• 1921 ~ Herb (Mitchell) Ellis, Guitarist, singer with Soft Winds
• 1927 ~ Radio station 2XAG, later named WGY, the General Electric station in Schenectady, NY, began experimental operations from a 100,000-watt transmitter. Later, the FCC regulated the power of AM radio stations to not exceed 50,000 watts on ‘clear channels’ (where few, if any, stations would cause interference with each other).
• 1927 ~ Singer Jimmie Rodgers recorded his first sides for Victor Records in Bristol, TN. He sang Sleep Baby Sleep and Soldier’s Sweetheart.
• 1929 ~ Gabriella Tucci, Italian soprano
• 1938 ~ Simon Preston, British organist
• 1939 ~ Frankie Ford (Guzzo), Singer
• 1940 ~ Timi (Rosemarie) Yuro, Singer
• 1943 ~ David Carr, Keyboards with The Fortunes
• 1978 ~ Frank Fontaine passed away. He was an American stage, radio, film and television comedian and singer.
• 2000 ~ Jerome Smith, founding guitarist of KC & The Sunshine Band, died after being crushed in a construction accident. He was 47. KC & The Sunshine Band reached the top of Billboard Magazine’s charts in 1975 with Get Down Tonight. Before Smith left the group, it had five No. 1 songs, including Boogie Shoes and That’s the Way (I Like It), and three Grammys.
• 1974 ~ William DeVaughn, a soul singer, songwriter and guitarist from Washington, DC, received a gold record for his only hit, Be Thankful for What You Got.
• 1976 ~ Ear doctors didn’t have to drum up business this day. There were plenty of walk-ins as The Who put out a total of 76,000 watts of power at 120 decibels. They played the loudest concert anyone had ever heard, making it into “The Guinness Book of World Records”.
• 1977 ~ “Beatlemania” opened at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 920 performances
• 1989 ~ First presentation of rock n roll Elvis awards
• 1994 ~ Herva Nelli, Soprano, died at the age of 85
. 1996 ~ Normani Kordei Hamilton. Known simply as Normani, the talented singer and dancer gained fame as part of the group Fifth Harmony, who were formed in 2012 on the American version of X-Factor, a television singing competition. The group ended up in third place on the competition show but went on to achieve commercial success. In 2018 the group split and Normani began her solo career. Her first solo single “Motivation” reached the US Top 40 and was certified platinum. Normani has also collaborated with notable musicians Calvin Harris, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Sam Smith, and Megan Thee Stallion.
• 1997 ~ “Once Upon a Mattress,” closed at Broadhurst Theater NYC after 187 performances.
• 2002 ~ Mario Lago, an influential composer, actor and political dissident, died of lung failure. He was 90. Throughout a multifaceted career, Lago wrote more than 200 popular songs and appeared in 20 films and more than 30 telenovelas, Brazil’s version of television soap operas. He was also an active member of Brazil’s Communist Party, and was imprisoned six times during Brazil’s 1964-86 military regime. One of Lago’s most successful songs, Amelia, sang the praises of a woman happy with very little from her husband. The name came to signify a submissive woman in Brazilian slang. Lago continued acting until January, 2002 when he was hospitalized for a month with emphysema.
. 1924 ~ A new show joined the airwaves. The Chicago Barn Dance aired on WLS radio in the Windy City. Later, the famous program would be renamed The National Barn Dance. This program was the first country music jamboree on radio. (The Grand Ole Opry on WSM Radio in Nashville, TN began in 1925.) National Barn Dance continued for many years on the radio station that was owned by the retailer, Sears Roebuck & Co. WLS, in fact, stood for ‘World’s Largest Store’. Though the Barn Dance gave way to rock music and now, talk radio, The Grand Ole Opry continues each weekend in Nashville.
. 1927 ~ Don Barbour, Singer with the group, The Four Freshmen
. 1928 ~ Alexis Korner, Musician: guitar, singer
. 1934 ~ Shirley Temple appeared in the American musical movie with many well known actors and actresses, stole the show and went on to appear in 10 movies in 1934, including 4 starring roles in major feature-length films.
