. 1803 ~ Henri Herz, Austrian pianist and composer
. 1838 ~ Max Bruch, German Composer
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. 1850 ~ Franz Xaver Scharwenka, Polish composer
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. 1852 ~ Louis Braille died. He was a French educator and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day and is known worldwide simply as braille.
. 1856 ~ Giuseppe Martucci, Italian composer, conductor, pianist and teacher influential in reviving Italian interest in non-operatic music.
. 1863 ~ First performance of Johannes Brahms‘ Piano Sonata No. 3 in f, in Vienna.
. 1878 ~ Carl Sandburg, Author, poet, folk balladeer
. 1916 ~ Philip Bezanson, American composer and educator
. 1924 ~ Earl Scruggs, American country music singer, banjo player and songwriter, born. He was with the Grand Ole Opry.
. 1929 ~ Wilbert Harrison, Singer
. 1934 ~ Bobby Lord, Country singer
. 1937 ~ Nino Tempo, Sax musician, singer with April Stevens
. 1937 ~ Doris Troy, Singer
. 1938 ~ Trummy Young played trombone and sang with the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra in New York City as Margie became Decca record number 1617.
. 1946 ~ Roger Keith, Lead guitarist, Pink Floyd
. 1946 ~ Syd (Roger) Barrett, Guitarist, singer with Pink Floyd
. 1959 ~ Kathy Sledge, Singer with Sister Sledge
. 1964 ~ Premier of “Hello Dolly”
. 1966 ~ Duke Ellington’s concert of sacred music, recorded at 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, was broadcast on CBS-TV.
. 1975 ~ The Broadway premiere of “The Wiz” opened, receiving enthusiastic reviews. The show, a black version of “The Wizard of Oz”, ran for 1,672 shows at the Majestic Theatre. Moviegoers, however, gave a thumbs down to the later cinema version of the musical that starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. One memorable song from the show is Ease on Down the Road.
. 1993 ~ The great jazz trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie died of cancer at age 75. He has been credited with being a co-founder (with Charlie Parker) of ‘bebop’ music and wrote many jazz numbers (Salt Peanuts, Night in Tunisia). Gillespie also created the ‘afro-cuban’ sound in jazz music. A few of the disciples who preached Dizzy’s gospel of bebop were Thelonious Monk, Earl ‘Bud’ Powell, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.
• 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
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• 1874 ~ Franz Schmidt, Austrian composer, cellist and pianist.
1883 ~ Edgard Varèse, French-born American avant-garde composer
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• 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.
• 1928 ~ America’s original Funny Girl, Fanny Brice, recorded If You Want the Rainbow, a song from the play, My Man, on Victor Records.
• 1932 ~ Abbe Lane (Lassman), Singer, glamour actress, photographed in a bathtub filled with coffee, bandleader Xavier Cugat’s ex-wife
• 1936 ~ You Can’t Take It with You opened at the Booth Theatre in New York City.
• 1946 ~ Patty Duke, US film actress
• 1947 ~ Christopher Parkening, American guitarist
• 1953 ~ Fred Allen returned from semi-retirement to narrate Prokofiev’s classic, Peter and the Wolf, on the Bell Telephone Hour on NBC radio.
• 1963 ~ Singer Dinah Washington died in Detroit.
• 1970 ~ George Harrison received a gold record for his single, My Sweet Lord.
• 1983 ~ The musical biography of Peggy Lee opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City. The show was titled Peg.
• 1984 ~ The Cotton Club opened around the U.S. There were nine classic songs by Duke Ellington on the soundtrack of the movie.
• 1990 ~ Opera lovers were turned into couch potatoes. For four evenings, starting on this day, they watched and listened to an unabridged telecast of Richard Wagner’s marathon-length opera The Ring.
