• 1913 ~ Mary Martin, American singer and actress, primarily for the musical theater, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress, mother of actor Larry Hagman
• 1924 ~ Lady Be Good opened in New York City. George Gershwin wrote the music while Fred and Adele Astaire were well-received by the show’s audience for their dancing talents.
• 1936 ~ Lou Rawls (Louis Allen), American Grammy Award-winning singer of popular music, TV regular on Dean Martin Presents
• 1938 ~ Sandy Nelson, Drummer
• 1939 ~ Diane Lennon, Singer with The Lennon Sisters on Lawrence Welk Show, Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters
• 1940 ~ Glenn Miller got a call from ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers). He was informed that he couldn’t use his Moonlight Serenade as his band’s theme song. He had to use Slumber Song instead because of an ASCAP ban.
• 1945 ~ Bette Midler, American Grammy Award-winning pop-rock singer and actress
• 1945 ~ Burl Ives made his concert debut. He appeared at New York’s Town Hall. We lovingly listen every year for the voice of this old-time radio personality as the narrator and banjo-pickin’ snowman in TV’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
• 1946 ~ Gilbert (Raymond) O’Sullivan, Singer
• 1950 ~ John Wesley Ryles, Singer
• 1950 ~ Ernest John Moeran passed away
• 1968 ~ Promises, Promises opened on Broadway. The play ran for 1,281 performances, earning $35,000 in profits each week of 1969. Dionne Warwick had a hit version of the title song.
• 1986 ~ Horace Heidt, orchestra leader (Swift Show Wagon), died at the age of 85
• 1989 ~ Alvin Ailey, US choreographer (Blues Suite, Revelations), died at the age of 58
• 1997 ~ Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, died at the age of 89
• 2012 ~ Galina Vishnevskaya, Russian soprano opera singer, died at the age of 85
. 1954 ~ George McArdle, Bass guitarist with Little River Band
. 1954 ~ June Pointer, Singer with The Pointer Sisters
. 1955 ~ Billy Idol (Broad), Guitarist, singer, songwriter
. 1957 ~ John Aston, Guitarist with these groups: Photons, Psychedelic Furs
. 1957 ~ Richard Barbieri, Drummer with Japan, composer
. 1968 ~ Diana Ross and The Supremes hit the #1 spot on the music charts with Love Child. The somewhat controversial tune (for the times) stayed at the top for two weeks.
. 1971 ~ ABC-TV presented Brian’s Song as the ABC Movie of the Week. The touching story was about Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo and his friendship with Gayle Sayers, who watched Brian die a tragic death. The theme song, Brian’s Song, was performed by Michel Legrand.
. 1974 ~ The Eagles hit, Best of My Love, was released. It would take until March 1, 1975 for it to reach the #1 spot on the top 40 charts.
. 1970 ~ Des’ree, Singer
. 1996 ~ Tiny Tim died performing Tiptoe Through the Tulips to an audience at a benefit in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He cut the song short, commenting to his wife, Miss Sue, that he felt ill. As he was making his way with Sue to her table, amidst the applause of his loyal fans, he collapsed, was taken to a Minneapolis hospital and died without regaining consciousness.
. 2017 ~ Jim Nabors, American comedian, actor and singer (Gomer Pyle, Back Home Again in Indiana), died from health complications at the age of 87
. 2019 ~ Mariss Jansons, one of today’s most respected and in-demand conductors, died t the age of 76.
Jansons had been suffering from heart disease and had canceled several concert appearances this year as a result. In October 2019, after a six-month hiatus, he returned to the podium with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
. 1643 ~ Claudio Monteverdi, Italian composer and pioneer in the development of opera, died at the age of 76
.1770 ~ Peter Hansel, composer
1797 ~ Gaetano Donizetti, Italian composer
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. 1825 ~ Rossini’s Barber of Seville was presented in New York City. It was the first Italian opera to be presented in the United States.
. 1877 ~ Thomas Alva Edison demonstrated a hand-cranked sound recording phonograph machine that was capable of recording human voice and other sounds.
. 1895 ~ Busby Berkeley (William Berkeley Enos), Director of Forty Second Street, Gold Diggers of 1935, Footlight Parade, Hollywood Hotel, Stage Struck, GoldDiggers in Paris, Babes in Arms, Strike Up the Band, Girl Crazy, Take Me Outto the Ball Game, Babes on Broadway, For Me and My Gal
. 1915 ~ Billy Strayhorn, American jazz composer, lyricist and pianist
. 1917 ~ Merle Travis, Songwriter, singer
. 1924 ~ Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer (Madama Butterfly), died in Brussels at the age of 65
. 1932 ~ John Gary (Strader), Singer, songwriter, diver, inventor. He holds two patents on underwater propulsion devices – diving buddy and aqua-peller
. 1932 ~ Ed Bickert, Jazz guitarist with Paul Desmond Quartet
. 1932 ~ The Gay Divorcee opened in New York City. The Cole Porter musical featured the classic, Night and Day.
