April 10: Today’s Music History

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. 1864 ~ Eugen d’Albert, British-born German pianist and composer

. 1885 ~ Sigmund Spaeth, American music scholar

. 1921 ~ Martin Denny, Composer, arranger, pianist

OCMS 1930 ~ Claude Bolling, French jazz pianist and composer
More information about Bolling

. 1927 ~ Ballet Macanique was presented for the first time at Carnegie Hall in New York City. This was the first symphonic work that called for an airplane propeller and other mechanical contraptions not normally associated with the ballet.

. 1953 ~ Eddie Fisher was discharged from the Army and arrived home to a nice paycheck of $330,000 in record royalties. Fisher sold 7 million records for RCA Victor while on furloughs. Anytime was just one of several hits recorded during his stint in the Army.

. 1970 ~ Officially resigning from The Beatles, Paul McCartney disbanded the most influential rock group in history at a public news conference. The Beatles hit, Let It Be, was riding high on the pop charts. The last recording for the group, The Long and Winding Road (also from the documentary film Let It Be), would be number one for two weeks beginning on June 13, bringing to a close one of contemporary music’s greatest dynasties.

. 1979 ~ Nino Rota, Italian composer (Torquemada), died at the age of 67

April 8: Today’s Music History

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Buddha’s Birthday

. 1692 ~ Giuseppe Tartini, Venetian Baroque composer and violinist (Trillo del Diavolo)

. 1848 ~ Gaetano Donizetti (born in 1797), died in Bergamo. He was an Italian composer.

. 1889 ~ Sir Adrian Boult, British conductor. In 1918 Gustav Holst asked him to conduct the first performance of “The Planets.”

. 1920 ~ Charles Tomlinson Griffes, US composer (White Peacock), died at the age of 35

. 1922 ~ Carmen McRae, US jazz singer/pianist

. 1923 ~ Franco Corelli, Italian tenor, debut: Spoleto (Italy) as Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen in 1951; in films: Great Moments in Opera, Franco Corelli in Tosca, The Great Tenors – Voice of Firestone Classic Performances

. 1929 ~ Jacques Brel, Belgian-born French singer and songwriter

. 1941 ~ Peggy Lennon, Singer with The Lennon Sisters

. 1950 ~ Vaslav Nijinsky, legendary Russian ballet dancer, died. He is generally regarded as the 20th century’s greatest male dancer.

. 1963 ~ Julian Lennon, Singer, son of John and Cynthia Lennon

. 1968 ~ The Beatles went gold again, receiving a gold record for the single, Lady Madonna.

. 1971 ~ Chicago became the first rock group to play Carnegie Hall in New York City.

. 1986 ~ It took 18 years of singing the U.S. national anthem, but on this day, at long last, baritone Robert Merrill of the Metropolitan Opera became the first person to both sing the anthem and throw out the first ball at Yankee Stadium for the Yanks home opener.

. 2001 ~ Van Stephenson, a hit Nashville songwriter who also earned onstage success as a member of the trio BlackHawk, died after suffering from cancer at the age of 47. Stephenson released two albums as a solo pop artist in the 1980s, and scored the hit Modern Day Delilah in 1984. Moving back to Nashville from Los Angeles, Stephenson partnered with songwriter Dave Robbins to write a string of hits for Restless Heart, Dan Seals, and others. Stephenson and Robbins teamed up with former Outlaws singer Henry Paul at the suggestion of record executive Tim DuBois. The trio has had a string of hits since 1993, including Goodbye Says it All and Down in Flames.

. 2013 ~ Annette Funicello, American singer and actress (Mickey Mouse Club), died from multiple sclerosis complications at the age of 70.

April 2: Today’s Music History

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. 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 tumor. 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 organized 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.

March 20: Today’s Music History

. 1812 ~ Jan Ladislav Dussek died.  He was a Czech composer and pianist.

. 1828 ~ Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright. He wrote Peer Gynt, which Grieg later set to music.

. 1873 ~ Sergei V Rachmaninov, Russian/US pianist/composer born (Old Style)

. 1890 ~ Lauritz Melchior, Danish-born American tenor
More information about Melchior

. 1890 ~ Beniamino Gigli, Italian operatic tenor, born; with a repertory of over 60 roles, he retired in 1955 after over 40 years singing.

