April 7 in Music History

today

. 1826 ~ Johann Hermann Berens, composer

. 1858 ~ Anton Diabelli, Austria publisher and composer, died at the age of 76. Diabelli was most familiar today as the composer of the waltz on which Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his set of thirty-three Diabelli Variations.

. 1899 ~ Robert Casadesus, French pianist and composer

. 1908 ~ Percy Faith, Grammy Award-winning orchestra leader, composer

. 1915 ~ Billie Holiday, American jazz singer, born as Eleanora Fagan. She sang with all the American big band leaders of her day while developing her own intimate style.

. 1919 ~ Ralph Flanagan, Bandleader

. 1920 ~ Ravi Shankar, Indian sitarist and composer

. 1925 ~ David Carr Glover, Piano Educator

. 1934 ~ Victor Feldman, British jazz pianist and drummer

. 1949 ~ Opening day of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “South Pacific”. It was a musical classic of love and war, and it unfolded on a lush tropical island swarming with Seabees, nurses, natives and coconut trees on this night in 1949. Actually, it was not a tropical island, but the stage of the Majestic Theatre in New York City. Ezio Pinza starred as the suave French plantation owner with a shady past and Mary Martin portrayed the bubbly, pretty, but naive Navy nurse. Mary Martin washed her hair a zillion times as she sang, I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair in 1,925 performances.

. 1950 Tony Awards went to the show and its producers, performers, director (Joshua Logan) and composers nine statuettes. It also earned a Pulitzer Prize in the same year and in 1958 was made into a movie.
More about Mary Martin

. 1951 ~ Janis Ian, Singer-songwriter

. 1954 ~ Gee, by The Crows, became the first rhythm and blues single to gain attention on pop music charts.

. 1970 ~ Leif Ove Andsnes, Norwegian pianist

. 1973 ~ Vicki Lawrence got her number one single as The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia made it to the top of the pop charts on this day.

. 1987 ~ Maxine Sullivan (Marietta Williams) passed away

April 6 in Music History

today

. 1660 ~ Johann Kuhnau, German composer and writer

. 1895 ~ Waltzing Matilda, one of Australia’s best-known tunes written by bush poet Banjo Paterson, was first publicly performed at a hotel in the remote northern town of Winton.

. 1913 ~ ‘Pappy’ Wade Ray, Country entertainer/musician with the Grand Ole Opry

. 1917 ~ George M. Cohan wrote Over There, which became the chief marching song for World War I

. 1924 ~ Mimi (Miriam) Benzell, Opera singer, mezzo-soprano

. 1924 ~ Dorothy Donegan, Jazz pianist

. 1925 ~ Eddie Cantor recorded the standard, If You Knew Susie, for Columbia Records. There was none classier.

. 1927 ~ Gerry Mulligan, Jazz musician, composer

. 1929 ~ Edison Denisov, Soviet composer

OCMS 1929 ~ André Previn, German-born American pianist, composer and conductor, Known as a classical orchestral conductor, notably of Shostakovich, he also conducted and scored film music and arrangements, Oscar-winning film scores: Gigi, Porgy and Bess, Irma La Douce, My Fair Lady, Washington Honored Eastwood, Baryshnikov, Domingo, Berry, 2000
More information about Previn

. 1931 ~ Little Orphan Annie, the comic strip character developed by Harold Gray, came to life on the NBC Blue network. About 5 decades later, the comic strip inspired a Broadway play and a movie, both titled, Annie.

. 1937 ~ Merle Haggard, American ccountry musicsinger, songwriter, fiddler and guitarist, CMA Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year (1970)

. 1944 ~ Michelle Phillips (Holly Michelle Gilliam), Singer with The Mamas and the Papas

. 1956 ~ Capitol Tower, the home of Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA, was dedicated. The building was the first circular office tower designed in America. It is 13 stories tall and 92 feet in diameter. At night, a light at the tip of the tower blinks the letters “H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D” in Morse Code.

. 1971 ~ Igor Stravinsky, Russian-born composer, died in New York. One of the 20th Century’s leading musical figures and most famous for his ballets “The Rite of Spring” and “Petrushka.”

