I think the first time I ever came across anything related to Calloway was in the late 1960s when I was watching That Girl on TV – Ann’s father (Lew Parker) sang Minnie the Moocher for a talent show. The song stuck in my head. I wish I could find a video of that performance.
“Minnie the Moocher” is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over a million copies. “Minnie the Moocher” is most famous for its nonsensical ad-libbed (“scat”) lyrics (for example, “Hi De Hi De Hi De Hi”).
In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a form of call and response. Eventually, Calloway’s phrases would become so long and complex that the audience would laugh at their own failed attempts to repeat them.
“Minnie the Moocher” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Lots of others have sung this song, as well including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in “Jeeves and Wooster”.
and the Three Mo’ Tenors performed it in 2001
Calloway appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers and sang a shortened version “Minnie The Moocher” in the film, in the original style of big band.
Cabell “Cab” Calloway III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was an American jazz singer and bandleader. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, where he was a regular performer.
Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States’ most popular big bands from the start of the 1930s through to the late 1940s. Calloway’s band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon “Chu” Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.
An old Paramount short film of Cab Calloway singing many of his hits.
“The Old Man of The Mountain” is non-stop Cab from beginning to end. He appears first as an owl, singing the title song. The words have been changed for the cartoon, in which the Old Man is a villain. In the original song, the Old Man is a benevolent character. Next we see Cab as the Old Man himself, rotoscoped and singing, “You Gotta Hi-De-Hi,” followed by “The Scat Song.”
The cartoon begins with live footage of Cab and his Orchestra playing around with the tune of Minnie the Moocher while Cab scats mildly and grins at the camera. Whereas Cab may have been caught by surprise when they used live footage of him in the earlier cartoon, “Minnie the Moocher”, this time he is ready. He and his band are in dress white uniforms, Cab’s hair is slicked back, and he pays attention to the camera. (The drummer, Leroy Maxey, is still playing with his drumsticks, though!)
Of the three cartoons starring Cab Calloway, this one has the least interesting and least surreal plot, and the animation is the crudest. Never-the-less, the very early live footage of Cab is a treasure, and this cartoon showcases his music from beginning to end, featuring three of his songs. He does some of his most remarkable ever scat singing in this version of The Scat Song.
In all of the Fleisher cartoons, Cab’s characters are set in caves with menacing and ominous background illustrations: skeletons, skulls, ghosts, leering faces, and gambling, alcohol and drug paraphernalia. People have claimed that the Fleischers were unaware of the drug references in Cab’s songs (for example, “kicking the gong around” meaning “smoking opium”), but the imagery in the animations suggests otherwise.
Cab’s scat singing, dancing, comedic personality and flashy elegance had made him a star and a million-selling recording artist. He continued to perform right up until his death in 1994 at the age of 88.
Gunther Schuller sums up Calloway’s brilliance as an entertainer: “People still remember Cab Calloway as a dancer and vaudevillian with his wonderful white tuxedos and all of that — and, as a great, great showman.”
• 1894 ~ Ernest John Moeran, English composer who had strong associations with Ireland.
• 1904 ~ Nathan Milstein, Russian-born American violinist and composer
• 1908 ~ Jonah Jones (Robert Elliott Jones), Trumpeter, singer, played with Cab Calloway and threw spitball that got Dizzy Gillespie fired from a band
• 1922 ~ Rex Allen, ‘The Arizona Cowboy’, entertainer, rodeo star, singer, songwriter who published over 300 songs
• 1923 ~ Singer Eddie Cantor opened in the lead role of Kid Boots. Broadway critics called the production, “A smash musical hit!” Eddie made several of the songs from that show into smash hits also, like Alabamy Bound and If You Knew Susie. Three years later, If You Knew Susie became the title song for a movie starring Cantor.
