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).

 

 

January 20 ~ On This Day in Music

 

Happy Palindrome Day! For 10 consecutive days, from 1-20-21 to 1-29-21, the date is read the same forwards and backwards in the month-day-year format.

Today, 1-20-21, is the first palindrome-number Inauguration Day in American history!

 

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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.

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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

 

January 1 ~ On This Day in Music

new-year-ani

Happy New Year!

• 1652 ~ Johann Krieger, German composer and organist

• 1701 ~ Johann Joachim Agrell, Composer
More information about Agrell

• 1735 ~ Paul Revere, American patriot and music engraver

• 1764 ~ In a stunning demonstration of prodigious talent, the Royal Family at Versailles in France was treated to a brilliant recital by an eight-year-old musician. His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

• 1782 ~ Johann Christian Bach (“English Bach”), German composer, 11th son of Johann Sebastian Bach, died at the age of 46
More about Johann Christian Bach,

• 1878 ~ Edwin Franko Goldman, Composer

1900 ~ Xavier Cugat (Francisco de Asís Javier Cugat Mingall de Brue y Deulofeo). Spanish violinist, composer and bandleader, married to Abbe Lane and Charo
More information about Cugat

• 1916 ~ Earl Wrightson, Actor, singer

• 1923 ~ Milt Jackson, Vibes with The Modern Jazz Quartet

• 1925 ~ Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of the famous Metropolitan Opera in New York City made their singing debuts on radio this day. The broadcast over what was WEAF Radio (now WABC) encouraged others to sing on radio. Some of those were Hootie and the Blowfish, and Barry Manilow.

• 1928 ~ Frank Pourcel, Composer, violinist

• 1942 ~ Country Joe McDonald, Singer with Country Joe & the Fish

• 1953 ~ A sad day in country music, as the legendary Hank Williams died at the young age of 29. Undisputedly, the biggest star in the history of country music, Hank Williams’ legacy is being carried on by his son, Hank Williams, Jr.

• 1955 ~ Elvis Presley appeared at The Eagles Hall in Houston Texas. Presley went on to play over 250 shows in 1955.

• 1958 ~ Johnny Cash played his first-ever prison concert —a concert that helped set Merle Haggard, then a 20-year-old San Quentin inmate, on the path toward becoming a country music legend.

• 1968 ~ A group known as The Blue Velvets decided to change its name this day and it’s a good thing they did. The new name soon became a national pop music favorite as Creedence Clearwater Revival climbed to stardom.

• 1972 ~ Maurice Chevalier passed away. Chevalier was a French actor, Cabaret singer and entertainer.

• 1981 ~ Hephzibah Menuhin, American-Australian concert pianist, writer, and human rights campaigner died at the age of 61. She was sister to the violinist Yehudi Menuhin and to the pianist, painter, and poet Yaltah Menuhin.

• 1984 ~ Alexis Korner passed away. Korner was a British blues musician and radio broadcaster, who has sometimes been referred to as “a founding father of British blues”.

• 2000 ~ Ray Walston, who found commercial success playing a comical devil in the play “Damn Yankees” and an extraterrestrial on the sitcom “My Favorite Martian,” of natural causes at the age of 86. Walston caught the biggest break of his career when he won a Tony in 1955 for his performance in Broadway’s “Damn Yankees.” The smash musical told the story of a frustrated baseball fan who sells his soul. His screen debut came in the 1957 movie “Kiss Them For Me” with Cary Grant, and the next year he played the devil again in the film version of “Damn Yankees.” Walston snagged the role that would stick with him for a lifetime – that of a lovable alien on the TV show “My Favorite Martian” in 1963. The show was immensely popular, but Walston felt so typecast that he tried to highlight his dramatic abilities by returning to the stage when the TV comedy went off the air in 1966. He stayed in theater for several years before re-emerging with a succession of solid supporting roles in movies and television. Nearly 30 years after the end of the lighthearted “My Favorite Martian,” Walston’s role on “Picket Fences” as acerbic Judge Henry Bone earned Walston successive Emmys in 1995-96.

• 2016 ~ Chart-topping R&B singer Natalie Cole, who followed her famous father in the music business with hits like “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) and “Unforgettable,” died at age 65.

• 2018 ~ Robert Mann, American composer and violinist (the founding Violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet), died at the age of 97

 

 

maryorhhappynewyear

December 31 ~ On This Day in Music

new_years_eve

Christmas Music, Conclusion ~Auld Lang Syne

• 1894 ~ Ernest John Moeran, English composer who had strong associations with Ireland.