. 1971 ~ Rolling Stone Records was formed to promote the hits of The Rolling Stones. The famous Stones trademark, the lips logo, became widely used. Brown Sugar was the first hit by the Rolling Stones on the new label, followed by Wild Horses, Tumbling Diceand Start Me Up.

. 1973 ~ The Stylistics received a gold record for their ballad hit, Break Up to Make Up. The Philadelphia soul group placed 10 hits on the pop charts in the 1970s. More of their gold record winners include: You Are Everything, Betcha By Golly Wow, I’m Stone in Love With You and You Make Me Feel Brand New.

. 1974 ~ The first concert film featuring a soundtrack in quadraphonic sound opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre.

. 1974 ~ ABBA for Sweden won the 19th Eurovision Song Contest singing “Waterloo”

. 1985 ~ The country group, Alabama, went five-for-five as the album 40 Hour Week grabbed the top spot on the Billboard country chart. The group had a number one album for each of the previous five years. The popularity of the quartet (three are cousins from Fort Payne, AL) continues today.

. 1994 ~ Dick Cary passed away.  He was an American jazz pianist, trumpet and alto horn player, and prolific arranger and composer.

. 1998 ~ Tammy Wynette, known as “The First Lady of Country Music” and world- renowned for her hit Stand by Your Man, died aged 55.

. 2001 ~ Daniel J. “Danny” Gaither, the original tenor voice of the former Bill Gaither Trio, died after a five-year battle with lymphoma. He was 62. He joined the Bill Gaither trio when he turned 18. His brother, Bill, led the group, and his younger sister, Mary Ann, was the group’s original female singer. Danny Gaither traveled with the family trio for about 10 years until the early 1980s, when he started doing solo work. Problems with his vocal chords forced him to give up his solo career about 10 years later. Danny Gaither won several Grammy and Dove awards for his work. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in April 1999.

. 2016 ~ Merle Ronald Haggard died.  He was an American country music singer, songwriter, guitarist, fiddler, and instrumentalist

April 5 in Music History

today

. 1724 ~ Giovanni Jacopo Casanova de Seingalt, Italian violinist During his life he was also a seminarian, a secretary to a cardinal, a Venetian ensign, an abbe, a gambler, an alchemist, a spy, a lover, adventurer, and a librarian.

. 1784 ~ Ludwig Spohr, German violinist, composer and conductor

. 1839 ~ Stanislaw Pilinski, French pianist and composer

. 1869 ~ Albert Roussel, French composer

. 1908 ~ Herbert von Karajan, Austrian conductor

. 1922 ~ Gale Storm (Josephine Cottle), Singer

. 1925 ~ Stan Levey, Musician, composer, drummer in band with Charlie Parker

. 1928 ~ Tony Williams, Singer with The Platters

. 1932 ~ Billy Bland, Singer

. 1934 ~ Stanley Turrentine, Jazz musician – tenor sax
More about Turrentine

. 1940 ~ Tommy Cash, Songwriter, Johnny Cash’s brother

. 1946 ~ Vincent Youmans passed away.  He was an American Broadway composer and Broadway producer.

. 1958 ~ Johnny Mathis’ album, Johnny’s Greatest Hits, on Columbia Records, made it to the pop music charts for the first time. The LP remained on the charts for a record 490 weeks (nearly 9~1/2 years!) The record began its stay at number one (three weeks) on June 9, 1958. Mathis studied opera from age 13 and earned a track and field scholarship at San Francisco State College. He was invited to Olympic try-outs and chose a singing career instead. He was originally a jazz-style singer when Columbia switched Mathis to singing pop ballads. Johnny would chart over 60 albums in 30 years.

. 1982 ~ After eight years of publication to the radio and recording industry, Record World magazine ceased publication and filed for bankruptcy protection.

. 1985 ~ Broadcasters banded together to play the single, We Are the World, at 10:50 a.m. E.S.T. Stations in the United States were joined by hundreds of others around the world in a sign of unification for the African relief cause. Even Muzak made the song only the second vocal selection it has ever played in elevators and offices since its inception.