• 2001 ~ Conte Candoli, a Trumpet player and staple of The Tonight Show band during Johnny Carson’s era, died of cancer. He was 74. Candoli was recognized for developing a musical style based on Dizzy Gillespie’s bebop playing, with a touch of Miles Davis and Clifford Brown. The Indiana-born Candoli, grew up surrounded by musical instruments and influences. His father, a factory worker, played the trumpet and wanted Candoli and his brother Pete to become musicians. At 16, he worked in Woody Herman’s orchestra during summer vacations. While playing in California, Candoli began his association with the then New York-based Tonight Show. In 1972, when Carson moved the show to Burbank, Candoli joined the band. He left when Carson retired in 1992.
• 1913 ~ Morton Gould, American Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, conductor and pianist
• 1924 ~ Ken Albers, Bass singer with The Four Freshmen
• 1927 ~ For the first time, famed radio announcer George Hay introduced the WSM Barn Dance as the Grand Ole Opry. The show’s title may have changed but it remained the home of country music.
• 1930 ~ Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded the haunting Mood Indigo on Victor Records. It became one of the Duke’s most famous standards.
• 1943 ~ Chad Stuart, Guitarist, lyricist, singer with the duo – Chad & Jeremy
• 1946 ~ Christopher ‘Ace’ Kefford, Bass with The Move
• 1947 ~ Walter ‘Clyde’ Orange, Drummer, singer with The Commodores
• 1948 ~ Jessica Cleaves, Singer with Friends of Distinction
• 1949 ~ Frank Beard, Drummer with ZZ Top
• 1949 ~ Fats Domino recorded his first sides for Imperial Records. The legend from New Orleans recorded The Fat Man, one of the earliest rock and roll records. The title also turned into Domino’s nickname and stayed with him through his years of success.
• 1951 ~ John (Raul) Rodriguez, Singer
• 1953 ~ Harry Belafonte debuted on Broadway in Almanac at the Imperial Theatre. Critics hailed Belafonte’s performance as “electrifyingly sincere.” Also starring in the show: Hermione Gingold, Billy DeWolfe, Polly Bergen and Orson Bean.
• 1966 ~ The Beach Boys made a one-week stop at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 asGood Vibrations made it to #1. It was the third #1 hit the group scored. The others were I Get Around and Help Me, Rhonda.
• 1967 ~ Otis Redding and four members of the Bar-Kays (Otis’ backup group) were killed in the crash of a private plane near Madison, Wisconsin. Redding was 26 years old. His signature song, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay was recorded three days before his death. It was #1 for four weeks beginning February 10, 1968. Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. The Bar-Kays biggest hit was in July, 1967: Soul Finger. James Alexander, bass player for the group, was not on the plane. Ben Cauley, trumpet player, survived the crash. The group played for a time with various new members.
• 1987 ~ Jascha Heifetz passed away
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• 2002 ~ Emmy-nominated pianist George Gaffney, who accompanied such musicians as Peggy Lee, Engelbert Humperdink and Sarah Vaughan, died. He was 62. Born in New York City, Gaffney began studying the piano at age 10 but switched to the trombone. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1958 to 1961, Gaffney returned to New York, where he played piano and began arranging and accompanying singers. Gaffney moved to the Chicago area in the mid-1960s and was musical director of the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wis., where he first met Vaughan. Gaffney came to California in the early 1970s and found work as a studio musician and accompanist. He worked on a number of television programs, including the TV series “Moonlighting,” and was nominated for an Emmy. From 1980 to 1990, he was Vaughan’s accompanist and musical director. He moved to Las Vegas in 1994 and worked as Humperdink’s musical director. In recent years, he also orchestrated tunes for Rita Moreno.
• 2002 ~ Mary Hansen, guitarist and vocalist with the ’90s alternative band Stereolab died. She was 36. Hansen, from Maryborough in Queensland, Australia, died in a cycling accident in London, The Independent newspaper reported Friday. Details of the accident were not available. Band spokesman Mick Houghton was quoted by The Independent as saying a truck might have backed into her, “but I really don’t know much more than that.” Hansen joined the band in 1992, two years after it was formed by Tim Gane, formerly of the band McCarthy, and his girlfriend Laetitia Sadier. Among hundreds of messages posted on the band Web site, one from a fan who identified himself as Louis called Hansen “the soul” of the band. Hansen, who played several instruments, first appeared on 1992’s LoFi single and all subsequent releases, including 1994’s Mars Audiac Quintet and 1996’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup. Stereolab had been working on a new album, expected to be released next year.
