On March 11 in Music History

today

. 1851 ~ The first performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto” was given in Venice.

Rigoletto lacks melody.  This opera has hardly any chance of being kept in the repertoire.” ~ Gazette Musicale de Paris, reviewing Rigoletto shortly after its premiere.

. 1876 ~ Carl Ruggles, American composer

. 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

and

. 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.

. 2000 ~ Roy Henderson, a baritone famed for his performances of Frederick Delius’ works and a teacher of Kathleen Ferrier, died. He was 100.

. 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 (The Alphabet 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

and

. 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.

On March 2 in Music History

1824 ~ Bedrich Smetana, Bohemian composer
More information about Smetana

. 1900 ~ Kurt Weill, German-born American composer of operas and other music
More information about Weill

. 1905 ~ Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) born

. 1905 ~ Marc Blitzstein, American composer

. 1917 ~ Desi Arnaz (Desiderio Alberto Arnez y De Acha III), Bandleader, singer, actor, married to Lucille Ball, co-owner of Desilu Productions, introduced 3-camera sitcom technique

. 1921 ~ Robert Simpson, English composer and long-serving BBC producer and broadcaster

. 1923 ~ (Arthel Lane) Doc Watson, Grammy Award-winning singer, flat-picking guitarist

. 1934 ~ Doug Watkins, Jazz musician, bass with these groups: Pepper-Knepper Quintet, Hank Mobley Quartet, Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers

. 1938 ~ Ben Harney, American composer and pianist died (b. 1871)

. 1942 ~ Lou Reed (Lewis Alan Reed), Singer, songwriter, guitarist with Velvet Underground

. 1949 ~ Eddie Money (Mahoney), Singer

. 1950 ~ Karen Carpenter, Drummer, singer with Grammy Award-winning group, The Carpenters

. 1955 ~ Jay Osmond, Singer with The Osmond Brothers

. 1956 ~ John Cowsill, Singer with The Cowsills

. 1956 ~ Mark Evans, Bass with AC/DC

. 1962 ~ Jon Bon Jovi (John Francis Bongiovi), American rock singer, songwriter

. 1963 ~ Cowboy (Lloyd) Copas and singer, Patsy Cline, killed in a plane crash

. 1974 ~ Stevie Wonder got five Grammy Awards for his album, Innervisions and his hit songs, You Are The Sunshine of My Life and Superstition.

. 1985 ~ Country singer Gary Morris hit #1 on the country charts for the first time with Baby Bye Bye, from his album, Faded Blue.

. 2003 ~ Hank Ballard, 75, the singer and songwriter whose hit The Twist ushered in a nationwide dance craze in the 1960s, died. He wrote and recorded The Twist in 1958, but it was released only on the B-side of a record. In 1959, Chubby Checker debuted his own version of the song on Dick Clark’s Philadelphia television show. It soon topped the charts and launched a dance craze that prompted the creation of other Twist songs, including Twist and Shout by the Isley Brothers and Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke. Mr. Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Mr. Ballard was discovered in the early 1950s by writer-producer Johnny Otis. He was lead singer for the Royals, which changed its name to the Midnighters. Mr. Ballard, who was born John H. Kendricks in Detroit, grew up singing in church in Bessemer, Ala. At 15, he returned to Detroit and set out to form a doo-wop group while working on a Ford Motor Co. assembly line.

. 2018 ~ Van McLain [McElvain], American rock guitarist (Shooting Star), died at the age of 62 from West Nile virus

On February 27 in Music History

today

 

. 1848 ~ Hubert Parry, English composer, teacher and historian of music.

. 1873 ~ Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor, sang nearly 70 roles; appeared in nearly every country of Europe and North and South America
Read quotes by and about Caruso
More information about Caruso

. 1883 ~ Oscar Hammerstein of New York City patented the first practical cigar-rolling machine. If Oscar’s name sounds familiar, it should. Hammerstein’s grandson later made his mark by writing some of the best- known music in the world, teaming up frequently with Richard Rodgers.

