• 1946 ~ Alan Gorrie, Rock Singer with the Average White Band
• 1947 ~ Bernie Leadon, Musician, guitar with The Eagles
• 1947 ~ Brian Harold May, Musician, guitarist, singer and songwriter with Queen, who had the 1975 UK No.1 single Bohemian Rhapsody, which returned to No.1 in 1991. Queen scored over 40 other UK Top 40 singles, and also scored the 1980 US No.1 single Crazy Little Thing Called Love. May had the solo 1992 UK No.5 single Too Much Love Will Kill You. May was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for ‘services to the music industry and his charity work’. May earned a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College, London, in 2007.
• 1949 ~ Singer Harry Belafonte began recording for Capitol Records on this day. The first sessions included They Didn’t Believe Me and Close Your Eyes. A short time later, Capitol said Belafonte wasn’t “commercial enough,” so he signed with RCA Victor (for a very productive and commercial career).
• 1952 ~ Allen Collins, Musician, guitar with Lynyrd Skynyrd
• 1952 ~ “Paint Your Wagon” closed at Shubert Theater New York City after 289 performances
• 1966 ~ Frank Sinatra married actress Mia Farrow this day.
• 1963 ~ Kelly Shiver, Country Singer
• 1980 ~ Billy Joel, pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer, earned his first gold record with It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, which reached the top of the Billboard pop music chart. He would score additional million-sellers with Just the Way You Are, My Life, Uptown Girl (for girlfriend and later, wife and supermodel Christie Brinkley) and We Didn’t Start the Fire. Joel reached the top only one other time, with Tell Her About It in 1983.
• 2000 ~ H. LeBaron Taylor, a Sony executive who pioneered the mass marketing of music rooted in black culture and fostered minority development in the corporate world, died at the age of 65 of a heart attack. He was recognized by Ebony magazine as one of the top 50 black executives in corporate America. In the 1970s, Taylor was at CBS Records, leading its Black Music Marketing department, which sold music originating in black culture and styles that sprang from it, such as blues, soul, rap and hip-hop.
• 2015 ~ Van Alexander, American composer and bandleader (A-Tisket, A-Tasket), died at the age of 100
• 1668 ~ Van Marco Cesti’s opera “Il Pomo d’Oro,” premiered in Vienna
• 1813 ~ Johann Friedrich Peter, Composer, died at the age of 67
• 1844 ~ Johann Gansbacher, Composer, died at the age of 66
• 1866 ~ C.C. Birchard, Music Publisher
• 1877 ~ Karl Erb, German tenor
• 1884 ~ John Francis Larchet, Composer
• 1889 ~ Carli Zoeller, Composer, died at the age of 49
• 1891 ~ Franco Casavola, Composer
• 1894 ~ Juventino Rosas, Composer, died at the age of 26
• 1898 ~ Guglielmo Marconi patented the radio
• 1903 ~ August Reissmann, Composer, died at the age of 77
• 1906 ~ Harry Sosnik, American orchestra leader of the Jack Carter Show and Your Hit Parade
• 1909 ~ David Branson, Composer
• 1909 ~ Paul Constantinescu, Composer
• 1909 ~ Washington Castro, Composer
• 1913 ~ Ladislav Holoubek, Composer
• 1915 ~ Paul Williams, Jazz saxophonist and bandleader Williams played with Clarence Dorsey in 1946, and then made his recording debut with King Porter in 1947 for Paradise before forming his own band later that year.
• 1921 ~ Ernest Gold, Composer
• 1921 ~ Charles Scribner Jr, Music publisher
• 1923 ~ Asger Hamerik (Hammerich) German composer, died at the age of 80
• 1924 ~ Carlo Bergonzi, Italian tenor
• 1926 ~ Meyer Kupferman, American composer
• 1928 ~ Donal Michalsky, Composer
• 1932 ~ Per Nørgård, Danish composer
More information about Nørgård
• 1934 ~ Roger Reynolds, Composer
• 1936 ~ Izydor Lotto, Composer, died at the age of 91
• 1939 ~ Frank Sinatra made his recording debut with the Harry James band. Frankie sang Melancholy Mood and From the Bottom of My Heart.
• 1942 ~ Roger McGuinn, Musician, guitarist and vocalist with the Byrds (1965 US & UK No.1 single ‘Mr Tambourine Man’). He was the only member of The Byrds to play on the hit, the others being session players. He toured with Bob Dylan in 1975 and 1976 as part of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, and later worked with fellow ex-Byrds Gene Clark and Chris Hillman to form “McGuinn, Clark and Hillman”.
