On May 15 in Music History

today

 

• 1567 ~ Claudio Monteverdi, Italian composer
More information about Monteverdi

• 1808 ~ Michael William Balfe, Irish composer

• 1813 ~ Stephen Heller, Hungarian composer and pianist. His career spanned the period from Schumann to Bizet, and was an influence for later Romantic composers.

• 1918 ~ Eddie Arnold, Singer

• 1908 ~ Lars-Erik Larsson, Swedish composer

• 1923 ~ Ellis Larkins, Pianist, a favorite accompanist of singers from Mildred Bailey to Ella Fitzgerald

• 1936 ~ Anna Maria Alberghetti, Singer

• 1937 ~ Trini Lopez, Folk Singer and guitarist

• 1938 ~ Lenny Welch, Singer

• 1938 ~ Guy Lombardo and his orchestra recorded Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride, the group’s last side for Victor Records. Lombardo took disc number 25861 and moved the Royal Canadians over to Decca Records to make “the sweetest sound this side of heaven.”

• 1942 ~ Lainie Kazan, Singer

• 1947 ~ Graham Goble, Guitarist with Little River Band

• 1948 ~ Brian Eno, Musician, synthesizer, record producer, songwriter, co-founder of Roxy Music

• 1953 ~ Mike Oldfield, Composer, musician

• 1964 ~ The Smothers Brothers, Dick and Tom, gave their first concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

• 1970 ~ Close to You, the Carpenter’s second album and the one that launched them to meteoric fame, was released by A&M Records. The title song, (They Long to Be) Close to You, became a pop music standard and the first of six million-sellers in a row for Karen and Richard.

• 1972 ~ Glen Campbell earned a gold record for his Greatest Hits album on this day.

On May 14 in Music History

today

• 1847 ~ Fanny Cacilia Mendelssohn Hensel, German composer, died at the age of 41

• 1885 ~ Otto Klemperer, German conductor, In his early career he championed modern works.

• 1916 ~ Skip (Lloyd) Martin, Bandleader, composer, arranger

• 1916 ~ Lance Dossor, British-born concert pianist

• 1917 ~ Norman Luboff, Choral leader, The Norman Luboff Choir

• 1925 ~ Patrice Munsel, Soprano, Metropolitan Opera diva at age 17; actress in The Great Waltz, Melba; radio performer: The Great Sopranos – Voices of Firestone Classic Performances; radio host: The Patrice Munsel Show

• 1925 ~ Al Porcino, Jazz musician, trumpet

• 1936 ~ Bobby Darin (Cassotto), Grammy Award-winning singer, inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990

• 1937 ~ Duke Ellington and his band recorded the classic, Caravan, for Brunswick Records.

• 1943 ~ Jack Bruce, Musician: bass with the group Cream

• 1943 ~ Derek Leckenby, Guitarist with Herman’s Hermits

• 1944 ~ Troy Shondell, Singer

• 1945 ~ Gene Cornish, Guitarist with The Young Rascals

• 1952 ~ David Byrne, American rock composer, singer, American rock composer, performance artist and movie director

• 1957 ~ The musical, New Girl in Town, opened at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City. Thelma Ritter and Gwen Verdon starred in the Broadway adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie. New Girl in Town had a run of 431 performances.

1959 ~ “President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke ground for Lincoln Center at the site of Avery Fisher Hall, then named Philharmonic Hall. Musicians representing the Lincoln Center constituents participated: Leonard Bernstein led the New York Philharmonic and the Juilliard Chorus (Frederick Prausnitz, director), and Leonard Warren and Risë Stevens (Juilliard Graduate School ’36, voice), both of The Metropolitan Opera, performed excerpts from I Pagliacci and Carmen.” ~Jeni Dahmus, archivist at The Juilliard School

• 1971 ~ The Honey Cone received a gold record for the single, Want Ads. The female soul trio was formed in Los Angeles in 1969 and scored two million-sellers, Want Ads and Stick Up. The trio had a total of four songs on the charts that were moderate hits. Only Want Ads, however, made it to the number one position.

• 1971 ~ Danny Wood, Singer with New Kids on the Block

• 1998 ~ Frank Sinatra, one of the world’s greatest popular singers, died.