• 1928 ~ Ross Barbour, Singer with The Four Freshmen
• 1929 ~ Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played Auld Lang Syne as a New Year’s Eve song for the first time. Auld Lang Syne had been the band’s theme song long before 1929. However, this night was the start of a New Year’s Eve tradition as Lombardo’s famed orchestra played at the Hotel Roosevelt Grill in New York City to usher in the new year. Where did it Auld begin? Scottish poet Robert Burns said he heard an old man singing the words, and wrote them down, but Burns is considered the original author. The literal translation means “old long since”; less literal means “days gone by”. Auld Lang Syne and Happy New Year!
• 1930 ~ Odetta (Holmes Felious Gordon), American folk-blues singer, guitarist, songwriter and actress
• 1940 ~ As a result of a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP (the American Society of Composers and Publishers), the radio industry was prevented from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten months. An ASCAP competitor, BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) made giant strides, expanding to include 36,000 copyrights. Many radio stations had to resort to playing public domain songs, such as marches and operas, to keep their stations on the air. Even kids songs were played over and over again until the ban was lifted. One of the most popular songs to be played was Happy Birthday to You, which was performed in many different languages just to get past the ban.
The American copyright status of “Happy Birthday to You” began to draw more attention with the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned “Happy Birthday to You” in his dissenting opinion. American law professor Robert Brauneis, who extensively researched the song, concluded in 2010 that “It is almost certainly no longer under copyright.” In 2013, based in large part on Brauneis’s research, Good Morning to You Productions, a company producing a documentary about “Good Morning to All”, sued Warner/Chappell for falsely claiming copyright to the song. In September 2015, a federal judge declared that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim was invalid, ruling that the copyright registration applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song, and not to its lyrics and melody.
In 2016, Warner/Chappell settled for US $14 million, and the court declared that “Happy Birthday to You” was in the public domain.
• 1942 ~ Andy Summers (Somers), Guitarist, singer with The Police
• 1943 ~ John Denver (Deutschendorf), American singer and songwriter of popular music
• 1947 ~ Burton Cummings, Jr., Singer with The Guess Who
• 1947 ~ Roy Rogers, ‘the King of the Cowboys’, and Dale Evans were hitched in marriage. They rode off into that sunset together for over fifty years. (Roy died July 6, 1998.)
• 1948 ~ Donna Summer (LaDonna Gaines), Grammy Award-winning singer
• 1951 ~ Tom Hamilton, Bass with Aerosmith
• 1960 ~ After playing California nightclubs as The Pendletones, Kenny and the Cadets, and Carl and the Passions, a new group emerged this day: The Beach Boys. The group’s first national hit, Surfin’ Safari, was soon to be. They recorded for local (Los Angeles) Colpix Records and at the height of their popularity, Capitol Records. The Beach Boys also recorded under the Reprise Records banner. The revitalized group still tours and Capitol continues to reissue various greatest hits packages. The Beach Boys were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
• 1972 ~ Joe McIntyre, Singer with New Kids on the Block
• 1975 ~ Elvis Presley performed before 60,000 fans at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI. He earned $800,000 for the concert, a world record for a single concert by a single artist.
• 1985 ~ Over 54,500 people played kazoos in downtown Rochester, New York. The assembled multitude played A Bicycle Built for Two. Any idea why? Well, they felt it was appropriate for the last day of the year and it got the crowd listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for ‘Most Kazoo-ers’.
• 1997 ~ Floyd Cramer, American Hall of Fame pianist (Nashville Sound), died of cancer at the age of 64
• 2000 ~ Tanaquil Le Clercq, the ballerina who dazzled the world in the 1940s and ’50s before her career was cut short by paralytic polio, died of pneumonia at the age of 71. Le Clercq contracted the disease, which left her paralyzed below the waist, in 1956. At the time, she was the fourth wife of George Balanchine and had attracted an adoring public because of her long-legged elegance. She later became a teacher at Dance Theater of Harlem, wrote two books and regularly attended dance performances. The New York City Ballet, of which Le Clercq was a charter member, paid tribute to her in 1988, when it opened its 50th-anniversary season. She acknowledged a thunderous New York State Theater ovation from her wheelchair. Le Clercq was blessed with an elongated physique that she used with refinement or humor. She epitomized the modernized look in classical dancing, which enthralled Balanchine, who once cast her as a dragonfly. As the first City Ballet ballerina trained since childhood by Balanchine, she was naturally identified with the roles he created for her in his major works, such as the ballets “Symphonie Concertante,” “Symphony in C” and “La Valse,” in which her doomed heroine danced herself to death. She was equally unforgettable in the ballets of Jerome Robbins and as the white-faced allegorical figure of Sacred Love in “Illuminations” in 1950.