• 1951 ~ Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian-born composer, died in Los Angeles; he was best known for his 12-note serial method and his composition Verklaerte Nacht and his opera “Moses und Aaron.”
More information about Schoenberg
• 1942 ~ Stephen Jo Bladd, American drummer with the J Geils Band
• 1954 ~ Louise Mandrell, American country singer with the Mandrell Sisters
• 1958 ~ Karl Erb, German tenor, died on 81st birthday
• 1959 ~ Dedicated to the One I Love, by The Shirelles, was released. The tune went to number 83 on the Top 100 chart of “Billboard” magazine. The song was re-released in 1961 and made it to number three on the charts.
• 1961 ~ Lawrence Donegan, Musician, bass with Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
• 1965 ~ Neil Thrasher, Country Singer
• 1973 ~ Martian Negrea, Composer, died at the age of 80
• 1973 ~ The Everly Brothers called it quits during a concert at the John Wayne Theatre in Buena Park, CA. Phil Everly walked off the stage in the middle of the show and brother Don said, “The Everly Brothers died ten years ago.” The duo reunited a decade later for a short time.
• 1976 ~ Max Butting, Composer, died at the age of 87
• 1978 ~ Antonio Veretti, Composer, died at the age of 78
• 1985 ~ Duran Duran took A View to a Kill, from the James Bond movie of the same name, to the top of the record charts this day. The song stayed on top for two weeks. Live and Let Die by Wings and Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon — both James Bond themes — got only as high as number two on the record charts.
• 1985 ~ Live Aid, a rock concert masterminded by Bob Geldof, took place in London, Sydney, Moscow and Philadelphia and raised over 60 million dollars for famine in Africa.
• 1992 ~ Carla van Neste, Belgian violinist, died at the age of 78
• 1994 ~ Eddie Boyd, Blues vocalist and pianist, died at the age of 79
. Luigi Boccherini, Italian composer
More information on Boccherini
. 1878 ~ Thomas Alva Edison, famed inventor, patented a music player at his laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ. This music device is the one we know as the phonograph. Edison paid his assistant $18 to make the device from a sketch Edison had drawn. Originally, Edison had set out to invent a telegraph repeater, but came up with the phonograph or, as he called it, the speaking machine.
. 1902 ~ John Bubbles (John William Sublett), An actor: Porgy and Bess (1935 Broadway version), films: Cabin in the Sky, Variety Show, A Song Is Born, No Maps on My Taps; dancer: credited with creating ‘rhythm tap’.
. 1927 ~ Robert Fuchs, Austrian composer and music teacher. As Professor of music theory at the Vienna Conservatory, Fuchs taught many notable composers, while he was himself a highly regarded composer in his lifetime.
. 1940 ~ “Smokey” Robinson, American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter
. 1942 ~ If there was ever such a thing as a jam session, surely, this one was it: Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded I’ll Take Tallulah (Victor Records). Some other musical heavyweights were in the studio too, including Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers, Ziggy Elman and drummer extraordinaire, Buddy Rich.
. 1971 ~ Gil Shaham, Israeli-American violinist
. 1975 ~ Luigi Dallapiccola, composer, died at the age of 71
More about Dallapiccola
. 1981 ~ George Harrison was ordered to pay ABKCO Music the sum of $587,000 for “subconscious plagiarism” between his song, My Sweet Lord and the Chiffons early 1960s hit, He’s So Fine.
. 1497 ~ Johannes Ockeghem, Flemish singer/composer, died at the age of 79
. 1843 ~ The first minstrel show in America, “The Virginia Minstrels”, opened at the Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City.
. 1903 ~ Claudio Arrau, Chilean pianist
. 1917 ~ Arthur Gold, pianist, born in Toronto, Ontario
. 1929 ~ Rudy Vallee and his orchestra recorded Deep Night. It says in the fine print, under the artist’s name, that the tune was written by Vallee, himself.
. 1943 ~ Fabian (Fabian Forte), Singer
. 1943 ~ Frank Sinatra made his debut as a vocalist on radio’s “Your Hit Parade” this night. Frankie had left the Tommy Dorsey Band just four months prior to beginning the radio program. He was described as, “…the biggest name in the business.”
