• 1880 ~ Ildebrando Pizzetti, Italian composer and educator
1885 ~ “Jelly Roll” Morton, American jazz pianist and composer
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• 1911 ~ Frank DeVol, Bandleader, songwriter
• 1924 ~ Gogi Grant (Audrey Brown), Singer, dubbed vocals for Ann Blythe in The Helen Morgan Story
• 1927 ~ Johnny Dankworth, Alto sax, bandleader, composer
• 1945 ~ Laurie Spiegel, American composer
• 1946 ~ WNBT~TV, New York became the first station to promote a motion picture. It showed scenes from The (Al) Jolson Story.
• 1948 ~ One of the most popular singing groups of the 1950s got their professional start on this day. The Four Freshmen did their first gig in Fort Wayne, Indiana and went on to major success with Capitol Records. Hits included It’s a Blue World, Charmaine and Love is Just Around the Corner.
• 1957 ~ Leontyne Price made her operatic stage debut singing Madame Lidoine in the US premiere of “Dialogues of the Carmelites” in San Francisco
• 1969 ~ Sugar, Sugar, by the Archies, hit number one in Billboard. The Archies sat at the top of the hit heap for four weeks.
• 1973 ~ The in place for radio and record types to see, and be seen, opened in Los Angeles, to a sold-out crowd. On the opening bill at the Roxy Theatre: Elton John, Carole King and Jackson Browne.
• 1973 ~ Singer Jim Croce, his lead guitarist, Maury Muehleisen, and four others died when their plane crashed into a tree while taking off for a concert in Sherman, Texas.
• 1978 ~”Eubie!” opened at Ambassador Theater NYC for 439 performances
• 1989 ~ Musical “Miss Saigon,” premiered in London
• 1994 ~ Jule Styne, Broadway composer (Gypsy, Funny Girl), died at the age of 88
• 1741 ~ George Frederick Handel completed his The Messiah. It took the composer just 23 days to complete the timeless musical treasure which is still very popular during the Christmas holiday season.
• 1814 ~ Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort M’Henry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
• 1888 ~ Michael Haydn (1737) Austrian composer
1760 ~ Luigi Cherubini, Italian composer
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• 1814 ~ Frances Scott Key, an attorney in Washington, DC, was aboard a warship that was bombarding Fort McHenry (an outpost protecting the city of Baltimore, MD). Key wrote some famous words to express his feelings. Those words became The Star-Spangled Banner, which officially became the U.S. national anthem by an act of Congress in 1931.
• 1910 ~ Lehman Engel, American composer, conductor and writer
• 1927 ~ Gene Austin waxed one of the first million sellers. He recorded his composition, My Blue Heaven, for Victor Records.
• 1941 ~ Priscilla Mitchell, Singer
• 1946 ~ Pete Agnew, Bass, singer with Nazareth
• 1947 ~ Jon ‘Bowzer’ Bauman, Singer with Sha Na Na
• 1950 ~ Paul Kossoff, Guitarist with Free
• 1954 ~ Barry Cowsill, Singer with The Cowsills
• 1959 ~ Morten Harket, Singer with a-ha
• 1964 ~ Mary Howe, American composer and pianist (Sand), died at the age of 82
• 1973 ~ Donny Osmond received a gold record for his hit single, The Twelfth of Never. The song, released in March of 1973, was one of five which turned gold for the young Osmond. His other solo successes were Sweet & Innocent, Go Away Little Girl, Hey Girl and Puppy Love.
• 1985 ~ The first MTV Video Music Awards were presented at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Cars won Best Video honors for You Might Think and Michael Jackson won Best Overall Performance and Choreography for his Thriller video.
• 2002 ~ Jazz saxophonist and bandleader Paul Williams, whose 1949 Rhythm and Blues hit, The Huckle-Buck, was covered by Frank Sinatra, died, at the age of 87. Williams scored one of the first big hits of the R&B era in 1949 with The Huckle-Buck, based on Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time.” It was the biggest-selling record in the Savoy label’s 60-year history, topping the R&B charts for 14 weeks, and spawned vocal versions by Sinatra and others. The Huckle-Buck was one of three Top 10 and five Top 20 R&B hits Williams scored for Savoy in 1948 and 1949. Other Top 10 hits were 35-30 in 1948 and Walkin’ Around in 1949. Williams was later part of Atlantic Records’ house band in the ’60s and directed the Lloyd Price and James Brown orchestras until 1964. After leaving the music business temporarily, he opened a booking agency in New York in 1968. Born July 13, 1915, in Birmingham, Alabama, Williams played with Clarence Dorsey in 1946, and then made his recording debut with King Porter in 1947 for Paradise before forming his own band later that year. Saxophonists Noble “Thin Man” Watts and Wild Bill Moore, trumpeter Phil Guilbeau, and vocalists Danny Cobb, Jimmy Brown, Joan Shaw, and Connie Allen were among Williams’ band members.