. 1935 ~ Dudley Moore, English pianist and actor
. 1940 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded the song “Six Lessons from Madame La Zonga.”
. 1942 ~ Alan Price, Musician: keyboards, singer: groups: Alan Price Combo, The Animals. Some favorites were House of the Rising Sun, We Gotta Get Out of This Place
. 1942 ~ Larry (Hilario) Ramos, Jr., Musician, guitar, singer with the group: The Association
. 1945 ~ The musical Carousel, based on Molnar’s Liliom, opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. John Raitt and Jan Clayton starred in the show which ran for 890 performances. Music was by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.
. 1947 ~ Murray Perahia, American pianist and conductor
. 1947 ~ Mark Volman, Saxophonist, singer
. 1959 ~ Singer Harry Belafonte appeared in the first of two benefit concerts for charity at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
. 1967 ~ Nancy Sinatra and her dad, Frank, received a gold record award for their collaboration on the hit single, Something Stupid.
1987 ~ The Simpsons TV show was born
John Brunning celebrates tonight with Danny Elfman’s theme to the series
. 2000 ~ Richard L. Campbell, a classical music announcer on WCPE-FM died during his on-the-air shift, apparently of a massive heart attack. He was 67. On the air, Campbell catered to his audience by using his warm baritone voice to soothing effect. Before coming to WCPE about 10 years ago, he was a computer programmer and helped design the station’s traffic system.
. 2012 ~ Greg Ham, Australian rock saxophonist and flutist (Men At Work), died at the age of 58
. 1897 ~ Henry Dixon Cowell, American composer
More information about Cowell
. 1903 ~ Lawrence Welk, American accordionist and conductor of “champagne” music
More information about Welk
. 1914 ~ William Lloyd Webber, English composer
. 1919 ~ Mercer Ellington, Trumpeter, bandleader, songwriter, only son of Duke Ellington. He led the Duke’s band after he died.
. 1921 ~ Astor Piazzola, Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player and arranger
. 1942 ~ Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra recorded the classic, Sleepy Lagoon. It was the last song Monroe would record for Bluebird Records. Vaughn sang on the track while Ray Conniff played trombone. Both later moved to different record companies. Monroe went with RCA and Conniff to Columbia. The big-voiced baritone of Monroe was regularly heard on radio and he was featured in several movies in the 1950s. He died in May 1973. Racing With the Moon and Ghost Riders in the Sky were two of his greatest contributions to popular music.
. 1950 ~ Bobby McFerrin, Singer, pianist, jazz musician, songwriter, improvisational solo, McFerrin can sing all vocal parts and imitate instruments.
. 1968 ~ Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for the single, (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay. Redding was killed in a plane crash in Lake Monona in Madison, WI on December 10, 1967. The song was recorded just three days before his untimely death. He recorded 11 charted hit songs between 1965 and 1969. Otis Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
. 1975 ~ Philip Bezanson, composer, died at the age of 59. He helped guide the Department of Music at UMass Amherst through its period of rapid expansion in the late 1960s and early 1970s (when Mrs. O was a student there!). After graduate study (PhD 1954) and appointment to the faculty at the University of Iowa, Bezanson was brought to UMass in 1964 to become Head of the Music Department and helped to expand and reorient the program, recruiting an increasingly accomplished faculty, including his former student Frederick Tillis.
. 1985 ~ DJs around the U.S. began questioning listeners to see which ones could name the 46 pop music stars who appeared on the hit, We Are the World. The song, airing first on this day as a single, contains a “Who’s Who” of contemporary pop music.
.1997 – Paul McCartney from the Beatles was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
. 2003 ~ Sidney Lippman, a songwriter who helped compose hits for Nat King Cole and other artists, died. He was 89. Lippman, who studied musical composition at the Juilliard School in New York, wrote or co-wrote several well-known songs, including Too Young, a song Cole took to the top of the charts in 1951. That hit, co-written by longtime collaborator Sylvia Dee, came two years after he teamed up with Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise on ‘A’ You’re Adorable (TheAlphabet Song), a No. 1 hit performed by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters.