• 1904 ~ Nathan Milstein, Russian-born American violinist and composer

• 1908 ~ Jonah Jones (Robert Elliott Jones), Trumpeter, singer, played with Cab Calloway and threw spitball that got Dizzy Gillespie fired from a band

• 1922 ~ Rex Allen, ‘The Arizona Cowboy’, entertainer, rodeo star, singer, songwriter who published over 300 songs

• 1923 ~ Singer Eddie Cantor opened in the lead role of Kid Boots. Broadway critics called the production, “A smash musical hit!” Eddie made several of the songs from that show into smash hits also, like Alabamy Bound and If You Knew Susie. Three years later, If You Knew Susie became the title song for a movie starring Cantor.

• 1928 ~ Ross Barbour, Singer with The Four Freshmen

• 1929 ~ Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played Auld Lang Syne as a New Year’s Eve song for the first time. Auld Lang Syne had been the band’s theme song long before 1929. However, this night was the start of a New Year’s Eve tradition as Lombardo’s famed orchestra played at the Hotel Roosevelt Grill in New York City to usher in the new year. Where did it Auld begin? Scottish poet Robert Burns said he heard an old man singing the words, and wrote them down, but Burns is considered the original author. The literal translation means “old long since”; less literal means “days gone by”. Auld Lang Syne and Happy New Year!

• 1930 ~ Odetta (Holmes Felious Gordon), American folk-blues singer, guitarist, songwriter and actress

• 1940 ~ As a result of a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP (the American Society of Composers and Publishers), the radio industry was prevented from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten months. An ASCAP competitor, BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) made giant strides, expanding to include 36,000 copyrights. Many radio stations had to resort to playing public domain songs, such as marches and operas, to keep their stations on the air. Even kids songs were played over and over again until the ban was lifted. One of the most popular songs to be played was Happy Birthday to You, which was performed in many different languages just to get past the ban.

The American copyright status of “Happy Birthday to You” began to draw more attention with the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned “Happy Birthday to You” in his dissenting opinion. American law professor Robert Brauneis, who extensively researched the song, concluded in 2010 that “It is almost certainly no longer under copyright.” In 2013, based in large part on Brauneis’s research, Good Morning to You Productions, a company producing a documentary about “Good Morning to All”, sued Warner/Chappell for falsely claiming copyright to the song. In September 2015, a federal judge declared that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim was invalid, ruling that the copyright registration applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song, and not to its lyrics and melody.

In 2016, Warner/Chappell settled for US $14 million, and the court declared that “Happy Birthday to You” was in the public domain.

• 1942 ~ Andy Summers (Somers), Guitarist, singer with The Police

• 1943 ~ John Denver (Deutschendorf), American singer and songwriter of popular music

• 1943 ~ Pete Quaife, Bass with The Kinks

• 1946 ~ Patti Smith, Songwriter, singer, playwright

• 1947 ~ Burton Cummings, Jr., Singer with The Guess Who

• 1947 ~ Roy Rogers, ‘the King of the Cowboys’, and Dale Evans were hitched in marriage. They rode off into that sunset together for over fifty years. (Roy died July 6, 1998.)

• 1948 ~ Donna Summer (LaDonna Gaines), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1951 ~ Tom Hamilton, Bass with Aerosmith

• 1960 ~ After playing California nightclubs as The Pendletones, Kenny and the Cadets, and Carl and the Passions, a new group emerged this day: The Beach Boys. The group’s first national hit, Surfin’ Safari, was soon to be. They recorded for local (Los Angeles) Colpix Records and at the height of their popularity, Capitol Records. The Beach Boys also recorded under the Reprise Records banner. The revitalized group still tours and Capitol continues to reissue various greatest hits packages. The Beach Boys were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

• 1972 ~ Joe McIntyre, Singer with New Kids on the Block

• 1975 ~ Elvis Presley performed before 60,000 fans at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI. He earned $800,000 for the concert, a world record for a single concert by a single artist.

• 1985 ~ Over 54,500 people played kazoos in downtown Rochester, New York. The assembled multitude played A Bicycle Built for Two. Any idea why? Well, they felt it was appropriate for the last day of the year and it got the crowd listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for ‘Most Kazoo-ers’.

