November 3 ~ This Day in Music History

today

 

.1587 ~ Samuel Scheidt, German organist and composer

.1801 ~ Vincenzo Bellini, Italian composer

OCMS 1911 ~ Vladimir Ussachevsky, Russian-born American composer
More information about Ussachevsky

.1933 ~ John Barry, Academy Award~winning composer

.1941 ~ The classic Jerry Gray arrangement of String of Pearls was recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra on Bluebird 78s. The recording featured the trumpet of Bobby Hackett.

.1948 ~ Lulu (Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie), Singer. She changed her name to Lulu (and The Luvvers) in Scotland, early in her career. Married to singer Maurice Gibb

.1954 ~ Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard), Singer

.1956 ~ The classic MGM film, The Wizard of Oz, was first seen on television. The film cost CBS $250,000 to show. The movie was shown 18 times between 1956 and 1976, and you can probably catch it again no matter what year it is.

.1957 ~ Sam Phillips, owner of legendary Sun Records in Memphis, TN, released Great Balls of Fire, by Jerry Lee Lewis. Looking carefully at the original label, one will find credit to Lewis and “his pumping piano.”

.1960 ~ James Prime, Keyboards with Deacon Blue

.1960 ~ “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, opened on Broadway. The play would become an American theater standard and a smashing career launch for Shirley MacLaine.

.1962 ~ Billboard magazine dropped the “Western” from its chart title. The list has been known as Hot Country Singles ever since.

.1972 ~ Singers Carly Simon and James Taylor were married in Carly’s Manhattan apartment. The couple was said to be the highest-paid couple in the world next toElizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Carly and ‘Sweet Baby’ James would divorce years later, but they are still good friends.

.1990 ~ Mary Martin died

.2000 ~ Mary Hunter Wolf, one of the first female directors on Broadway died at the age of 95. Wolf made her Broadway debut directing the 1944 production of Horton Foote’s “Only the Heart.” The following year, she directed the first black Broadway musical, “Carib Song.” After directing a string of successful plays and musicals, Wolf was hired as an associate director for Jerome Robbins’ “Peter Pan,” starring Mary Martin. In 1947 Wolf was tapped to direct a new musical “High Button Shoes,” but was dismissed by the show’s producers before rehearsals began. Wolf sued, charging that her contract had been broken because she was a woman. Two years later the New York Supreme Court ruled in her favor. During her third year at Wellesley College, Wolf visited her aunt, author Mary Austin, in Santa Fe, N.M. where she found herself introduced into the circle of D.H Lawrence, Willa Cather and Sinclair Lewis. She soon abandoned her studies to pursue a directing career.

November 2 ~ This Day in Music History

today

OCMS 1739 ~ Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Austrian composer and violinist
More information about Dittersdorf

.1937 ~ Earl ‘Speedoo’ Carroll, Singer with these groups the Carnations, the Cadillacs and the Coasters

.1938 ~ Jay Black (David Blatt), Singer with Jay and The Americans

.1941 ~ Brian Poole, Singer with Brian Poole & The Tremeloes

.1941 ~ Bruce Welch (Cripps), Guitarist with The Shadows

.1944 ~ Keith Emerson, British rock keyboardist

.1946 ~ Giuseppe Sinopoli, Italian conductor and composer

.1952 ~ Maxine Nightingale, Singer

.1955 ~ The first pop song by Julie London appeared on the charts. London’s smoky and sultry rendition of Cry Me a River stayed on the pop chart for five months, reaching as high as #9. Julie was Mrs. Jack Webb (Dragnet) and Mrs. Bobby Troup (songwriter, trumpeter).

.1958 ~ Billboard magazine introduced a new chart. It ranked the top singles in order, from number 1 to 100. Previously, only 30 records had been on the weekly hit list.

.1963 ~ After giving benefit performances for years, singer Kate Smith presented her first full concert performance to a paying crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

OCMS 1968 ~ Another biggie for Stevie Wonder went on sale. For Once in My Life reached #2 on the pop charts on December 28, 1968.