. 1907 ~ Ozzie Nelson, Bandleader, actor in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. He was married to actress, Harriet Nelson and they were the parents of David and Ricky Nelson.

. 1915 ~ Sviatoslav Richter, Russian pianist
More information about Richter

. 1917 ~ Dame Vera Lynn, English singer and sweetheart of British forces during World War Two

. 1920 ~ Marian McPartland, British jazz pianist
More information about McPartland

. 1936 ~ Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded Christopher Columbus on Victor Records in Chicago, IL.

. 1948 ~ Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra were featured in the first televised symphonic concert. CBS-TV, with help from its then Philadelphia television station, WCAU-TV 10, carried the program from the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the home of the world-famous orchestra. The concert was televised live, at 5 p.m.

Ninety minutes later, NBC-TV carried TV’s second symphonic concert. This one was from Carnegie Hall in New York City. Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra was featured in a presentation of Wagner compositions.

. 1969 ~ Beatle John Lennon married Yoko Ono at the Rock of Gibraltar on this day. Lennon called the location, “quiet, friendly and British.” He was the second Beatle to marry in eight days. Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman were wed a week earlier.

March 12: Today’s Music History

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. 1563 ~ John Bull, English composer, musician and organ builder, credited with composing Britain’s national anthem “God Save The King/Queen” (debated), died about the age of 68

. 1710 ~ Thomas Arne, English composer
More information about Arne

. 1890 ~ Vaslav Nijinsky, Ukrainian ballet dancer

. 1891 ~ Clara Schumann gave her final piano performance.

. 1921 ~ Gordon MacRae, Singer

. 1923 ~ Dr. Lee DeForest demonstrated his putting sound on motion picture film. One of the pioneers of radio in the early 1900s, DeForest came up with a snappy name for his invention; he called it phonofilm. Today, we call it a soundtrack.

. 1937 ~ Charles-Marie Widor died.  He was a was a French organist, composer and teacher.

. 1939 ~ Artie Shaw and his band recorded the standard, Deep Purple, in New York for the Bluebird label. Listening carefully after the first minute or so, one can hear Helen Forrest sing the vocal refrain. Larry Clinton and his orchestra had a number one song with a similar arrangement of the same tune that same year. It later was a hit for saxophonist, Nino Tempo and his sister, April Stevens in 1963. Hundreds of versions of this song have been recorded through the years, making it one of the most popular standards of all time.

. 1940 ~ Al Jarreau, Singer

. 1946 ~ Liza Minnelli, American actress and singer of popular music
More information about Minnelli

. 1948 ~ James Taylor, American folk-rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist

. 1955 ~ Charlie “Bird” Parker, an influential U.S. jazz saxophonist, died.

. 1955 ~ One of the great groups of jazz appeared for the first time at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Dave Brubeck Quartet presented a magnificent concert for jazz fans.

. 1969 ~ Wedding bells rang in London for singer, Paul McCartney and his new bride, photographer, Linda Eastman.

. 1985 ~ Eugene Ormandy, U.S. conductor, died. He directed the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1936-1980 and was especially noted for his performances of Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich.

. 1987 ~ The famous musical play “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo opened on Broadway in New York.

. 1991 ~ Jimmy McPartland passed away

. 1993 ~ June Valli, singer (Crying in the Chapel), died at the age of 62

. 1999 ~ World-famous violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin died in Berlin.

February 12: On This Day in Music

. 1728 ~ Mysterious priest-composer Agostino Steffani died.

. 1760 ~ Jan Ladislav Dussek, Czech composer and pianist.  Along with his friend, famed piano maker John Broadwood, Dussek made important design improvements to the piano, allowing for the more dynamic style of playing that his highly original compositions required. Beethoven himself later used a Broadwood piano with Dussek’s innovations. This helped pave the way for Romanticism and Dussek’s influence on Beethoven’s piano writing has been well documented.

Dussek’s Piano Sonata Op. 77 in F minor (“L’invocation”), from 1812, is the last work he ever composed, and he saved the best for last. This is a neglected masterpiece that foreshadows Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms.