• 2003 ~ Barry Morell, a tenor who played leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and internationally for more than two decades, died of esophageal cancer. He was 75. Morell began his career as a baritone, until he sought the guidance of former Metropolitan Opera baritone Giuseppe Danise, who told him he should be a tenor. He was best known for performing the operas of Puccini. He made his debut as Pinkerton in “Madame Butterfly” in 1955 with the New York City Center Opera Company. In 1958, he made his Met debut in the same role. He appeared in Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna and other opera houses in Europe, South America and across the United States. Among his more than 20 roles during 257 performances at the Met were Rodolfo in “LaBoheme,” Enzo in “La Gioconda” and the title roles of “Don Carlo”and “Faust”.
1803 ~ Adolphe Adam, Opera Composer, composer of Oh, Holy Night
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• 1849 ~ Georgetown University in Washington, DC, became the first college to offer a doctor of music degree. It was presented to Professor Henry Dielman.
• 1880 ~ Ernest Bloch, Swiss-born American composer, and conductor
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• 1908 ~ Cootie (Charles) Williams, Trumpeter with Echoes of Harlem born. He performed with Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman; band leader for Cootie Williams Sextet and Orchestra
• 1915 ~ Bob Eberly (Robert Eberle), Singer born. He performed with Kitty Kallen, sang with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra & on TV’s Top Tunes; brother of singer Ray Eberle
• 1921 ~ Billy Taylor, Jazz Piano. He was also the leader of the Billy Taylor Trio, Orchestra; co-founder of Jazzmobile ’65; the music director of The David Frost Show; and performed jazz segments on Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt
• 1938 ~ Clarinet virtuoso and big band leader Artie Shaw recorded his now-classic, Begin the Beguine, for Bluebird Records in New York City. Shaw was married to Ava Gardner at the time.
• 1941 ~ Barbara Jean Love, Singer with Friends of Distinction
• 1942 ~ Heinz Burt, Musician, bass with The Tornados
• 1947 ~ Mick Fleetwood, British rock drummer
• 1947 ~ Peter Serkin, American pianist
• 1951 ~ Lynval Golding, Musician, guitarist with The Specials
• 1956 – After a decade together as the country’s most popular comedy team, Dean Martin, and Jerry Lewis called it quits this night. They did their last show at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City. The duo ended their relationship exactly 10 years after they had started it.
• 1958 ~ Pam Tillis, Country Singer
• 2000 ~ Violinist Oscar Shumsky, a brilliant performer who trained generations of successful younger artists, died at the age of 83 from heart disease. Shumsky displayed his musical talent at an early age, first picking up a violin when he was 3 years old. His father, an amateur player who recognized his son’s brilliance, took him to the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was accepted as a student by violinist Leopold Auer and was later taught by Efrem Zimbalist. At the age of 9, Shumsky performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and after graduating from Curtis in 1936, he began playing around the world to widespread critical acclaim. He later branched into conducting. Shumsky was featured at Lincoln Center’s “Great Performer Series.” He trained generations of violinists at some of the nation’s most prestigious music schools, including the Curtis Institute, the Peabody Conservatory, Yale University and, for 25 years, at the Juilliard School.
• 2001 ~ Charles Henderson, editor of The American Organist, died at the age of 84. Henderson, who edited the journal for more than a decade, starting in 1973, conducted a production of Britten’s “Noye’s Fludde” broadcast nationally on CBS television in 1964. He was on the faculty of the Union Theological Seminary’s School of Sacred Music, and from 1976 to 1983 was the organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Milford, N.J. Born in West Chester, Pa., Henderson studied music at Bucknell University, the Juilliard School, Syracuse University and the Fontainebleau School in France.
• 2016 ~ Marni Nixon, American singer (for Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood & Deborah Kerr), died at the age of 86. She is now well-known as the real singing voices of the leading actresses in films, including The King and I, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady, although this was concealed at the time from audiences.
