May 7: Today’s Music History

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•  1833 ~ Johannes Brahms, German composer
More information about Brahms

• 1840 ~ Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer
Listen to Tchaikovsky’s music
Read about Tchaikovsky
Read quotes by and about Tchaikovsky
More information about Tchaikovsky

• 1919 ~ Eva (Evita) Peron, Argentina’s spiritual leader and wife of Argentina’s President, Juan Peron; actress on stage, film and radio; the subject of the Broadway musical and film Evita

• 1927 ~ Elisabeth Söderström, Swedish soprano

• 1931 ~ Teresa Brewer (Breuer), Singer

• 1941 ~ Glenn Miller and his Orchestra recorded one of the great American music standards, Chattanooga Choo Choo
More information about Chattanooga Choo Choo

• 1942 ~ Felix Weingartner, Austrian conductor and composer, died; best known for his interpretations of Wagner and Beethoven.

• 1958 ~ Pianist Van Cliburn signed an artist’s contract with RCA Victor Records.

• 1966 ~ The Mamas & The Papas made the climb to the top of the Billboard pop music chart with Monday, Monday.

• 1977 ~ The Eagles went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Hotel California’, the group’s fourth US No.1, a No.8 hit in the UK. The Eagles also won the 1977 Grammy Award for Record of the Year for ‘Hotel California’ at the 20th Annual Grammy Awards in 1978. The song’s guitar solo is ranked 8th on Guitar Magazine’s Top 100 Guitar Solos and was voted the best solo of all time by readers of Guitarist magazine.

• 1995 ~ Ray McKinley passed away.  He was an American jazz drummer, singer, and bandleader.

• 2002 ~ Buster Brown, a tap star and choreographer who danced on stage, in films and on television, died. He was 88. Brown was one of the last surviving members of the Copasetics, a legendary group of veteran dancers who performed together. Known for his quick rhythms and charm, Brown was a mentor and teacher for a younger generation of dancers. Brown, who was born James Brown in Baltimore, began his dancing career with a trio called the Three Aces and Speed Kings. He eventually began a solo career, appearing in the Hollywood musical “Something to Shout About” in 1943. Brown toured with the bands of Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington, and was a featured dancer in Ellington’s concerts in the 1960s. He danced in the films “The Cotton Club” and “Tap” and on two public television specials. He also performed with the original casts of the Broadway musicals “Bubbling Brown Sugar” and “Black and Blue.” Brown toured South America with the Cab Calloway Orchestra and was commissioned by the State Department to perform in several African countries. He also taught master classes throughout Europe. Beginning in 1997, Brown was master of ceremonies at a weekly Sunday tap jam at the Manhattan club Swing 46, where young and old dancers stopped by to perform. He recently received an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma City University.

May 5: Today’s Music History

cinco-de-mayo

Cinco de Mayo

• 1891 ~ New York City was the site of the dedication of a building called the Music Hall. It was quite a celebration. A festival was held for five days, featuring guest conductor Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. The structure is not called the Music Hall anymore. It’s called Carnegie Hall, named in honor of Andrew Carnegie.

• 1900 ~ The Billboard, a magazine for the music and entertainment industries, began weekly publication after six years as a monthly. The name was later shortened to Billboard.

• 1910 ~ Giulietta Simionato, Italian contralto

• 1927 ~ Charles Rosen, American pianist, musicologist, and writer

• 1934 ~ Ace Cannon, Saxophonist

• 1935 ~ The radio program, Rhythm at Eight, made its debut. The star of the show was 24-year-old Ethel Merman. Though Merman would become a legend years later, she didn’t fare so well on radio. Her show was taken off the air after 13 weeks and Miss Merman returned to her first love, Broadway. Tammy Wynette (1942) (Pugh) Grammy Award-winning country singer and songwriter

• 1948 ~ Bill Ward, Musician, drummer

• 1955 ~ The musical, Damn Yankees, opened in New York City for a successful run of 1,019 performances. The show at the 42nd Street Theatre mixed both baseball and ballet. It is an adaptation of the book, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. Gwen Verdon starred in the role of Lola. Whatever Lola wants Lola gets including the Tony for Best Actress in a musical for her performance.

• 1973 ~ 56,800 fans paid $309,000 to see Led Zeppelin at Tampa Stadium. This was the largest, paid crowd ever assembled in the U.S. to see a single musical act. The concert topped The Beatles 55,000-person audience at Shea Stadium in New York ($301,000) on August 15, 1965.