. 1945 ~ Bob Marley, Jamaican reggae singer and songwriter
. 1976 ~ Vince Guaraldi, jazz pianist and composer (Peanuts TV specials), died at the age of 43
. 1981 ~ Former Beatle, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison teamed up once again to record a musical tribute to John Lennon. The result of that session became All Those Years Ago. The song went to #2 on the pop music charts for three weeks. It was recorded on Harrison’s own Dark Horse label.
. 2005 ~ Lazar Berman, Soviet Russian classical pianist. He was hailed for a huge, thunderous technique that made him a thrilling interpreter of Liszt and Rachmaninoff and a late representative of the grand school of Russian Romantic pianism.
. 2007 ~ Frankie Laine, Italian-American singer, songwriter, and actor (Frankie Laine Show, Rawhide), died of heart failure at the age of 93
. 1669 ~ Miquel Lopez, composer, born. He died sometime in 1723
. 1671 ~ Francesco Stradivari, Italian violin maker
. 1862 ~ The Battle Hymn of the Republic was first published in “Atlantic Monthly”. The lyric was the work of Julia Ward Howe. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is still being sung and to the tune of a song titled John Brown’s Body.
. 1869 ~ Victor Herbert, Composer, cellist and conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony. He composed operettas such as Babes in Toyland, Naughty Marietta and songs like Ah Sweet Mystery of Life (At Last I’ve Found You)
. 1877 ~ Thomas Frederick Dunhill, English composer and writer on musical subjects
. 1894 ~ James P. Johnson, American pianist and composer (Charleston), born in New Brunswick, New Jersey
. 1896 ~ Puccini’s “La Bohème” premiered in Turin, Italy. La Bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini between 1893 and 1895 to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème (1851) by Henri Murger. The story is set in Paris around 1830, and shows the Bohemian lifestyle of a poor seamstress and her artist friends.
. 1904 ~ Enrico Caruso recorded his first sides for Victor Records. He did ten songs in the session and was paid only $4,000.
. 1937 ~ Don Everly born, Singer with his brother, Phil, in The Everly Brothers. Some of their hits were: Wake Up Little Susie, Bye Bye Love, Cathy’s Clown and All I Have To Do Is Dream
. 1937 ~ Ray Sawyer, Singer with Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show
. 1939 ~ Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded And the Angels Sing on Victor Records. The vocalist on that number, who went on to find considerable fame at Capitol Records, was Martha Tilton.
. 1940 ~ Frank Sinatra sang Too Romantic and The Sky Fell Down in his first recording session with the Tommy Dorsey Band. The session was in Chicago, IL. Frankie replaced Jack Leonard as lead singer with the band.
. 1941 ~ “Downbeat” magazine reported this day that Glenn Miller had inked a new three-year contract with RCA Victor Records. The pact guaranteed Miller $750 a side, the fattest record contract signed to that time.
. 1949 ~ RCA Victor countered Columbia Records’ 33-1/3 long play phonograph disk with not only a smaller, 7-inch record (with a big hole in the center), but an entire phonograph playing system as well. The newfangled product, the 45- rpm, which started a revolution (especially with the new rock and roll music), soon made the 78-rpm record a blast from the past.
. 1952 ~ Rick James (James Johnson), Singer
. 1954 ~ Mike Campbell, Guitarist with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
. 1968 ~ Elvis Presley celebrated the birth of his daughter, Lisa Marie. Lisa Marie married and divorced the ‘Gloved One’, Michael Jackson, in the ’90s.
. 1971 ~ The soundtrack album from the movie, “Love Story”, starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw, with music by Frances Lai, was certified as a gold record on this day.
. 1995 ~ Richey Edwards, guitarist with the Manic Street Preachers, vanished leaving no clues to his whereabouts. He left The Embassy Hotel in London at 7am, leaving behind his packed suitcase. His car was found on the Severn Bridge outside Bristol, England sixteen days later. Edwards has never been found, despite constant searching, and in November 2008 he was declared officially dead.
. 2002 ~ Hildegard Knef, a smoky-voiced actress and singer who starred in Germany’s first post-World War II movie and scandalized church officials with a 1951 nude scene, died of a lung infection at a Berlin hospital. She was 76. Knef became a star for her role as a former concentration camp inmate returning home in Wolfgang Staudte’s 1946 “Murderers Are Among Us.” Knef, who sometimes went as Hildegard Neff in the United States, appeared in more than 50 films, most of them made in Europe. She reportedly turned down a Hollywood studio contract after being told she would have to change her name and say she was Austrian, not German. She scandalized Roman Catholic authorities with a brief nude scene in the 1951 German film “The Story Of A Sinner.” Her work in the United States included the role of Ninotchka in Cole Porter’s Broadway musical “Silk Stockings” in the 1950s, and a supporting role in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” She launched a career as a singer in the 1960s and wrote a best-selling 1970 autobiography. She continued to act and sing almost until the end of her life, appearing as herself in the 2000 documentary “Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song” and in the 1999 German comedy, “An Almost Perfect Wedding.”