. 1933 ~ John Mayall, Songwriter, bandleader
. 1938 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded Hawaiian War Chant for Victor Records.
. 1939 ~ Meco (Monardo), Musician, music producer
. 1940 ~ Chuck Mangione, American jazz musician (flugelhorn) and Grammy Award-winning composer
. 1941 ~ Denny Doherty, Singer with Mamas and Papas, TV host
. 1944 ~ Felix Cavaliere, Singer with The (Young) Rascals
. 1947 ~ Louis Armstrong and his sextet lit up Carnegie Hall in New York City with a night of jazz and more.
. 1948 ~ The first opera to be televised was broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Othello, by Verdi, was presented over WJZ-TV.
. 1950 ~ I Fly Anything, starring singer Dick Haymes in the role of cargo pilot Dockery Crane, premiered on ABC Radio. The show only lasted one season and Haymes went back to singing.
. 1951 ~ Barry Goudreau, Guitarist with Orion the Hunter; Boston
. 1957 ~ Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Austrian-American movie composer (Violanta; The Adventures of Robin Hood), died at the age of 60
. 1968 – Jonathan Rashleigh Knight, Singer, dancer with New Kids on the Block
. 1975 ~ Silver Convention had the #1 pop tune this day, called Fly, Robin, Fly.
. 1986 ~ The blockbuster five-record set, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live/1975-85, debuted at #1 on the album charts this day. No five-record set had made the top 25 until then. No five-record set had ever gone platinum until then. The price tag? $25.
. 2001 ~ George Harrison, the “quiet Beatle” who added both rock ‘n’ roll flash and a touch of the mystic to the band’s timeless magic, died. He was 58. Harrison died at 1:30 p.m. at a friend’s Los Angeles home following a battle with cancer, longtime friend Gavin De Becker told The Associated Press late Thursday. Harrison’s wife, Olivia Harrison, and son, Dhani, 24, were with him. “He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends,” the Harrison family said in a statement. “He often said, ‘Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.”‘ With the death of Harrison, the band’s lead guitarist, there remain two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. John Lennon was shot to death by a deranged fan in 1980. “I am devastated and very, very sad,” McCartney told reporters outside his London home Friday. “He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He is really just my baby brother.” In a statement, Starr said: “George was a best friend of mine. I loved him very much and I will miss him greatly. Both (wife) Barbara and I send our love and light to Olivia and Dhani. We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter.”
1943 ~ Randy (Randall Stuart) Newman, American pop-rock songwriter, singer and pianist
More information about Newman Grammy winner
. 1945 ~ R.B. Greaves, Singer
. 1948 ~ Beeb Birtles, Guitarist with The Little River Band
. 1949 ~ Alexander Godunov, Ballet dancer, actor
. 1949 ~ Paul Shaffer, Bandleader on Late Show with David Letterman, comedian
. 1956 ~ Holding the #1 spot on the music charts: Guy Mitchell singing Singing the Blues. The song remained at the top of the Hit Parade for 10 weeks. Here’s a bit of trivia: Ray Conniff whistled the intro to Singing the Blues.
. 1966 ~ The New Vaudeville Band received a gold record for Winchester Cathedral this day.
. 1974 ~ John Lennon appeared in concert for the last time, at NYC’s Madison Square Garden. Lennon joined Elton John to sing Whatever Gets You Through the Night as well as I Saw Her Standing There.
1471 ~ Guillaume Du Fay, French composer, died. Considered the leading composer of the early Renaissance.
More information about Du Fay
. 1750 ~ Anton Thadaus Johann Nepomuk Stamitz, composer
. 1804 ~ Sir Julius Benedict, Musician, composer
. 1813 ~ Michele Puccini, Composer
. 1867 ~ Charles (Charles-Louis-Eugèn) Koechlin, French composer. He studied under Massenet and Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire. He excelled in colorful and inventive orchestration in his symphonies, symphonic poems, choral-orchestral works (including seven based on Kipling’s Jungle Book), film music, and works inspired by Hollywood, such as the Seven Stars Symphony. He also wrote prolifically for a wide range of vocal and chamber combinations. His writings included studies of recent French music and treatises on music theory.
