April 20 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1881 ~ Nicolai Miaskovsky, Russian composer

. 1925 ~ Tito (Ernest) Puente, Jazz musician, bandleader

. 1925 ~ Henri Renaud, French pianist

. 1931 ~ Louis Armstrong recorded the classic, When It’s Sleepy Time Down South, for Okeh Records. Satchmo would use the tune as his theme song for decades. The song was waxed in Chicago, IL.

. 1934 ~ One of America’s most beloved child stars made her debut. Shirley Temple debuted in Stand Up and Cheer, which opened in New York City. Moviegoers would rave about her song and dance routine, Baby, Take a Bow, for many years.

. 1935 ~ Your Hit Parade, starring Kay Thompson, Charles Carlyle, Gogo DeLys and Johnny Hanser, was first broadcast on radio in 1935. A youngster named Frank Sinatra would later be part of the program as a featured vocalist. Your Hit Parade stayed on the radio airwaves for 24 years. Snooky Lanson would later host the program when it made the transition from radio to TV. Other long-time regulars on the TV version were: Russell Arms, Gisele MacKenzie and Dorothy Collins. They were the lucky ones who got to present the top seven songs each week. Since many songs stayed on the list for weeks on end, these vocalists had to invent new ways to present the hit parade. On April 24, 1959, Your Hit Parade died. The regulars just didn’t fit with the new rock ‘n’ roll hits. Imagine, if you can, Snooky Lanson singing Hound Dog. The original title of the radio show was, Lucky Strike Hit Parade, sponsored by, you guessed it, Lucky Strike cigarettes. The cigarette company continued to sponsor the TV show (those were the days when cigarette companies sponsored lots of TV shows), and the opening theme song was Be Happy, Go Lucky.

. 1943 ~ John Eliot Gardiner, British conductor

. 1950 ~ Peter Frampton, British rock singer and guitarist

. 1951 ~ Luther Vandross, soul singer, (1989 UK No.13 single ‘Never Too Much’, first released 1983, US N0.10 and UK No.2 single with Janet Jackson ‘The Best Things In Life Are Free’).  Also worked with David Bowie, Mariah Carey. Vandross died on 1st July 2005 aged 54 two years after suffering a major stroke.

. 1968 ~ Hair opened on Broadway

. 1985 ~ The British pop music group Wham!, featuring George Michael, became the first to release cassettes in the People’s Republic of China. Selections from two of the group’s albums were packaged and sold on the tape.

. 1986 ~ Pianist Vladimir Horowitz gave his first concert in the Soviet Union in 61 years. He had emigrated in 1925.

. 1987 ~ Starlight Express posted the largest week’s gross in Broadway history. The roller-skating musical earned $606,081 at the box office. The revival of The King and I starring Yul Brynner had been the previous leader (1985).

. 2000 ~ Canadian composer Louis Applebaum, long associated with the prestigious classical repertory company the Stratford Festival, died of cancer. He was 82.

. 2001 ~ Giuseppe Sinopoli, Italian conductor, collapsed at the podium while conducting a performance of Verdi’s Aida in Berlin. He was rushed to the hospital, but doctors could not revive him. Sinopoli, 54, was the music director of the Dresden Staatskapelle and was a controversial figure in classical music. An avid scholar, Sinopoli had a medical degree and was also studying archaeology.

. 2003 ~ Nina Simone, whose deep, raspy, forceful voice made her a unique figure in jazz and later helped define the civil rights movement, died. She was 70. Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in 1933 in North Carolina, Simone was the sixth of seven children in a poor family. She began playing the piano at age 4. In the late 1950s Simone recorded her first tracks, including Plain Gold Ring and Don’t Smoke In Bed. But she gained fame in 1959 with her recording of I Loves You Porgy, from the opera “Porgy & Bess.” But she later wove the turbulent times of the 1960s into her music. In 1963, after the church bombing that killed four young black girls in Birmingham, Ala., and the slaying of Medgar Evers, she wrote Mississippi Goddam, and after the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she recorded Why? The King of Love is Dead. One of her most famous songs was the black pride anthem, To Be Young, Gifted and Black.

Simone enjoyed perhaps her greatest success in the 1960s and 70s, with songs like I Want A Little Sugar in My Bowl, and Four Women, the song with the famous line “they call me PEACHES.” She recorded songs from artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Bee Gees and made them her own. Perhaps one of her more popular covers was her version of House of the Rising Sun. While she had a regal presence onstage, she could often be temperamental. She had a reputation for chewing out audience members who interrupted her performances in clubs with conversation or loud drinking or talking. In 1999 she received a lifetime achievement award in Dublin and an award for excellence in music from the Association of African American Music in Philadelphia.