• 2009 ~ Patrick Swayze, American actor, dancer, and songwriter (Dirty Dancing), died at the age of 57
• 1939 ~ Dorothy embarked on a journey down the yellow brick road with a lion, a tin man and a scarecrow in the classic film “The Wizard of Oz.”
• 1941 ~ Skinnay Ennis and his orchestra recorded the tune Don’t Let Julia Fool Ya.
• 1942 ~ Walter Williams, Singer with The O’Jays
• 1955 ~ Elvis Costello (Declan McManus), Musician, songwriter
• 1961 ~ Billy Ray Cyrus, Singer
• 1964 ~ The Beatles received a gold record for their hit single A Hard Day’s Night. It was the third gold record for the Fab Four. They would collect 18 more through 1970.
• 1971 ~ Ted Lewis passed away. He was an American entertainer, bandleader, singer, and musician.
• 1982 ~ The group, Fleetwood Mac, received a gold record for the album Mirage.
• 2001 ~ Aaliyah died at the age of 22. She was a R&B singer and budding actress who made her film debut in “Romeo Must Die” and was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas.
• 2001 ~ Jazz musician John Nelson, the father of pop star Prince, died at the age of 85. Nelson was the model for a character in the 1984 Prince movie “Purple Rain.” He also co-wrote songs on several of his son’s hit albums.
In the 1950s, Nelson was a pianist in the jazz group Prince Rogers Trio featuring singer Mattie Shaw. Shaw and Nelson married, and they named their son Prince Roger Nelson.
Nelson left the household when Prince was about 10 and his sister Tyka was 8. The father and son reconciled after Prince began his climb to fame.
Nelson co-wrote Computer Blue on the Purple Rain album, The Ladder on Around the World in a Day; Christopher Tracy’s Parade and Under the Cherry Moon on Parade and Scandalous on the Batman soundtrack.
• 2008 ~ Josef Tal, Israel composer (Israeli art music), died at the age of 97
1741 ~ Antonio Vivaldi died
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• 1750 ~ Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer and organist, died. Composer of “St Matthew Passion” and “Brandenburg Concertos”, his output covered every musical genre with innovations in format, quality and technical demands.
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• 1796 ~ Ignace Bösendorfer, Italian Pianomaker
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• 1811 ~ Guilia Grisi, Italian soprano
• 1901 ~ Rudy (Hubert Prior) Valee, Bandleader and singer. Valee was one of the first, before Bing Crosby, to popularize the singing style known as “crooning”.
• 1914 ~ Carmen Dragon, Classical music conductor, bandleader and father of singer, ‘Captain’ Daryl Dragon
• 1933 ~ The singing telegram was introduced on this day. The first person to receive a singing telegram was singer Rudy Vallee, in honor of his 32nd birthday.
• 1934 ~ Jacques d’Amboise, Ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet
• 1937 ~ Peter Duchin, American bandleader, pianist, son of musician, Eddy Duchin
• 1938 ~ George Cummings, Guitarist with Dr. Hook
• 1939 ~ Judy Garland sang one of the most famous songs of the century with the Victor Young Orchestra. The tune became her signature song and will forever be associated with the singer-actress. Garland recorded Over the Rainbow for Decca Records. It was the musical highlight of the film, The Wizard of Oz.
• 1941 ~ Riccardo Muti, Italian conductor
• 1945 ~ Rick Wright, Keyboards with Pink Floyd
• 1949 ~ Peter Doyle, Singer with The New Seekers
• 1949 ~ Simon Kirke, Drummer with Free
• 1958 ~ Three years after his Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White reached number one, Cuban-born bandleader Perez Prado captured the top spot again, with Patricia. Prado was known as the Mambo King for his popular, Latin-flavored instrumentals.
• 1969 ~ Frank Loesser passed away
• 1972 ~ Helen Traubel passed away
• 2001 ~ Bass guitarist Leon Wilkeson, one of the founding members of legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died at the age of 49. The band, best known for songs What’s your Name?, Sweet Home Alabama and Freebird, debuted in 1973 and was named after the members’ high school gym teacher, Leonard Skinner. Wilkeson was involved in a 1977 plane crash in Mississippi that killed band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines. The group disbanded after the crash but re-formed with others in 1987 for a reunion tour. The band toured for most of the 1990s and had a concert scheduled for Aug. 23 in Jacksonville.