. 1898 ~ Nelly Steuer-Wagenaar, Dutch pianist
. 1900 ~ Leon Barzin, Belgian conductor (NY City Ballet 1948-58)
. 1904 ~ Sir Julius Benedict, German-born English conductor and composer
. 1912 ~ David Merrick (Margulois), Broadway producer of Gypsy, Hello, Dolly!,Beckett, Oliver, Fanny, Stop the World: I Want to Get Off, 42nd Street
. 1935 ~ Al Jackson, Jr., Dummer with Booker T. and the M.G.’s; Roy Milton Band
. 1935 ~ Eeny Meeny Miney Mo was recorded by Ginger Rogers and Johnny Mercer. The tune was recorded at Decca Records in Los Angeles.
. 1942 ~ Jimi (James Marshall) Hendrix, American rock guitarist, singer and songwriter
. 1944 ~ Dozy (Trevor Davies), Bass with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich
. 1944 ~ Eddie Rabbitt, Songwriter, Kentucky Rain for Elvis Presley; singer, his 17 albums garnered 26 #1 country hits and 8 pop hits
. 1953 ~ Boris Grebenshikov, Russian rock musician
. 1959 ~ Charlie Burchill, Guitarist with Simple Minds
. 1967 ~ The Association, a California group, earned a gold record for the hit Never My Love, on Warner Bros. Records. The group also earned worldwide fame for other hits including Windy, Cherish and Along Comes Mary.
. 1979 ~ Hilary Hahn, American violinist
. 1982 ~ The #1 song in the U.S. was former Commodore Lionel Richie’s Truly. The love song stayed at the top of the charts for two weeks. The song was his first solo hit and followed Endless Love, a duet with Diana Ross in 1981.
. 2000 ~ Walter Bailes, a member of the popular 1940s-era Grand Ole Opry duo The Bailes Brothers, died at the age of 80. Walter Bailes, a West Virginia native, and his brother Johnny were the classic Bailes Brothers duo. Brothers Kyle and Homer also performed with the group over the years in varying combinations. Walter wrote much of the group’s material, including popular songs like Dust on the Bible and I Want to be Loved. During their run on the Grand Ole Opry from 1944 to 46, they were among the show’s most popular acts. Kitty Wells, Flatt & Scruggs, and The Everly Brothers all recorded songs written by Walter Bailes. The Bailes Brothers left the Opry in 1946 and moved to Shreveport, La., where they helped launch the Louisiana Hayride radio show. They continued to occasionally perform throughout the 1950s.
. 1789 ~ Thanksgiving was celebrated nationally for the first time in the United States.
. 1915 ~ Earl Wild, American composer and pianist (Caesar’s Hour, NBC Symphony 1942)
1925 ~ Eugene Istomin, American pianist
. 1932 ~ Alan Stout, American composer
. 1933 ~ Robert Goulet (Stanley Applebaum), Singer, actor
. 1935 ~ Marian Mercer, Singer, actress
. 1938 ~ Ray Brown, Singer with The Four Freshmen
. 1938 ~ Tina Turner (Annie Bullock), American soul-rock singer, Grammy Award-winning Pop Singer of the Year, 1985; Ike Turner’s ex-wife
. 1940 ~ Xavier Cugat and his orchestra recorded Orchids in the Moonlight on the Columbia label.
. 1944 ~ Alan Henderson, Bass with Them
. 1946 ~ John McVie, Guitarist with Fleetwood Mac
. 1956 ~ Tommy Dorsey passed away at the age of 51. His records sold more than 110,000,000 copies.
. 1959 ~ Albert Ketèlbey, British composer (In a Monastery Garden), died at the age of 84
. 1963 ~ Amelita Galli-Curci passed away
. 1968 ~ Cream gave a farewell performance filmed by the BBC in London. The rock group played before a capacity crowd at Royal Albert Hall.
. 1969 ~ The Band received a gold record for the album, The Band.
. 1978 ~ Frank Rosolino passed away
. 1980 ~ “Wings Over America” premiered in New York City. The movie is about the first American tour of Paul McCartney and Wings.
. 2001 ~ Paul Hume, a music critic who once drew the ire of President Harry Truman after he panned his daughter’s recital, died of pneumonia at his home in Baltimore. Hume was 85. Hume worked for The Washington Post and built a reputation as one of the most learned critics in the nation. Classical music legends Vladimir Horowitz, Eugene Ormandy and Leonard Bernstein all held Hume in high esteem. Hume will always be remembered for his review of a recital by Truman’s daughter, Margaret, in 1950, in which he criticized her singing as flat. After reading the review, Truman wrote an angry, threatening letter to Hume. Truman’s remarks got him in hot water with the public, which felt he shouldn’t take time to joust with critics as the nation fought the Korean War. A Chicago native, Hume taught music history at Georgetown University from 1950 to 1977 and was a visiting professor at Yale University from 1975 to 1983. He wrote several books, including a study of Catholic church music and a biography of Giuseppe Verdi.
