode.

The rubber ducky (also spelled duckie) has come a long way from his first concept as a chew toy for children. While the origin of the first rubber ducky is uncertain, many rubber molded toys from dolls to those in various animal shapes came about when rubber manufacturing developed in the late 1800s.

During World Wars I and II, rubber was a valuable commodity that was rationed, and by the 1940s with the advent of plastic, the rubber ducky began being produced in vinyl and plastic.

The earliest patent for a rubber duck toy was patented in 1928 by Landon Smart Lawrence. His design was for a bath toy which was weighted and when tipped would return to its upright position. The sketch included with the patent was that of a duck.

Russian Sculptor Peter Ganine sculpted many animal figures. One, a duck, he later designed and patented it into a floating toy which closely resembles the rubber ducky we have become familiar with today.

Sales of the iconic yellow rubber ducky we’ve come to know today soared in Britain in 2001. Why? A British Tabloid, The Sun, reported Queen Elizabeth II had a rubber duck in her bathroom that wore an inflatable crown.

The rubber ducky became a Toy Hall of Fame inductee in 2013. Founded in 1998, the Hall of Fame has only inducted 52 other toys.

 

 

 

The now world-famous giant rubber duck, by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, has sailed into the Port of Los Angeles. The six-story-tall bath toy has made its west coast debut to take part in their Tall Ships Festival parade. The duck has also appeared in Australia, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand and Brazil. Earlier this year, versions of the massive inflatable duck were in Asia, including Beijing’s harbor and Taiwan, where the duck actually exploded and fell apart while on display. Report by Sarah Kerr.

 

 

 

Did you know that the City of Fairfax Regional Library has a Rubber Ducky collection?

Go on a scavenger hunt to discover more than 200 ducks hiding throughout the building and are on display.  The Rubber Ducky is the library’s mascot.

 

And, finally, a little history lesson:

 

 

And, the final word…

 

 

January 6 ~ On This Day in Music

Today is National Shortbread Day.

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1695 ~ Giuseppe Sammartini, Italian composer

. 1803 ~ Henri Herz, Austrian pianist and composer

. 1838 ~ Max Bruch, German Composer
More information about Bruch

. 1850 ~ Franz Xaver Scharwenka, Polish composer
More information about Scharwenka

. 1852 ~ Louis Braille died. He was a French educator and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day and is known worldwide simply as braille.

. 1856 ~ Giuseppe Martucci, Italian composer, conductor, pianist and teacher influential in reviving Italian interest in non-operatic music.

. 1863 ~ First performance of Johannes Brahms‘ Piano Sonata No. 3 in f, in Vienna.

. 1872 ~ Alexander Scriabin, Russian composer and pianist
Recommended Books and CD’s by Scriabin

. 1878 ~ Carl Sandburg, Author, poet, folk balladeer

. 1916 ~ Philip Bezanson, American composer and educator

. 1924 ~ Earl Scruggs, American country music singer, banjo player and songwriter, born. He was with the Grand Ole Opry.

. 1929 ~ Wilbert Harrison, Singer

. 1934 ~ Bobby Lord, Country singer

. 1937 ~ Nino Tempo, Sax musician, singer with April Stevens

. 1937 ~ Doris Troy, Singer

. 1938 ~ Trummy Young played trombone and sang with the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra in New York City as Margie became Decca record number 1617.

. 1946 ~ Roger Keith, Lead guitarist, Pink Floyd

. 1946 ~ Syd (Roger) Barrett, Guitarist, singer with Pink Floyd

. 1959 ~ Kathy Sledge, Singer with Sister Sledge

. 1964 ~ Premier of “Hello Dolly”

 

 

. 1966 ~ Duke Ellington’s concert of sacred music, recorded at 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, was broadcast on CBS-TV.

. 1975 ~ The Broadway premiere of “The Wiz” opened, receiving enthusiastic reviews. The show, a black version of “The Wizard of Oz”, ran for 1,672 shows at the Majestic Theatre. Moviegoers, however, gave a thumbs down to the later cinema version of the musical that starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. One memorable song from the show is Ease on Down the Road.

. 1993 ~ The great jazz trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie died of cancer at age 75. He has been credited with being a co-founder (with Charlie Parker) of ‘bebop’ music and wrote many jazz numbers (Salt Peanuts, Night in Tunisia). Gillespie also created the ‘afro-cuban’ sound in jazz music. A few of the disciples who preached Dizzy’s gospel of bebop were Thelonious Monk, Earl ‘Bud’ Powell, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.

. 2000 ~ Ancient note: music as bridge between species

Alfred Brendel’s Birthday!

brendel
Alfred Brendel was born in 1931 in Wiesenberg, Czech Republic.

After World War II, Brendel composed music, as well as continuing to play the piano, to write and to paint. However, he never had more formal piano lessons and, although he attended master classes with Edwin Fischer and Eduard Steuermann, he was largely self-taught after the age of six.

He made his debut in Graz (1948), and has since performed widely throughout Austria, where he lives.

He is known for his interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, and Schoenberg. He tours internationally, and has written many essays on music.

A short insight from Alfred Brendel on his recording career:

Happy Birthday, Victor Borge!

