Happy New Year!
• 1701 ~ Johann Joachim Agrell, Composer
More information about Agrell
• 1735 ~ Paul Revere, American patriot and music engraver
• 1764 ~ In a stunning demonstration of prodigious talent, the Royal Family at Versailles in France was treated to a brilliant recital by an eight year old musician. His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
• 1878 ~ Edwin Franko Goldman, Composer
1900 ~ Xavier Cugat (Francisco de Asís Javier Cugat Mingall de Brue y Deulofeo). Spanish violinist, composer and band leader, married to Abbe Lane and Charo
More information about Cugat
• 1916 ~ Earl Wrightson, Actor, singer
• 1923 ~ Milt Jackson, Vibes with The Modern Jazz Quartet
• 1925 ~ Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of the famous Metropolitan Opera in New York City made their singing debuts on radio this day. The broadcast over what was WEAF Radio (now WABC) encouraged others to sing on radio. Some of those were Hootie and the Blowfish, and Barry Manilow.
• 1928 ~ Frank Pourcel, Composer, violinist
• 1942 ~ Country Joe McDonald, Singer with Country Joe & the Fish
• 1953 ~ A sad day in country music, as the legendary Hank Williams died at the young age of 29. Undisputedly, the biggest star in the history of country music, Hank Williams’ legacy is being carried on by his son, Hank Williams, Jr.
• 1955 ~ Elvis Presley appeared at The Eagles Hall in Houston Texas. Presley went on to play over 250 shows in 1955.
• 1968 ~ A group known as The Blue Velvets decided to change its name this day and it’s a good thing they did. The new name soon became a national pop music favorite as Creedence Clearwater Revival climbed to stardom.
• 1972 ~ Maurice Chevalier passed away. Chevalier was a French actor, Cabaret singer and entertainer.
• 1984 ~ Alexis Korner passed away. Korner was a British blues musician and radio broadcaster, who has sometimes been referred to as “a founding father of British blues”.
• 2000 ~ Ray Walston, who found commercial success playing a comical devil in the play “Damn Yankees” and an extraterrestrial on the sitcom “My Favorite Martian,” of natural causes at the age of 86. Walston caught the biggest break of his career when he won a Tony in 1955 for his performance in Broadway’s “Damn Yankees.” The smash musical told the story of a frustrated baseball fan who sells his soul. His screen debut came in the 1957 movie “Kiss Them For Me” with Cary Grant, and the next year he played the devil again in the film version of “Damn Yankees.” Walston snagged the role that would stick with him for a lifetime – that of a lovable alien on the TV show “My Favorite Martian” in 1963. The show was immensely popular, but Walston felt so typecast that he tried to highlight his dramatic abilities by returning to the stage when the TV comedy went off the air in 1966. He stayed in theater for several years before re-emerging with a succession of solid supporting roles in movies and television. Nearly 30 years after the end of the lighthearted “My Favorite Martian,” Walston’s role on “Picket Fences” as acerbic Judge Henry Bone earned Walston successive Emmys in 1995-96.
• 2016 ~ Chart-topping R&B singer Natalie Cole, who followed her famous father in the music business with hits like “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) and “Unforgettable,” died at age 65.