• 2001 ~ Loften Mitchell, a Tony Award-nominated playwright and early leader of the black theater movement, died at the age of 82. Mitchell was nominated for a Tony Award in 1976 for his book for the musical “Bubbling Brown Sugar,” a performance of black music and dance. He also wrote “A Land Beyond the River,” “Star of the Morning,” and the books “Voices of the Black Theater” and “Black Drama.” For many years he taught at the State University of New York at Binghamton, and he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

• 2003 ~ Otto Edelmann, whose dark bass-baritone propelled him to some of the world’s most renowned opera stages over a career spanning more than four decades, died. He was 86. Edelmann was often associated with masterful performances as Ochs in “Der Rosenkavalier,” and Hans Sachs in “Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg.” With his powerful voice, Edelmann was a favorite choice for Wagnerian roles. Edelmann trained at the Vienna Music Academy, now the Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts, under coaches including Gunnar Graarud. After a 1937 debut as Figaro in Gera, Germany, he sang in Nuremberg until 1940, when he was drafted into Hitler’s army. Captured by the Soviets, he spent several years as a prisoner of war. Edelmann’s postwar debut at the Vienna State Opera, as the hermit in “Der Freischuetz” in 1947, was the first of a 36-year engagement in the Austrian capital that included 430 performances in 36 different roles. He also was a regular for decades at the Salzburg Festival and other annual music events across Europe. Edelmann later turned increasingly to teaching, and in 1982 was appointed singing professor at the Vienna Music Academy.

• 2015 ~ B.B. King, “the King of the Blues,” whose stinging guitar solos and husky, full-throated vocals made him an international music icon and the most commercially successful performer in blues history, died at the age of 89.

On May 9 in Music History

today

• 1707 ~ Dietrich Buxtehude, German organist/composer, died at about the age of 69

• 1740 ~ Giovanni Paisiello, Italian composer (Barber of Seville)

• 1880 ~ Johann Hermann Berens, composer, died at the age of 54

• 1905 ~ Ernst Pauer, Austrian composer and pianist, died at the age of 78

• 1914 ~ Carlo Maria Guilini, Italian conductor

• 1914 ~ Hank Snow (Clarence Eugene), Canadian-born American country-music singer, guitarist and songwriter, Country Music Hall of Fame

• 1937 ~ Sonny Curtis, Guitarist with Buddy Holly & The Crickets, songwriter

• 1939 ~ Nokie Edwards, Guitarist with The Ventures

• 1939 ~ Ray Eberle recorded Stairway to the Stars with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for Bluebird records.

• 1941 ~ Pete Birrell, Guitarist with Freddie & The Dreamers

• 1942 ~ Tommy Roe, Singer, songwriter

• 1944 ~ Richie Furay, Musician with Poco and Buffalo Springfield

• 1945 ~ Steve Katz, Record producer; musician: guitar, harmonica, singer with Blood, Sweat and Tears

• 1949 ~ Billy Joel, Grammy Award-winning American rock singer, songwriter and pianist Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 3/15/99
More information on Joel

• 1962 ~ The Beatles signed their first recording contract. George Martin was hired to be the group’s producer and the band would record for EMI Parlophone.

• 1964 ~ Hello Dolly! became the nation’s top pop record. The milestone put Louis Armstrong on the Billboard music chart in the top spot for the first time in his 41-year music career. Later, ‘Satchmo’ was cast in the movie version of Hello Dolly!

• 1965 ~ Vladimir Horowitz played his first public concert in 12 years at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The audience applauded the piano virtuoso with a standing ovation that lasted for 30 minutes.

 

• 1970 ~ Guess Who started a three-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘American Woman’, it was the group’s sixth Top 30 hit and only chart-topper. The song was born by accident when guitarist Randy Bachman was playing a heavy riff on stage after he had broken a string, the other members joined in on the jam. A fan in the audience who had recorded the gig on tape presented it to the group after the show and they developed it into a full song.

• 1991 ~ Rudolph Serkin passed away.  He was a Bohemian-born pianist who was widely regarded as one of the greatest Beethoven interpreters of the twentieth century.

• 2001 ~ James Myers, whose two-minute, eight-second tune Rock Around the Clock is considered the granddaddy of all rock ‘n’ roll songs, died of leukemia. He was 81. The song was No. 1 for eight weeks and went on to sell 22 million copies worldwide. It has been recorded by more than 500 artists, from Mae West to the Sex Pistols, and has been used in more than 40 movies. Myers, who also wrote under the name Jimmy DeKnight, penned more than 300 songs and had bit parts in movies and TV shows, but Rock Around the Clock remained his most famous work.

