2019 Christmas Countdown Conclusion: Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne

“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world; its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scout youth movement, in many countries, uses it as a close to jamborees and other functions.

The song’s Scots title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”, “days gone by” or “old times”. Consequently “For auld lang syne”, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as “for (the sake of) old times”.

Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours’ hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.

It is one of the many folk songs from the great Lowland Scots tradition collected and fashioned by the pen of one of the world’s greatest songwriters. Burns devoted the last years of his life to the song tradition, and often a mere fragment from some old ballad was transformed by his alchemy into a memorable love song or Scots poem. With Auld Lang Syne, though, the brilliance was already there; this is the Bard’s first mention of it in a letter to Mrs Dunlop in 1788:

“… Light be the turf on the breast of the heaven inspired Poet who composed this glorious fragment.”

One of the most interesting facts is that the Auld Lang Syne tune which is sung from Times Square to Tokyo, and has conquered the world, is not the one Robert Burns put the original words to. The older tune though is still sung by traditional singers. It has a more douce, gentle, nostalgic feel to it than the popular tune a mood evoked by the subtle use of the traditional air sung by Mairi Campbell in the first Sex and the City movie. However, whichever tune it is sung to, and wherever in the world it is sung, Auld Lang Syne retains the great emotional resonance of the original traditional song of the Scottish people of those days in the distant past. Lets leave the last word to Burns himself:

“… is not the Scots phrase, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, exceedingly expressive – there is an old song and tune which has often thrilled thro’ my soul”.

Fancy singing along yourself? Here are the verses of the words to Auld Lang Syne:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Chorus

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

Chorus

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

Chorus

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

Chorus

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.

Chorus

And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago

And surely youll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.

Chorus

We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.

Chorus

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.

Chorus

And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.

Chorus

Here is an old kinescope from over 50 years ago!! For 100 years, the slow drop of a lighted glass ball on New Year’s Eve from atop One Times Square in New York City has become an American tradition. A huge crowd gathers every year to welcome in the New Year.

Beginning in 1956, Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians entertained the US on New Year’s Eve with a combination of music and the live “ball drop” at Midnight. Guy continued this tradition until his death in 1977. His band still played on at CBS Television on New Years for an additional 2 years. (Dick Clark’s Rockin New Years Eve began in 1972 on ABC and still broadcasts annually.) This broadcast began right after the 15-minute news and ran for an hour. Guy plays the music and newsman Robert Trout announces the beginning of the New Year.

If you look closely, you’ll see acerbic television personality Henry Morgan in the crowd. TV was very primitive 50 years ago. Harsh lighting, a cheap office clock and a World War II searchlight scans the crowd below.

I hope you’ll enjoy ringing in the New Year – 1958! Recorded: December 31, 1957

 

Auld Lang Syne played on bagpipes (as it should be)

 

This is from the 2015 Edinburgh Tattoo which we attended:

And, in history:

On December 25 ~ in Music History

merry-christmas

Merry Christmas!
Christmas Family Fun
Christmas Music
Christmas Music Lyrics

Christmas Countdown: Hallelujah Chorus

OCMS 1583 ~ Orlando Gibbons
Read quotes by and about Gibbons
More information about Gibbons

• 1896 ~ John Philip Sousa wrote the melody to a song that had haunted him for days. On Christmas Day, that melody was finally titled, The Stars and Stripes Forever.

• 1907 ~ Cab Calloway (Cabell Calloway III), American jazz singer and bandleader

• 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 Lionel Barrymore 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

 

 

MaryOXmasCarolers

On December 24 ~ in Music History

today

Christmas Countdown: O Holy Night

• 1719 ~ Johann Christoph Altnikol, German organist, bass singer, and composer. He was a son-in-law and copyist of Johann Sebastian Bach

• 1818 ~ Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany, composed the music for “Silent Night” to words written by Josef Mohr. The traditional song was sung for the first time during Midnight Mass on this night.

• 1824 ~ Peter Cornelius, German composer and writer

• 1871 ~ Opera-goers in Cairo, Egypt were treated to Verdi’s Aida in its world premiere. The composer was commissioned to write the opera for festivities celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal

• 1887 ~ Lucrezia Bori, Spanish lyric composer

• 1893 ~ Harry Warren (Salvatore Guaragna), Composer, Song Writer’s Hall of Famer: Best Song Oscar

• 1906 ~ Professor Reginald A. Fessenden sent his first radio broadcast from Brant Rock, MA. The program included a little verse, some violin and a speech.