April 15 ~ This Day in Music History

today
. 1452 ~ Leonardo da Vinci, Italian musician, painter, sculptor, engineer, mathematician, scientist and what-not

. 1651 ~ Domenico Gabrieli, Italian composer and cellist

OCMS 1894 ~ Bessie Smith, American blues, jazz and vaudeville singer
More information about Smith

. 1920 ~ Jim Timmens, Grammy Award-winning composer: Aren’t You Glad You’re You in 1995, Best Recording For Children, jazz musician, musical director of New York’s Radio City Music Hall

. 1923 ~ Dr. Lee DeForest’s Phonofilm, the first sound-on-sound film, motion picture, was demonstrated for a by-invitation-only audience at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City. The guests saw The Gavotte, a man and woman dancing to old-time music and The Serenade, four musicians who played on wind, percussion and string instruments.

OCMS 1924 ~ Neville Marriner, British violinist and conductor

. 1927 ~ Serge Koussevitsky directed the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the first performance of Frederick Converse’s symphony, Flivver Ten Million, a salute to the ‘Tin Lizzie’ automobile.

. 1930 ~ Herb Pomeroy, Musician: trumpet, teacher at Berklee in Boston, bandleader, directed radio Malaysia Orchestra

. 1933 ~ Roy Clark, Musician, guitar, banjo, CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1973, country singer, Comedian of the Year in 1970, 1971 and 1972

. 1972 ~ Roberta Flack started a six week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. Written in 1957 by political singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger, who was later to become his wife. At the time the couple were lovers, although MacColl was married to someone else. MacColl is the father of singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl. The song was featured in the Clint Eastwood film ‘Play Misty For Me.’

April 14 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1759 ~ George Frideric Handel, organist, violinist and composer, died. Among his best known oratorios are “Saul,” “Israel in Egypt” and the “Messiah”.

. 1900 ~ Salvatore Baccaloni, Opera singer

. 1922 ~ Soprano Jeanette Vreeland sang the first radio concert from an airplane as she flew over New York City.

. 1922 ~ Ali Akbar Khan, Indian composer and maestro sarod player

. 1924 ~ Shorty Rogers (Milton Rajonsky), Musician: trumpet, bandleader, songwriter, composer, arranger

. 1933 ~ Buddy Knox, Singer

. 1933 ~ Morton Subotnick, American composer of experimental music

. 1935 ~ Loretta Lynn, American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist, first woman to earn the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year award; named ACM Artist of the Decade in 1979

. 1941 ~ Hildegarde recorded the standard Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup on Decca Records. Hildegarde was the elegant singer with the long white gloves who was accompanied by the Harry Sosnik Orchestra. It took another 14 years, but Nat ‘King’ Cole turned the song into an even bigger hit, landing at number 7 on the pop music charts.

. 1951 ~ Julian Lloyd Webber, British cellist

. 1958 ~ Pianist Van Cliburn was presented on national TV for the first time on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jack Paar.

. 1958 ~ Laurie London reached the top spot on the music charts with He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, knocking Perry Como’s Catch a Falling Star down a peg or two.

. 1960 ~ The musical Bye Bye Birdie opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York City. Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke starred in the Broadway show which ran for 607 performances.

. 1967 ~ Herman’s Hermits, featuring lead singer Peter Noone, went gold with the single, There’s a Kind of Hush. It was a two-sided hit, with the flip-side, No Milk Today, also receiving considerable play. Hush, however, was a top five song, while the ‘B’ side just made it into the top 40 at number 35.

. 1995 ~ Burl Ives, Oscar-winning actor and singer whose gentle voice helped popularize American folk music, died. He played powerful dramatic roles in movies including “The Big Country,” for which he won an Academy Award for best-supporting actor, and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

April 13 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1377 ~ Guillaume de Machaut died. French poet and musician. Composer of monophonic and polyphonic music. Leading representative of the Ars nova tradition
More information about Machaut

. 1742 ~ Handel’s Messiah premier in Dublin

. 1810 ~Félicien-César David, French composer

. 1816 ~ Sir William Sterndale Bennett, British pianist, conductor and composer

. 1906 ~ Bud (Lawrence) Freeman, Jazz musician, tenor sax

. 1917 ~ Howard Keel, American singer and actor, born as Harold Clifford Leek. He appeared in singing and acting roles in films from 1948-68 and also appeared on TV in “Dallas.”

. 1928 ~ Teddy Charles, Vibraphonist, songwriter

. 1940 ~ Lester Chambers, Singer, musician, played harmonica

. 1941 ~ Margaret Price, British soprano

. 1944 ~ Jack Casady, Musician, KBC Band, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane

. 1946 ~ Al Green, Singer, songwriter

. 1951 ~ Peabo Bryson, Singer

. 1958 ~ Van Cliburn of Kilgore, TX earned first prize in the Soviet Union’s Tchaikovsky International Piano Contest in Moscow.