. 2018 ~ Cecil Taylor, jazz pianist died.

April 4 in Music History

. 1804 ~ Joseph Fischhof, Czech-Austrian pianist and composer

. 1843 ~ Hans Richter, Hungarian conductor

. 1859 ~ Daniel Emmett introduced I Wish I was in Dixie’s Land (later named Dixie) in New York City. Just two years later, the song became the Civil War song of the Confederacy.

. 1875 ~ Pierre Monteux, French conductor, famed for his interpretation of early 20th century music, he conducted the first performances of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe.”

. 1891 ~ Distinguished American actor Edwin Booth made his final stage appearance in a production of Hamlet at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

. 1895 ~ Arthur Murray Dancer

. 1915 ~ “Muddy” Waters, American blues singer and guitarist

. 1922 ~ Elmer Bernstein, Composer of Academy Award-winning film scores: Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967); Sudden Fear, The Man with the Golden Arm, Ten Commandments, Sweet Smell of Success, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Walk on the Wild Side and The Magnificent Seven

. 1938 ~ After seven years of singing on the radio, Kate Smith began a new noontime talk show.

. 1939 ~ Glenn Miller recorded his theme song, Moonlight Serenade, for Bluebird Records. Previously, the Miller theme had been Gone with the Dawn and, before then, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.

. 1939 ~ Hugh Masakela, Trumpeter

. 1946 ~ Serge Leiferkus, Russian baritone

. 1954 ~ Maestro Arturo Toscanini conducted his last concert with the NBC Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Toscanini ended a 17-year association with the orchestra.

. 1964 ~ The Beatles set an all-time record on the Top 100 chart of Billboard magazine this day. All five of the top songs were by the British rock group. In addition, The Beatles also had the number one album as Meet the Beatles continued to lead all others. The LP was the top album from February 15 through May 2, when it was replaced by The Beatles Second Album. It was estimated at the time that The Beatles accounted for 60 percent of the entire singles record business during the first three months of 1964. The top five singles by The Beatles this day were:
1) Can’t Buy Me Love
2) Twist and Shout
3) She Loves You
4) I Want to Hold Your Hand
5) Please Please Me

. 1968 ~ Bobby Goldsboro received a gold record for the single, Honey. The poignantly sad song charted for 13 weeks, spending five weeks at number one. Goldsboro produced a total of 11 hits on the pop charts in the 1960s and 1970s. Honey was his only million seller and only number one hit.

. 1994 ~ Ginny Simms passed away.  She was an American popular singer and film actress.

. 2000 ~ Blues singer Mary Smith McClain, better known to fans as “Diamond Teeth Mary,” died in St. Petersburg, Fla. She was believed to have been 97 or 98. McClain was a teenager posing as a boy when she hopped a train in her native West Virginia to begin a new life as a travelling blues musician more than 80 years earlier. She went from singing at carnivals with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels to the Chicago Blues Festival, New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Europe. She sang with such music greats as B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. McClain, who once had diamonds set in her teeth, was considered the world’s oldest-performing true blues musician, appearing at local clubs until two weeks before her death.

April 3 in Music History

today

. 1850 ~ Vaclav Jan Krtitel Tomasek, organist/pianist/composer, died at the age of 75

. 1859 ~ Reginald De Koven, Composer

. 1895 ~ Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Italian-born American composer

. 1897 ~ Johannes Brahms, German composer and pianist, died. He wrote four symphonies as well as concerti for piano and violin and highly-esteemed chamber works.

. 1924 ~ Doris Day, Singer

. 1942 ~ Wayne Newton, American singer of popular music

. 1944 ~ Tony Orlando, Singer, Tony Orlando and Dawn

. 1948 ~ Garrick Ohlsson, American pianist, winner of Poland’s Frederic Chopin piano competition in 1970. More about this competition.

. 1949 ~ Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis debuted on radio in an NBC program that ran until 1952.

. 1950 ~ Kurt Weil, German composer, died, best known for his “Threepenny Opera” and for his collaboration with actress and singer Lotte Lenya whom he married in 1926.