• 1918 ~ Zara Nelsova, Canadian-born American cellist

• 1914 ~ Ralph Marterie, ‘Caruso of the trumpet’: musician, bandleader

• 1924 ~ Carol Haney, Dancer, member of Jack Cole dance company, worked with Bob Fosse, in films

• 1928 ~ The first broadcast of The Voice of Firestone was heard. The program aired each Monday evening at 8:00. The Voice of Firestone became a hallmark in radio broadcasting. It kept its same night, time (in 1931 the start time changed to 8:30) and sponsor for its entire run. Beginning on September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semiclassical music was also seen on television.

• 1930 ~ Robert Joffrey (Khan), Choreographer with The Joffrey Ballet; died in 1988

• 1931 ~ Ray Bryant, Pianist, composer

• 1944 ~ Mike Curb, Music executive, producer, Oscar-winner

• 1944 ~ The Andrews Sisters starred in the debut of The Andrews Sisters’ Eight-To- The-Bar-Ranch on ABC radio. Patti, Maxine and LaVerne ran a fictional dude ranch. George ‘Gabby’ Hayes was a regular guest along with Vic Schoen’s orchestra. The ranch stayed in operation until 1946.

• 1945 ~ Lemmy (Ian Kilmister), Bass, singer with Motorhead

• 1946 ~ Jan Akkerman, Guitar, lute with bands: Friendship Sextet, Johnny and the Cellar Rockers

• 1951 ~ Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors”, the first opera composed for television, made its debut on NBC-TV. Amal and the Night Visitors became a Christmas classic.

 

• 1955 ~ The lovely Lennon Sisters debuted as featured vocalists on The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC-TV. They became regulars with Welk within a month and stayed on the show until 1968.

• 1957 ~ Ian Burden, Keyboards with Human League

• 1977 ~ The Bee Gees spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve at the top of the music charts. How Deep is Your Love became #1 this day and stayed that way for three weeks.

• 2000 ~ Felix Popper, a conductor and music administrator at the New York City Opera, died at the age of 92. Popper joined the New York City Opera in 1949 as an assistant conductor and vocal coach. By 1958 he was named music administrator, and he played an important role in guiding the opera through a period in which the house truly established itself. During this time, the company is credited with discovering important American singers such as Johanna Meier, Tatiana Troyanos, Gianna Rolandi, Faith Esham and Jane Shaulis. Popper retired from the opera in 1980 but continued to work as a consultant and vocal coach.

• 2000 ~ Longtime Detroit blues radio personality and promoter Famous Coachman died of an apparent heart attack. He was 75. Coachman was host of the weekend blues and gospel show on Detroit’s WDET for 21 years until 1997 and remained busy in the city’s music world until his death. “Everybody knew Coachman,” said JoAnn Korczynska, blues music director for WHFR at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn. “He really did know B.B. King and John Lee Hooker. When I met John Lee Hooker, one of the first things he said to me was `How is Coachman doing?'” Coachman said he was named “Famous” because “my mother knew I would be.”

• 2000 ~ Nick Massi, an original member of the Four Seasons who handled bass vocals and vocal arrangements throughout the band’s glory days, died of cancer at the age of 73. Massi was born in Newark as Nicholas Macioci. The longtime West Orange resident performed with several bands before joining Frankie Valli in a group called the Four Lovers. By 1961, the group had evolved into the Four Seasons. Massi remained with the group until 1965, when he grew tired of touring, Valli said. Massi performed on hits such as Sherry, Big Girls Don’t CryWalk Like a Man and Rag Doll, which friends said was his favorite. During his tenure, the group made the Billboard Top 40 chart 17 times and toured throughout the United States and overseas, melding doo-wop vocals with a contemporary beat. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Valli’s falsetto was the band’s trademark, but he said Massi was his musical mentor. “He could do four-part modern harmonies that would amaze musicians who had studied for years. And he did it all in his head without writing it down,” Valli said.

2019 Christmas Countdown: O Holy Night

o-holy-night

“O Holy Night” (“Cantique de Noël”) is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau (1808–1877).