. 1961 ~ Carnival opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. Anna Maria Alberghetti starred in the musical which ran for 719 performances.

. 1963 ~ Jack Cassidy and Barbara Cook starred in She Loves Me, which opened at the O’Neill Theatre in New York City. The Broadway musical ran for 189 performances.

. 1980 ~ Broadway’s longest-running musical closed after eight years. Grease ran for 3,388 performances and earned $8 million. Though the longest running musical on the Great White Way at the time, Grease was also the third longest-running Broadway show. Other shows in the top five included: The Defiant Ones and Life with Father, Oh! Calcutta, A Chorus Line and Fiddler on the Roof.

. 1985 ~ The Grand Ole Opry, a radio staple from Nashville for 60 years, came to TV. The Nashville Network presented the country music jamboree to some 22-million homes across the U.S.

April 12 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1684 ~ Niccolo Amati, member of a family of violin makers in Cremona, Italy, died.

. 1904 ~ Lily (Alice) Pons, Singer

. 1905 ~ The Hippodrome opened in New York City with the gala musical revue, A Yankee Circus on Mars.

. 1913 ~ Lionel Hampton, American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, drummer and bandleader; played with Benny Goodman and recorded with Louis Armstrong. He was responsible for introducing the vibraphone into jazz.

. 1914 ~ George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion” opened in London with Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle and Sir Herbert Tree as Professor Higgins. This would later become the musical My Fair Lady by Lerner and Loewe.

. 1916 ~ Russ Garcia, Musician, composer, orchestra leader

. 1931 ~ Billy (Richard) Vaughn, Musician, orchestra leader, music director

. 1932 ~ Tiny Tim (aka Darry Dover, Larry Love) (Herbert Khaury), Ukulele playing, falsetto singer, best known for Tiptoe Through the Tulips

. 1933 ~ Monserrat Caballé (1933) Spanish opera singer and a leading Verdi and Donizetti soprano

. 1938 ~ Fedor Chaliapin, foremost Russian operatic bass singer and one of opera’s greatest performers, died.

. 1939 ~ One of the classic theme songs of the Big Band era was recorded for Decca. Woody Herman’s orchestra recorded Woodchopper’s Ball.

. 1940 ~ Herbie Hancock, Oscar-winning American jazz/fusion musician, pianist and composer

. 1950 ~ David Cassidy, Singer

OCMS 1954 ~ Bill Haley and His Comets recorded Rock Around the Clock for Decca Records. The song was recorded at the Pythian Temple, “a big, barnlike building with great echo,” in New York City. “Rock Around the Clock” was formally released a month later. It sold an estimated 25 million copies worldwide, making it the second biggest-selling single at the time behind Bing Crosby White Christmas
More information about Rock Around the Clock

. 1999 ~ BoxCar Willie, Country singing star, who blended a mellow voice with a rough- hewn hobo persona, died. He was 67.

April 6 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1895 ~ Waltzing Matilda, one of Australia’s best-known tunes written by bush poet Banjo Paterson, was first publicly performed at a hotel in the remote northern town of Winton.

. 1913 ~ ‘Pappy’ Wade Ray, Country entertainer/musician with the Grand Ole Opry

. 1917 ~ George M. Cohan wrote Over There, which became the chief marching song for World War I

. 1924 ~ Mimi (Miriam) Benzell, Opera singer, mezzo-soprano

. 1924 ~ Dorothy Donegan, Jazz pianist

. 1925 ~ Eddie Cantor recorded the standard, If You Knew Susie, for Columbia Records. There was none classier.

. 1927 ~ Gerry Mulligan, Jazz musician, composer

. 1929 ~ Edison Denisov, Soviet composer

OCMS 1929 ~ André Previn, German-born American pianist, composer and conductor, Known as a classical orchestral conductor, notably of Shostakovich, he also conducted and scored film music and arrangements, Oscar-winning film scores: Gigi, Porgy and Bess, Irma La Douce, My Fair Lady, Washington Honored Eastwood, Baryshnikov, Domingo, Berry, 2000
More information about Previn

. 1931 ~ Little Orphan Annie, the comic strip character developed by Harold Gray, came to life on the NBC Blue network. About 5 decades later, the comic strip inspired a Broadway play and a movie, both titled, Annie.

. 1937 ~ Merle Haggard, American country-music singer, songwriter, fiddler and guitarist, CMA Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year (1970)

. 1944 ~ Michelle Phillips (Holly Michelle Gilliam), Singer with The Mamas and the Papas

. 1956 ~ Capitol Tower, the home of Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA, was dedicated. The building was the first circular office tower designed in America. It is 13 stories tall and 92 feet in diameter. At night, a light at the tip of the tower blinks the letters “H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D” in Morse Code.