. 1881 ~ Anna (Pavlovna) Pavlova, Russia’s premier ballerina

. 1894 ~ Hans von Bülow, German pianist and composer died (b. 1830)
More about von Bulow

. 1898 ~ Roy Harris, American composer

. 1904 ~ Ted Mack (William Maguiness), TV host of The Original Amateur Hour, The Ted Mack Family Hour

. 1914 ~ (Gordon) Tex Beneke, Bandleader, singer, tenor sax in the Glenn Miller Orchestra

, 1915 ~ Charles Emile Waldteufel, composer, died at the age of 77

. 1918 ~ All theatres in New York City were shut down in an effort to conserve coal.

. 1923 ~ Mel Powell, American jazz pianist and composer. One of his works is Mission to Moscow for Benny Goodman. He was also Dean of Music at California Institute of Arts.

. 1923 ~ Franco Zeffirelli, Italian director and producer of opera, theatre, film and television

. 1924 ~ Bandleader Paul Whiteman presented his unique symphonic jazz at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. The concert marked the first public performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The composer, himself, was at the piano this night. Distinguished guests included John Philip Sousa and Jascha Heifetz.

. 1935 ~ Gene McDaniels (Eugene Booker McDaniels), Singer

. 1939 ~ Ray Manzarek, Keyboards with The Doors

. 1942 ~ Mildred Bailey recorded More Than You Know on Decca Records.

. 1948 ~ Joe Schermie, Bass with Three Dog Night

. 1949 ~ “Annie Get Your Gun” closed at the Imperial Theater in New York City after 1147 performances

 

. 1964 ~ The Beatles played two concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, concluding a very successful American tour.

. 1968 ~ Singer and famed guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, received an honorary high school diploma from Garfield High School in Seattle, WA, where he had dropped out at the age of 14.

. 1972 ~ Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together knocked American Pie out of the top spot on the music charts. The record stayed at the top for one week, before giving way to Nilsson’s Without You. Green returned to his gospel roots in 1980 and is a minister in Memphis, TN. Green recorded 14 hit songs with six of them making it to the Top 10.

. 1976 ~ Sal Mineo, singer, died

. 1983 ~ Eubie Blake, US ragtime-composer/pianist (Memories of You), died at the age of 96

. 2011 ~ Elizabeth “Betty” Garrett, American actress, comedian, singer and dancer (All in the Family), died of an aortic aneurysm at the age of 91

 

January 23: On This Day in Music

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. 1752 ~ Muzio Clementi, Italian pianist and composer
More information about Clementi

. 1837 ~ John Field died.  Field was an Irish pianist, composer, and teacher.

. 1878 ~ Rutland Boughton, English composer

. 1888 ~ Richard Strauss made his conducting debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

. 1893 ~ Phillips Brooks passed away.  Brooks was the lyricist of the Christmas hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

. 1908 ~ Edward Alexander MacDowell, US composer (Indian Suite), died at the age of 47

. 1920 ~ Ray Abrams, Jazz/be-bop tenor saxophonist

. 1925 ~ Marty Paich, Pianist, composer, arranger with/for: Peggy Lee, Shorty Rogers’ Giants, Dorothy Dandridge, Shelley Manne, Art Pepper, Shorty Rogers, Dave Pell, Mel Torme, Ray Brown, Anita O’Day, Stan Kenton, Terry Gibbs, Ella Fitzgerald, and Buddy Rich

. 1928 ~ Ken Errair, Singer with The Four Freshmen

. 1933 ~ Chita Rivera (Conchita del Rivero), Singer, dancer, actress

. 1938 ~ Eugene Church, Singer

. 1941 ~ Artie Shaw and his orchestra recorded Moonglow on Victor Records. In the band were such sidemen as Johnny Guarnieri, Jack Jenney, Billy Butterfield and Ray Conniff on trombone.

. 1943 ~ Duke Ellington and the band played for a black-tie crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was the first of what was to become an annual series of concerts featuring the Duke.

. 1948 ~ Anita Pointer, Singer with The Pointer Sisters

. 1950 ~ Bill Cunningham, Bass, piano with The Box Tops

. 1950 ~ Patrick Simmons, Singer, guitarist with The Doobie Brothers

. 1974 ~ Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells opened the credits of the movie, “The Exorcist”, based on the book by William Peter Blatty. The song received a gold record this day.

. 1977 ~ Carole King’s landmark album, “Tapestry”, became the longest-running album to hit the charts, as it reached its 302nd week on the album lists.