. 2003 ~ Latin jazz musician Ramon “Mongo” Santamaria, a Cuban-born percussionist and bandleader known for his conga rhythms, died in Miami at age 85. He was best known for his 1963 recording of Herbie Hancock’s song Watermelon Man, which became his first Top 10 hit. In 1959, Santamaria penned Afro Blue, which quickly became a jazz standard covered by stars such as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. Born in Havana, Santamaria performed at Havana’s famed Tropicana Club before moving to New York City in the early 1950s, touring with the Mambo Kings and performing with Tito Puente and Cal Tjader. Santamaria recorded scores of albums in a career that spanned nearly 40 years, mixing rhythm and blues with jazz and hip-swaying conga. In 1977 he was awarded a Grammy for Best Latin Recording for his album “Amancer.” In recent years, he divided his time between Manhattan and Miami.
. 2018 ~ Alan Stout, American composer, died at the age of 85
. 2018 ~ Dennis Edwards, who joined the Temptations in 1968 and sang on a string of the group’s hits including “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” in an initial tenure that stretched to 1977, died at the age of 74
. 1795 ~ Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, harpsichordist and composer, the fifth son of Johann Sebastian Bach, died at the age of 62
. 1905 ~ Maria von Trapp, singer
. 1908 ~ Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist
. 1913 ~ Jimmy Van Heusen (Edward Chester Babcock), American songwriter and Academy Award-winning composer. He wrote Swinging on a Star in 1944, All the Way in 1957, High Hopes in 1959 and Call Me Irresponsible in 1963. He also wrote the music to over 75 songs for Frank Sinatra with lyricists Johnny Burke and Sammy Cahn … My Kind of Town and Second Time Around
. 1934 ~ Huey “Piano” Smith, American rhythm and blues pianist (Rockin’ Pneumonia & Boogie Woogie Flu, Having a Good Time), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
. 1934 ~ The Apollo Theatre opened in New York City as a ‘Negro vaudeville theatre’. It became the showplace for many of the great black entertainers, singers, groups and instrumentalists in the country.
. 1945 ~ Jacqueline DuPré, British cellist
. 1956 ~ Buddy Holly had his first of three 1956 recording sessions for Decca Records and producer, Owen Bradley, in Nashville. Nothing much came out of those sessions. He formed the group, The Three Tunes (changed later to The Crickets), and went on to find fame and fortune when he hooked up with producer Norman Petty in New Mexico. Holly died in a plane crash near Mason City, IA, February 3, 1959 (“the day the music died”). He was 22. Holly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
. 1979 ~ The Gizmo guitar synthesizer was first demonstrated.
. 1988 ~ “Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber opened at Majestic Theater in New York City for 4,000+ performances. It is now the longest running Broadway show in history.
. 1992 ~ Jose Ferrer, Puerto Rican actor, theater, and film director, died.
. 1995 ~ Geoffrey Penwill Parsons, piano accompanist, died at the age of 65
. 1998 ~ Shinichi Suzuki, Japanese music teacher (Suzuki Method), died at the age of 99
. 2003 ~ John Browning, American pianist (Leventritt Award-1956), died at the age of 69
. 2019 ~ Michel Legrand, French composer, film arranger and jazz musician (Summer of ’42, Windmills of Your Mind), died at the age of 86
National Polka Dot Day celebrates polka dots, and since 2016 has also been used to celebrate Minnie Mouse, who is known for often wearing the dots. She usually is seen wearing a red dress with white polka dots, and often has a matching bow. Celebrants of the holiday don polka dots to celebrate the dot and Minnie Mouse.
In the nineteenth century, garments with dots began becoming popular. Dotted-Swiss was one such type of garment. In Germany, dots on garments were called Thalertupfen. Dotted clothing could be seen in some famous paintings of the time, such as Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass and Bazille’s Family Reunion.
In the middle of that century, polka dancing became popular in Europe. The name for the dot comes from the dance, although there doesn’t seem to be any real connection between the two. “Polka” is a Polish word for “Polish woman,” and the term polka dot was first printed in 1857, in an American women’s magazine called Godey’s Lady’s Book.