Cappeau, a wine merchant and poet, had been asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem. Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight’s Journal of Music, created a singing edition based on Cappeau’s French text in 1855.

In both the French original and in the two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and of mankind’s redemption.
O Holy Night

O Holy Night sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the King’s Singers

 

On December 23 ~ in Music History

today

The Most Educational Christmas Carol Ever ~ “Intervals Roasting”

OCMS Michael’s Birthday 🙂 OCMS

• 1689 ~ Joseph Bodin De Boismortier, French baroque composer of instrumental music, cantatas, opéra-ballets, and vocal music.

• 1893 ~Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel premiered on this day in Weimar in 1893, with Richard Strauss conducting. Is there any better opera for Christmas time?

• 1907 ~ Don McNeill, Radio host

OCMS 1918 ~ José Greco, Italian flamenco dancer

• 1929 ~ Chet Baker, American jazz trumpeter and singer

• 1934 ~ Claudio Scimone, Italian conductor and musicologist

• 1935 ~ ‘Little’ Esther Phillips (Esther Mae Jones), Pianist, singer, Grammy nomination for Best female R & B vocalist in 1973. Aretha Franklin won but she gave the award to Esther

• 1939 ~ Johnny Kidd (Frederick Heath), Singer, songwriter with Johnny Kidd & The Pirates

• 1940 ~ Tim Hardin, Singer, composer

• 1940 ~ Jorma Kaukonen, Guitarist with Jefferson Airplane and also Hot Tuna

• 1940 ~ Eugene Record, Singer with Chi-Lites

• 1942 ~ Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of his many famous Christmas shows for American armed forces around the world. The tradition continued for more than three decades.

• 1943 ~ The first complete opera to be televised was aired on WRBG in Schenectady, NY. (WRGB was named after GE engineer Dr. W.R.G. Baker. It was not named, as many have thought over the years, for red, blue and green, the three primary colors of a TV picture tube.) Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” was the opera presented.

• 1945 ~ Ron Bushy, Drummer with Iron Butterfly

• 1951 ~ Johnny Contardo, Singer with Sha-Na-Na, formerly Eddie and The Evergreens

• 1964 ~ Eddie Vedder (Mueller), Songwriter, singer with Pearl Jam

• 1964 ~ Rock ’n’ roll radio, in the guise of Pirate Radio, went to the U.K. Radio London began its regular broadcasts. It was joined, at sea, by other pirates like Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg. It was a gallant effort to broadcast commercial radio, which was illegal in Great Britain. On England’s mainland, one had to listen to ‘Auntie Beeb’ (the BBC) or nothing at all. It was generally like a battle. Government agents would attempt to board a floating radio station, take it over, and shut it down. Many times the ships would broadcast from different locales to foil the governmental crackdown on the high seas. Later, the BBC split into four different radio networks, Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4, to stem the tide of the pirates who gained huge audiences by playing popular music. Eventually, limited commercial broadcasting came to Great Britain.

• 1969 ~ B.J. Thomas received a gold record for the single, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head from the motion picture, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Raindrops hit number one on the pop charts on January 3, 1970 and stayed there for 4 weeks.

• 1969 ~ Elton John met with arranger Paul Buckmaster, writer Bernie Taupin and producer Gus Dudgeon. The collaboration marked the start of one of the most successful milestones of music in the 1970s. Together, they created Your Song, Friends, Levon, Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man and many more.

• 2000 ~ Pianist Victor Borge, died in his sleep.

• 2001 ~ Anthony Charles Chavis, Zydeco musician and son of the late Zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis, died after suffering a heart attack He was 45. His death came just eight months after his father’s. Charles Chavis, in addition to playing the washboard, was lead vocalist on numerous recordings with Boozoo, including his 1996 hit What You Gonna Do? After Boozoo Chavis’ death, his sons had agreed to continue the Magic Sounds Band. It was not clear how Charles Chavis’s death would affect the group. In addition to his music, Charles Chavis had worked with his father as a jockey and trainer at Chavis stables.

• 2018 ~ Liza Redfield, who broke a barrier on July 4, 1960, when she raised her baton at the Majestic Theater to start a performance of “The Music Man,” becoming the first woman to be the full-time conductor of a Broadway pit orchestra, died at the age of 94.