• 2000 ~ Hugh N. Pruett, the wardrobe director for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, died at 68. Pruett worked with countless international opera singers, directors and designers on 329 productions in his more than 40 years with the Lyric Opera.

• 2002 ~ Veteran movie director George Sidney, famed for such musicals as “Anchors Aweigh,” “Kiss Me Kate” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” died at his Las Vegas home. Born into a show business family, the Long Island, New York, native shot 28 features in 27 years, and worked with such stars as Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Tony Curtis, Lana Turner, Dick Van Dyke, Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret. He once defined a star as “someone who attracts your attention even when he or she isn’t doing anything.” After making his mark in short films, Sidney moved to features in 1941 with “Thousands Cheer,” a hit musical starring Kathryn Grayson and Gene Kelly. “Anchors Aweigh” (1945), which starred Sinatra and Gene Kelly as sailors on liberty, received five Oscar nominations including best picture. In 1950, Sidney took over the troubled production of “Annie Get Your Gun,” which was a major success — as was his 1951 remake of “Show Boat” and his 1953 film version of Cole Porter’s musical “Kiss Me Kate.” In 1963, he directed Presley and Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas,” considered one of the better entries in the rock legend’s woeful Hollywood career. Sidney’s last film was the 1968 British musical “Half a Sixpence,” starring Tommy Steele. Sidney served two stints as president of the Directors Guild of America, and helped animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera set up what would become a cartoon powerhouse.

 

May 6: Today’s Music History

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1896 ~ Puccini’s opera La Bohème made its world premiere in Venice

 

 

• 1913 ~ Chopin’s Polonaise, films: The Eddy Duchin Story, Hollywood Canteen, Out of this World, Diamond Horseshoe

• 1913 ~ Carmen Cavallaro, American actor and pianist (Hollywood Canteen, Diamond Horseshoe)

Yes!  Same video!

• 1915 ~ George Perle, American composer and theorist

• 1918 ~ Godfrey Ridout, Canadian composer

• 1926 ~ Marguerite Piazza (Luft), Soprano and regular on TV’s Your Show of Shows

• 1942 ~ Richard Stilwell, American baritone

• 1945 ~ Bob Seger, Singer

• 1963 ~ Ted Weems passed away. He was an American bandleader and musician.

• 1983 ~ Kai Winding passed away. He was a Danish-born American trombonist and jazz composer.

• 2002 ~ Otis Blackwell, American pianist, singer and songwriter died

May 3: Today’s Music History

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• 1844 ~ Richard D’Oyly Carte, British impresario; producer of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. He also founded the Savoy Theater in London.

• 1912 ~ Virgil Fox, Organ virtuoso: credited for bringing the organ “to the forefront among classical concert instruments”

• 1919 ~ Betty Comden, Composer

• 1919 ~ Pete Seeger, American folk singer, banjo player, guitarist and songwriter

• 1924 ~ Joe Ames, Singer with The Ames Brothers

• 1926 ~ Jimmy Cleveland, Composer, musician, trombone

• 1928 ~ Dave Dudley (Pedruska), Country singer

• 1933 ~ James Brown, American rhythm-and-blues singer songwriter, dancer and instrumentalist, The Godfather of Soul, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986

• 1937 ~ Frankie Valli (Francis Castellucio), Falsetto singer with The Four Seasons

• 1939 ~ Beer Barrel Polka, one of the standards of American music, was recorded by The Andrews Sisters for Decca Records. Patti, Maxine and LaVerne turned this song into a giant hit.

 

• 1951 ~ In Britain, the King and Queen inaugurated the Festival of Britain on London’s South Bank and also opened the Festival Hall.

• 1956 ~ Most Happy Fella, a musical by Frank Loesser, opened at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. The show, an adaptation of They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard, ran for 676 performances on Broadway.

• 1960 ~ The play, The Fantasticks, opened at the Sullivan Playhouse in New York City. It would later become the longest-running off-Broadway play.

 

• 1971 ~ NPR, National Public Radio, the U.S. national, non-commercial radio network, was born.

• 1997 ~ Narciso Yepes, famous Spanish classical guitarist, died.