• 2000 ~ José Greco, the famed flamenco dancer and choreographer who founded the José Greco Spanish Dance Company, of heart failure at the age of 82. Born in Montorio nei Frentani, Italy, of Spanish-Italian parents, he moved to Seville, Spain, at the age of 3, then was raised in Brooklyn from the age of 10. He began his career in 1937 and became known as the greatest Spanish dancer in the world. In 1941, the already famous Argentine-born dancer La Argentinita (known off the stage as Encarnacion Lopez) was preparing for an American tour when she saw Greco dance and asked him to perform as her partner and the featured male performer in her company until she died in 1945. After that, Greco danced with her sister Pilar Lopez. In 1951, Greco shared with Carol Channing the title of “New Broadway Personality of the Year.” The José Greco Dance Company, which helped integrate flamenco with mainstream ballet, toured extensively in North America, and six times worldwide, over the following two decades. In 1962, he Greco was knighted by the Spanish government. In 1971, Greco formed the Foundation for Hispanic Dance. His autobiography, “Gypsy in My Soul: The Autobiography of Jose Greco,” was published in 1977.
• 2000 ~ Eddy Shaver, a guitarist who performed with his father Billy Joe Shaver and Dwight Yoakam, died at the age of 38. Eddy Shaver grew up around music because of his father, a celebrated songwriter whose songs include I’m Just an Old Chuck of Coal (But I’m GonnaBe a Diamond Someday) and Georgia on a Fast Train. Dickie Betts of The Allman Brothers Band helped teach Eddy Shaver to play and gave him his two favorite guitars, one formerly owned by the late guitarist Duane Allman. Eddy Shaver began playing guitar with his father at 13, and gradually became Billy Joe Shaver’s musical partner and sometime co-writer. Billy Joe Shaver merged from country to a more rock-influenced sound because of his son. Albums by the band Shaver include “Tramp on Your Street,” the live “Shaver: Unshaven,” and “Electric Shaver.” A new album, “The Earth Rolls On,” was released on March 20, 2001.
• 2001 ~ Marie Hartford, a well-known businesswoman on Music Row and widow of the late songwriter and performer John Hartford, died of lung cancer. She was 67. Marie Hartford worked at Glaser Publishing, booking the studios at the Glaser Brothers’ Music Row operation, where country music’s Outlaw movement was bred. John Hartford, who wrote the standard Gentle on My Mind, died June 4 after a decade-long battle with cancer. The song was recorded more than 300 times, most prominently by Glen Campbell in 1967 but also by Dean Martin, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin.
• 2003 ~ Renata Babak, an internationally known mezzo-soprano with the Bolshoi Opera who defected from the Soviet Union in 1973, died of pancreatic cancer. She was 69. Babak gave recitals until last year, singing in a sweet but powerful and well-controlled voice described by critics as among the best in the world. Her last opera was in 1997, when she performed in Tchaikovsky’sIolanta with Opera Camerata of Washington. Babak was an international star with 10 years’ experience at the Bolshoi when she defected while the opera company was playing at La Scala in Milan, slipping out of a hotel lobby wearing a wig and dark glasses. She immigrated to Canada and went into hiding for two years. Babak’s U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall in 1975 was met with enthusiastic reviews. She moved to New York and then to Washington in the hopes of working with George London, then general director of the Washington Opera. Babak joined the faculty of the Washington Conservatory of Music when London was disabled by a stroke.
• 1912 ~ Tony Martin (Alvin Morris), Singer, actor, married to dancer Cyd Charisse
• 1915 ~ Pete Rugolo, Bandleader, arranger, scored TV’s The Fugitive
• 1931 ~ Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera was Hansel und Gretel by Humperdinck, heard on the NBC network of stations. In between acts of the opera, moderator Olin Downes would conduct an opera quiz, asking celebrity guests opera-related questions. The program’s host and announcer was Milton Cross. He worked out of the Met’s Box 44.