.1974 ~ The first of the former Beatles to try a nationwide concert tour was in Los Angeles, appearing at the Forum. Unfortunately, only half the house was filled to see George Harrison. He stopped touring soon thereafter.

.1985 ~ On this day, for only the second time, a TV soundtrack LP topped the album charts. “Miami Vice” (title track by Jan Hammer) enjoyed a run of 11 (nonconsecutive) weeks. The only other TV soundtrack LP to chart at #1 was Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” in 1959.

November 1 ~ This Day in Music History

today

 

OCMS1830 ~ Frederic Chopin left Warsaw for Paris, never to return. He was presented a cup of Polish soil on this day.
More about Chopin

.1902 ~ Eugen Jochum, German conductor

.1921 ~ Jan Tausinger, Rumanian-born Czech violist, conductor and composer

.1923 ~ Victoria de Los Angeles, Spanish soprano

.1926 ~ Lou Donaldson, Alto saxophone, singer

.1937 ~ ‘Whispering’ Bill (James) Anderson, Songwriter, singer

.1940 ~ Barry Sadler, Songwriter, singer

.1944 ~ Keith Emerson, Keyboards with Emerson, Lake & Powell as well as Emerson, Lake & Palmer

.1944 ~ Chris Morris, Guitarist with Paper Lace

.1945 ~ Rick Grech, Bassist, violinist

.1950 ~ Dan Peek, Guitarist, singer with America

.1951 ~ Ronald Bell, Saxophone with Kool & The Gang

.1957 ~ Lyle Lovett, Grammy Award-winning singer, Best Male Country Vocal in 1989

.1959 ~ Eddie MacDonald, Bass with The Alarm

.1962 ~ Rick Allen, Drummer with Def Leppard

.1962 ~ Mags Furuholmen, Keyboards, singer with a-ha

.1968 ~ George Harrison’s soundtrack LP, “Wonderwall”, was released. It was the first solo album by one of The Beatles. The album was also the first on the new Apple label.

.1969 ~ Warner Brothers Records added Faces, to its roster. They fared OK, but even better when lead singer Rod Stewart stepped out to become a superstar on his own. The group’s former label, Mercury, capitalized on the fact by releasing Maggie Mae and three other Faces tunes before Stewart went solo for Warner exclusively.

.1969 ~ The last album of The Beatles reached #1 on the album chart. “Abbey Road” was the top LP for eleven nonconsecutive weeks.  The final studio recordings from the group featured two songs; ‘Something’ & ‘Here Comes The Sun’. The cover supposedly contained clues adding to the ‘Paul Is Dead’ phenomenon: Paul is barefoot and the car number plate ‘LMW 281F’ supposedly referred to the fact that McCartney would be 28 if he was still alive. ‘LMW’ was said to stand for ‘Linda McCartney Weeps.’

OCMS 1975 ~ Elton John’s Island Girl hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song parked itself at the top of the hit heap for 3 weeks.

Now that Halloween is About Over…

Classic horror themes are ominous and generally dread-inspiring for a reason: They are written in minor keys. Find a nifty melody, go minor, and watch the goosebumps pile up. For composers, sometimes it’s almost too easy.

To prove that it’s the minor key and not the melody that is eerily accenting the work of cinema’s most murderous villains, musician/writer/filmmaker Ian Gordon re-recorded five iconic themes in major keys. What comes next will definitely not frighten you.

A quick rundown:

The X-Files theme sounds like the beginning of an inspirational journey across side-scrolling Nintendo worlds. (One where you’re searching for a magic flute.)

Halloween sounds like the side A, track one of an indie-pop outfit’s meadow-frolicking breakout record.

Saw recalls the music that scores when the football game is getting out of hand and only the underdog protagonist can bring you back.

The Exorcist sounds like a Styx breakdown.

Nightmare on Elm Street sounds like you’re at Sea World, and Shamu is doing a night show. (The ones with lasers.)

via Horror themes re-recorded in a major key will make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

October 31 ~ This Day in Music History

Happy Halloween

Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve) is an ancient celebration dating back to the sixth or seventh centuries. This holiday combines the Druid autumn festival and the Christian celebration of Hallowtide, long associated with witches, ghosts, devils, spirits, magic … and all scary things that go bump in the night.