• 2010 ~ Lena Horne, American singer and actress died

On May 3 in Music History

today

• 1844 ~ Richard D’Oyly Carte, British impresario; producer of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. He also founded the Savoy Theater in London.

• 1912 ~ Virgil Fox, Organ virtuoso: credited for bringing the organ “to the forefront among classical concert instruments”

• 1919 ~ Betty Comden, Composer

• 1919 ~ Pete Seeger, American folk singer, banjo player, guitarist and songwriter

• 1924 ~ Joe Ames, Singer with The Ames Brothers

• 1926 ~ Jimmy Cleveland, Composer, musician, trombone

• 1928 ~ Dave Dudley (Pedruska), Country singer

• 1933 ~ James Brown, American rhythm-and-blues singer-songwriter, dancer and instrumentalist, The Godfather of Soul, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986

• 1937 ~ Frankie Valli (Francis Castellucio), Falsetto singer with The Four Seasons

• 1939 ~ Beer Barrel Polka, one of the standards of American music, was recorded by The Andrews Sisters for Decca Records. Patti, Maxine and LaVerne turned this song into a giant hit.

 

• 1951 ~ In Britain, the King and Queen inaugurated the Festival of Britain on London’s South Bank and also opened the Festival Hall.

• 1956 ~ Most Happy Fella, a musical by Frank Loesser, opened at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. The show, an adaptation of They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard, ran for 676 performances on Broadway.

• 1960 ~ The play, The Fantasticks, opened at the Sullivan Playhouse in New York City. It would later become the longest-running off-Broadway play.

 

• 1971 ~ NPR, National Public Radio, the U.S. national, non-commercial radio network, was born.

• 1997 ~ Narciso Yepes, famous Spanish classical guitarist, died.

• 2001 ~ Legendary jazz drummer Billy Higgins died at the age of 64. Higgins was one of the most recorded figures in the history of jazz, performing with John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Milt Jackson, Charles Lloyd, Pat Metheny, Lee Morgan, Art Pepper and Joshua Redman, among others. He played with pianist Cedar Walton and was involved with the first edition of bassist Charlie Haden’s innovative Quartet West. Higgins came to prominence in the 1950s with saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s free jazz group, which included Haden and trumpeter Don Cherry. Higgins’ drumming laid the foundation for the group’s free jazz flights of fancy. That group sparked a decade of innovation in jazz that was carried on by the Coleman Quartet, Coltrane, George Russell, Charles Mingus and Albert Ayler, among others. Higgins’ ability to adapt his sense of swing to any genre made him one of the most in-demand drummers of the past four decades. Higgins helped found World Stage, a storefront performance space and teaching venue in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park. He was also on the jazz faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. Higgins was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master’s Fellowship in 1997.

• 2002 ~ Yevgeny Svetlanov, a renowned Russian pianist, composer and former chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater, died. He was 73. He was born in Moscow in 1928. He graduated from the Gnesinykh Musical- Pedagogical Institute and from the Moscow Conservatory. For several years he was conductor and chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre. From 1965 on he was artistic director and chief conductor of the State Symphonic Orchestra of USSR. He composed several symphonies, symphonic poems, chamber music works, and vocal-instrumental works. Svetlanov was the chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater from 1963 to 1965, when he was named artistic director and chief conductor of the Soviet State Symphony. He was named a People’s Artist of the Soviet Union in 1968 and was awarded the Lenin prize in 1972 and the Order of Lenin 1978. He was given the Soviet State prize for creative achievement in 1983. Svetlanov was born in the Soviet Union in 1928. In 1951, he graduated from the Gnesin Institute of Music. Svetlanov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1955 as a pianist, composer and conductor.

• 2007 ~ Ellsworth Milburn, American composer and educator (Menil Antiphons), died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 69

On May 1 in Music History

 

May Day

• 1786 ~ The Marriage of Figaro premier in Vienna

• 1904 ~ Czech composer Antonin Dvorák, noted for his ninth symphony, “From the New World”, died.