• 1932 ~ Little Richard, American rock-and-roll singer, pianist and songwriter
• 1937 ~ O’Kelly Isley, Singer with the Grammy Award-winning group, The Isley Brothers
• 1937 ~ Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of Symphony of the Air over NBC radio.
• 1939 ~ The Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, was read by LionelBarrymore on The Campbell Playhouse on CBS radio. The reading of the tale became an annual radio event for years to come.
• 1941 ~ Don Pullen, pianist/composer
• 1944 ~ Henry Vestine, Guitarist with Canned Heat, sideman for Frank Zappa
• 1945 ~ Noel Redding, Bass with Noel Redding Band and also The Jimi Hendrix Experience
• 1946 ~ Jimmy Buffett, Songwriter, singer
• 1948 ~ Barbara Mandrell, CMA Entertainer of the Year (1980, 1981), Female Vocalist of the Year in 1979
• 1954 ~ Robin Campbell, Guitar, singer with UB40
• 1954 ~ Annie Lennox, Singer with Eurythmics
• 1957 ~ Shane MacGowan, Songwriter, musician: guitar, singer with The Pogues
• 1821 ~ Giovanni Bottesini, Italian Romantic composer, conductor, and a double bass virtuoso
• 1853 ~ Maria Teresa Carreno, Venezuelan pianist, singer, composer, and conductor.
1858 ~ Giacomo Puccini, Italian opera composer
More information about Puccini
• 1874 ~ Franz Schmidt, Austrian composer, cellist and pianist.
1883 ~ Edgard Varèse, French-born American avant-garde composer
More information about Varèse
• 1885 ~ (Joseph) Deems Taylor, American opera composer and writer, music critic for New York World from 1921 until 1925, New York American from 1931 to 1932, intermission commentator for Sunday radio broadcasts of NY Philharmonic (1936 to 1943), president of ASCAP, married to poet and playwright Mary Kennedy
• 1894 ~ Claude Debussy’s first orchestral masterpiece “Prélude à l’apres-midi d’un faune” premiered in Paris
• 1901 ~ André Kostelanetz, Russian-born American conductor and arranger of Broadway show tunes
• 1939 ~ Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey (Mother of the Blues) passed away
• 1941 ~ Jimmy Lunceford and his orchestra recorded Blues in the Night on Decca. The song became one of Lunceford’s biggest hits. Between 1934 and 1946 Jimmy Lunceford had more hits (22) than any other black jazz band (except Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway).
• 1944 ~ Barry Jenkins, Drummer with Nashville Teens and also the Animals
• 1946 ~ Rick Nielsen, Guitarist, singer with Cheap Trick
• 1949 ~ Maurice Gibb, Bass, songwriter with the Bee Gees, married to singer Lulu, twin of Robin Gibb
• 1949 ~ Robin Gibb, Songwriter for Bee Gees, twin of Maurice Gibb
• 1958 ~ The Chipmunks were at the #1 position on the music charts on this day in 1958 as Alvin, Simon, and Theodore sang with David Seville. The Chipmunk Song, the novelty tune that topped the charts for a month, is still a Christmas favorite today…
Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We’ve been good, but we can’t last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast
Want a plane that loops the loop
Me, I want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don’t be late.
• 1972 ~ Folk singer Joni Mitchell received a gold record for the album, For the Roses. The album included the song, You Turn Me on, I’m a Radio.
• 1981 ~ London was the scene of a rock ’n’ roll auction where buyers paid $2,000 for a letter of introduction from Buddy Holly to Decca Records. Cynthia and John Lennon’s marriage certificate was worth $850 and an autographed program from the world premiere of the Beatles film Help! brought $2,100.
• 1984 ~ CBS Records announced plans for the release of Mick Jagger’s first solo album, set for February,
• 1985 ~ The Rolling Stones went solo after a 20-year career with the self- proclaimed “greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world.” The album: She’s the Boss.