. 1952 ~ Harry Belafonte recorded his first songs for RCA Victor at Manhattan Center in New York City.

. 1952 ~ Hugo Winterhalter backed up the singer with an 18-piece orchestra. Among the sides recorded were Dogs A-Roving and Chimney Smoke.

. 1955 ~ Fred Astaire appeared on television for the first time on The Toast of the Town, with host, Ed Sullivan. Already an established dancer in films, Astaire was quick to become a TV sensation as well.

. 1965 ~ Bob Dylan appeared on the pop music charts for the first time. Subterranean Homesick Blues entered the Top 40 at number 39. The song stayed on the charts for eight weeks. Dylan would chart a total of 12 singles on the pop charts between 1965 and 1979. He appeared in the films Don’t Look Back, Eat the Document and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. He made the film Renaldo and Clara in 1978. Dylan co-starred in the film Hearts of Fire in 1987. He became a member of the Traveling Wilburys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Dylan won the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.

. 1972 ~ Ferde Grofe, US composer (Grand Canyon Suite), died at the age of 80
More about Grofe

. 1986 ~ For the first time in six years, major record companies decided to raise prices – between three and five percent.

. 1986 ~ Peter Pears, British operatic tenor, died. He was a collaborator with composer Benjamin Britten and first interpreter of many of Britten’s works, notably “Peter Grimes.”

. 1990 ~ Sarah Vaughan passed away

. 1999 ~ Lionel Bart, British composer of the musical “Oliver!,” died aged 68.

. 2001 ~ Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey, a blues singer-guitarist known for his croaky voice, died of prostate cancer. He was 74. Kinsey and his sons, Kenneth, Donald and Ralph, became known as “Big Daddy” Kinsey and His Fabulous Sons. The sons now form the Gary-based Kinsey Report and record for Alligator Records, a Chicago blues label. The Kinsey Report has toured with the likes of the Allman Brothers Band. In the early ’90s, the elder Kinsey experienced one of his career highlights with I Am the Blues, a major-label release on Polygram. The album boasted a host of blues standouts backing up Kinsey, including Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Sugar Blue and Pinetop Perkins.

. 2015 ~ Andrew Porter died.  He was a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera.

April 2 in Music History

today

. 1826 ~ Charles-Valentin Alkan made his public performance debut at the piano, in Paris

. 1851 ~ Adolph Brodsky, Russian Empire violinist

. 1905 ~ Kurt Herbert Adler, Austrian-born American conductor and opera director

. 1912 ~ Herbert Mills, Singer with The Mills Brothers

. 1939 ~ Marvin Gaye, American soul singer and songwriter, inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987

. 1941 ~ Leon Russell, American rock singer-songwriter and instrumentalist

. 1942 ~ Glenn Miller and his orchestra recorded American Patrol for Victor Records. The jitterbug tune became one of Miller’s most requested hits.

. 1947 ~ Emmylou Harris, Grammy Award-winning singer for Elite Hotel in 1976 and Blue Kentucky Girl in 1978.

. 1951 ~ Simon Barere, pianist, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage during a performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall, with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. Barere subsequently collapsed and died backstage shortly thereafter.

. 1963 ~ Best Foot Forward opened in New York City. Liza Minnelli was the lead actress in this off-Broadway revival of the show which enjoyed a run of 224 performances.

. 1964 ~ The Beach Boys recorded their next single ‘I Get Around’, which became their first US No.1 in the summer of this year. The song begins with a multi-part a cappella introduction that quickly shifts into rock-style verses sung by Mike Love and a pop chorus sung in falsetto by Brian Wilson

. 1977 ~ Stevie Wonder’s tribute to Duke Ellington, Sir Duke, was released.

. 1985 ~ A day after its release, the album, We are the World, was certified gold with sales in excess of 500,000 copies.

. 1987 ~ One of the greatest jazz drummers of all time, Buddy Rich died aged 69 due to complications caused by a brain tumour. Rich worked with many acts including, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey’s band, Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson. Rush’s Neil Peart organised a pair of 90s tribute albums (titled Burning for Buddy), which also featured the work of Kenny Aronoff, Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd, Max Roach, Steve Smith and Matt Sorum.