. 2003 ~ Meyer Kupferman, a prolific composer whose work ranged from contemporary classical music to opera, ballet and jazz, died. He was 77. Kupferman, a virtuoso clarinetist, taught composition and music theory at Sarah Lawrence College, where he was a staff member from 1951 to 1993. During his tenure there, he also served as chair of the music department and conducted the orchestra, chorus and chamber improvisation ensemble. In 1948 Kupferman wrote both his first piano concerto and opera. In all, he produced seven operas, 12 symphonies, nine ballets, seven string quartets, 10 concertos and hundreds of chamber works. His compositions have been performed and recorded worldwide. Kupferman also was commissioned by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic to write ‘FDR’ for the centennial of Franklin Roosevelt’s birth. The manuscript of the piece is now held by the Roosevelt Library. William Anderson, a family friend and a guitarist who performed Kupferman’s music, told the New York Times that Kupferman died of heart failure.
. 1787 ~ Franz Gruber, composer of Silent Night. The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in present-day Austria. A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had written the lyrics of the song “Stille Nacht” in 1816.
The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the Christmas Eve mass. It is unknown what inspired Mohr to write the lyrics, or what prompted him to create a new carol.
1896 ~ Virgil Thomson, American composer, conductor and music critic
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. 1924 ~ Paul Desmond, was an American jazz alto saxophonist and composer, best known for the work he did in the Dave Brubeck Quartet and for composing that group’s greatest hit, “Take Five”.
. 1925 ~ Derroll Adams, Country singer, played with Jack Elliott
. 1931 ~ Nat Adderley, Musician, cornet, mellophone, French horn, trumpet, brother of Cannonball Adderley
. 1941 ~ Percy Sledge, Singer
. 1949 ~ Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, by Johnnie Marks, appeared on the music charts and became THE musical hit of the Christmas season. Although Gene Autry’s rendition is the most popular, 80 different versions of the song have been recorded, with nearly 20,000,000 copies sold.
. 1955 ~ Following a summer at the top of the American pop charts, Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets became the #1 song in Great Britain.
. 1937 ~ Music from the Raymor Ballroom in Boston, Massachusetts was beamed coast to coast on NBC radio. The special guests during this broadcast were Glenn Miller and his orchestra.
. 1937 ~ Three lovely ladies, known as The Andrews Sisters, recorded Decca record number 1562 this day. It became one of their biggest hits: Bei Mir Bist Du Schön.
. 1950 ~ The musical comedy, Guys and Dolls, from the pen of Frank Loesser, opened at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City. The show ran for 1,200 performances.
. 1958 ~ Jackie Wilson’s Lonely Teardrops was released, as was a disk by Ritchie Valens featuring Donna on one side and La Bamba on the other.
. 1958 ~ Harold Jenkins, who changed his name to Conway Twitty, got his first #1 hit on this day. It’s Only Make Believe was the most popular song in the U.S. for one week.
. 1972 ~ A Friday night show that would compete head-to-head with NBC’s Midnight Special premiered. In Concert featured Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Blood Sweat and Tears, Seals and Crofts and Poco. Robert W. Morgan of KHJ, Los Angeles was the offstage announcer for the ABC-TV show that was staged before a live audience. In Concert was the creation of the guy who dreamed up the fictitious group The Archies and brought fame to The Monkees: rock promoter, Don Kirshner.
. 1973 ~ Following over two years of retirement, Frank Sinatra went back to work again with a TV special on NBC titled, “Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back”. Despite the fact that the show finished third in the ratings (in a three-show race), at least one critic called the program, “The best popular music special of the year.”
. 1976 ~ The Band, appearing at the Winterland in San Francisco, announced that this was to be the group’s last public performance.