• 2002 ~ Joe Strummer (John Mellors), who brought punk attitude and politics to one of the most significant bands in rock ‘n’ roll history, the Clash, died of a heart attack at his home in Somerset, England. He was 50. Strummer, a singer, guitarist, songwriter, activist and actor, had been touring with his band the Mescaleros since the release of their second album “Global a- Go-Go” in July 2001; the latest leg of the tour ended in November in Liverpool. The Clash, which formed in 1976, released its first album in ’77 and broke up for good in 1986, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March. The original lineup of Strummer, Mick Jones, Terry Chimes and Paul Simonon was expected to re-form for the induction ceremony and play the band’s first single, “White Riot,” at the ceremony. Although it was written as an advertising tagline, the Clash successfully lived up to its slogan as “the only band that matters.” The son of a diplomat, Strummer was born John Graham Mellor on Aug. 21, 1952, in Ankara, Turkey. He attended boarding schools in London, and as a teenager grew infatuated with reggae, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll. He formed a pub band, the 101ers, in 1974, which he gave up to form the Clash with Jones, Chimes and Keith Levene. The band was playing standard rock ‘n’ roll prior to Strummer’s arrival. He added reggae to the mix and upped the ante in politics and intensity. He took a Jones tune, for example, that was a complaint about a girlfriend and turned it into one of the band’s early anthems, “I’m So Bored With the U.S.A.” “Within the Clash, Joe was the political engine of the band,” British troubadour Billy Bragg said. “Without Joe there’s no political Clash, and without the Clash the whole political edge of punk would have been severely dulled.” Jones and Strummer penned all of the tunes on their debut and often worked as a team, though later albums would have songs attributed solely to Strummer and, for their final two efforts, have all songs attributed to the band.
• 1877 ~ Thomas Alva Edison made the first sound recording ever by reciting and recording the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a Little Lamb”. Edison recorded sound on a cylinder, which was then rotated against a needle. The needle moved up and down in the grooves of the cylinder, producing vibrations that were amplified by a conical horn. Edison assumed that this would be useful only for office dictation purposes and not much for recording music.
• 1887 ~ Joseph Lamb, American ragtime composer
• 1896 ~ Ira Gershwin (Israel Gershvin), American librettist and lyricist
1920 ~ Dave Brubeck, American jazz pianist and composer
More information about Brubeck
• 1929 ~ Nikolaus Harnoncourt, German conductor, cellist and musicologist
• 1930 ~ Bobby Van (Bobby King Robert Stein), Actor, dancer
• 1939 ~ Steve Alaimo, Singer, actor
• 1941 ~ Helen Cornelius, Singer
• 1942 ~ Len Barry (Borrisoff), Singer, with The Dovells
• 1944 ~ Jonathan (Kenneth) King, Singer, songwriter, producer
• 1944 ~ Red Bank Boogie, Count Basie’s salute to his hometown, was recorded on Columbia Records. The tune is a tribute to Red Bank, New Jersey.
• 1948 ~ Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts debuted on CBS-TV. The show ran for almost10 years and the redhead introduced such talent as Pat Boone, The Chordettes, Carmel Quinn, The McGuire Sisters, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Connie Francis, Steve Lawrence and Al Martino.
• 1950 ~ Joe Hisaishi, Japanese composer
• 1956 ~ Peter Buck, Guitarist with R.E.M.
• 1956 ~ Rick (Paul) Buckler, Drummer, singer with The Jam
• 1960 ~ Eileen Farrell debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC in the title role of Gluck’sAlcestis.
• 1962 ~ Ben Watt, Guitarist, keyboard, singer with Everything but the Girl
• 1969 ~ Musician Cab Calloway turned actor as he was seen in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of The Littlest Angel on NBC. The big band singer, known for such classics as Minnie the Moocher, became a movie star in The Blues Brothers (1980) with John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd.
• 1969 ~ Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, by Steam, reached the #1 spot on the top 40. It stayed at the top for two weeks and was the only major hit for the group.