• 2001 ~ Legendary jazz drummer Billy Higgins died at the age of 64. Higgins was one of the most recorded figures in the history of jazz, performing with John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Milt Jackson, Charles Lloyd, Pat Metheny, Lee Morgan, Art Pepper and Joshua Redman, among others. He played with pianist Cedar Walton and was involved with the first edition of bassist Charlie Haden’s innovative Quartet West. Higgins came to prominence in the 1950s with saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s free jazz group, which included Haden and trumpeter Don Cherry. Higgins’ drumming laid the foundation for the group’s free jazz flights of fancy. That group sparked a decade of innovation in jazz that was carried on by the Coleman Quartet, Coltrane, George Russell, Charles Mingus and Albert Ayler, among others. Higgins’ ability to adapt his sense of swing to any genre made him one of the most in-demand drummers of the past four decades. Higgins helped found World Stage, a storefront performance space and teaching venue in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park. He was also on the jazz faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. Higgins was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master’s Fellowship in 1997.

• 2002 ~ Yevgeny Svetlanov, a renowned Russian pianist, composer and former chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater, died. He was 73. He was born in Moscow in 1928. He graduated from the Gnesinykh Musical- Pedagogical Institute and from the Moscow Conservatory. For several years he was conductor and chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre. From 1965 on he was artistic director and chief conductor of the State Symphonic Orchestra of USSR. He composed several symphonies, symphonic poems, chamber music works, and vocal-instrumental works. Svetlanov was the chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater from 1963 to 1965, when he was named artistic director and chief conductor of the Soviet State Symphony. He was named a People’s Artist of the Soviet Union in 1968 and was awarded the Lenin prize in 1972 and the Order of Lenin 1978. He was given the Soviet State prize for creative achievement in 1983. Svetlanov was born in the Soviet Union in 1928. In 1951, he graduated from the Gnesin Institute of Music. Svetlanov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1955 as a pianist, composer and conductor.

April 30: Today’s Music History

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. 1717 ~ Guillaume Gommaire Kennis, composer

. 1792 ~ Johann Friedrich Schwencke, composer

. 1837 ~ Alfred Gaul, composer

. 1852 ~ Anton Rubinstein’s opera “Dmitri Donskoi”, premiered in St Petersburg

. 1870 ~ Franz Lehar, Austrian composer of operettas. He achieved worldwide recognition for “The Merry Widow”.
More information about Lehar

. 1883 ~ David John de Lloyd, composer

. 1884 ~ Albert Israel Elkus, composer

. 1885 ~ The Boston Pops Orchestra formed

. 1885 ~ Luigi Russolo, composer

. 1886 ~ Frank Merrik, composer

. 1900 ~ Train engineer Casey Jones was killed when trying to save the Cannonball Express as it highballed its way through Vaughn, MS. The famous song about Jones is based on this train accident.

. 1903 ~ Victor Records made its first Red Seal recording this day. The premiere disk featured Ada Crossley, an opera contralto.

. 1916 ~ Robert Shaw, American conductor, Robert Shaw Chorale; music director of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

. 1923 ~ Percy Heath, Jazz musician: bass: founder of Modern Jazz Quartet, The Heath Brothers

. 1933 ~ Willie Nelson, American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist

. 1940 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his band recorded the bandleader’s signature song, Contrasts, for Decca Records. The song went on to become one of the most familiar big band themes of the era.

. 1941 ~ Johnny Farina, Musician: rhythm guitar with Santo & Johnny

. 1943 ~ Bobby Vee (Velline), Singer

. 1944 ~ Richard Schoff, Singer with The Sandpipers

. 1953 ~ Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle became a team this day at Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sinatra’s new musical style, under Riddle’s direction, brought the crooner to the top of the record world for the second time in his illustrious career.

. 1953 ~ Merrill Osmond, Singer with The Osmonds: Alan, Donny, Jay, Marie, Wayne, Jimmy

. 1954 ~ Darius Milhaud’s Fourth Concerto for piano and orchestra premiered in Haifa

. 1956 ~ Richard Farina, folk singer: Reflections in a Crystal Wind

. 1983 ~ Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) passed away.  He was an American blues musician.

. 1987 ~ Three more compact discs of music by The Beatles went on sale for the first time. The discs were Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver. All became hits again for the Fab Four.

. 2000 ~ Bill Woods, a bandleader who helped Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and other country music stars launch their careers, died. He was 76. In the 1950s, Woods ran The Blackboard country music club in Bakersfield. The club attracted many country music stars and helped develop what became known as the Bakersfield Sound. Woods also could play many instruments, including piano, guitar, fiddle, drums, and the banjo.

. 2000 ~ Jonah Jones, a Grammy award-winning jazz trumpet player who began his career on a Mississippi riverboat and became a star playing with Cab Calloway, died at the age of 90.