. 1978 ~ Vic Ames killed in car crash

. 1981 ~ Samuel Barber, American composer (School for Scandal), died of cancer at the age of 70

. 2002 ~ Alfred Glasser, a former director of education for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, died of cancer. He was 70. Glasser held the education post for 30 years before his retirement in 1996. Since 1997, Glasser served as chairman of the board and commentator for Chicago’s concert opera company, da Corneto Opera. For the past decade, he served on the board of Alliance Francaise of Chicago, a French cultural group. Glasser also founded the Lyric Opera Lecture Corps, a community service project.

. 2003 ~ Nell Carter, actress-singer, died at the age of 54. She was best known for her role as the housekeeper in the TV sitcom “Gimme a Break!”. Carter, who was born September 13, 1948, in Birmingham, Alabama, first rose to stardom on the New York stage. After a series of roles on- and off-Broadway — and a short-lived part in the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope” — in 1977 she starred in the show “Ain’t Misbehavin’!”, a revue of the works of composer Fats Waller. She was rewarded for her performance with an Obie Award, and later with a Tony Award when the show moved to Broadway. Several years later, she earned an Emmy for her performance on a television presentation of the musical. Despite her Broadway success, Carter would have preferred to sing opera. “When I was growing up, it was not something you aspired to,” she said in 1988. “I was a weirdo to want to be in show business. Most kids wanted to be teachers or nurses.” “Gimme a Break!” ran from 1981 to 1987. Carter was nominated for two Emmys for her role as housekeeper Nell Harper, who helped run the household of police chief Carl Kanisky, played by Dolph Sweet. She also garnered two Golden Globe nominations for the role.

. 2003 ~ For Sale: One of London’s most famous music venues, which in its heyday in the 1960s played host to The Who, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, is for sale, its administrators said. The Marquee Club, which in the 1970s was the epicenter of the punk explosion, ran into financial difficulties after its high-profile relaunch last fall, said a spokeswoman for administrator BDO Stoy Hayward. “We’re looking for someone in the music business who can capitalize on the Marquee brand and keep running it as a live venue,” she said. The price tag is at least $200 million. The club opened in London’s Soho district in 1958 and was so cramped and sweaty that, according to legend, Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats blacked out on stage. In 1988, it moved to a new location in nearby Charing Cross, but within eight years it had closed down. A high-profile relaunch at a new venue in Islington, north London September 2002 was headlined by the controversial electro-rockers Primal Scream, but according to the club’s administrators, huge start-up costs quickly led to its downfall.

. 2017 ~ Bobby Freeman, American singer (Do You Want to Dance), died at the age of 76

. 2018 ~ Hugh Masekela, South African trumpeter, anti-apartheid activist (I Am Not Afraid), described as the “father of South African jazz,” died at the age of 78

January 16 ~ On This Day in Music

 

. 1864 ~ Anton Schindler, German violinist and Beethoven’s biographer, died at the age of 68

. 1875 ~ First American performance of Johannes Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances”

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1886 ~ Death of Italian opera composer Amilcare Ponchielli, in Milan. He was 51.

. 1891 ~ French Composer Leo Delibes died at the age of 54

. 1905 ~ Ernesto Halffter, Spanish composer and conductor

. 1908 ~ Ethel Merman (Zimmerman), American singer of popular music, Tony Award-winning actress (musical), Musical Theater Hall of Fame. She is most famous for Call Me Madam in 1951, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, There’s No Business Like Show Business and Alexander’s Ragtime Band

. 1929 ~ Marilyn Horne, American mezzo-soprano

. 1929 ~ G.T. (Granville) Hogan, Jazz drummer who played with Elmo Hope, Earl Bostic

. 1934 ~ Bob Bogle (Robert Lenard Bogle), Guitarist, bass with The Ventures

. 1938 ~ Béla Bartók and his wife, Ditta performed their first public concert featuring his Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion

. 1938 ~ Benny Goodman and his band, plus a quartet, brought the sound of jazz to Carnegie Hall in New York City. When asked how long an intermission he wanted, he quipped, “I don’t know. How much does Toscanini get?”

. 1942 ~ Bill Francis, Keyboard, singer with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show

. 1942 ~ Kay Kyser and the band recorded A Zoot Suit for Columbia Records. The tune is about the problems associated with wearing this garish, exaggerated ‘hep’ fashion.