• 1896 ~ Ethel Waters, American blues and jazz singer

• 1906 ~ Louise Talma, American composer

• 1912 ~ Dale Evans (Frances Butts), Singer, songwriter of Happy Trails to You, actress, wife of ‘King of the Cowboys’ Roy Rogers

• 1922 ~ Illinois (Battiste) Jacquet, Tenor saxophone, played with Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Count Basie

• 1927 ~ Anita Kerr, Pianist, singer, record producer, The Anita Kerr Singers, composer

• 1930 ~ In a rare recording, William ‘Count’ Basie sang with Bennie Moten’s orchestra, Somebody Stole My Gal, on Victor.

• 1934 ~ Tom Paxton, American folk singer, guitarist and songwriter

• 1947 ~ Russ Ballard, Singer, songwriter, guitar with Argent

• 1952 ~ Bernard Edwards, Bass with Chic

• 1953 ~ NBC televised “Carmen” on Opera Theatre in living color. It was the first major opera televised in anything other than black and white.

• 1956 ~ Tony Bowers, Bass with Simply Red

• 1961 ~ Larry Mullen, Grammy Award-winning drummer, with U2

• 1963 ~ Johnny Marr, Guitarist with The Smiths

• 1972 ~ Curtis Mayfield received a gold record for Freddie’s Dead from the movie, Superfly.

• 1984 ~ Caribbean Queen became a gold record for Billy Ocean. It was Ocean’s second hit song and the only one of his 11 hits to become a million-seller. He would have two other #1 songs and a pair of #2 hits, but none as big as Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run). Billy’s from Trinidad, and his real name is Leslie Sebastian Charles.

maryorednpurplewitch

Happy Halloween: Toccata and Fugue in d minor by J.S Bach

toccata-d-minor

 

Johann Sebastian Bach’s towering monument of organ music, with its deep sense of foreboding, will forever be associated with Halloween.

Get a free copy of the sheet music at IMSLP or borrow a copy from the O’Connor Music Studio.  I have this arranged for organ, piano, duet, 2-piano, simplified…

If you want this in a book with other Bach transcriptions, amazon has this: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and the Other Bach Transcriptions for Solo Piano, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni.

Here, Virgil Fox performs it on his Allen Digital Touring Organ.

 

Diane Bish plays the Massey Memorial Organ at the Chautauqua Institution and talks about this instrument.

 

And, the most fun…

October 30 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1894 ~ Peter Warlock, British composer and writer

• 1939 ~ Grace Slick (Wing), American rock singer and songwriter with Jefferson Airplane

• 1939 ~ Eddie Holland, Songwriter in the writing team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. They were inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, singer

• 1941 ~ Otis Williams, Singer with The Temptations

• 1941 ~ The song that would become the theme of bandleader Tony Pastor was recorded. It was Blossoms on the Bluebird label. If you don’t remember Blossoms, maybe you remember this one by Pastor: Dance with a Dolly (With a Hole in Her Stocking).

• 1947 ~ Timothy B. Schmit, Bass guitarist, singer with Poco, who joined The Eagles, in 1977, (1977 US No.1 & UK No.8 single ‘Hotel California’, plus 5 US No.1 albums. ‘Greatest Hits 1971-1975’ is the second biggest selling album in the world with sales over 30m).

• 1957 ~ Shlomo Mintz, Russian-born Israeli violinist

• 1964 ~ Roy Orbison went gold with his hit single, Oh, Pretty Woman.

• 1971 ~ Pink Floyd released their sixth studio album Meddle in the US. The album features ‘One Of These Days’ and the 23-minute track ‘Echoes’ which took up all of side 2 on the vinyl record. The cover image was photographed by Bob Dowling. The image represents an ear, underwater, collecting waves of sound, represented by ripples in the water.

• 1972 ~ A command performance was given for the Queen of England by Elton John.