• 2002~ Thomas Calvin “Tommy” Floyd, whose twangy voice sold Luck’s beans in the 1950s, died. He was 89 and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Floyd was one of Asheboro’s best-known voices, between his music career and his jobs announcing at radio stations. Floyd organized the Blue Grass Buddys in 1942. The group played for radio shows and performed around the Southeast, appearing in concert with bluegrass legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. In 1950, Luck’s sponsored the band, provided that Floyd plug the product at shows. His jingle went: “Luck’s pinto beans, Luck’s pinto beans. Eat ’em and you’ll never go wrong. Luck’s pinto beans.” Luck’s sponsored him as a host for 15-minute country music spots on television stations in the Southeast. Luck’s discontinued the sponsorship in 1953.
• 2002 ~ Eddy Marouani, who managed the careers of some of the most famous figures in French music, including Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel, died. He was 81. He also steered the careers of singers Michel Sardou, Serge Lama and comedian Michel Boujenah. Marouani headed the agency “Office Parisien du Spectacle” and presided over one the biggest families of French impresarios. Marouani published his memoirs in 1989, entitled “Fishing for Stars, Impresario Profession.”
• 1946 ~ Alan Gorrie, Rock Singer with the Average White Band
• 1947 ~ Bernie Leadon, Musician, guitar with The Eagles
• 1947 ~ Brian Harold May, Musician, guitarist, singer and songwriter with Queen, who had the 1975 UK No.1 single Bohemian Rhapsody, which returned to No.1 in 1991. Queen scored over 40 other UK Top 40 singles, and also scored the 1980 US No.1 single Crazy Little Thing Called Love. May had the solo 1992 UK No.5 single Too Much Love Will Kill You. May was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for ‘services to the music industry and his charity work’. May earned a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College, London, in 2007.
• 1949 ~ Singer Harry Belafonte began recording for Capitol Records on this day. The first sessions included They Didn’t Believe Me and Close Your Eyes. A short time later, Capitol said Belafonte wasn’t “commercial enough,” so he signed with RCA Victor (for a very productive and commercial career).
• 1952 ~ Allen Collins, Musician, guitar with Lynyrd Skynyrd
• 1952 ~ “Paint Your Wagon” closed at Shubert Theater New York City after 289 performances
• 1966 ~ Frank Sinatra married actress Mia Farrow this day.
• 1963 ~ Kelly Shiver, Country Singer
• 1980 ~ Billy Joel, pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer, earned his first gold record with It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, which reached the top of the Billboard pop music chart. He would score additional million-sellers with Just the Way You Are, My Life, Uptown Girl (for girlfriend and later, wife and supermodel Christie Brinkley) and We Didn’t Start the Fire. Joel reached the top only one other time, with Tell Her About It in 1983.
• 2000 ~ H. LeBaron Taylor, a Sony executive who pioneered the mass marketing of music rooted in black culture and fostered minority development in the corporate world, died at the age of 65 of a heart attack. He was recognized by Ebony magazine as one of the top 50 black executives in corporate America. In the 1970s, Taylor was at CBS Records, leading its Black Music Marketing department, which sold music originating in black culture and styles that sprang from it, such as blues, soul, rap and hip-hop.
• 2015 ~ Van Alexander, American composer and bandleader (A-Tisket, A-Tasket), died at the age of 100
• 1947 ~ James Melvin Lunceford, American jazz dance-band leader, passed away
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• 1949 ~ John Wetton, Bassist, singer with Asia
• 1952 ~ Liz Mitchell, Singer
• 1953 ~ Marie-Alphonse-Nicolas-Joseph Jongen, Belgian composer, died at the age of 79
• 1956 ~ Sandi Patti, Gospel Singer
• 1958 ~ “Li’l Abner” closed at St James Theater New York City after 693 performances
• 1958 ~ Yakety Yak, by The Coasters, became the number one song in America according to Billboard magazine. It was the first stereo record to reach the top of the chart.
• 1962 ~ The Rolling Stones first performance, at the Marquee Club, London. The lineup featured Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, bass player Dick Taylor and drummer Mick Avory. Taylor and Avory were soon replaced.