. 1985 ~ Big Joe Turner passed away
. 1991 ~ Freddie Mercury, British singer-songwriter (Queen – We are Champions), died at the age of 45
. 1993 ~ Albert Collins, passed away
. 2003 ~ Teddy Wilburn, half of the country music duo the Wilburn Brothers, died. He was 71. Wilburn and his brother, Doyle, had 30 songs on the country charts from 1955 to 1972, including the hits Hurt Her Once for Me, Trouble’s Back in Town and Roll, Muddy River. Doyle Wilburn died of cancer in 1982. Teddy Wilburn was born in the Ozark Mountain community of Hardy, Ark. He and Doyle first performed publicly at ages 6 and 5, with the Wilburn Family band. After recording on Decca records as the Wilburn Brothers, Teddy and Doyle joined the Grand Ole Opry cast. Between 1963 and 1974, the Wilburn Brothers were hosts of one of country music’s first syndicated color TV shows. In 1972 they were nominated for the Country Music Association’s Vocal Group of the Year award.
. 1585 ~ Thomas Tallis, English composer, died at the age of 80
. 1666 ~ Giuseppe Guarneri, Italian violin maker
1876 ~ Manuel de Falla, Spanish composer and conductor
More information about de Falla
. 1889 ~ The first ‘Nickel-in-the-Slot’ (jukebox) was placed in service in the Palais Royal Saloon in San Francisco, California. Juke, at the time, was a slang word for a disorderly house, or house of ill repute. The unit, developed by Louis T. Glass, contained an Edison tinfoil phonograph with four listening tubes. There was a coin slot for each tube. 5 cents bought a few minutes of music. The contraption took in $1,000 in six months!
1903 ~ Enrico Caruso, famed Italian tenor, made his debut in the United States at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. He sang in the role of the Duke in Rigoletto.
More information about Caruso
. 1920 ~ Herman Nieland, Dutch organist/pianist/composer
. 1924 ~ Vincent Lopez and some 40 jazz musicians presented a concert of upbeat music at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC.
. 1928 ~ Jerry Bock, American songwriter for the musical theater
1933 ~ Krzysztof Penderecki, Polish composer and conductor
More information about Penderecki
. 1935 ~ Ethel Leginska became the first woman to write an opera and conduct it. Her original work, titled Gale, opened at the Chicago City Opera Company.
. 1938 ~ Bob Hope and Shirley Ross recorded a song for the film, The Big Broadcast of 1938. Thanks for the Memory became Decca record number 2219. It also became Hope’s theme song.
. 1955 ~ Ludovico Einaudi, Italian composer and pianist
. 1974 ~ Billy Swan reached the #1 spot on the singles charts for the first and only time. I Can Help was the most popular song in the U.S. for two weeks.
. 1925 ~ Gunther Schuller, American composer, conductor, French-horn player and educator
. 1938 ~ Bunny Berigan and his orchestra recorded Jelly Roll Blues on Victor Records. The tune became a standard for the band.
. 1943 ~ Floyd Sneed, Drummer with Three Dog Night
. 1946 ~ Aston Barrett, Musician with ‘Family Man’, bass with Bob Marley & The Wailers
. 1949 ~ Steve ‘Miami’ Van Zandt, Singer, songwriter, guitar
. 1950 ~ Tina (Martina) Weymouth, Bass with Talking Heads
. 1953 ~ Craig Hundley, Pianist with the Craig Hundley Trio
. 1955 ~ RCA paid the unheard of sum of $25,000 to Sam Phillips of Memphis, TN for the rights to the music of a truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi: Elvis Presley. Thanks to negotiations with Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, RCA tossed in a $5,000 bonus as well, for a pink Cadillac for Elvis’ mother.
. 1957 ~ The Miles Davis Quintet debuted with a jazz concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.
. 1965 ~ The production of Man of LaMancha, including the classic The Impossible Dream, opened in New York City for the first of 2,328 performances.
. 1975 ~ Dr. Zhivago appeared on TV for the first time. The production, including Somewhere My Love, had earned $93 million from theater tickets over ten years. NBC paid $4 million for the broadcast rights.
. 1977 ~ Tony Orlando returned to the concert stage after a self-imposed, three-month retirement following the suicide death of his good friend, Freddie Prinze. Orlando appeared in concert in San Carlos, California.
. 2001 ~ Norman Granz, the impresario who helped make jazz more accessible to the public while making the music business fairer to black performers, died in Geneva, Switzerland, of complications from cancer. He was 83. Granz owned four labels – Clef, Norgran, Verve and Pablo – and at one time or another recorded most of the major names in jazz, including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Oscar Peterson. Many historians credit him with bringing top jazz performers in integrated bands into venues across the country through a series called Jazz at the Philharmonic. Granz’s efforts also helped end a system in which white performers generally earned far more than blacks. He insisted on equality in pay, dining and accommodations for his musicians. In 1947, he told Down Beat magazine that he lost $100,000, then a sizable sum, by turning down bookings in segregated concert halls.