• 1976 ~ The group, Chicago, started its second (and final) week at number one on the pop singles charts with If You Leave Me Now. The hottest LP was Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life”. The album was number one for a total of 14 weeks.

• 1984 ~ Barry Manilow opened at Radio City Music Hall, New York. His concerts sold out to the tune of $1.9 million, besting (by $100,000) the record set by Diana Ross.

• 1984 ~ Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi, aka The Blues Brothers (Jake and Elwood), hit the two-million-dollar sales mark with their LP, Briefcase Full of Blues.

• 2000 ~ Steve Allen, the bespectacled, droll comedian who pioneered late-night television with the original “Tonight Show” and wrote more than 4,000 songs and 40 books, passed away. He died at the age of 78 of an apparent heart attack. In addition to starting the “Tonight Show,” Allen starred as the King of Swing in the 1956 movie “The Benny Goodman Story.” He appeared in Broadway shows, on soap operas, wrote newspaper columns, commented on wrestling broadcasts, made 40 record albums, and wrote plays and a television series that featured “guest appearances” by Sigmund Freud, Clarence Darrow and Aristotle. “I’ve known him for almost 60 years. … He is one of the great renaissance figures of today,” comic Art Linkletter said. Said entertainer Dick Clark: “He had a magnificent mind. He was a kind, gentle, warm man. He would be embarrassed for me now, because I can’t put into words the way I felt about this man. I loved him.” His ad-libbing skills became apparent in his early career as a disc jockey. He once interrupted the music to announce: “Sports fans, I have the final score for you on the big game between Harvard and William & Mary. It is: Harvard 14, William 12, Mary 6.” Allen’s most enduring achievement came with the introduction of “The Tonight Show” in 1953. The show began as “Tonight” on the New York NBC station WNBT, then moved to the network on Sept. 27, 1954. Amid the formality of early TV, “Tonight” was a breath of fresh air. The show began with Allen noodling at the piano, playing some of his compositions and commenting wittily on events of the day. “It was tremendous fun to sit there night after night reading questions from the audience and trying to think up funny answers to them; reading angry letters to the editor; introducing the greats of comedy, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood; welcoming new comedians like Shelley Berman, Jonathan Winters, Mort Sahl and Don Adams,” he once said. Allen’s popularity led NBC in 1956 to schedule “The Steve Allen Show” on Sunday evenings opposite “The Ed Sullivan Show” on CBS. A variation of “Tonight,” the prime-time show was notable for its “Man in the Street Interview” featuring new comics Louis Nye (“Hi-ho, Steverino”), Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Pat Harrington and Bill Dana. The show lasted through 1961, the last year was on ABC. Among his TV routines: parodying juvenile rock ‘n’ roll lyrics by reading them as if they were sublime poetry, and “The Question Man,” in which someone would give him an answer and he would guess the question – forerunner to Johnny Carson’s “Karnac.” He wrote great quantities of songs, and several were recorded by pop vocalists. His most popular song was This May Be the Start of Something Big. His books ranged from autobiography (“Hi-Ho, Steverino: My Adventures in the Wonderful Wacky World of TV”), to philosophy (“Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion and Morality,” to murder mystery (“Die Laughing.”) Steve Allen came by his humor naturally; both his parents, Billy Allen and Belle Montrose, were vaudeville comedians. Steve was 18 months old when his father died, and his mother continued touring the circuits as a single.

• 2003 ~ Franco Corelli, a dashing Italian tenor who once starred alongside Maria Callas, died at the age of 82. Corelli rose to operatic stardom in the 1950s and remained there well into the 1970s. “He was the most viscerally thrilling and handsome tenor of the post Second World War generation,” the late Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan once said of Corelli. Born in 1921, Corelli grew up a keen singer but his opera career did not really take off until 1951. He made his debut that year singing Don Jose in Bizet’s “Carmen.” Three years later he appeared alongside Maria Callas in Gaspare Spontini’s “La Vestale” in Milan. The Italian’s fame spread and before long his career took him to Paris, Vienna, London and New York. His versatile voice and good looks made him a popular choice for romantic lead roles.