. 2001 ~ Herman “Rock” Johnston, a musician known for his innovative work on steel drums, died of prostate cancer. He was 63. Johnston gained acclaim in the early 1960s with an innovation that stretched the musical range of the instrument from 24 to 36 notes. During his career, the Trinidad native appeared at the United Nations, Lincoln Center and Radio City Musical Hall in New York City, and with the Boston Symphony at its summer festival in Tanglewood. His repertoire spanned rock, spiritual, classical, show tunes and Caribbean folk music.

. 2003 ~ Bill Napier, a clarinetist who rose to prominence with the premier San Francisco jazz bands of the 1940s and 50s, died. He was 76. Napier helped create a catchy West Coast style with a Dixieland sound and a San Francisco vibe. He played with jazz stars including trombonist Turk Murphy, Lu Watters and Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band. Though he took some lessons, Napier essentially taught himself to play. His talent, and his love of music brought him to an eclectic mix of venues – from cable car turnabouts to halftime of Harlem Globetrotters’ games to Silicon Valley soirees at the height of the dot-com boom. His last show was December 30, 2002.

. 2015 ~ Ben E. King [Benjamin Earl Nelson], American soul singer (Stand by Me), died at the age of 76

.2016 ~ Phil Ryan, Welsh keyboardist and composer (Man, Pete Brown), died at the age of 69

April 29: Today’s Music History

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OCMS 1879 ~ Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor. Founded the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947 and did much to promote the works of Delius, Sibelius and Richard Strauss.
Read quotes by and about Beecham

. 1895 ~ Sir Malcolm Sargent, English conductor, born. He was in charge of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 1942 until 1948 and of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1950 until 1957.

OCMS 1899 ~ Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist, bandleader and composer
Read quotes by and about Ellington
More information about Ellington
Grammy winner

. 1913 ~ Donald Mills, Singer with The Mills Brothers.

. 1925 ~ Danny Davis (George Nowland), Grammy Award-winning bandleader with Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass. Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1969, Country Music Awards Instrumental Group of the Year 1969 to 1974

. 1927 ~ Carl Gardner, Singer with The Coasters

. 1931 ~ (Anthony James) Lonnie Donegan, Folk singer, musician: guitar, banjo

. 1933 ~ Rod McKuen, Singer, poet-songwriter

. 1936 ~ Zubin Mehta, Indian conductor, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and violinist

. 1936 ~ April Stevens (Carol Lo Tempio), Singer

. 1943 ~ Duane Allen, Singer with the Oak Ridge Boys

. 1947 ~ Tommy James (Jackson), Singer with Tommy James and The Shondells

. 1949 ~ Francis Rossi, Musician, guitar and singer with Status Quo

. 1968 ~ Hair made its way from Greenwich Village to Broadway. The show certainly opened eyes. It was the first time that actors appeared nude in a Broadway musical. Hair ran for 1,844 shows on and off Broadway. It was even more successful in its London run later. Big songs from the show: Hair (The Cowsills) and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The 5th Dimension).

. 1969 ~ Sir Duke, Duke Ellington, celebrated his 70th birthday. He was honored with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom, the U.S. government’s highest civilian honor.

. 2001 ~ Opera diva Rita Nellie Hunter, a powerful soprano celebrated for her fine Wagnerian performances, died at the age of 67. Hunter, originally from Wallasey, England, was best remembered as the quintessential Brunnhilde of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, which she performed in London, New York, Germany and Sydney. Hunter’s agile voice led her through performances of Verdi’s “Aida,” and “Macbeth,” Puccini’s “Turandot” and Strauss’ challenging “Elektra.” Despite her remarkable voice, Hunter did not reach international stardom. Her physical size, at a time when the opera was seeking slimmer performers, and the fact that she sang roles primarily in English, kept her from achieving global fame. Hunter married tenor John Darnley Thomas in 1960, and after his death in 1994, took over management of his Singing Academy in Sydney.

April 28: Today’s Music History

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. 1870 ~ Hermann Suter, Swiss composer and conductor

. 1871 ~ Louise Homer, American opera singer, contralto at the NY Metropolitan Opera House

. 1873 ~ Harold Bauer, English/US pianist

 

. 1892 ~ John Jacob Niles, Composer

. 1917 ~ “Papa” John Creach, Singer

. 1920 ~ Nan Merriman, American mezzo-soprano

. 1940 ~ Pennsylvania 6-5000, the classic Glenn Miller signature song, was recorded on Bluebird Records.

. 1940 ~ Luisa Tetrazzini, Italian soprano, died.