. 2007 ~ Betty Hutton [Elizabeth June Thornburg], American actress, dancer, singer and comedian (Greatest Show on Earth), died of colon cancer at the age of 86
. 2015 ~ Jimmy Greenspoon died. He was an American keyboard player and composer, best known as a member of the band, Three Dog Night.
. 2018 ~ Ken Dodd, British singer and comedian described as “the last great music hall entertainer,” died of complications from a chest infection at the age of 90.
. 1678 ~ Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Italian Baroque composer. The creator of hundreds of spirited, extroverted instrumental works, Vivaldi is widely recognized as the master of the Baroque instrumental concerto, which he perfected and popularized perhaps more than any of his contemporaries. A group of four violin concerti from Vivaldi’s Op. 8, better known as “The Four Seasons”, may well be the most universally recognizable musical work from the Baroque period. Perhaps the most prolific of all the great European composers, he once boasted that he could compose a concerto faster than a copyist could ready the individual parts for the players in the orchestra.
More information about Vivaldi
(MaryO’Note: Spring from The Four Seasons is available in the Piano Maestro App for piano students)
. 1801 ~ The U.S. Marine Band performed for the first time at a presidential nomination. That president was Thomas Jefferson.
. 1839 ~ Ignace Antoine Ladurner, pianist/composer, died at the age of 72
. 1877 ~ The ballet of Swan Lake, composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was performed for the first time in the famous Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia
. 1915 ~ Carlos Surinac, Catalan Spanish-born composer and conductor
. 1918 ~ Frank Wigglesworth, American composer
. 1925 ~ Enzo Stuarti, Opera singer
. 1928 ~ Samuel Adler, German-born American composer
. 1929 ~ Bernard Haitink, Dutch conductor
. 1932 ~ Miriam (Zensile) Makeba, South African born singer who was the first black South African to attain international stardom.
. 1934 ~ Barbara McNair, Singer, TV hostess of The Barbara McNair Show, actress
. 1942 ~ Dick Jurgen’s orchestra recorded One Dozen Roses on Okeh Records in Chicago.
. 1942 ~ The Stage Door Canteen opened on West 44th Street in New York City. The canteen became widely known as a service club for men in the armed forces and a much-welcomed place to spend what would otherwise have been lonely hours. The USO, the United Service Organization, grew out of the ‘canteen’ operation, to provide entertainment for American troops around the world.
. 1943 ~ Irving Berlin picked up the Best Song Oscar for a little ditty he had written for the film, Holiday Inn: White Christmas at the 15th Academy Awards.
. 1944 ~ Bobby Womack, Songwriter, singer
. 1948 ~ Chris Squire, Bass with Yes
. 1948 ~ Shakin’ Stevens (Michael Barratt), Singer, actor
. 1951 ~ Chris Rea, Guitarist with these groups Chris Rea Band and Ambrosia; singer, songwriter
. 1969 ~ Chastity Bono, Singer, daughter of Sonny & Cher
. 1978 ~ Andy Gibb reached the top of the music charts as (Love is) Thicker Than Water reached #1 for a two-week stay. The Bee Gees also set a record on this day as their single, How Deep Is Your Love, from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack stayed in the top 10 for an unprecedented 17 weeks.
. 1981 ~ Lyricist E.Y. ‘Yip’ Harburg died in an auto accident in Hollywood, CA at the age of 82. Two of his most successful hits were Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz and It’s Only a Paper Moon, popularized by Nat King Cole and many others.
. 2001 ~ Glenn Hughes, a singer who performed as the mustachioed, leather-clad biker in the disco band the Village People, died at the age of 50. The group, which was the brainchild of producer Jacques Morali, featured men dressed as an Indian, a soldier, a construction worker, a police officer, a cowboy and Hughes’ character, a biker. The band released its first single, San Francisco (You’ve Got Me), in 1977. It followed the next year with its first hit, Macho Man. The band then produced a string of hits, including Y.M.C.A., In theNavy and Go West. Collectively the Village People sold 65 million albums and singles. Although disco fell out of fashion in the 1980s, Hughes stayed with the band until 1996, when he left to sing in Manhattan cabarets.