• 1970 ~ Blues-Rock singer Janis Joplin’s debut, in Kentucky
• 1979 ~ Kalervo Tuukkanen, Composer, died at the age of 69
• 1979 ~ Minnie Ripperton (Andrea Davis) Singer, died at the age of 30
• 1985 ~ “Singin’ in the Rain” opened at Gershwin Theater New York City for 367 performances
• 1995 ~ Alan David Marks, Pianist and composer, died at the age of 49
• 1995 ~ Earl Coleman, Singer, died at the age of 69
• 1995 ~ Ernie Furtado, Bassist, died at the age of 72
• 1996 ~ Gottfried von Einem, Composer, died at the age of 78
• 1996 ~ Jonathan Melvoin, Keyboardist with Smashing Pumpkins, died
• 2000 ~ Ras Shorty I, who fused calypso with an up-tempo beat that he said represented the true soul of calypso, died of bone cancer. He was 59. He was born Garfield Blackman and started singing calypso as Lord Shorty. Dozens of musicians later adopted his up-tempo “soca” beat, which he called the “Indianization of calypso,” bringing together the music of his Caribbean nation’s two major ethnic groups, descendants of African slaves and of indentured laborers from India.
• 2001 ~ James Bernard, who composed the eerie musical scores for some of Britain’s most famous horror films, died at the age of 75. The British composer was best known for his work with Hammer Film studios, which made low-budget gothic horror films featuring actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. During his nearly 40-year career, Bernard composed scores for “The Curse of Frankenstein” (1957), “Dracula” (1958) and “The Devil Rides Out” (1968). He won an Academy Award, but not for his music. Bernard shared an Oscar in 1951 with Paul Dehn for best motion picture story for “Seven Days to Noon.” His last work was the score for “Universal Horror” in 1998, a documentary of Universal Studios’ horror films of the 1930s and 1940s.
• 1860 ~ Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor
More information about Mahler Grammy winner
• 1911 ~ Gian Carlo Menotti, Italian composer and conductor
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• 1962 ~ Mary Ford (Iris Colleen Summers), Singer with Les Paul
• 1927 ~ Doc (Carl) Severinsen, Bandleader, trumpeter, The Tonight Show Band, The Doc Severinsen Band, played with Charlie Barnet and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras, owner of a trumpet factory
• 1927 ~ Charlie Louvin (Loudermilk), Country singer, joined Grand Ole Opry in 1955
• 1940 ~ Ringo Starr, British rock drummer and singer with The Beatles
• 1944 ~ Warren Entner, Musician, guitarist and singer with The Grass Roots
• 1950 ~ David Hodo, Singer with The Village People
• 1954 ~ Cherry Boone, Singer; daughter of singer Pat Boone, sister of singer Debby Boone
• 1962 ~ Mark White, Rock Musician
• 1962 ~ Orchestra leader David Rose reached the top spot on the popular music charts. The Stripper stayed at the pinnacle of musicdom for one week. Rose’s previous musical success on the charts was in 1944 with Holiday for Strings.
• 2001 ~ Folk singer Fred Neil, who had such hits as Everybody’s Talking, and Candyman, died at the age of 64. Neil started his music career in 1955 when he moved from St. Petersburg to Memphis, Tenn. He released his first single, You Ain’t Treatin’ Me Right/Don’t Put the Blame On Me, two years later. The singer became a cult favorite in New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene after Roy Orbison released a blues recording of Neil’s Candyman in 1960. Neil released his first solo album, Bleecker & MacDougal, in 1965. After moving back to Florida, Neil took an interest in protecting dolphins. He frequently visited Kathy, the star of the television show Flipper, and wrote a song called The Dolphins, which was released on his 1967 album Fred Neil. In 1970, Neil co-founded the Dolphin Research Project to help curb the capture and exploitation of dolphins worldwide. His last big hit came in 1969 when the film Midnight Cowboy featured singer Harry Nilsson’s version of Neil’s Everybody’s Talking.
• 2002 ~ Dorle Jarmel Soria, a writer and co-founder of the music label Angel Records, died. She was 101. Soria and her husband, Dario Soria, together founded Angel Records, which distributed some of the labels of EMI, a British company. The label released some 500 recordings, including the work of singer Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, pianist Walter Gieseking and conductor Herbert von Karajan. The company was eventually sold by EMI, and the Sorias went on to help found Gian Carlo Menotti’s Festival of Two Worlds in Italy. Before founding Angel, Soria had a career in journalism and worked for Arthur Judson, who was a concert manager for the New York Philharmonic. Soria wrote regularly for several music magazines and had a weekly column for the Carnegie Hall program in the 1960s. She also published a book about the history of the Metropolitan Opera.
