• 1756 ~ Pavel Vranicky, Moravian classical composer
• 1853 ~ Andre-Charles-Prosper Messager, French composer, organist, pianist, conductor and administrator.
• 1859 ~ Josef Bohuslav Foerster, Czech composer of classical music
• 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
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• 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 of the 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 a Jet 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 cowriter 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.
• 1979 ~ Richard Rodgers passed away
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• 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 life-time 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
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