. 2003 ~ Fedora Barbieri, a mezzo-soprano whose passionate singing sometimes stole the scene from opera diva Maria Callas, died. She was 82. Born in Trieste in 1920, Barbieri performed on stages ranging from Milan’s La Scala to New York’s Metropolitan Opera House to London’s Covent Garden. Barbieri’s career started in 1940 and for her 80th birthday, she sang the role of Mamma Lucia in Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” in Florence. Her repertoire included roles in operas by Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. Barbieri died in Florence, which she had adopted as her home and where she gave many performances.
. 2003 ~ Emilio Estefan Sr., father of the Latin music mogul, died at the age of 83. Estefan Sr. played the plump and comical ambassador in a music video for the Miami Sound Machine’s hit song Conga, which featured singer Gloria Estefan, wife of Estefan Jr. The Miami Sound Machine’s office was once located in Estefan Sr.’s garage. His son later built a home for his parents on his Star Island compound. Estefan Sr. was born in Santiago de Cuba and moved to Spain with Estefan Jr. in 1966. His wife and another son stayed in Cuba because the boy was of military draft age and couldn’t leave until 1980. Estefan Sr. came to Miami in 1968, a year after Estefan Jr., and opened a clothing business in Hialeah.
. 2009 ~ Joseph Bloch died. He was an American concert pianist and professor of piano literature at the Juilliard School in New York City. During a career at Juilliard that spanned five decades, Bloch’s students included Emanuel Ax, Van Cliburn, Misha Dichter, Garrick Ohlsson, Jeffrey Siegel and Jeffrey Swann.
. 2011 ~ Johnny Preston, American pop singer (Running Bear), died at the age of 71
Van Cliburn was just a pianist much the way Neil Armstrong was merely an astronaut. Simply put, the tall Texan’s musical talent and successes were out of this world.
Cliburn, who died Wednesday February 27, 2013 at age 78 at his Fort Worth home due to complications from bone cancer, was 23 when he strode into Moscow for the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition, created to showcase Soviet cultural superiority.
Playing with unerring precision and sublime emotion, he took the top prize and was given a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan, the first and last time a pianist won such an honor.
“Imagine galvanizing the attention of the entire world in the pre-Internet, pre-global TV year of 1958,” says Howard Reich, who got to know the Texas-based pianist while researching his 1993 biography, Van Cliburn. “As a Texan, he was so emblematic of the United States. But the Russians fell in love with his romanticism.”
In many ways, however, that seminal performance both made his name and sealed his fate.
The pieces that won him the competition — Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 — sold countless records (his Tchaikovsky No. 1 was the first classical record to sell more than a million copies) and became required concert staples.
“Playing on that treadmill for the next 20 years led him to burn out, and by 1978 he looked terrible and bowed out of public life,” says Reich. “He was a gentle soul, and that harsh public spotlight had a negative effect on him.”
It would be nine years before Cliburn performed again, at the White House for Ronald Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Although he made occasional appearances in the following decades, he spent most of his time overseeing his foundation and a quadrennial competition that bears his name.
“I can’t think of anyone who has done more to help promote the instrument and young performers than Van,” says Cliburn’s friend Yoheved Kaplinsky, chairman of the piano department at New York’s Juilliard School of Music, which Cliburn attended. “He was an icon in Fort Worth, and a person of great humility.”
Born Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr. in Shreveport, La., Cliburn started piano lessons at age 3 and immediately showed prowess under the watchful eye of his mother, who had trained on the instrument under a teacher who had studied with Franz Liszt.
After moving to Texas, Cliburn played with Houston’s symphony at age 12, and at 17 entered Juilliard. At 20, he performed with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, setting the stage for his triumphant coup in Russia.
No one can imagine a ticker-tape parade for a pianist in this era, but in Cliburn’s heyday he was as much an inevitable cultural icon as he was a reluctant political figure. In the late ’50s, the Cold War was raging, the Beatles were still practicing and classical music still held sway.
But what truly made Cliburn unique was the humble ease with which he went about seducing the alleged enemy.
“Van marched in full of the musical values of the Old World, full of tremendous sincerity and with a remarkable ability to connect with audiences,” says Kaplinsky. “He may have transcended the boundaries of the art world and breached into the political world, but foremost Van was a consummate artist.”