• 1782 ~ Placidus Cajetan von Camerloher, Composer, died at the age of 63
• 1797 ~ Franz Schoberlechner, Composer
• 1865 ~ Robert Kahn, Composer
• 1870 ~ Josef Strauss, Austrian composer, died at the age of 42
• 1896 ~ Jean Rivier-Villemomble France, Composer
• 1898 ~ Ernest Willem Mulder, Composer
• 1898 ~ Sara Carter, Vocalist/guitarist with the Carter Family
• 1903 ~ Theodore Karyotakis, Composer
• 1906 ~ Daniel Ayala Perez, Composer
• 1915 ~ Floyd McDaniel ~ blues singer/guitarist
• 1920 ~ Isaac Stern, American concert violinist
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• 1920 ~ Manuel Valls Gorina, Composer
• 1921 ~ Billy Taylor, Orchestra leader on the David Frost Show
• 1922 ~ Kay Starr (Katherine Starks), Pop Singer
• 1925 ~ Lovro Zupanovic, Composer
• 1926 ~ Albert Fuller, American harpsichordist
• 1926 ~ Norman Jewison, Director of Jesus Christ, Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof
• 1927 ~ Stefan Niculescu, Composer
• 1931 ~ Leon Schidlowsky, Composer
• 1931 ~ Ted Husing was master of ceremonies for the very first CBS-TV program. The gala show featured singer Kate Smith, composer George Gershwin and New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker.
• 1935 ~ Kaye Stevens, Singer and comedienne on the Jerry Lewis Show
• 1938 ~ Anton Emil Kuerti, Composer
• 1938 ~ Paul Hindemith and Leonide Massines ballet premiered in London
• 1947 ~ Cat Stevens (Steven Demitri Georgiou) (Muslim name: Yusuf Islam), British folk-rock singer and songwriter
• 1948 ~ Donald Nichols Tweedy, Composer, died at the age of 58
• 1950 ~ Albert Riemenschneider, Composer, died at the age of 71
• 1958 ~ The last of Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts programs aired on CBS-TV. Many artists got their start on Talent Scouts, including Tony Bennett, Pat Boone, The McGuire Sisters and a singer named Connie Francis, who not only sang but played the accordion, as well.
• 1969 ~ Just one day after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Duke Ellington and a portion of his band performed a 10-minute composition on ABC-TV titled Moon Maiden. The work featured piano, drums, bass and vocals.
• 1973 ~ Bad, Bad Leroy Brown reached the top spot on the Billboard pop singles chart, becoming Jim Croce’s first big hit. Croce died in a plane crash two months later (September 20, 1973).
• 1976 ~ “Guys & Dolls” opened at Broadway Theater New York City for 239 performances
• 1994 ~ Dorothy Collins, Singer on Your Hit Parade, died at the age of 67
• 1995 ~ Edwin “Russell” House, Saxophonist, died at the age of 65
• 2000 ~ Iain Hamilton, the Scottish composer who turned Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” into an opera at the age of 78. Hamilton wrote four symphonies and dozens of orchestral and chamber works but is known best for his vocal music, which includes a cantata based on the poems of Robert Burns. “Anna Karenina” premiered at the English National Opera in 1981 to critical acclaim. His other operas include “Agamemnon”, “The Catiline Conspiracy”, based on a Ben Jonson play, and an adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s play “The Royal Hunt of the Sun”. From 1961 to 1978 he was a professor of music at Duke University in North Carolina.
• 2001 ~ Norman Hall Wright, the last surviving writer who worked on the Disney film Fantasia 2000, died at the age of 91. Wright studied at the University of Southern California before being hired by Walt Disney Productions. He started as an animator but later became a writer, producer and director. Wright developed the story of The Nutcracker Suite sequence for Fantasia 2000. He also was responsible for a sequence in Bambi. He wrote several cartoon shorts for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy and also produced several Wonderful World of Disney television programs.