The popularity of polka dots increased in the 1920s and ’30s. Miss America wore a polka dot swimsuit in 1926 and Minnie appeared with polka dots in 1928. Polka dot dresses were common during the 1930s. Following World War II, Dior began putting out dresses with polka dots, and polka dot clothing was worn by stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. In the 1960s, Yayoi Kusama began using polka dots in her paintings. Some men have worn polka dots, such as Bob Dylan, and Marvel Comics even created Polka-Dot Man. Today, polka dots are often worn nostalgically and have gained in popularity with the revival of vintage wear from the 1950s and ’60s.
Because Minnie Mouse is often seen wearing polka dots, the day has been closely tied to her. Although she appeared with Mickey in Plane Crazy on May 15, 1928, this did not have a wide release, and it is Steamboat Willie, which was released on November 18, 1928, which is widely known as Minnie Mouse’s debut. Independent, feminine, and cheerful, she is known for bringing happiness to others and helping them with troubles they may be having. Walt Disney was the first voice of Minnie, just for a short while, and many people have voiced her since. Russi Taylor began voicing her in 1986 and did so for decades afterward.
After Minnie’s debut in 1928, she appeared in many more short films throughout the 1930s. Mickey and Minnie were redesigned in the late 1930s, but Minnie was used less starting in the 1940s. It was not until the 1980s when she once again began being used more prominently in cartoons. She was in Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983 and had her first starring role in a television special with Totally Minnie in 1988. She has since appeared in films such as Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, and Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, and in television shows such as Mickey Mouse Works, House of Mouse, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey Mouse, and Mickey and the Roadster Racers.
Minnie has been featured in comics, video games, and has been a staple at Disney parks such as Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, where events have been held on the day. In 2016, an art and fashion show called “Rock the Dots” was held on Polka Dot Day in Los Angeles; it was followed by an exhibit that was open to the public. Disney began encouraging people to wear polka dots and use the hashtag #RocktheDots. Minnie received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on National Polka Dot Day in 2018, during her 90th anniversary year.
How to Observe National Polka Dot Day
Celebrate the day by wearing polka dots. D23: The Official Disney Fan Club and Shop Disney have polka dotted Minnie Mouse clothes and accessories available. Let people know you are wearing polka dots by using the hashtag #RocktheDots. The day could be spent watching films starring Minnie Mouse, such as Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie. Minnie was not wearing polka dots in those first films, but she was wearing a polka dot dress in their opening title sequences. You could also do some Minnie Mouse crafts, or plan a trip to Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World.
. 1886 ~ John J. Becker, American composer
. 1889 ~ The Columbia Phonograph Company was formed in Washington, DC.
. 1901 ~ Hans Erich Apostel, German-born Austrian composer
. 1904 ~ George Balanchine (Georgi Balanchivadze), Choreographer of Apollo, Orpheus, Firebird, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker. He founded School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet. He was married to Tanaquil Le Clercq.
. 1907 ~ The Richard Strauss opera, “Salome”, was featured with the Dance of the Seven Veils. It was copied by vaudeville performers. Soon, performances of the opera were banned at the Metropolitan Opera House.
. 1916 ~ Henri Dutilleux, French composer
. 1920 ~ William Warfield, singer (Show Boat)
. 1924 ~ James Louis “J.J.” Johnson, Trombonist, composer and bandleader. He was one of first to use the trombone in modern jazz
. 1931 ~ Clyde McCoy and his orchestra recorded Sugar Blues. The tune became McCoy’s theme song, thanks to its popularity on Columbia Records, and later on Decca, selling over a million copies.
. 1935 ~ Sam Cooke, American rhythm-and-blues singer
. 1949 ~ Steve Perry, Drummer with Radio Stars
. 1953 ~ Myung-Whun Chung, Seoul South Korea, pianist/conductor (Chung Trio)
. 2002 ~ Pete Bardens, a keyboardist who played alongside such pop stars as Mick Fleetwood, Ray Davies, Rod Stewart and Van Morrison, died of lung cancer. He was 57. He was known for his progressive and New Age rock style on synthesizer, electric piano and organ. In the 1960s, the London-born Bardens played in the Blues Messengers with Davies, who later went on to form The Kinks; Shotgun Express with Stewart; Them with Morrison; and the group Cheynes with Fleetwood and Peter Green, who went on to form Fleetwood Mac. In 1972, Bardens formed the progressive rock band Camel and stayed with it through the late 1970s. In 1978, he began a successful solo career, releasing several well-received records, including “Speed of Light”, and also played on Morrison’s album “Wavelength” and accompanied him on a world tour. Barden continued to compose, produce and perform music through the 1990s, appearing in Europe with his group Mirage.