. 1946 ~ Katia Ricciarelli, Italian soprano

. 1946 ~ Ronnie Milsap, Grammy Award-winning singer in 1976, CMA Male Vocalist of the Year (1974, 1976, 1977), CMA Entertainer of the Year (1977), blind since birth, he learned to play several instruments by age 12

. 1950 ~ Debbie Allen, Dancer, actress, choreographer, sister of actress Phylicia Rashad

. 1957 ~ Conductor Arturo Toscanini died in New York at the age of 89.

. 1957 ~ The Cavern Club opened for business in Liverpool, England. The rock club was just a hangout for commoners. Then, things changed — big time. It all started in the early 1960s when four kids from the neighborhood popped in to jam. They, of course, turned out to be The Beatles.

. 1962 ~ Paul Webb, Bass with Talk Talk

. 1964 ~ “Hello Dolly!” opened at the St. James Theatre in New York City. Carol Channing starred in the role of Mrs. Dolly Levi. The musical was an adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s play, “The Matchmaker”. The show, with an unforgettable title song, was hailed by critics as the “…possible hit of the season.” It was possible, all right. “Hello Dolly!” played for 2,844 performances. And, it returned to Broadway in the 1990s, again starring Carol Channing.

. 1972 ~ David Seville died on this day in Beverly Hills, CA. Born Ross Bagdasarian, the musician was the force, and artist, behind the Alvin and the Chipmunks novelty songs of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

. 1973 ~ Clara Ward passed away. Ward was an American gospel artist who achieved great artistic and commercial success in the 1940s and 1950s.

. 1976 ~ The album, “Frampton Comes Alive”, was released by Herb Alpert’s A&M Records. The double LP soon reached the top spot of the album charts and stayed perched there for 17 weeks. It sold 19 million copies in its first year.

. 1980 ~ Lin Manuel Miranda, American actor, composer, lyricist (Hamilton)

. 1984 ~ Michael Jackson received eight awards at the 11th annual American Music Awards this night.

. 2001 ~ Eleanor Lawrence, a flutist who played often in chamber music performances and with several orchestras in New York City, died of brain cancer at the age of 64. She is credited with transforming a simple newsletter into an important source for flutists. Lawrence studied the flute at the New England Conservatory with the principal flutist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, James Pappoutsakis. She later studied with flutists from the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. She joined the American Symphony Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic after moving to New York in the 1960s. She played periodically with the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera. Besides performing, Lawrence taught at the Manhattan School of Music. She served three times as the president of the New York Flute Club. She edited The National Flute Association Newsletter, now The Flutist Quarterly, from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, expanding it from a brief information sheet to a publication with regular interviews.

January 12 ~ On This Day in Music

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. 1715 ~ Jacques Duphly, French harpsichordist and composer.

.1782 ~ On this day Mozart wrote a letter to his father about Muzio Clementi.  He said: “Clementi plays well, as far as execution with the right-hand goes. His greatest strength lies in his passages in 3rds. Apart from that, he has not a kreuzer’s worth of taste or feeling – in short he is a mere mechanicus.”

. 1876 ~ Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Italian Opera Composer

. 1905 ~ Tex (Woodward Maurice) Ritter, Country singer, actor, John Ritter’s father

. 1921 ~ The opening of Town Hall in New York City, an important new concert hall

. 1926 ~ Ray Price, Singer

. 1926 ~ Morton Feldman, American composer, born in NYC, New York

. 1928 ~ Vladimir Horowitz debuted as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was the very same night that Sir Thomas Beecham gave his first public performance in the United States.

. 1930 ~ Glenn Yarbrough, Singer with The Limeliters

. 1933 ~ Václav Suk, Czech-born Russian composer and violinist, died at the age of 71

. 1939 ~ William Lee Golden, Singer with The Oak Ridge Boys

. 1939 ~ The Ink Spots gained national attention after five years together, as they recorded If I Didn’t Care. Many other standards by the group soon followed.

. 1946 ~ Cynthia Robinson, Singer, trumpeter with Sly and the Family Stone

. 1949 – Arthur Godfrey and His Friends was first seen on CBS-TV this day. The program stayed on the network for seven years.