• 1909 ~ Kate Smith, American singer of popular music, God Bless America, When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain

• 1928 ~ Sonny James (James Loden), The Southern Gentleman, singer

• 1931 ~ Singer Kate Smith began her long and illustrious radio career with CBS on this, her birthday. The 22-year-old Smith started out with no sponsors and a paycheck of just $10 a week for the nationally broadcast daily program. However, within 30 days, her salary increased to a more respectable $1,500 a week!

• 1939 ~ Judy Collins, American guitarist, songwriter and singer of folk and popular music

• 1939 ~ The two-part Sy Oliver arrangement of Lonesome Road was recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Listening carefully, one might note that the lead trombone is not that of Tommy Dorsey, but of Dave Jacobs, instead.

• 1945 ~ Rita Coolidge, American rhythm-and-blues and country music singer

• 1967 ~ Elvis Presley got hitched to a girl he had dated since his army days in West Germany. Elvis and Priscilla Beaulieu married in Las Vegas, NV. The wedding cake, incidentally, cost $3,500. The marriage lasted until 1973.

• 1970 ~ Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin combined for the first time on Elton’s first American album simply titled, Elton John. The LP contained Elton’s first hit, Your Song, which made it to the top ten on the music charts in December.

• 1978 ~ Aram (Ilyich) Khachaturyan passed away
More information about Khachaturyan

• 2001 ~ Fred Alley, a 38-year-old performer and playwright who was due to receive an award this month from Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, collapsed while jogging and died. Alley and Milwaukee native James Valcq co-wrote a stage musical version of the film “The Spitfire Grill,” which won the Academy of Arts and Letters 2001 Richard Rodgers Production Award in February. The award, which was to be presented later this month in New York, included a $100,000 grant that is being used to partially finance an off-Broadway production of the show. “The Spitfire Grill” had a successful run last fall at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey. Alley also co-wrote with James Kaplan “The Bachelors” and “Guys on Ice,” both musicals.

On April 30 in Music History

today

. 1717 ~ Guillaume Gommaire Kennis, composer

. 1792 ~ Johann Friedrich Schwencke, composer

. 1837 ~ Alfred Gaul, composer

. 1852 ~ Anton Rubinstein’s opera “Dmitri Donskoi”, premiered in St Petersburg

. 1870 ~ Franz Lehar, Austrian composer of operettas. He achieved worldwide recognition for “The Merry Widow”.
More information about Lehar

. 1883 ~ David John de Lloyd, composer

. 1884 ~ Albert Israel Elkus, composer

. 1885 ~ The Boston Pops Orchestra formed

. 1885 ~ Luigi Russolo, composer

. 1886 ~ Frank Merrik, composer

. 1900 ~ Train engineer Casey Jones was killed when trying to save the Cannonball Express as it highballed its way through Vaughn, MS. The famous song about Jones is based on this train accident.

. 1903 ~ Victor Records made its first Red Seal recording this day. The premiere disk featured Ada Crossley, an opera contralto.

. 1916 ~ Robert Shaw, American conductor, Robert Shaw Chorale; music director of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

. 1923 ~ Percy Heath, Jazz musician: bass: founder of Modern Jazz Quartet, The Heath Brothers

. 1933 ~ Willie Nelson, American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist

. 1940 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his band recorded the bandleader’s signature song, Contrasts, for Decca Records. The song went on to become one of the most familiar big band themes of the era.

. 1941 ~ Johnny Farina, Musician: rhythm guitar with Santo & Johnny

. 1943 ~ Bobby Vee (Velline), Singer

. 1944 ~ Richard Schoff, Singer with The Sandpipers

. 1953 ~ Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle became a team this day at Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sinatra’s new musical style, under Riddle’s direction, brought the crooner to the top of the record world for the second time in his illustrious career.

. 1953 ~ Merrill Osmond, Singer with The Osmonds: Alan, Donny, Jay, Marie, Wayne, Jimmy

. 1954 ~ Darius Milhaud’s Fourth Concerto for piano and orchestra premiered in Haifa

. 1956 ~ Richard Farina, folk singer: Reflections in a Crystal Wind

. 1983 ~ Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) passed away.  He was an American blues musician.

. 1987 ~ Three more compact discs of music by The Beatles went on sale for the first time. The discs were Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver. All became hits again for the Fab Four.