. 2004 ~ Milt Bernhart, a big band trombonist known for his solo on Frank Sinatra’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin, died. He was 77. During his three-decade career, Bernhart played in bands led by Benny Goodman, Henry Mancini and others. He was performing in Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-Stars when Marlon Brando arranged for the band to play in the 1954 film The Wild One. Bernhart then became an in-studio musician for Columbia and other film and television studios, and in 1956 added a memorable solo to Sinatra’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Born in Valparaiso, Ind., Bernhart was drafted into the Army and was to be sent overseas during World War II before he was transferred to the service’s band. After his music career wound down in 1973, he bought Kelly Travel Service in Los Angeles. He created the Big Band Academy of America in 1986 and planned to retire as the organization’s founding president in March.
. 2004 ~ Ann Miller, a childhood dance prodigy who fast-tapped her way to movie stardom that peaked in 1940s musicals like “On the Town”, “Easter Parade” and“Kiss Me Kate”, died of lung cancer. She was 81. Miller’s film career peaked at MGM in the late 1940s and early ’50s, but she honed her chops into her 60s, earning millions for “Sugar Babies”, a razzmatazz tribute to the era of burlesque featuring Mickey Rooney. Miller’s legs, pretty face and fast tapping (she claimed the record of 500 taps a minute) earned her jobs in vaudeville and nightclubs when she first came to Hollywood. Her early film career included working as a child extra in films and as a chorus girl in a minor musical, “The Devil on Horseback”. An appearance at the popular Bal Tabarin in San Francisco won a contract at RKO studio, where her name was shortened to Ann. Her first film at RKO, “New Faces of 1937”, featured her dancing. She next played an acting hopeful in “Stage Door”, with Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball and Eve Arden.
When Cyd Charisse broke a leg before starting “Easter Parade” at MGM with Fred Astaire, Miller replaced her. That led to an MGM contract and her most enduring work. She was teamed with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in “On the Town”, Red Skelton in “Watch the Birdie”, and Bob Fosse in “Kiss Me Kate“. Other MGM films included: “Texas Carnival”, “Lovely to Look At”, “Small Town Girl”, “Deep in My Heart”, “Hit the Deck” and “The Opposite Sex.” The popularity of musicals declined in the 1950s, and her film career ended in 1956. Miller remained active in television and the theater, dancing and belting songs on Broadway in “Hello, Dolly” and “Mame”. In later years, she astounded audiences in New York, Las Vegas and on the road with her dynamic tapping in “Sugar Babies.” The show opened on Broadway in 1979 and toured for years. In 1990, she commented that “Sugar Babies” had made her financially independent. While her career in Hollywood prospered, Miller became a regular figure in the town’s nightlife, and she caught the eye of Louis B. Mayer, all-powerful head of MGM. After dating, she declined to marry him because her mother would not allow it. She later married and divorced steel heir Reese Milner and oilmen William Moss and Arthur Cameron.
. 2004 ~ Dick Rodgers, an insurance salesman known as the “Polka King” when he hosted a regional television show from the 1950s to the 1970s, died. He was 76. Rodgers’ television show was on the air from 1955-78, starting on WMBV in Marinette, which later moved to Green Bay and became WLUK-TV. The program was shown on 17 Midwestern stations at its height. Rodgers’ accomplishments included membership in the International Polka Music Hall of Fame (1976) and in the World Concertina Congress Hall of Fame (1996). He also was named Orchestra Leader of the Year by the Wisconsin Orchestra Leaders Association in 1967.
. 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.
. 1940 ~The Shep Fields Orchestra went to the top of Billboard’s Pop Chart with their song “South of the Border (Down Mexico Way).”
. 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 Manhade 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.
• 1895 ~ Vincent Lopez, Bandleader, played at NYC’s Astor Hotel, some of the greats started with him: Artie Shaw, Buddy Morrow, Buddy Clark
1904 ~ Dmitri Kabalevsky, Russian composer, pianist and conductor
More information about Kabalevsky
• 1910 ~ Paul Frederic Bowles, American composer and novelist
• 1914 ~ Bert Parks (Jacobson), Radio/TV host of Miss America Pageant, Break the Bank, Stop the Music
• 1919 ~ Sir David Willcocks, British organist, conductor and educator
• 1928 ~ Bo Diddley (Otha Ellas Bates McDaniel), Singer
• 1931 ~ Skeeter Davis (Mary Frances Penick), Singer
• 1936 ~ The famous feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen was ignited. After a 10- year-old performer finished a violin solo on The Fred Allen Show, Mr. Allen said, “A certain alleged violinist should hide his head in shame for his poor fiddle playing.” It didn’t take long for Mr. Benny to respond. The humorous feud lasted for years on both comedian’s radio shows.