. 1959 ~ Per Gessle, Guitarist, singer with Roxette

. 1963 ~ Songwriter Bob Dylan sang Blowin’ In the Wind on the BBC radio presentation of “The Madhouse on Castle Street”. The song soon became one of the classics of the 1960s protest movement.

. 1985 ~ After a record 24 weeks as the #1 album in the nation, Prince (now known as The Artist Previously Known as Prince) slipped to the #2 spot with Purple Rain. Replacing Prince at the top spot: ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springsteen’s Born In the USA, which spent 24 weeks waiting for Purple Rain to fall.

. 1995 ~ Laurel McGoff, American singer

. 2001 ~ Luis Floriano Bonfa, the master guitarist and composer who helped found Bossa Nova music, died of cancer at the age of 78. Bonfa, who was born in Rio de Janeiro in Oct. 17, 1922, began composing in the 1940s and launched his career as a solo artist in 1952. Better known abroad than at home, Bonfa became internationally famous for his contributions to the soundtrack of Marcel Camus’ 1959 classic film “Black Orpheus.” The film introduced an international audience to Bossa Nova – a more sophisticated and less percussive samba style – and made Bonfa and fellow composer Antonio Carlos Jobim stars. “Bonfa plays the guitar like no other, in a very personal, charismatic style. His guitar is a little orchestra,” the late composer Jobim once said. His reputation grew further when he was a featured performer at the Bossa Nova festival at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1962. He was even more famous for his more than 500 compositions especially Manha de Carnaval andSamba de Orpheu. Placido Domingo, Julio Iglesias, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley recorded songs written by Bonfa. In recent years, his productivity slowed. His last major label release “The Bonfa Magic,” was recorded in 1991.

. 2001 ~ Opera singer Kyra Vayne, a star of the 1940s and 1950s whose talents were rediscovered in the 1990s, died at age 84. The Russian-born soprano was born in St. Petersburg. Vayne fled the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution with her family and was eight years old when her family settled in London. She began a successful opera career in the 1940s, and sang for allied troops during World War II. She later joined the Russian Opera Company, then based at London’s Savoy Theater. Her career collapsed in 1957 when her agent, Eugene Iskoldoff, committed suicide, and for the next 35 years she worked as a secretary for the British Broadcasting Corp.

In the early 1990s, a music company released four recordings of her voice, leading the U.S. music magazine “Fanfare” to ask, “How is it possible that such a singer has not come down to us as one of the century’s most celebrated sopranos?” Soon afterward, Arcadia Books published her autobiography, “A Voice Reborn,” which tenor Placido Domingo described as having “all the elements of an opera.” At the end of 1999, nearly 80 years after she fled Russia, Vayne was invited to perform at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater to mark the new millennium – her first public performance in 40 years. “For me to sing at the Bolshoi is beyond any fairy tale,” she said at the time. “I am not worried about singing in public again after so long, but I am fearful of the emotional impact.” Vayne never married and had no children.

. 2003 ~ Maurice Gibb, a member of the famed disco band the Bee Gees, died at a Miami Beach hospital. He was 53. Gibb, joined with his older brother and his twin to harmonize their way to becoming one of the best selling musical groups ever. Gibb played bass and keyboard for the group, whose name is short for the Brothers Gibb. In a 1978 interview with TG Magazine, Gibb lamented the perception that the Bee Gees were only a disco band. “People accuse us of being nothing more than a disco band now,” Gibb said. “But they don’t know what they’re talking about. If you listen to our records, you’ll find that there’s dance music. But there are also ballads like More Than A Woman. And there are some very beautiful, undanceable songs, too.” The Bee Gees – twins Maurice and Robin, and their older brother Barry – have lived in South Florida since the late 1970s. Their younger brother, Andy, who had a successful solo career, died in 1988 at age 30 from a heart ailment. Chris Hutchins, a writer and former press agent for the Bee Gees, said Maurice was “very much a tormented soul.” “He was not the star (of the Bee Gees), and he knew it, he felt it,” Hutchins told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. Known for their close harmonies and original sound, the Bee Gees are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and their 1977 contributions to the “Saturday Night Fever” album made it the best selling movie soundtrack ever with more than 40 million copies sold. Among their disco hits on that album are Stayin’ Alive, More Than a Woman and How Deep Is Your Love and Night Fever. The group won seven Grammy Awards. The Bee Gees last album was in 2001, entitled “This Is Where I Came In.” The family emigrated from England to Australia in 1958, and the brothers soon gained fame as a teen pop group. They returned to England in the 1960s, and their first four albums contained hits such as 1941 New York Mining Disaster, To Love Somebody and their first U.S. number one song, 1971’s How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.