 

On December 22 ~ in Music History

today

Christmas Countdown: Adeste Fideles

• 1723 ~ Carl Friedrich Abel, German composer of the Classical era. He was a renowned player of the viola da gamba, and composed important music for that instrument.

• 1738 ~ Jean-Joseph Mouret, French composer, died at the age of 56

• 1821 ~ Giovanni Bottesini, Italian Romantic composer, conductor, and a double bass virtuoso

• 1853 ~ Maria Teresa Carreno, Venezuelan pianist, singer, composer, and conductor.

OCMS 1858 ~ Giacomo Puccini, Italian opera composer
More information about Puccini

• 1874 ~ Franz Schmidt, Austrian composer, cellist and pianist.

OCMS 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.

 

2019 Christmas Countdown: Adeste Fideles

 

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” (originally written in Latin as Adeste Fideles) is a Christmas carol which has been attributed to various authors, including John Francis Wade (1711–1786), John Reading (1645–1692) and King John IV of Portugal (1604–1656), with the earliest manuscript of the hymn bearing his name, located in the library of the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa.

The original four verses of the hymn were extended to a total of eight, and these have been translated into many languages. The English translation of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” by the English Catholic priest Frederick Oakeley, written in 1841, is widespread in most English speaking countries.
There are now several versions in the O’Connor Music Store if you are interested in learning this Christmas carol.

 

 

On December 21 ~ in Music History

today

Christmas Countdown: Gesù Bambino

• 1810 ~ Ludwig Schuncke, German pianist and composer, and close friend of Robert Schumann.

• 1850 ~ Zdenek Fibich, Czech composer of classical music

• 1913 ~ Andor Foldes, Pianist who played with Budapest Philharmonic at eight years of age

• 1921 ~ Alicia Alonso (Martinez Hoyo), Dancer

• 1933 ~ Freddie Hart, Country singer

• 1940 ~ Frank Zappa, American rock guitarist, composer, arranger and songwriter, with Mothers of Invention, father of Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa

OCMS 1944 ~ Michael Tilson Thomas, American conductor and pianist, jazz band conductor, led the London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic
More information about Tilson Thomas

• 1946 ~ Carl Wilson, Guitarist with The Beach Boys, brother of Brian and Dennis, his original group was Carl and the Passions

• 1953 ~ Andras Schiff, Hungarian pianist

• 1957 ~ Eric Coates, English viola player and composer, died at the age of 71

• 1966 ~ The Beach Boys received a gold record for the single, Good Vibrations.

• 1985 ~ Springsteen’s album, Born in the USA, passed Michael Jackson’s Thriller to become the second longest-lasting LP in the top 10. It stayed there for 79 weeks. Only The Sound of Music, with Julie Andrews, lasted longer at 109 weeks.

2019 Christmas Countdown: Gesù Bambino

 

Gesù Bambino by Pietro Yon has always had a place in my childhood memories since my church choir sang it every Christmas.  Other than that, it didn’t seem to be too well known but this song has been turning up in piano books lately.  There are now several versions in the O’Connor Music Studio if you are interested in learning this beautiful older Christmas carol.

Gesù bambino was written in 1917. The melody was used by Frederick H. Martens in his English language carol “When Blossoms Flowered ‘mid the Snows”. The melody and lyrics of the chorus are derived from “Adeste Fideles” (O Come All Ye Faithful).

A piano version

Piano and Organ

 

Sung by David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

On December 20 ~ in Music History

Christmas Countdown: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker

• 1728 ~ Franz Xaver Pokorny, Czech Classical era composer and violinist.

• 1783 ~ Padre Antonio Francisco Javier Jose Soler

• 1871 ~ Henry Kimball Hadley, American composer and conductor

• 1890 ~ Yvonne Arnaud, French-born pianist, singer and actress

• 1898 ~ Irene (Marie) Dunne, Actress in Show Boat, Anna and the King of Siam, Alternate Delegate to the United Nations, Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985.

• 1909 ~ Vagn Holmboe, Danish composer and music critic

• 1920 ~ An English-born comedian named Leslie Downes became an American citizen. He had lived in the United States since 1908 and became one of the nation’s true ambassadors for show business and charity. We say, “Thanks for the memories,” to Bob Hope.

• 1928 ~ For the first time, a living actress in the United States had a theater named after her. The Ethel Barrymore Theatre opened in New York City.