• 1937 ~ John Hartford, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, banjo, fiddle, guitar on Glen Campbell’s Good Time Comedy Hour
• 1939 ~ Del Shannon (Charles Westover), Singer, songwriter, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
• 1942 ~ Michael Nesmith, Guitarist with The Monkees, formed The First National Band, movie producer of the first Grammy-winning video
• 1945 ~ Davy Jones (David Thomas Jones), Singer with The Monkees, actor
• 1947 ~ Jeff Lynne, Singer, guitar with The Electric Light Orchestra, songwriter
• 1948 ~ Alfred Drake and Patricia Morrison starred in Kiss Me Kate which opened at the New Century Theatre in New York City. Cole Porter composed the music for the classic play that was adapted from Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming ofthe Shrew. The show ran for 1,077 performances on the Great White Way.
• 1942 ~ Frank Sinatra opened at New York’s Paramount Theatre for what was scheduled to be a 4-week engagement (his shows turned out to be so popular that he was booked for an additional 4 weeks). An estimated 400 policemen were called out to help curb the excitement. It is said that some of the teenage girls were hired to scream, but many more screamed for free. Sinatra was dubbed ‘The Sultan of Swoon’, ‘The Voice that Thrills Millions’, and just ‘The Voice’. Whatever he was, it was at this Paramount Theatre engagement that modern pop hysteria was born.
• 1954 ~ Pearl Bailey opened on Broadway in the play, House of Flowers, about two madams with rival bordellos. Diahann Carroll was also cast in the play, written by Truman Capote. Harold Arlen provided the musical score.
• 1969 ~ Peter, Paul and Mary received a gold record for the single, Leaving On aJet Plane. The song had hit #1 on December 20.
• 1970 ~ Paul McCartney sued the other three Beatles to dissolve the partnership and gain control of his interest. The suit touched off a bitter feud between McCartney and the others, especially his co-writer on many of the Beatles compositions, John Lennon. The partnership officially came to end in 1974.
• 1976 ~ The Smothers Brothers, Tom and Dick, played their last show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business. Each continued as a solo artist. They reunited years later for another stab at TV (on NBC) plus concert appearances that proved very successful.
• 2000 ~ Bohdan Warchal, a violinist and conductor who was one of Slovakia’s most popular musicians, of an unspecified illness at the age of 70. A violinist in the Slovak Philharmonic, Warchal, who died on Saturday, won acclaim as the founder and conductor of the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, which has given concerts all over the world ever since it was established in 1960. Warchal was awarded a medal by President Rudolf Schuster for his lifetime work last year.
• 2003 ~ Hong Kong’s Canto-pop diva and actress Anita Mui died. She was 40 years old. Mui began her career after winning a singing contest in Hong Kong in 1982. She rose to stardom with her song Homecoming in 1984. Canto-pop refers to hits sung in Cantonese, the dialect of Chinese that is widely spoken in Hong Kong and in many overseas Chinese communities. Mui also turned to acting and won Taiwan’s Golden Horse film award for best actress in 1987 for her role as a tormented ghost in the movie “Rouge.”
2004 ~ Artie Shaw (Arthur Arschawsky), American jazz clarinetist, bandleader, composer and arranger died
More information about Shaw
1803 ~ Louis-Hector Berlioz, French composer, conductor, music critic and major force in the development of musical form during the Romantic Era
More information about Berlioz
• 1876 ~ Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, Polish composer and conductor
• 1882 ~ The Bijou Theatre in Boston, MA became the first theatre to be lighted by electricity.
• 1908 ~ Elliot Cook Carter, Jr., American composer
• 1915 ~ Frank Sinatra, American singer songwriter
• 1916 ~ (Damaso) Perez Prado, Piano, organ
• 1926 ~ Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton, Blues singer
• 1931 ~ Rita Moreno (Rosita Alverio), Dancer, Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress
• 1934 ~ Curtis Williams, Singer with The Penguins
• 1935 ~ Tom Brumley, Steel guitar with Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, Stone Canyon Band
• 1939 ~ Marlene Dietrich recorded Falling In Love Again on the Decca label.