That artistry is on display in various YouTube clips of Cliburn reprising his competition-winning form in Moscow in 1962. The pianist’s eyes are often closed as massive hands fly across the length of the keyboard. Utterly lost in the music, Cliburn seems almost oblivious to his audience.
“He had more of everything,” says Reich. “More height, more smiles, more sweep on the piano.”
In his later years, Cliburn collected the usual array of awards accorded cultural heroes. A Kennedy Center Honors tribute in 2001, a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003, and in 2004 Russia’s equivalent, the Russian Order of Friendship. In 2004, there was a predictable Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1994 a less-expected guest appearance as himself in the TV cartoon Iron Man.
On the personal front, Cliburn was a devout Baptist but also quietly gay; in the late ’90s, his longtime partner, Thomas Zaremba, unsuccessfully sued the pianist over compensation claims.
Ultimately, Cliburn will be remembered not just as a performer of startling skill, but also as a global cultural sensation in the age of shortwave radio.
“He did something that no one could have ever imagined back then,” says Reich. “He was ubiquitous.”
. 1834 ~ Albert Heinrich Zabel, harpist and composer
. 1857 ~ Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts
. 1923 ~ Frederick A. Julliard set up a million-dollar fund to establish a music school. Today, Juilliard is one of the world’s leading music and dance schools.
. 1927 ~ David Ahlstrom, American composer
. 1931 ~ Maurice Chevalier recorded Walkin’ My Baby Back Home for Victor Records in New York City. The same tune was recorded 21 years later by Nat ‘King’ Cole and Johnny Ray. It became a major hit for both artists.
. 1945 ~ Oliver (Swofford), Singer
. 1956 ~ Elvis Presley entered the music charts for the first time. Heartbreak Hotel began its climb to the number one spot on the pop listing, reaching the top on April 11, 1956. It stayed at the top for eight weeks.
. 1958 ~ Roy Hamilton’s record, Don’t Let Go, became #13 in its first week on the record charts. The song was the first stereo record to make the pop music charts. 1958 was the year for several stereo recordings, including Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes by Chuck Willis, Yakety Yak by the Coasters, Born Too Late by The Poni-Tails, It’s All in the Game by Tommy Edwards and What Am I Living For by Chuck Willis.
. 1965 ~ Filming began for The Beatles’ second movie, “HELP!”, in the Bahamas.
. 1976 ~ Florence Ballard passed away. She was an American vocalist, one of the founding members of the popular Motown vocal group the Supremes. Ballard sang on sixteen top forty singles with the group, including ten number-one hits.
. 1985 ~ Efrem A Zimbalist, Russian/US composer/violinist, died at the age of 95
. 1989 ~Tina Turner won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocalist at age 49 on this date. She originally had recorded with her husband Ike Turner, however, she had left Ike in 1976. From that time until 1981 she had remained behind the scenes. After 1981, she became one of the oldest female artists in history to stage such a strong comeback, and she changed her tune to Rock and Roll. Her first solo album Private Dancer had sold five million copies. She was introduced in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
. 2001 ~ Ray Hendricks, a singer of the Big Band era who performed with Benny Goodman and Betty Grable, died at the age of 88. His career took him to Hollywood and across the country with stars including Goodman, Grable, Hoagy Carmichael, Ben Bernie, Ray Noble and Sid Lippman. His earliest performances were on Spokane radio station KFPY. He soon set out for California with Bob Crosby, brother of Bing Crosby. After serving as a flying instructor in the Air Force during World War II, he returned to Spokane and formed his own orchestra. He continued playing local venues for several decades but said he regretted not pushing his career after the war.
. 1962 ~ Fritz Kreisler died. He was an Austrian-born violinist and composer
. 1966 ~ “Sweet Charity”, with Gwen Verdon, opened at the Palace Theatre in New York City. The musical, by Neil Simon, was an adaptation of the Federico Fellini film, “Notti di Cabiria”. The play ran for 608 performances. In 1969, Hollywood produced a big-budget version of the Broadway musical starring Shirley MacLaine.