The Bee Gees followed “Saturday Night Fever” with the 1978 album “Spirits Having Flown” which sold 20 million copies. The brothers wrote and produced songs for Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick in the 1980s. They also wrote the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hit Islands in the Stream. The Bee Gees released three studio albums and went on a world tour in the 1990s. The live album from the tour “One Night Only,” sold more than 1 million albums in the United States. The Bee Gees run a music production company in Miami called Middle Ear Studios. Gibb’s first wife was British singer Lulu. He and his second wife, Yvonne, were married for more than 20 years and had two children.

January 8 ~ On This Day in Music

today

. 1713 ~ Death of Italian composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli in Rome age 59

. 1830 ~ Hans von Bulow, German pianist and conductor
More information about von Bulow

. 1906 ~ Arthur Rubinstein made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The concert received only a few favorable reviews.

. 1912 ~ Jose Ferrer (Cintron), Academy Award-winning actor, Rosemary Clooney’s husband

. 1922 ~ Abbey Simon, American pianist

. 1924 ~ Ron Moody, Actor, singer in Oliver Twist

. 1925 ~ Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, appeared in his first American concert, as he conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a program of his own compositions.

. 1935 ~ Elvis Presley, American rock-and-roll singer and guitarist. He had 90 top-20 hits.

. 1937 ~ Shirley Bassey, Singer

. 1940 ~ Anthony Gourdine, Singer with Little Anthony and The Imperials

. 1940 ~ Vincent Lopez and his orchestra recorded the third version of Lopez’ theme song titled Nola. This version, recorded in Hollywood on Bluebird Records, is recognized as his best rendition of the classic song.

. 1946 ~ Robbie Krieger, Guitarist with The Doors

. 1947 ~ David Bowie, British rock singer and actor

. 1947 ~ Terry Sylvester, Musician with the groups Swinging Blue Jeans and the Hollies

. 1952 ~ Vladimir Feltsman, Pianist

. 1961 ~ Robert Goulet made his national TV debut this night on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on CBS.

. 1965 ~ The TV dance show, “Hullabaloo”, debuted on NBC~TV. The show, a weekly trip into the world of rock and roll, featured plenty of mini-skirted go~go girls; which didn’t hurt ratings any. ABC countered with “Shindig”, a similar show, similar concept, similar everything.

. 1966 ~ The Beatles LP, “Rubber Soul”, began a 6-week reign at the top of the album chart. This was the seventh Beatles LP to reach the #1 position since February, 1964. “Rubber Soul” stayed on the charts for 56 weeks. The other #1 albums for the Fab Four to that date were: “Meet The Beatles“, “The Beatles Second Album”, “A Hard Day’s Night”,“Beatles ’65”, “Beatles VI” and “Help!”.

. 1973 ~ Carly Simon received a gold record for the single, You’re So Vain.

. 1997 ~ George Handy died. Handy was a jazz music arranger, composer and pianist whose musical beginnings were fostered under the tutelage of pianist Aaron Copland.

. 1998 ~ Sir Michael Tippett, British Composer and librettist, died
More information about Tippett

. 2000 ~ Pianist Jeffrey Biegel appeared on Good Morning America. He discussed his performance of the New York Premiere with Maestro Vakhtang Jordania and the American Symphony Orchestra and performed selections from the manuscript edition of Rhapsody in Blue, with more than 50 bars restored that hadn’t been heard in New York since the famous 1924 premiere concert at Aeolian Hall.

The concert that evening was at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. The Rhapsody was the feature piece in an evening of premieres by American composers and Russian orchestral masterpieces. Works on the program included Variations on The Wayfaring Stranger (New York Premiere) by James Cohn; Peanuts Gallery for Piano and Orchestra by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich; the Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin; Islamey by Balakirev (World Premiere-transcription for piano and orchestra by Jeffrey Biegel), and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.