. 1941 ~ Ann-Margaret, Entertainer

. 1950 ~ Jay Leno, TV personality

. 1987 ~ For the first time, a compact disc of an album was released before its vinyl counterpart. The Art of Excellence by Tony Bennett, his first recorded work in a decade, went on sale.

. 2001 ~ Evelyn Kuenneke, a Berlin singer and cabaret artist whose tune Sing Nightingale Sing was a hit among German soldiers during World War II, died of lung cancer at the age of 79. Kuenneke started out as a dancer at Berlin’s State Opera in the late 1930s. When the Nazis banned her from appearing in cabaret shows under her artist name Evelyn King in 1939, she turned to movies and pop songs that also took her on the wartime military entertainment circuit. With the war started by Adolf Hitler in full fury, Kuenneke scored her biggest success in 1941 with Sing Nightingale Sing, a nostalgia-laced ditty set to a slow swing beat. She continued her career after the war with pop recordings and films, dropping out of the public eye in the 1960s but staging a comeback in the 1970s. Since then, she regularly appeared on stage in small productions or variety shows until a few months ago. Born Dec. 15, 1921 in Berlin, Kuenneke was the daughter of German operetta composer Eduard Kuenneke and the opera singer Katarina Krapotkin.

. 2002 ~ Noel Da Costa, a composer and professor at Rutgers University, died. He was 82. Da Costa also wrote music that drew from African folk music. His piece, Primal Rites, was performed in 1983 by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under John Williams, with Max Roach as the soloist. Born in Nigeria, Da Costa’s family moved to Harlem as a young boy. He attended Queens College and Columbia University. He won a Fulbright Scholarship to study music with Luigi Dallapiccola in Florence, Italy. Da Costa joined the faculty of Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J. in 1970 after teaching for the city universities of New York. He retired from Rutgers last year.

. 2007 ~ Tommy Newsom, American saxophonist and bandleader (Tonight Show), died at the age of 78

April 27: Today’s Music History

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. 1867 ~ Charles Gounod’s opera “Romeo et Juliette” was first performed, in Paris.

. 1894 ~ Nicholas Slonimsky, Russian-born American musicologist, musical lexicographer and composer

. 1871 ~ Sigismond Thalberg died.  He was a composer and one of the most famous virtuoso pianists of the 19th century.

. 1915 ~ Alexander Scriabin, Russian composer (Prometheus) and pianist, died at the age of 43

. 1931 ~ Igor Oistrakh, Violinist

. 1932 ~ Maxine (Ella) Brown, Singer

. 1933 ~ Calvin Newborn, Jazz/blues guitarist, brother of piano wizard Phineas Newborn Jr.

. 1938 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded I Hadn’t Anyone ’til You for Victor Records. Jack Leonard was featured as vocalist.

. 1941 ~ Judith Blegan, American soprano

. 1944 ~ Cuba Gooding, Singer

. 1947 ~ Pete Ham, Musician, guitar, piano, singer

. 1948 ~ Kate Pierson, Musician, organ, singer with the B-52s

. 1959 ~ Sheena Easton, Singer

. 1959 ~ Lloyd Price’s song, Personality, was released. Price had 10 songs that made it on the nation’s pop music charts in the 1950s through early 1960s.

. 1959 ~ Louis Lortie, French Canadian concert pianist

. 1970 ~ Mariah Carey, Singer

. 1976 ~ Maxine Nightingale received a gold record for the single, Right Back Where We Started From. Nightingale was in the productions of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell and Savages in the early ’70s. Right Back Where We Started From was a number two hit for two weeks in 1976.

. 1981 ~ Former Beatle Ringo Starr married Barbara Bach at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. Paul McCartney and wife Linda, George Harrison and Harry Nilsson were in attendance.

. 1999 ~ Jazz trumpet great Al Hirt died

. 2002 ~ Classical violinist Guila Bustabo died at the age of 86. Bustabo, born in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1916, toured Europe and Asia, performing under such conductors as Herbert von Karajan and Wilhelm Furtwangler. Bustabo studied at the Juilliard School in New York before moving to Paris. During her career, she recorded concertos by Beethoven and Bruch with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Bustabo was arrested in Paris after World War II, accused of being a Nazi sympathizer because she played under conductor Willem Mengelberg. Mengelberg had been affiliated with musical associations sanctioned by the Nazi Party. The accusation against Bustabo was eventually dropped.