Victor Borge was born in 1909 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was an entertainer and pianist – a deliciously funny performer. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, and in Vienna and Berlin.

He made his debut as a pianist in 1926, and as a revue actor in 1933. From 1940 until his death in 2000 he worked in the USA for radio, television, and theatre, and has performed with leading symphony orchestras on worldwide tours since 1956.

He was best known for his comedy sketches combining music and narrative. He used his classical training to skew serious music and performers.

From his obituary:

Pianist Victor Borge, died in his sleep Dec 23, 2000 at his Greenwich, Connecticut home, was known as the unmelancholy Dane of international show business. He would have turned 92 on Jan. 3, 2001.

“The cause of death was heart failure,” his daughter, Sanna Feirstein, told Reuters.

“He had just returned from a wonderfully successful trip to Copenhagen … and it was really heartwarming to see the love he experienced in his home country,” she said.

Borge was one of five performers selected for the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999.

“He went to sleep, and they went to wake him up this morning, and he was gone,” said his agent, Bernard Gurtman.

“He had so much on the table, and to the day he died he was creative, and practicing piano several hours a day,” Gurtman told Reuters. “He was just a great inspiration.”

Funeral services will be private, his daughter said.

Borge made a career of falling off piano stools, missing the keys with his hands and getting tangled up in the sheet music.

One of his inspirations was a pianist who played the first notes of the Grieg A Minor Concerto and then fell on the keys dead.

He said that the only time he got nervous on stage was when he had to play seriously and adds that if it had not been for Adolf Hitler he probably would never have pursued a career as a concert-hall comedian.

Until he was forced to flee Denmark in 1940 he was a stage and screen idol in his native country.

Lampooned Hitler

But as a Jew who had lampooned Hitler, Borge — his real name was Boerge Rosenbaum — was in danger and fled first to Sweden and then to the United States, where he arrived penniless and unknown and by a fluke got booked on the Bing Crosby radio show. He was an instant success.

He became an American citizen in 1948, but thought of himself as Danish. It was obvious from the numerous affectionate tributes and standing ovations at his 80th birthday concert in Copenhagen in 1989 that Danes felt the same way.

In the concert at Copenhagen’s Tivoli gardens, Borge played variations on the theme of “Happy Birthday to You” in the styles of Mozart, BrahmsWagner and Beethoven — all executed with such wit that the orchestra was convulsed with laughter that a woman performing a piccolo solo was unable to draw breath to play.

“Playing music and making jokes are as natural to me as breathing,” Borge told Reuters in an interview after that concert.

“That’s why I’ve never thought of retiring because I do it all the time whether on the stage or off. I found that in a precarious situation, a smile is the shortest distance between people. When one needs to reach out for sympathy or a link with people, what better way is there?

“If I have to play something straight, without deviation in any respect, I still get very nervous. It’s the fact that you want to do your best, but you are not at your best because you are nervous and knowing that makes you even more nervous.”

His varied career included acting, composing for films and plays and writing but he was best known for his comic sketches based on musical quirks and oddities.

Unpredictable Routine

His routines were unpredictable, often improvised on stage as his quick wit responded to an unplanned event — a noise, a latecomer in the audience — or fixed on an unlikely prop — a fly, a shaky piano stool.

Borge was born in Denmark on January 3, 1909, son of a violinist in the Danish Royal Orchestra.

His parents encouraged him to become a concert pianist, arranging his first public recital when he was 10. In 1927 he made his official debut at the Tivoli Gardens.

Borge’s mischievous sense of humor was manifest from an early age. Asked as a child to play for his parent’s friends he would announce “a piece by the 85-year-old Mozart” and improvise something himself.

When his mother was dying in Denmark during the occupation, Borge visited her, disguised as a sailor.

“Churchill and I were the only ones who saw what was happening,” he said in later years. “He saved Europe and I saved myself.”

From 1953 to 1956, he appeared in New York in his own production “Comedy in Music,” a prelude to world tours that often took him to his native Scandinavia.

On radio and television, Borge developed the comedy techniques of the bungling pianist that won him worldwide fame.

Many of his skits were based on real-life events. One of his classics evolved from seeing a pianist playing a Tchaikovsky concerto fall off his seat.

Borge’s dog joined the show after it wandered on stage while he was at the keyboard — an entrance nobody would believe had been unplanned.

One incident could not be repeated. A large fly flew on to Borge’s nose while he was playing. “How did you get that fly to come on at the right time?” people asked. “Well, we train them,” Borge explained.

Borge’s book, “My Favorite Intervals”, published in 1974, detailed little-known facts of the private lives of composers describing Wagner’s pink underwear and the time Borodin left home in full military regalia but forgot his trousers.

In 1975, Borge was honored in recognition of the 35th anniversary of his arrival in the United States and his work as unofficial goodwill ambassador from Denmark to the United States. He celebrated his 75th birthday in 1984 with a series of concerts at Carnegie Hall and in Copenhagen.

Borge received a host of honors from all four Scandinavian countries for his contributions to music, humor and worthy causes.

Borge, who had lived in Greenwich since 1964, is survived by five children, nine grandchildren, and one great grandchild. His wife of many years, Sanna, died earlier that year.

Borge’s birthday

Anniversary of Borge’s death