• 1997 ~ Floyd Cramer, American Hall of Fame pianist (Nashville Sound), died of cancer at the age of 64

• 2000 ~ Tanaquil Le Clercq, the ballerina who dazzled the world in the 1940s and ’50s before her career was cut short by paralytic polio, died of pneumonia at the age of 71. Le Clercq contracted the disease, which left her paralyzed below the waist, in 1956. At the time, she was the fourth wife of George Balanchine and had attracted an adoring public because of her long-legged elegance. She later became a teacher at Dance Theater of Harlem, wrote two books and regularly attended dance performances. The New York City Ballet, of which Le Clercq was a charter member, paid tribute to her in 1988, when it opened its 50th-anniversary season. She acknowledged a thunderous New York State Theater ovation from her wheelchair. Le Clercq was blessed with an elongated physique that she used with refinement or humor. She epitomized the modernized look in classical dancing, which enthralled Balanchine, who once cast her as a dragonfly. As the first City Ballet ballerina trained since childhood by Balanchine, she was naturally identified with the roles he created for her in his major works, such as the ballets “Symphonie Concertante,” “Symphony in C” and “La Valse,” in which her doomed heroine danced herself to death. She was equally unforgettable in the ballets of Jerome Robbins and as the white-faced allegorical figure of Sacred Love in “Illuminations” in 1950.

• 2000 ~ José Greco, the famed flamenco dancer and choreographer who founded the José Greco Spanish Dance Company, of heart failure at the age of 82. Born in Montorio nei Frentani, Italy, of Spanish-Italian parents, he moved to Seville, Spain, at the age of 3, then was raised in Brooklyn from the age of 10. He began his career in 1937 and became known as the greatest Spanish dancer in the world. In 1941, the already famous Argentine-born dancer La Argentinita (known off the stage as Encarnacion Lopez) was preparing for an American tour when she saw Greco dance and asked him to perform as her partner and the featured male performer in her company until she died in 1945. After that, Greco danced with her sister Pilar Lopez. In 1951, Greco shared with Carol Channing the title of “New Broadway Personality of the Year.” The José Greco Dance Company, which helped integrate flamenco with mainstream ballet, toured extensively in North America, and six times worldwide, over the following two decades. In 1962, he Greco was knighted by the Spanish government. In 1971, Greco formed the Foundation for Hispanic Dance. His autobiography, “Gypsy in My Soul: The Autobiography of Jose Greco,” was published in 1977.

• 2000 ~ Eddy Shaver, a guitarist who performed with his father Billy Joe Shaver and Dwight Yoakam, died at the age of 38. Eddy Shaver grew up around music because of his father, a celebrated songwriter whose songs include I’m Just an Old Chuck of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday) and Georgia on a Fast Train. Dickie Betts of The Allman Brothers Band helped teach Eddy Shaver to play and gave him his two favorite guitars, one formerly owned by the late guitarist Duane Allman. Eddy Shaver began playing guitar with his father at 13, and gradually became Billy Joe Shaver’s musical partner and sometime co-writer. Billy Joe Shaver merged from country to a more rock-influenced sound because of his son. Albums by the band Shaver include “Tramp on Your Street,” the live “Shaver: Unshaven,” and “Electric Shaver.” A new album, “The Earth Rolls On,” was released on March 20, 2001.

• 2001 ~ Marie Hartford, a well-known businesswoman on Music Row and widow of the late songwriter and performer John Hartford, died of lung cancer. She was 67. Marie Hartford worked at Glaser Publishing, booking the studios at the Glaser Brothers’ Music Row operation, where country music’s Outlaw movement was bred. John Hartford, who wrote the standard Gentle on My Mind, died June 4 after a decade-long battle with cancer. The song was recorded more than 300 times, most prominently by Glen Campbell in 1967 but also by Dean Martin, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin.

• 2003 ~ Renata Babak, an internationally known mezzo-soprano with the Bolshoi Opera who defected from the Soviet Union in 1973, died of pancreatic cancer. She was 69. Babak gave recitals until last year, singing in a sweet but powerful and well-controlled voice described by critics as among the best in the world. Her last opera was in 1997, when she performed in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with Opera Camerata of Washington. Babak was an international star with 10 years’ experience at the Bolshoi when she defected while the opera company was playing at La Scala in Milan, slipping out of a hotel lobby wearing a wig and dark glasses. She immigrated to Canada and went into hiding for two years. Babak’s U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall in 1975 was met with enthusiastic reviews. She moved to New York and then to Washington in the hopes of working with George London, then general director of the Washington Opera. Babak joined the faculty of the Washington Conservatory of Music when London was disabled by a stroke.