. 2007 ~ Mstislav Rostropovich, Russian cellist and conductor died

April 26: Today’s Music History

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. 1813 ~ Fredrich von Flotow, German composer
More information about von Flotow

. 1835 ~ Frederic Chopin’s “Grand Polonaise Brillante” premiered in Paris

. 1886 ~ Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett), American blues, jazz and vaudeville singer

. 1900 ~ Joseph Fuchs, American violinist

. 1924 ~ Teddy Edwards (Theodore Marcus), Jazz musician, tenor sax

. 1936 ~ Carol Burnett, Entertainer

. 1938 ~ Duane Eddy, Singer

. 1938 ~ Maurice Williams, Singer, songwriter

. 1941 ~ Claudine Clark, Singer

. 1942 ~ Bobby Rydell, American rock-and-roll singer and drummer

. 1970 ~ The musical, Company, opened on Broadway. It ran for 705 performances at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. Company starred Elaine Stritch.

. 1975 ~ On top of the Billboard popular music chart was B.J. Thomas, with the longest title ever for a number one song. (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song was number one for one week, though it took that long just to say the title.

. 1978 ~ An updated version of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper appeared on television. In the lead role (his first TV special), was former Beatle, Ringo Starr. He sang new versions of Act Naturally, Yellow Submarine and With a Little Help from My Friends.

. 1984 ~ Count Basie (William Basie), U.S. jazz pianist and big band leader who led his orchestra from 1937, died.

. 1991 ~ Carmine Coppola, American composer and conductor (The Godfather Part II), and father of Francis Ford Coppola, died at the age of 80

. 1991 ~ Leo Arnaud, French-American composer (Bugler’s Dream), died at the age of 86

. 1997 ~ Gene [Eugene] Ames, singer (Ames Brothers), died of cancer at the age of 73

. 2018 ~ Charles Neville, American vocalist and saxophonist (Neville Brothers), died of pancreatic cancer died at the age of 79

April 25: Today’s Music History

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. 1906 ~ John Knowles Paine died.  He was the first American-born composer to achieve fame for large-scale orchestral music.

. 1913 ~ Earl Bostic, Saxophonist, bandleader

. 1915 ~ Italo Tajo, Italian bass

. 1915 ~ Sal Franzella, Jazz musician, alto sax, clarinet

. 1918 ~ Ella Fitzgerald, American Grammy Award-winning singer (12), jazz and popular music. She was discovered at age 16 at an amateur night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and went on to work with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

. 1923 ~ Albert King, American blues singer and guitarist

. 1923 ~ Melissa Hayden (Mildred Herman), Ballerina with the New York City Ballet

. 1926 ~ Arturo Toscanini conducted the first performance of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot” at La Scala, Milan.

. 1932 ~ Gator (Willis) Jackson, Composer, tenor sax, invented the gator horn

. 1933 ~ Jerry Leiber, Record producer with Mike Stoller

. 1945 ~ Stu Cook, Bass with Creedence Clearwater Revival

. 1945 ~ Bjorn Ulvaeus, Musician, guitar, singer with Abba

. 1946 ~ The popular Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra recorded Cement Mixer for Majestic records, tapes and CDs this day. Well, not tapes and CDs. We were still listening to 78s back then … thick, heavy ones, at that.

. 1952 ~ Ketil Bjørnstad, Norwegian pianist

. 1956 ~ The rock ‘n roll legend, Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel went No.1.

. 1970 ~ DJs around the U.S. played the new number one song, ABC, quite often, as the Jackson 5 reached the number one spot in pop music for two weeks. ABC was the second of four number one songs in a row for the group from Gary, IN. I Want You Back was their first. ABC was one of 23 hits for Michael, Tito, Jackie, Jermaine and Marlon. ABC was knocked out of first place by The Guess Who and their hit, American Woman.

. 1973 ~ The group, The Sweet, received a gold record for the hit Little Willy. The English rocker band recorded four hits in addition to their first million-seller, Ballroom Blitz, Fox on the Run, Action and Love is like Oxygen. Little Willy was a top-three hit, while the group’s other gold record winner, Fox on the Run made it to the top five.

. 2000 ~ David Merrick, one of Broadway’s most flamboyant and successful theatrical producers who created “Gypsy,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “42nd Street,” died in London at the age of 88. During his long career as arguably Broadway’s most successful producer, Merrick won all the major theatrical awards, including 10 Tony Awards just for “Hello, Dolly!” He was best-known for his musicals but he produced many non-musicals as well.

. 2007 ~ Bobby “Boris” Pickett, American singer-songwriter (Monster Mash), died from leukemia at the age of 69