. 1971 ~ Igor Stravinsky, Russian-born composer, died in New York. One of the 20th Century’s leading musical figures and most famous for his ballets “The Rite of Spring” and “Petrushka.”

. 1971 ~ Rolling Stone Records was formed to promote the hits of The Rolling Stones. The famous Stones trademark, the lips logo, became widely used. Brown Sugar was the first hit by the Rolling Stones on the new label, followed by Wild Horses, Tumbling Diceand Start Me Up.

. 1973 ~ The Stylistics received a gold record for their ballad hit, Break Up to Make Up. The Philadelphia soul group placed 10 hits on the pop charts in the 1970s. More of their gold record winners include: You Are Everything, Betcha By Golly Wow, I’m Stone in Love With You and You Make Me Feel Brand New.

. 1974 ~ The first concert film featuring a soundtrack in quadraphonic sound opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre.

. 1985 ~ The country group, Alabama, went five-for-five as the album 40 Hour Week grabbed the top spot on the Billboard country chart. The group had a number one album for each of the previous five years. The popularity of the quartet (three are cousins from Fort Payne, AL) continues today.

. 1994 ~ Dick Cary passed away.  He was an American jazz pianist, trumpet and alto horn player, and prolific arranger and composer.

. 1998 ~ Tammy Wynette, known as “The First Lady of Country Music” and world- renowned for her hit Stand by Your Man, died aged 55.

. 2001 ~ Daniel J. “Danny” Gaither, the original tenor voice of the former Bill Gaither Trio, died after a five-year battle with lymphoma. He was 62. He joined the Bill Gaither trio when he turned 18. His brother, Bill, led the group, and his younger sister, Mary Ann, was the group’s original female singer. Danny Gaither traveled with the family trio for about 10 years until the early 1980s, when he started doing solo work. Problems with his vocal chords forced him to give up his solo career about 10 years later. Danny Gaither won several Grammy and Dove awards for his work. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in April 1999.

. 2016 ~ Merle Ronald Haggard died.  He was an American country music singer, songwriter, guitarist, fiddler, and instrumentalist

March 30 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1674 ~ Pietro Antonio Locatelli died.  He was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist.

. 1872 ~ Sergei Vasilenko, Russian composer

. 1900 ~ Ted (Edward) Heath, Musician, trombonist, bandleader: played big band concerts every Sunday at the Palladium in the 1940s and 1950s

. 1913 ~ Frankie Laine (Frank Paul LoVecchio), Singer

. 1923 ~ The Audubon Ballroom in New York City was the scene of the first dance marathon. Alma Cummings danced the fox trot, one-step and waltz with half a dozen partners.

. 1932 ~ Leonard Bernstein  participated in his first piano recital at New England Conservatory, performing Brahm’s Rhapsody in G Minor.  He was 13.

. 1935 ~ Gordon Mumma, American composer of experimental music

. 1941 ~ Graeme Edge, Drumer with The Moody Blues

. 1942 ~ Bobby Wright, Country artist, actor, son of Johnny Wright of Johnnie and Jack country duo

. 1945 ~ Eric Clapton, British rock rock guitarist with the Yardbirds; song writer, Grammy Award-winning singer: Bad Love in 1990

. 1959 ~ Sabine Meyer, German clarinetist

. 1963 ~ The Chiffons began a four-week stay at the top of the pop music charts as their hit single, He’s So Fine, became number one. The song stayed at the top of the top tune tabulation until Little Peggy March came along with I Will Follow Him on April 27th.

. 1964 ~ Tracy Chapman, Grammy Award-winning folk singer-songwriter

. 1968 ~ Celine Dion, Singer

. 1970 ~ Lauren Bacall starred in Applause which opened on Broadway. The show became one of the hardest tickets to get on the Great White Way. Critics called Bacall “a sensation.” The play, at the Palace Theatre, was an adaptation of the film, All About Eve. It continued for 896 performances. A London version of the show, also starring Bacall, opened in 1972.

. 1971 ~ The Bee Gees received a gold record for the single, Lonely Days. When playing it, they heard the song at a faster speed and said, “Hey, this sounds like disco!” and the rest was Saturday Night Fever music history…

. 1974 ~ John Denver reached the top spot on the music charts with his hit, Sunshine on My Shoulders. It was the singer’s first number one song. Three other singles by Denver reached the top of the music world: Annie’s Song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy and I’m Sorry. Take Me Home Country Roads made it to the number two position, while Rocky Mountain High just cracked the Top 10 at number 9. Denver wrote Leaving on a Jet Plane for Peter, Paul and Mary and won an Emmy for the TV special, An Evening With John Denver.