• 2000 ~ Werner Klemperer, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who went on to play the inept German prison-camp commandant Col. Klink on TV’s “Hogan’s Heroes,” died of cancer at the age of 80. Klemperer fled Germany in 1935 with his father, Otto, a distinguished conductor and composer. He won two Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the monocled Col. Wilhelm Klink on the 1960s sitcom about World War II Allied prisoners of war. He was a gifted actor on both film and stage, receiving a Tony nomination in 1988 as a feature actor in a musical for his role in Hal Prince’s revival of “Cabaret.” Other Broadway roles included starring opposite Jose Ferrer in “The Insect Comedy,” and with Tallulah Bankhead in the 1955 production of “Dear Charles.” Most recently, he co-starred in Circle in the Square’s production of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” Klemperer also appeared as a narrator with nearly every major symphony orchestra in the United States. His repertoire included such works as Beethoven’s “Egmont” and “Fidelio,” Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat” and “Oedipus Rex.” His narration of Mozart’s “The Impresario,” with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, aired on PBS’s “Live from Lincoln Center.” He also performed in various operas, including “The Sound of Music,” with the New York City Opera. He played Prince Orlofsky in “Die Fledermaus” with companies in Seattle and Cleveland.
• 2003 ~ Hans Hotter, the world’s leading Wagnerian bass-baritone of his time, died at the age of 94. The 6-foot-4 Hotter, whose career spanned half a century, was known for his booming, noble voice. He mastered such roles as Wotan in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Gurnemanz in “Parsifal”, the title role in “The Flying Dutchman” and Hans Sachs in DieMeistersinger. He also won praise for Schubert lieder. Hotter started his operatic career in 1930, and sang in Prague and Hamburg and at the Munich Opera, where he became a leading singer in 1937. He remained with the company until 1972. He also was a member of the Vienna Opera from 1939 until 1970. Hotter created the role of Olivier in the world premiere of Richard Strauss“Capriccio” in 1942. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the role of Jupiter in Strauss’s “Die Liebe der Danae” had been written for him but its premiere was disrupted when all theaters were closed after the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in August 1944. After the war, Hotter began a 12-year association with the Wagner family’s opera house at the Bayreuth festival in 1952. The same year, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Dutchman. He also became a producer. His final production was in 1981 in Chicago of Beethoven’s“Fidelio”.
• 1307 ~ The story of William Tell shooting the apple off of his young son’s head is said to have taken place on this day. Gioachino Rossini made this story into an opera.
• 1680 ~ Birth of French-Belgian composer and flutist Jean Baptiste Loeillet in Gent.
• 1736 ~ Birth of German composer Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch in Zerbst
• 1741 ~ George Frideric Handel arrived in Dublin at the invitation of the country of Ireland to attend current concert season. Presented numerous concerts in the Irish capital, including the first performance of his oratorio Messiah early in 1742.
• 1763 ~ Leopold Mozart and his two children, Wolfgang and Maria, arrive in Paris on their European concert tour.
• 1786 ~ Carl Maria von Weber, German composer, conductor and pianist, began the era of German romantic music
More information about von Weber
• 1838 ~ Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, British playright and librettist, best known for his comic operettas with Arthur Sullivan
• 1909 ~ Johnny (John Herndon) Mercer, Academy Award-winning composer, lyricist, wrote or co-wrote over a thousand songs
• 1926 ~ Dorothy Collins (Marjorie Chandler), Singer on Your Hit Parade, sang with Benny Goodman band
• 1936 ~ Hank Ballard, Singer, songwriter with The Midniters, wrote and recorded The Twist
• 1950 ~ Graham Parker, Singer with Graham Parker and The Rumour
• 1953 ~ Herman Rarebell, Drummer with Scorpions
• 1960 ~ Kim Wilde, Singer
• 1967 ~ Lulu’s To Sir with Love, from the movie of the same name, started its fifth and final week at number one.
• 1974 ~ Frank Sinatra emerged from retirement to do a TV special with dancer Gene Kelly. The show was a smash hit and revived Sinatra’s career.
• 1975 ~ John Denver received a gold record for I’m Sorry.