. 2000 ~ Bill Woods, a bandleader who helped Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and other country music stars launch their careers, died. He was 76. In the 1950s, Woods ran The Blackboard country music club in Bakersfield. The club attracted many country music stars and helped develop what became known as the Bakersfield Sound. Woods also could play many instruments, including piano, guitar, fiddle, drums, and the banjo.

. 2000 ~ Jonah Jones, a Grammy award-winning jazz trumpet player who began his career on a Mississippi riverboat and became a star playing with Cab Calloway, died at the age of 90.

. 2001 ~ Herman “Rock” Johnston, a musician known for his innovative work on steel drums, died of prostate cancer. He was 63. Johnston gained acclaim in the early 1960s with an innovation that stretched the musical range of the instrument from 24 to 36 notes. During his career, the Trinidad native appeared at the United Nations, Lincoln Center and Radio City Musical Hall in New York City, and with the Boston Symphony at its summer festival in Tanglewood. His repertoire spanned rock, spiritual, classical, show tunes and Caribbean folk music.

. 2003 ~ Bill Napier, a clarinetist who rose to prominence with the premier San Francisco jazz bands of the 1940s and 50s, died. He was 76. Napier helped create a catchy West Coast style with a Dixieland sound and a San Francisco vibe. He played with jazz stars including trombonist Turk Murphy, Lu Watters and Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band. Though he took some lessons, Napier essentially taught himself to play. His talent, and his love of music brought him to an eclectic mix of venues – from cable car turnabouts to halftime of Harlem Globetrotters’ games to Silicon Valley soirees at the height of the dot-com boom. His last show was December 30, 2002.

. 2015 ~ Ben E. King [Benjamin Earl Nelson], American soul singer (Stand by Me), died at the age of 76

.2016 ~ Phil Ryan, Welsh keyboardist and composer (Man, Pete Brown), died at the age of 69

On April 27 in Music History

today

. 1867 ~ Charles Gounod’s opera “Romeo et Juliette” was first performed, in Paris.

. 1894 ~ Nicholas Slonimsky, Russian-born American musicologist, musical lexicographer and composer

. 1871 ~ Sigismond Thalberg died.  He was a composer and one of the most famous virtuoso pianists of the 19th century.

. 1915 ~ Alexander Scriabin, Russian composer (Prometheus) and pianist, died at the age of 43

. 1931 ~ Igor Oistrakh, Violinist

. 1932 ~ Maxine (Ella) Brown, Singer

. 1933 ~ Calvin Newborn, Jazz/blues guitarist, brother of piano wizard Phineas Newborn Jr.

. 1938 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded I Hadn’t Anyone ’til You for Victor Records. Jack Leonard was featured as vocalist.

. 1941 ~ Judith Blegan, American soprano

. 1944 ~ Cuba Gooding, Singer

. 1947 ~ Pete Ham, Musician, guitar, piano, singer

. 1948 ~ Kate Pierson, Musician, organ, singer with the B-52s

. 1959 ~ Sheena Easton, Singer

. 1959 ~ Lloyd Price’s song, Personality, was released. Price had 10 songs that made it on the nation’s pop music charts in the 1950s through early 1960s.

. 1959 ~ Louis Lortie, French Canadian concert pianist

. 1970 ~ Mariah Carey, Singer

. 1976 ~ Maxine Nightingale received a gold record for the single, Right Back Where We Started From. Nightingale was in the productions of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell and Savages in the early ’70s. Right Back Where We Started From was a number two hit for two weeks in 1976.

. 1981 ~ Former Beatle Ringo Starr married Barbara Bach at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. Paul McCartney and wife Linda, George Harrison and Harry Nilsson were in attendance.

. 1999 ~ Jazz trumpet great Al Hirt died

. 2002 ~ Classical violinist Guila Bustabo died at the age of 86. Bustabo, born in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1916, toured Europe and Asia, performing under such conductors as Herbert von Karajan and Wilhelm Furtwangler. Bustabo studied at the Juilliard School in New York before moving to Paris. During her career, she recorded concertos by Beethoven and Bruch with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Bustabo was arrested in Paris after World War II, accused of being a Nazi sympathizer because she played under conductor Willem Mengelberg. Mengelberg had been affiliated with musical associations sanctioned by the Nazi Party. The accusation against Bustabo was eventually dropped.

. 2007 ~ Mstislav Rostropovich, Russian cellist and conductor died