. 1973 ~ Johnny Rivers received a gold record for the hit single, Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu. As is tradition, Rivers removed the fragile gold disk from the wooden frame and, as he was putting it on his stereo, had a ferocious sneezing fit and never did find out how his song sounded in solid gold.
. 1977 ~ From the One-Hit Wonder File, this note: Rose Royce earned the #1 spot on the music charts with Car Wash, from the movie of the same name. The song stayed at the peak of the pop charts for one week, then faded away.
. 1996 ~ The 6,138th performance of “Cats” was held in London, surpassing the record of Broadway’s longest-running musical, “A Chorus Line”
. 2001 ~ Suzanne Bloch, a concert chamber musician and teacher at the Juilliard School, died at her home. She was 94. Bloch played and taught ancient instruments, in particular the lute, a guitar-like instrument common in 18th-century Europe. Mostly self-taught, she also played the recorder and the virginal, a tiny relative of the harpsichord. Beginning in the late 1930s, she performed frequently in concert, often dressed in Renaissance costume. She taught classes at Juilliard from 1942 to 1985. After marrying Paul Smith, a mathematician who became chairman of Columbia University’s mathematics department, Bloch played chamber music with well-known scientists, including Albert Einstein. Born in Geneva, Bloch moved to New York with her family in 1916, when her musician father, Ernest Bloch, began teaching and conducting in the United States. Bloch promoted her father’s music throughout her life, collecting clippings, writing program notes and founding the Ernest Bloch Society in 1967.
. 2015 ~ Rod McKuen, American singer-songwriter (Jean) and poet, died at the age of 81
. 2019 ~ James Ingram, American R&B singer-songwriter and musician (Just Once), died at the age of 66
• 1761 ~ Johann Andreas Streicher, German piano maker
• 1835 ~ Phillips Brooks, Lyricist, O Little Town of Bethlehem
• 1838 ~ Marie-Alexis Castillon de Saint-Victor, French composer
• 1843 ~ Charles Dickens published his play “A Christmas Carol”
• 1874 ~ Josef Lhévinne, Russian pianist, teacher. After gaining fame as a soloist in Russia and Europe, he and Rosa came to the U.S.A. in 1919. While they continued to concertize, they both taught at Juilliard; although he had the more prominent concert career, she lived on to become legendary for teaching an endless succession of prominent pianists including Van Cliburn.
• 1877 ~ Mykola Leontovych, Ukrainian composer
• 1903 ~ Carlos Montoya, Spanish Flamenco guitarist
• 1925 ~ Wayne Walker, Songwriter
• 1925 ~ Dick Van Dyke, American Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian
• 1928 ~ Audiences at Carnegie Hall heard the first performance of George Gershwin’s composition, An American in Paris. The debut was performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Walter Damrosch. Advertised as “a tone poem with jazz and sound effects”, it was used as a ballet for Gene Kelly’s 1951 performance in the movie of the same name. Unfortunately, George Gershwin did not live to see his composition being danced to in the Academy Award-winning An American in Paris. It won six Oscars: Best Art Direction/Set Direction [Color], Best Color Cinematography, Best Costume Design [Color], Best Story and Screenplay, Best Picture … and Best Score.
• 1929 ~ Christopher Plummer (Orme), Actor, Sound of Music, Doll’s House
• 1929 ~ Hoagy Carmichael recorded with Louis Armstrong. They did Rockin’ Chair on Columbia records and cylinders.
• 1940 ~ The two-sided jump tune, The Anvil Chorus, was recorded by Glenn Miller and his orchestra for Bluebird Records in New York. The 10-inch, 78 rpm record ran six minutes (including flipping).
• 1941 ~ John Davidson, Actor, singer, TV game show host of the Hollywood Squares
• 1948 ~ Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter, Guitarist with Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers
• 1948 ~ Ted Nugent, Guitarist, singer with Amboy Dukes
• 1948 ~ The American Federation of Musicians went back to work after an 11½-month strike. During the strike, there was an 11½-month ban on phonograph records as well.