• 1986 ~ The Roseland Ballroom reopened in New York City. The 67-year-old home for those wanting to dance cheek to cheek featured America’s dean of society music, Lester Lanin. He played for patrons who wanted to cut a rug on the 112-by-55-foot, maple wood dance floor.
• 1999 ~ Doug Sahm, American country singer, passed away
• 2003 ~ First Performance of John Corigliano‘s Snapshot: Circa 1909. Elements String Quartet at Merkin Concert Hall, NYC.
• 2003 ~ Oscar-nominated composer, conductor and arranger Michael Kamen, one of Hollywood’s most sought-after musicians, died at age 55 after suffering from multiple sclerosis for several years. The native New Yorker and Juilliard School of Music Graduate was one of Hollywood’s most successful composers who worked on music for the “Lethal Weapon” series and scored “Die Hard” among many other films. In the late 1960s, he helped found the New York Rock ‘n’ Roll Ensemble, a critically acclaimed group that fused classical with pop and recorded five albums before dissolving. In the 1970s, Kamen scored ballets, served as musical director for David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” tour and began writing scores for film. Although he began in Hollywood working on offbeat films like “Polyester” and “Brazil,” he turned more mainstream in the 1980s, working on the “Lethal Weapon” series, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus” and “X-Men,” plus the HBO series “Band of Brothers.” In 1991, Kamen earned his first Academy Award nomination for “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You,” the Bryan Adams pop hit from the movie, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” Co-written with Adams and Robert John “Mutt” Lange, the song received two Grammys. The three united in 1993 for “All for Love.” In 1999, Kamen conducted the orchestra which backed Metallica on their S&M project.
• 2004 ~ Cy Coleman, American composer, songwriter and pianist, died
• 1801 ~ Johann Nepomuk Went, Composer, died at the age of 56
• 1892 ~ Joseph Labitzky, Composer
• 1809 ~ Joseph Quesne, Composer, died at the age of 62
• 1814 ~ Janis Cimze, Composer
• 1819 ~ Louis Theodore Gouvy, Composer
• 1846 ~ Achilles Alferaki, Composer
• 1850 ~ Alfredo Kiel, Composer
• 1854 ~ Leos Janácek, Czech composer, conductor and collector of Moravian folk songs. He is best known for his operas including “Jenufa” and “The Cunning Little Vixen” as well as for his orchestral piece “Taras Bulba.”
More information about Janácek
• 1855 ~ Piotr Maszynski, Composer
• 1860 ~ William Wallace, Composer
• 1862 ~ Friedrich Ernst Koch, Composer
• 1871 ~ Vicente Arregui Garay, Composer
• 1873 ~ Josef Michal Ksawery Jan Poniatowski, Composer, died at the age of 57
• 1878 ~ George M. Cohan, American songwriter, vaudeville performer, playwright and producer
Listen to Cohan’s music
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• 1879 ~ Philippe Gaubert, Composer
• 1880 ~ Carl Schuricht, Composer
• 1891 ~ Stefano Golinelli, Composer, died at the age of 72
• 1941 ~ Cab Calloway and his orchestra recorded the standard, St. James Infirmary, for Okeh Records.
• 1945 ~ Johnny Lee, Country singer
• 1945 ~ Victor Borge was first heard on NBC radio. The network gave the comedian/pianist the summer replacement slot for Fibber McGee and Molly.
More information about Borge
• 1948 ~ Paul Barrere, Musician, guitarist with Little Feat
• 1952 ~ Daniel Zamudio, Composer, died at the age of 64
• 1952 ~ Laura Branigan, Singer
• 1953 ~ Harry Belafonte was shown with actress Janet Leigh and film star Tony Curtis on the cover of Ebony magazine. It was the first time a black person and two Caucasians were seen together on a U.S. magazine cover.