• 1940 ~ David Gates, Guitarist, keyboard, singer with Bread
• 1944 ~ Brenda Lee (Tarpley), American singer of popular music
• 1944 ~ “The Chesterfield Supper Club” debuted on NBC radio. Perry Como, Jo Stafford and many other stars of the day shared the spotlight on the 15-minute show that aired five nights a week. The show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes.
• 1952 ~ An audience of 70,000 people watched from 31 theatres as Richard Tucker starred in Carmen. The event was the first pay-TV production of an opera. Ticket prices ranged from $1.20 to $7.20.
• 1954 ~ Jermaine Jackson, Singer with The Jackson Five, brother of Michael, Janet, La Toya, Tito, Randy, Marlon and Jackie
• 1964 ~ Musician Sam Cooke died under suspicious circumstances.
• 1973 ~ Karen and Richard Carpenter received a gold record for their single, Top of the World.
• 1982 ~ Toni Basil reached the #1 one position on the pop music charts for the first time, with her single, Mickey.
• 2000 ~ Ruth Martin, a writer whose translations of both popular and obscure operas were widely used in American opera houses, died at the age of 86. Martin collaborated with her husband Thomas Martin in translating the librettos of some of the world’s most famous operas, including Mozart’sDon Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, as well as Puccini’sBoheme, and Bizet’sCarmen. Martin and her husband also translated some of the rarest operas, such as Offenbach’sGrand Duchess of Gerolstein, and Dvorák’sRusalka. The Martins’ translations were marked by their clarity and singability, and despite the increasing use of closed-captioning systems in major opera houses, their translations are still used widely. Martin contributed articles on opera for Opera News, Aria, and Theater Arts. She also served on the boards of the New York Federation of Music Clubs, the Liederkranz Foundation and the National Opera Foundation.
• 2001 ~ Erik Johns, who wrote the libretto for Aaron Copland’s only full-length opera, The Tender Land, died in a fire at his home in Fishkill, N.Y. He was 74. Born Horace Eugene Johnston in Los Angeles, Johns began his career in music as a dancer. He met Copland when he was 19 at a New Year’s Eve party in New York. In 1952 the two began collaborating on an opera based on Let Us Now PraiseFamous Men, a book by writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans that describes the lives of several Southern sharecropper families during the Depression. Copland composed the music and Johns wrote the libretto, or the words. The work was originally commissioned as a television opera by NBC but was subsequently rejected by the network. The New York City Opera performed it at its premiere at City Center in April 1954 in a short two-act version. The two later added a third act.
• 2001 ~ Jose Fajardo, a Cuban flutist who was one of the most influential bandleaders in Latin music, died an aneurysm. He was 82. The Cuban native had emigrated from Cuba in 1961, when he refused a request from the Cuban government to continue a musical tour to other communist countries. During his lengthy career, Fajardo recorded more than 40 albums and performed around the world. He was credited with expanding the audience for charanga, a Cuban musical style that backs a singer with flute, violins, piano, bass and percussion. Fajardo started his first group, Fajardo y sus Estrellas, in the 1940s. He later led three bands by the same name. After moving to the United States, he founded bands in New York and Miami and began performing in new style called pachanga, featuring a slightly more assertive rhythm. Fajardo was featured on “Cuban Masters: Los Originales,” an album of performances by leading Cuban musicians that was released November 2001.
• 2002 ~ Kay Rose, the first woman to win an Academy Award for sound editing, died. She was 80. Rose won the statuette for her work on the 1984 film The River. A native of New York, Rose was recognized in March with a career achievement award from the Cinema Audio Society. The Motion Picture Sound Editors gave her a similar lifetime achievement award in 1993. In October 2002, directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg endowed the Kay Rose Chair in the Art of Sound and Dialogue Editing at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television. The chair is the first of its kind in the country. After studying film at Hunter College, she became a civilian film apprentice for the Army Signal Corps during World War II. There, she helped create such training films as How to Erect a Double Apron Barbed Wire Fence and the John Huston documentary Report from the Aleutians. She moved to Hollywood in 1944 and found a job as an assistant to an editor at Universal studios. In 1951, she married film editor Sherman Rose. Together, they produced the 1954 sci-fi cult classic, Target Earth. They later divorced. During her five-decade career, Rose received sound editing credits on such films as The Rose,Ordinary People,On Golden Pond,The Milagro Beanfield War, The Prince of Tides,For the Boys and Speed.