• 1949 ~ Randy Owen, Guitarist, singer with Alabama
• 1949 ~ Tom Verlaine (Miller), Guitarist, singer with Television
• 1974 ~ Former Beatle George Harrison was greeted at the White House. President Gerald R. Ford invited Harrison to lunch. The two exchanged buttons, Ford giving George a WIN (Whip Inflation Now) pin and Harrison gave the President an OM (Hindu mantra word expressing creation) button.
• 2000 ~ Cellist Yo-Yo Ma made a special guest appearance on NBC television’s West Wing. No, he didn’t play a partisan leader, but he was featured in some of the music of Bach.
• 2002 ~ Maria Bjornson, a set and costume designer whose work on the hit musical The Phantom of the Opera won critical acclaim, was found dead at her London home. She was 53. Bjornson was born in Paris in 1949 and grew up in London, the daughter of a Romanian woman and a Norwegian father. She went to the French Lycee in London and then studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. Bjornson worked as a theater designer from 1969, and designed 13 productions at the Glasgow Citizens’ Theater. She worked for the Welsh National Opera and its English and Scottish counterparts and was involved with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Ballet. Her colorful and grand design for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theater in London in 1986 won her international acclaim. In 1988, Bjornson’s work on Phantom won two Tony Awards, one for sets and the other for costumes. After Phantom she collaborated with Lloyd Webber again on Aspects of Love, and worked on the Royal Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty at Covent Garden in London in 1994 and on Cosi Fan Tutte at Glyndebourne in 1991.
• 2002 ~ Former Lovin’ Spoonful guitarist Zal Yanovsky, who traded in the wild rock star life for a quiet existence as a restaurant owner in Canada, died. The Toronto native died of a heart attack at his home in Kingston, Ontario, six days before his 58th birthday. Famed for such hits as Do You Believe in Magic and Summer in the City, the Lovin’ Spoonful enjoyed a brief reign in the mid 1960s as America’s answer to the Beatles. The quartet, led by singer/guitarist John Sebastian, racked up seven consecutive top 10 singles in 16 months. Yanovsky, a tall Russian Jew who resembled Ringo Starr, joined forces with Sebastian in New York City in 1964. The pair shared a love of folk music, and both had played in the Mugwumps, a short-lived combo that also included future Mamas and Papas members “Mama” Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty. The Lovin’ Spoonful, named after a Mississippi John Hurt song, took shape in 1965 when Yanovsky and Sebastian teamed up with drummer Joe Butler and bass player Steve Boone. The group’s first single, Do You Believe In Magic reached the top 10 that year. Its follow-up, You Don’t Have To Be So Nice also went top 10 in early 1966. Summer in the City was their sole No. 1. Besides recording five albums, the band also did the soundtracks to Woody Allen’sWhat’s Up, Tiger Lily? and Francis Ford Coppola You’re A Big Boy Now. Yanovsky was the zany member of the group. He was the focal point during live performances, but his biting humor often rubbed his colleagues the wrong way, especially when one of his girlfriends ended up with Sebastian. In 1966, the group’s banner year, Yanovsky was faced with deportation after he and Boone were arrested for marijuana possession in San Francisco. They turned in their dealer, which damaged the band’s hipster credentials. Amid rising tensions, Yanovsky was voted out of the band in 1967, but remained on amicable terms with his colleagues. He recorded a solo album, Alive and Well in Argentina, in 1968. Sebastian, the band’s creative force, left that year, and the band soon broke up. The original members reunited in 1980 to appear in the Paul Simon film One-Trick Pony and then in 2000 when it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yanovsky dabbled in TV before going into the restaurant business. He ran Chez Piggy, an acclaimed eatery in Kingston.
• 2003 ~ Jazz trumpeter Webster Young, who played with greats such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane in the 1950s, died of a brain tumor. He was 71. Young’s career got an early boost when Louis Armstrong took him as a student when he was 10 years old. As a teenager, Young jammed with Dizzy Gillespie, earning the nickname “Little Diz” in Washington D.C.-area clubs for a style that resembled Gillespie’s. Young broke into the modern jazz scene in New York City in the late 1950s, recording several albums. He returned to Washington D.C. in the 1970s to raise his family. He toured in Europe in the 1980s and performed regularly at jazz clubs until eight months before his death. Young’s career peaked in 1957, when he played cornet with John Coltrane for the album “Interplay for Two Trumpets and Two Tenors” for the Prestige record label.