• 1954 ~ “Wonderful Town” closed at Winter Garden Theater New York City after 559 performances
• 1955 ~ Neil Clark, Musician, guitarist with Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
• 1957 ~ Richard Mohaupt, German Composer (Bucolica), died at the age of 52
• 1958 ~ “Andy Williams Show” premiered on ABC (later on CBS & NBC)
• 1960 ~ Alfred Henry Ackley, Composer, died at the age of 73
• 1961 ~ Vince Clarke, Songwriter, keyboards
• 1965 ~ Clarence Loomis, Composer, died at the age of 75
• 1966 ~ Andre Gailhard, Composer, died at the age of 81
• 1966 ~ Joseph Deems Taylor, Composer, died at the age of 80
• 1969 ~ Brian Jones, guitarist (Rolling Stones), drowns to death at 25
• 1969 ~ Hermann Grabner, Composer, died at the age of 83
• 1971 ~ Jim Morrison, rock singer (Doors), died of heart failure at 27. He co-wrote some of the group’s biggest hits, including ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Love Me Two Times’, and ‘Love Her Madly.’ On the 25th anniversary of his death, an estimated 15,000 fans gathered at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France to pay their respects.
• 1971 ~ The Newport Jazz Festival’s reputation was tarnished as gate crashers stormed the stage. The unruly mob forced the show to leave Newport, Rhode Island and move to New York City. Oh, and the artist the crowd got unruly over? Not Bob Dylan, not Miles Davis, but Dionne Warwick’s! She was singing What the World Needs Now is Love at the time of the incident.
• 1972 ~ Mississippi Fred McDowell, jazz artist, died at the age of 68
• 1973 ~ Charles Ancerl, Czech conductor (Prague/Toronto), died at the age of 63
• 1973 ~ Clint Holmes received a gold record for his hit single, Playground in My Mind.
• 1976 ~ Brian Wilson rejoined The Beach Boys, who were appearing at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, CA (before 74,000 fans). Wilson had been out of the group’s road tour schedule for 12 years.
• 1977 ~ Hugh Le Caine, Composer, died at the age of 63
• 1986 ~ Rudy Vallee, singer (Vagabond Dreams), died at the age of 84
• 1986 ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov, considered by many to be the world’s greatest ballet dancer, became a U.S. citizen in ceremonies at Ellis Island, New York Harbor.
• 1991 ~ Irina Nijinska, Russian/US dancer, died at the age of 77
• 1995 ~ Brad Lee Sexton, bass guitarist, died at the age of 47
• 2000 ~ Harold Nicholas, American dancer known as one of the world’s greatest dancers (Nicholas Brothers), died of heart failure at the age of 79. Children: don’t try this at home – never, ever dance on a piano!
• 2001 ~ Country guitar player Roy Nichols, who played in Merle Haggard’s band for 22 years and helped create the Bakersfield Sound, died after being hospitalized with kidney inflammation and a bacterial infection. He was 68. Nichols began recording with Haggard’s band The Strangers in 1963 and played with some of country music’s biggest names from the time he was 16 years old. “A lot of people may or may not know that he played for Johnny Cash on Tennessee Flat Top Box, the original version, and also on The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” Haggard told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. Haggard credits Nichols with jump-starting his own career and playing a key role in developing The Stranger’s distinctive sound.
• 2001 ~ Grand Ole Opry star Johnny Russell, whose song Act Naturally was recorded by Buck Owens and The Beatles, died of leukemia, diabetes and other ailments at the age of 61. Russell once said that it took him two years to get someone to record Act Naturally, co-written with Voni Morrison. When Owens recorded a version in 1963, it went to No. 1 on the country charts. Two years later, it was recorded by the Beatles, with Ringo Starr singing the vocal. In 1989, Starr and Owens recorded a duet of the song that was nominated for Grammy and Country Music Association awards. Russell’s own recording career took off in the 1970s. His biggest hit was the working class anthem Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer, which went to No. 4 in 1973 and was nominated for a Grammy. Russell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1985, and over the years became its regular closing act. A jolly, 275-pound man, he would joke to audiences in his opening line: “Can everybody see me all right?” Russell also wrote the No. 1 hit Let’s Fall to Pieces Together, recorded in 1984 by George Strait, and Making Plans, which was recorded by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt on their Trio album in 1987.
• 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.