• 2002 ~ Gus Dudgeon, a respected music producer who worked on many of Elton John’s hit recordings, died in a car crash in western England. He was 59. Dudgeon produced Rocket Man,Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,Your Song,Daniel and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me. Dudgeon also produced David Bowie’s Space Oddity and worked with other stars, including Chris Rea and Joan Armatrading. But it was his partnership with Sir Elton in the 1970s for which he will be best remembered. Dudgeon began his career in the early 1960s as a tea boy, running errands at Olympic Studios in London before joining Decca Records. He engineered the Zombies’ classic She’s Not There and the groundbreaking Blues Breakers album by John Mayall with Eric Clapton, before moving into producing.
• 2015 ~ Theodore Meir Bikel, Austrian-American actor, folk singer, musician, composer, and activist, died at the age of 91.
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. This declaration announced to the world that the 13 colonies would no longer be held by British rule. Today Americans celebrate by the flying of a flag, cooking at home (usually a cookout, also known as a barbecue), and watching a brilliant fireworks display.
• 1826 ~ Stephen Foster, American composer of songs
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• 1832 ~ It was on this day that America was sung in public for the first time — at the Park Street Church in Boston, MA. Dr. Samuel Francis Smith wrote the words, borrowing the tune from a German songbook. Ironically, and unknown to Dr. Smith at the time, the melody is the same as the British national anthem.
• 1895 ~ America the Beautiful, the famous song often touted as the true U.S. national anthem, was originally a poem written by Katherine Lee Bates. The Wellesley College professor’s poem was first published this day in the Congregationalist, a church newspaper.
• 1898 ~ Michael Aaron, Piano Educator
• 1900 ~ Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, American jazz trumpeter, singer and bandleader Read quotes by and about Armstrong
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• 1902 ~ George Murphy, American politician (US Senator, California), actor and dancer (MGM Parade)
• 1909 ~ Alec Templeton, Pianist
• 1911 ~ Mitch Miller, American conductor, oboist, record company executive, producer, arranger for the Sing Along with Mitch LPs and TV show
• 1937 ~ Ray Pillow, Singer
• 1938 ~ Bill Withers, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, singer
• 1942 ~ The Irving Berlin musical, This is the Army, opened at New York’s Broadway Theatre. Net profits of the show were $780,000.
• 1943 ~ Al ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson, Musician, guitarist, harmonica, singer with Canned Heat
• 1943 ~ The Rhythm Boys, Bing Crosby, Al Rinker and Harry Barris, were reunited for the first time since the 1930s on Paul Whiteman Presents on NBC radio.
• 1948 ~ Jeremy Spencer, Musician, guitarist with Fleetwood Mac
• 1955 ~ John Waite, Singer
• 1958 ~ Kirk Pengily, Rock Musician
• 1985 ~ A crowd, estimated at one million, gathered in Philadelphia to celebrate the 209th anniversary of America’s independence. The Beach Boys were joined by Mr. T. on drums to really add some fireworks to the festivities. The Oak Ridge Boys, Joan Jett and Jimmy Page joined in the celebration.
• 1999 ~ Ronny Graham passed away
• 2001 ~ Maceo Anderson, a tap dancer and founding member of the Four Step Brothers, died in Los Angeles at the age of 90. The group tap-danced all over the world, performing for the queen of England and the emperor of Japan. The Four Step Brothers also performed at Radio City Music Hall. The group started as a trio. In the mid-1920s, the group performed at the Cotton Club with Duke Ellington, who wrote The Mystery Song for them. Anderson began dancing as a child in the South. When he was six, he and his mother moved to a basement apartment in Harlem. He taught tap dance at his own school in Las Vegas and across the country until 1999.
• 1937 ~ Archie Shepp, African-American tenor saxophonist, one of the first improvisers and composers in free jazz, and one of its most eloquent spokesmen.
• 1938 ~ Art Kassel’s orchestra recorded a song for Bluebird Records that may not have been a smash hit, but had a great title: So You Left Me for the Leader of a Swing Band.
• 1941 ~ Bob Dylan, America folk and rock singer, songwriter and guitarist. He moved from folk to rock music in the 1960s, infusing the lyrics of rock and roll, previously concerned mostly with boy-girl romantic innuendo, with the intellectualism of classic literature and poetry. Hailed as the Shakespeare of his generation, Dylan sold more than 58 million albums.