• 2017 ~ The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced this morning that rock legends The Moody Blues will be inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Current members Justin Hayward (lead guitar, vocals), John Lodge (bass guitar, vocals) and Graeme Edge (Gray Edge) (drums); will receive the honor alongside former members Ray Thomas (flute/vocals) and Mike Pinder (keyboard/mellotron/vocals). The Moody Blues are one of five 2018 Inductees. Read more at http://www.moodybluestoday.com/moody-blues-inducted-rock-roll-hall-fame-2018/
• 1941 ~ Fry Me Cookie, with a Can of Lard was recorded by the Will Bradley Orchestra on Columbia. Ray McKinley was featured.
• 1942 ~ Dave Lovelady, Drummer with The Fourmost
• 1943 ~ C.F. (Fred) Turner, Musician with Bachman~Turner Overdrive
• 1947 ~ Bob Weir (Hall), American rock guitarist and singer with The Grateful Dead
• 1953 ~ Tony Carey, Keyboards with Rainbow
• 1959 ~ Gary Kemp, Guitarist with Spandau Ballet, brother of musician Martin Kemp
• 1969 ~ Wendy Wilson, Singer with Wilson Phillips, daughter of Beach Boys singer, Brian Wilson
• 1972 ~ John C. Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival called it a career … and the group disbanded. Fogerty continued in a solo career with big hits including, Centerfield and The Old Man Down the Road.
• 1976 ~ Memphis, TN disc jockey Rick Dees and his ‘Cast of Idiots’ made it all the way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with the immortal Disco Duck(Part 1). Dees is still around, but not as a recording artist. He’s a DJ in Los Angeles and is hosting several varieties of the Weekly Top 40 show, syndicated around the world.
• 1983 ~ George Liberace passed away. He was an American musician and television performer. Born in Menasha, Wisconsin, he was the elder brother and business partner of famed U.S. pianist Liberace.
• 1990 ~ Art Blakey passed away. He was an American jazz drummer and bandleader.
• 2000 ~ David Golub, American pianist and chamber music conductor, passed away at the age of 50. Born in Chicago, Golub grew up in Dallas, where he began learning the piano. In 1969 he moved to New York and spent his student years honing his technique at New York’s Juilliard School of Music. He also began conducting during summer breaks at Vermont’s Marlboro festival. In 1979, he accompanied violinist Isaac Stern on a tour of China. A film about the tour, “From Mao to Mozart,” won the 1980 Academy Award for Best Documentary. As a performer, Golub was perhaps best known for his work with violinist MarkKaplan and cellist Colin Carr in the trio they formed in 1982. In the late 1990s, Golub began cultivating his interest in opera. Under his leadership, the Padua Chamber Orchestra recorded some of Haydn’s least-known work for opera. An acclaimed chamber ensemble performer – most notably with the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio – Golub led the Padua Chamber Orchestra during the 1994-95 season and took it on tour in the United States in 1999. He is survived by his wife, Maria Majno.
• 2001 ~ Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Jay Livingston, whose collaboration with Ray Evans led to such hits as Silver Bells, Que Sera, Sera and MonaLisa, died of pneumonia. He was 86. Livingston’s songwriting partnership with Evans spanned 64 years. Often called the last of the great songwriters, Livingston and Evans had seven Academy Award nominations and won three – in 1948 for Buttons and Bows in the film The Paleface, in 1950 for Mona Lisa in Captain Carey, USA, and in 1956 for Que Sera, Sera in The Man Who Knew Too Much. They wrote the television theme songs for Bonanza and Mr. Ed, and were honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for the most performed music for film and TV for 1996. Livingston was born on March 28, 1915, in the Pittsburgh suburb of McDonald. He met Evans in 1937 at the University of Pennsylvania, where they were both students. The team’s final project was the recording, Michael Feinstein Sings the Livingston and Evans Song Book, due for 2002 release.