• 1932 ~ Al Jolson recorded April Showers on Brunswick Records.

• 1938 ~ John Harbison, American composer and conductor

• 1944 ~ Bobby Colomby, Drummer, singer with Blood, Sweat & Tears

• 1948 ~ Little Stevie Wright, Singer with The Easybeats

• 1949 ~ Harry Belafonte had his second session with Capitol Records. Included in the session were Whispering and Farewell to Arms. With eight tunes then recorded and little enthusiasm from record buyers, Capitol decided to part company with Belafonte by not renewing the singer’s contract. He went to RCA Victor in April 1952.

• 1952 ~ Jimmy Boyd reached the #1 spot on the record charts with the Christmas song of the year, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

• 1957 ~ Billy (Steven) Bragg, Songwriter, guitarist, singer

• 1966 ~ Chris Robinson, Singer with The Black Crowes

• 1972 ~ Jack Albertson and Sam Levine starred as two retired vaudevillians in Neil Simon’s classic comedy, The Sunshine Boys, which opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in NYC. The play had a run of 538 performances. The movie version later became a box office smash, as well.

• 1973 ~ Singer Bobby Darin passed away following open-heart surgery at the age of 37. He left a legacy of memories in rock ’n’ roll and pop tunes, as well as on television and in movies (even an Oscar nomination for his role in Captain Newman, M.D.). The story of Darin being groomed to replace Frank Sinatra at Capitol Records is absolutely true. Unfortunately, Capitol didn’t think the grooming was going so well and withheld many of Darin’s songs for many years; releasing them in a compilation CD in 1995. Good stuff to listen to: Splish Splash, Queen of the Hop, Dream Lover, Mack the Knife, Beyond the Sea, If I Were a Carpenter, etc. At the end, Darin, who had recorded for Atco, Capitol and Atlantic Records had just begun recording for Motown.

• 1980 ~ Shirley Temple Black became a grandmother. Her oldest daughter gave birth to a baby girl.

• 1982 ~ Artur Rubinstein, pianist (My Young Years), died at the age of 95

• 1999 ~ Hank Snow passed away

• 2000 ~ Roebuck “Pops” Staples, patriarch of the Staple Singers whose lyrics on “Respect Yourself” and other hits delivered a civil rights message with a danceable soul beat, passed away. “They took this really positive message music and made it contemporary and popular by putting it with electric guitars and inserting a groove,” said Sherman Wilmott, who is helping create a museum in Memphis, Tennessee, honoring the musical stars at Stax Records, the Staple Singers’ principal label. Born in Winona, Mississippi, Staples learned to sing acapella and developed his Delta blues electric guitar style. Starting out as a gospel group in 1948, the Staple Singers with son Pervis and daughters Mavis and Cleotha as singers reached an even wider audience with 1970s soul hits such as Respect Yourself, I’ll Take You There and If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me). Before achieving stardom, Staples resisted taking his family on tour and held jobs in Chicago’s stockyards and steel mills. Staples came to believe he could contribute in song to the battle for blacks’ civil rights being waged by the Rev. Martin Luther King and others, Wilmott said. “He sang and played guitar. He was extremely well- spoken and calm and intelligent,” he said. Another daughter, Yvonne, told the Tribune: “When Dr. King started preaching, Pops said ‘I think we can sing it.’ That’s what he felt,” she said. “He believed that the world could be made a better place for all of us.” At age 80, Staples won a Grammy Award as a solo artist in 1994 for his album “Father Father.” He also received a National Heritage Fellowship Award at the White House from first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The group entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. In a 1998 interview with the Tribune, Staples said his musical education began early. “We’d come home and didn’t have anything to do after we eat but go to bed. So we’d go out in the yard and sing.”

• 2000 ~ Rob Buck, lead guitarist for the rock band 10,000 Maniacs, died of liver failure at the age of 42, three weeks after he collapsed at his home in western New York.

OCMS 2004 ~ Blues singer-guitarist Son Seals, one of the most distinctive voices to emerge in the genre during the 1970s, died at the age of 62.
More information about Son Seals

OCMS 2004 ~ Italian soprano Renata Tebaldi, one of the great post-World War II opera divas who Arturo Toscanini said had the “voice of an angel,” died at the age of 82.
More information about Renata Tebaldi