. 1762 ~ The first public concert by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, age 6 and his sister Nannerl, age 12 was on this day.
. 1857 ~ First performance of Franz Liszt‘s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A, in Weimar. Liszt conducted and the soloist was his pupil, Hans von Bronsart.
. 1876 ~ William Yeates Hurlstone, composer
. 1899 ~ Francis Poulenc, French composer
More information about Poulenc
. 1922 ~ Jean-Pierre Rampal, French flutist
More information about Rampal
. 1924 ~ George Gershwin completed the incomparable score of Rhapsody in Blue. Incidentally, George was only 26 years old at the time. George didn’t even have an interest in music until his family got him a piano when he was twelve. Nine years later he had his first hit, Swanee, with lyrics written by Irving Caesar. Rhapsody in Blue was commissioned in 1924 by Paul Whiteman and then orchestrated by Ferde Grofe of Grand Canyon Suite fame. This first orchestration of Gershwin’s score was never quite right. Grofe’s style didn’t gel with Gershwin’s. Several other artists attempted to do justice to Rhapsody in Blue, never quite making the grade. Some thirty years later, orchestra leader Hugo Winterhalter with Byron Janis at the piano did a jazzed up version; pretty close to the way Gershwin had described his piece. However, it wasn’t until Gershwin’s original solo piano was accompanied by a jazz band led by Michael Tilson Thomas, that the true arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue was heard. No matter how you hear it, Rhapsody in Blue will remain the signature of one of the most influential of composers, songwriters and pianists in American music history.
. 1926 ~ A famous marriage that endured for many years is remembered this day. It’s the wedding anniversary of George Burns and Gracie Allen who were married by a Justice of the Peace in Cleveland, Ohio.
. 1930 ~ Jack Greene, The Green Giant, CMA Male Vocalist, Album, Single and Song of the Year
. 1940 ~ The gate to Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch opened. The ‘singing cowboy’ would entertain on CBS radio for the next 16 years.
. 1941 ~ Good-for-Nothin’-Joe was recorded by the sultry Lena Horne. She sang the classic song with Charlie Barnet and his orchestra on Bluebird Records.
. 1942 ~ Paul Revere, Singer, keyboards with Paul Revere and The Raiders
. 1946 ~ Jann Wenner, Publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine
. 1947 ~ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was the #1 song on the U.S. pop charts
. 1948 ~ Kenny Loggins, American pop-rock singer, Grammy Award-winning songwriter and guitarist
. 1950 ~ Ernest Tubb made his first appearance at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Ernest also did a 15-minute radio program each day that became very popular in West Texas. So popular, in fact, that he bought the radio station that had aired the program for years and years: KGKL in San Angelo, Texas.
. 1955 ~ The first black singer at the Metropolitan Opera was Marian Anderson, who appeared as Ulrica in Verdi’s “The Masked Ball”.
. 1958 ~ The Flying V guitar, which is a favorite of rock musicians, was patented this day by the Gibson Guitar Company.
. 1985 ~ Yul Brynner returned to the Broadway stage this night as “The King and I” returned to where Yul first began his reign, 33 years before. Through his career to that date, Brynner appeared in 4,434 shows without missing a single performance.
. 2002 ~ Jon Lee, drummer for the Welsh rock band Feeder, died at the age of 33. The trio’s biggest hit single was the 2001 single Buck Rogers, which reached No. 5 on the British charts. Feeder released its first full-length album, “Polythene,” in England in 1997; it was released in the United States in early 1998. The band released its third album, “Echo Park,” last year, which debuted at No. 5 in Britain and swiftly sold more than 100,000 copies.
. 2002 ~ Nauman Steele Scott III, co-owner of Black Top Records which gained an international reputation for its blues, rhythm-and-blues and zydeco recordings, died. Scott suffered from heart disease. He was 56. Scott owned Black Top Records with his brother, Hammond. The label featured such artists as Earl King, Snooks Eaglin and the Neville Brothers. Black Top releases picked up two Grammy nominations and have won more than 30 W.C. Handy Blues Awards.
. 2018 ~ Ray Thomas, Moody Blues Founding Member, died at the age of 76. Born in 1941, Thomas founded The Moody Blues in 1964 with fellow musicians including Mike Pinder and Denny Laine.