April 1 in Music History

 

And by a weird calendar this year…

 

It’s also April Fool’s Day

OCMS. 1866 ~ Ferruccio Busoni, Italian pianist and composer
Read quotes by and about Busoni
More information about Busoni

OCMS 1873 ~ Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian-born American composer and pianist
Read quotes by and about Rachmaninoff
More information about Rachmaninoff

. 1895 ~ Alberta Hunter, American blues singer

. 1909 ~ Eddie Duchin, Bandleader

. 1917 ~ Scott Joplin, U.S. jazz musician famous for his ragtime pieces notably The Entertainer, died.

. 1932 ~ Jane Powell, Singer

. 1932 ~ Debbie Reynolds, Entertainer

. 1984 ~ Marvin (Pentz) Gaye, Jr. passed away.

. 1985 ~ The long-awaited album, We Are the World, was finally released. Eight rock stars donated previously unreleased material for the LP. Three million copies of the award-winning single of the same name had already been sold. The song, We Are the World, was number five, and moving up, on the Billboard magazine pop single’s chart this day.

. 1991 ~ Martha Graham passed away.  She was an American modern dancer and choreographer.

. 2001 ~ Eva Heinitz, who fled Nazi Germany in the prime of her career as a cello performer and was one of the first professional viola da gamba players in modern times, died at the age of 94. Heinitz, a native of Berlin, soared to prominence as a brilliant, temperamental soloist with the greatest orchestras of Europe in her 20s. Initially instructed on the cello, Heinitz taught herself to play the smaller instrument and performed the Bach Passions under the direction of Wilhelm Furtwangler and Otto Klemperer, who called her the world’s best viola da gamba player. Heinitz, who once described herself as “51 percent” Jewish, fled Germany in 1933. She lived in Paris and London, moved to New York in 1939 and was hired by Fritz Reiner as a section cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She came to Seattle in 1948 and was hired as faculty cellist at the University of Washington. During her 28-year tenure, she became one of the founders of the early-music revival, which brought a renewed interest in music and instruments of the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1991, her international colleagues gathered in Indiana and accorded her the title “Grande Dame du Violoncelle” – great lady of the cello.

. 2001 ~ Trinh Cong Son, Vietnam’s most beloved singer-songwriter who opposed the Vietnam War and sought postwar reconciliation, died after a long battle with diabetes at the age of 62. Dubbed the “Bob Dylan of Vietnam” by American folk singer Joan Baez for his anti-war songs, his music is still widely performed in Vietnam and in overseas Vietnamese communities. Son, who was persecuted by the South Vietnamese government in the late 1960s and early ’70s, wrote more than 600 songs. His pacifist songs about the futility of war were banned at the time, but bootleg copies circulated throughout South Vietnam and overseas. When the war ended, most of Son’s family fled overseas but he stayed. He was equally unpopular with the new Communist government for his songs about reconciliation and spent 10 years in forced labor “re-education camps.” But by the late ’80s, he regained popularity, and his songs are still performed by some of Vietnam’s biggest pop artists.

. 2001 ~ Theodore M. “Ted” McCarty, a key figure in the development of the electric guitar and former president of Gibson Guitar Co., died at the age of 91. In his 18 years as president at Gibson, McCarty transformed the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based maker of acoustic musical instruments into the purveyor of guitars to the stars. The solid-body electric guitar was considered something of a gimmick when McCarty left the Wurlitzer Co. to join Gibson in 1948. He had a degree in commercial engineering and had been an engineering designer for the military during World War II. Despite not being musically inclined, McCarty saw possibilities in the electric guitar. At Gibson, he helped bring to life the Les Paul series, named for the blues guitarist who endorsed it, the Explorer series, widely used by both rock and country guitarists, and the radical Flying V. McCarty later bought the Bigsby Co., which manufactures vibratos for guitars. He sold the company and retired in 1999.

. 2015 ~ Cynthia Lennon, the late John Lennon’s wife from 1962-1968, has died at age 75.