• 1941 ~ Brian Dennis, Composer
• 1941 ~ Konrad Boehmer, Composer
• 1942 ~ Derek Quinn, Guitarist with Freddie and the Dreamers
• 1943 ~ James Levine, British conductor
• 1944 ~ Patti LaBelle (Holt), American soul-rock singer
• 1945 ~ Priscilla Presley, American actress and was wife of Elvis Presley
• 1996 ~ Jacob R Druckman, Composer, died at the age of 67
• 2002 ~ BBC News Online Conductor Colin Davis and The London Symphony were recognized for their successful partnership on the orchestra’s new record label and popular tenor Russell Watson was the big winner at the third Classical Brit awards Thursday, BBC News reports. Davis won the award for Best Male Artist, his recording of Berlioz’s Les Troyens received the Critics’ Choice award and the London Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Vaughan Williams’ “London” Symphony under Richard Hickox was named Best Ensemble/Orchestral Album at the ceremony, which took place in the Royal Albert Hall. In the only award voted for by radio listeners, Best Album, Watson beat Italian opera singer Cecilia Bartoli with his Encore disc. It was the second time Watson won Best Album. He also picked up an award for the biggest selling classical album in the UK. Bartoli won for Female Artist of the Year. The Contemporary Music award was won by Tan Dun, composer of the score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The Best Male Artist award recognizes Davis’ highly successful Berlioz CD series on the LSO Live label. During 2001, his interpretations of Symphonie Fantastique, La damnation de Faust and Les Troyenswere released to excellent reviews. Les Troyens won Grammys earlier this year for Best Opera and Best Overall Classical Recording. The LSO’s disc of Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 2 “A London Symphony” on Chandos was the first recording of the score in its original version.
• 2015 ~ Marcus Belgrave, jazz trumpeter, died. He recorded with a variety of famous musicians, bandleaders, and record labels since the 1950s.
1879 ~ Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor. Founded the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947 and did much to promote the works of Delius, Sibelius and Richard Strauss.
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. 1895 ~ Sir Malcolm Sargent, English conductor, born. He was in charge of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 1942 until 1948 and of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1950 until 1957.
. 1913 ~ Donald Mills, Singer with The Mills Brothers.
. 1925 ~ Danny Davis (George Nowland), Grammy Award-winning bandleader with Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass. Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1969, Country Music Awards Instrumental Group of the Year 1969 to 1974
. 1936 ~ Zubin Mehta, Indian conductor, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and violinist
. 1936 ~ April Stevens (Carol Lo Tempio), Singer
. 1943 ~ Duane Allen, Singer with the Oak Ridge Boys
. 1947 ~ Tommy James (Jackson), Singer with Tommy James and The Shondells
. 1949 ~ Francis Rossi, Musician, guitar and singer with Status Quo
. 1968 ~ Hair made its way from Greenwich Village to Broadway. The show certainly opened eyes. It was the first time that actors appeared nude in a Broadway musical. Hair ran for 1,844 shows on and off Broadway. It was even more successful in its London run later. Big songs from the show: Hair (The Cowsills) and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The 5th Dimension).
. 1969 ~ Sir Duke, Duke Ellington, celebrated his 70th birthday. He was honored with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom, the U.S. government’s highest civilian honor.
. 2001 ~ Opera diva Rita Nellie Hunter, a powerful soprano celebrated for her fine Wagnerian performances, died at the age of 67. Hunter, originally from Wallasey, England, was best remembered as the quintessential Brunnhilde of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, which she performed in London, New York, Germany and Sydney. Hunter’s agile voice led her through performances of Verdi’s “Aida,” and “Macbeth,” Puccini’s “Turandot” and Strauss’ challenging “Elektra.” Despite her remarkable voice, Hunter did not reach international stardom. Her physical size, at a time when the opera was seeking slimmer performers, and the fact that she sang roles primarily in English, kept her from achieving global fame. Hunter married tenor John Darnley Thomas in 1960, and after his death in 1994, took over management of his Singing Academy in Sydney.