• 1953 ~ Gote Carlid, Composer, died at the age of 32
• 1956 ~ “Pipe Dream” closed at Shubert Theater New York City after 245 performances
• 1956 ~ “Shangri-La” closed at Winter Garden Theater New York City after 21 performances
• 1959 ~ Lazare Saminsky, Composer, died at the age of 76
• 1960 ~ Clarence Cameron White, Composer, died at the age of 79
• 1969 ~ Jan Evangelista Zelinka, Composer, died at the age of 76
• 1982 ~ “Lena Horne: Lady, Music” closed at Nederlander New York City after 333 performances
• 1983 ~ Bo Gentry, Songwriter and producer, died
• 1985 ~ Yul Brynner left his role as the King of Siam after 4,600 performances in The King and I at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. The show had run, on and off, for over 34 years and 191 performances.
• 1987 ~ Federico Mompou, Composer, died at the age of 94
• 1995 ~ Phyllis Hyman, Rhythm and Blues Jazz singer, died at 45
• 1996 ~ “State Fair,” closed at Music Box Theater New York City after 118 performances
• 2001 ~ Chet Atkins, whose guitar style influenced a generation of rock musicians even as he helped develop an easygoing country style to compete with it, died at the age of 77.
Atkins recorded more than 75 albums of guitar instrumentals and sold more than 75 million albums. He played on hundreds of hit records, including those of Elvis Presley (Heartbreak Hotel), Hank Williams Sr. (Your Cheatin’ Heart, Jambalaya) and The Everly Brothers (Wake Up Little Susie). As an executive with RCA Records for nearly two decades beginning in 1957, Atkins played a part in the careers of Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Charley Pride, Dolly Parton Jerry Reed, Waylon Jennings, Eddy Arnold and many others. “It’s impossible to capsulize his life – due to the profound impact he’s had as a wonderful human being and incredible member of our industry,” said Joe Galante, chairman of the RCA Label Group in Nashville. “His artistry and his influence as an industry leader have impacted so many. “There is no way to replace him nor what he has meant to music and our Nashville community.” Atkins helped craft the lush Nashville Sound, using string sections and lots of echo to make records that appealed to older listeners not interested in rock music. Among his notable productions are The End of the World by Skeeter Davis and He’ll Have to Go by Reeves. “I realized that what I liked, the public would like, too,” Atkins said in a 1996 interview with The Associated Press. ‘”Cause I’m kind of square.”
Chester Burton Atkins was born June 20, 1924, on a farm near Luttrell, Tenn., about 20 miles northeast of Knoxville. His elder brother Jim Atkins also played guitar, and went on to perform with Les Paul. Chet Atkins’ first professional job was as a fiddler on WNOX in Knoxville, where his boss was singer Bill Carlisle. “He was horrible,” Carlisle said at a tribute concert to Atkins in 1997. “But I heard him during a break playing guitar and decided to feature him on that.” Atkins’ unusual fingerpicking style, a pseudoclassical variation influenced by such diverse talents as Merle Travis and Django Reinhardt, got him hired and fired from jobs at radio stations all over the country. Atkins sometimes joked that early on his playing sounded “like two guitarists playing badly.” During the 1940s he toured with many acts, including Red Foley, The Carter Family and Kitty Wells. RCA executive Steve Sholes took Atkins on as a protege in the 1950s, using him as the house guitarist on recording sessions. RCA began issuing instrumental albums by Atkins in 1953. George Harrison, whose guitar work on early Beatles records is heavily influenced by Atkins, wrote the liner notes for “Chet Atkins Picks on the Beatles.” Sholes put Atkins in charge of RCA Nashville when he was promoted in 1957. There, he helped Nashville survive the challenge of rock ‘n’ roll with the Nashville Sound. The lavish sound has been criticized by purists who prefer their country music raw and unadorned. Atkins was unrepentant, saying that at the time his goal was simply “to keep my job.” “And the way you do that is you make a hit record once in a while,” he said in 1993. “And the way you do that is you give the audience something different.” Atkins quit his job as an executive in the 1970s and concentrated on playing his guitar. He’s collaborated with a wide range of artists on solo albums, including Mark Knopfler, Paul McCartney, Eric Johnson, George Benson, Susie Bogguss and Earl Klugh. At the time he became ill, Atkins had just released a CD, “The Day Finger Pickers took over the World.” He also had begun regular Monday night performances at a Nashville club. “If I know I’ve got to go do a show, I practice quite a bit, because you can’t get out there and embarrass yourself.” Atkins said in 1996. “So I thought, if I play every week I won’t be so rusty and I’ll play a lot better.”