. 1887 ~ Alexander Borodin, Russian composer, died at the age of 53
Read more about Borodin

. 1887 ~ Lotte Lehman, Singer

. 1897 ~ Marian Anderson, Opera diva

. 1923 ~ Dexter Gordon, American jazz tenor saxophonist

. 1927 ~ Guy Mitchell (Al Cernick), Singer, actor

. 1935 ~ Mirella Freni, Italian soprano

. 1936 ~ Chuck Glaser, Singer with Glaser Brothers

. 1948 ~ Eddie Gray, Guitarist with Tommy James & The Shondells

. 1951 ~ Steve Harley (Nice), Singer with Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

. 1954 ~ Neal Schon, Guitarist with Santana; Journey

. 1955 ~ Garry Christian, Singer with The Christians

. 1970 ~ Simon and Garfunkel received a gold record for the single, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

. 2003 ~ Tom Glazer, 88, the balladeer, guitarist and songwriter who, along with Burl Ives, Josh White, Pete Seeger and others, helped spark national interest in folk music in the 1940s, died. Mr. Glazer wrote songs for children, including a hit 1963 parody, On Top of Spaghetti, that won him National Critics’ and Parent Magazine awards. He also acted, sang and wrote for movies and TV. He was singer-narrator for the film, Sweet Land of Liberty, and composed the score for the Andy Griffith film A Face in the Crowd. Mr. Glazer was a native of Philadelphia who attended the City College of New York. As a young man, he played tuba and bass in military and jazz bands and worked at the Library of Congress. He began singing with a group while living in Washington, and was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to perform at the White House. Mr. Glazer became a full-time musician in 1943 and, over the years, hosted three radio series. He also wrote books about music, including a number of songbooks. His song Because All Men Are Brothers, based on the Passion Chorale by J. S. Bach, was recorded by the Weavers and Peter, Paul and Mary. Other hits included, Old Soldiers Never Die for Vaughn Monroe, More for Perry Como, Til We Two Are One for Georgie Shaw, and A Worried Man, recorded by the Kingston Trio. His song, The Musicians was used on the “Barney” television show for children; Bob Dylan recorded his Talking Inflation Blues.

. 2003 ~ Fred Rogers, who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for more than 30 years, died. He was 74. From 1968 to 2000, Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, produced the show at Pittsburgh public television station WQED. The final new episode, which was taped in December 2000, aired in August 2001, though PBS affiliates continued to air back episodes. Rogers composed his own songs for the show and began each episode in a set made to look like a comfortable living room, singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…”, as he donned sneakers and a zip-up cardigan. His message remained simple: telling his viewers to love themselves and others. On each show, he would take his audience on a magical trolley ride into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where his puppet creations would interact with each other and adults. Rogers did much of the puppet work and voices himself. He also studied early childhood development at the University of Pittsburgh and consulted with an expert there over the years. Rogers’ show won four Emmy Awards, plus one for lifetime achievement. He was given a George Foster Peabody Award in 1993, “in recognition of 25 years of beautiful days in the neighborhood.” One of Rogers’ red sweaters hangs in the Smithsonian Institution.

 

. 2003 ~ Jean Sullivan, a musician, dancer and actress who starred opposite Errol Flynn in the 1944 film “Uncertain Glory,” died of cardiac arrest. She was 79. Sullivan was the leading lady Marianne in “Uncertain Glory” and also has a starring role in the 1945 movie “Escape in the Desert.” The young actress also played the daughter of Rosalind Russell and Jack Carson in the motion picture comedy “Roughly Speaking.” Despite a budding acting career, Sullivan relocated to New York and began studying ballet and dancing professionally. While practicing flamenco steps during a Carnegie Hall rehearsal, Sullivan was discovered by choreographer Anthony Tudor and was a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. She enhanced her flamenco by playing Spanish guitar and became a popular entertainer at Latin nightclubs throughout New York City. Sullivan also played cello and piano. Despite her career change, Sullivan performed flamenco on TV variety shows, including “The Steve Allen Show” and “The Jackie Gleason Show.” She also was a meteorologist on local New York television stations.

. 2013 ~ Van Cliburn died.  He was an American pianist who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958 at the age of 23, when he won the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War.

On February 24 in Music History

today

. 1766 ~ Samuel Wesley, English organist and composer in the late Georgian period. Wesley was a contemporary of Mozart (1756–1791) and was called by some “the English Mozart.”

. 1771 ~ Johann Baptist Cramer,  English musician of German origin. He was the son of Wilhelm Cramer, a famous London violinist and musical conductor, one of a numerous family who were identified with the progress of music during the 18th and 19th centuries.

. 1832 ~ Frederic Chopin’s first Paris concert. The musicologist Arthur Hedley has observed that “As a pianist Chopin was unique in acquiring a reputation of the highest order on the basis of a minimum of public appearances—few more than thirty in the course of his lifetime.

. 1842 ~ Arrigo Boito, Italian composer, librettist and poet

. 1858 ~ Arnold Dolmetsch, British music antiquarian and musician

. 1932 ~ Michel Legrand, Academy Award-Winning composer for Best Original Score: Yentl in 1983, Brian’s Song, Ice Station Zebra

. 1934 ~ Renata Scotto, Italian soprano. She made her operatic debut at age 18 and is best known for performances as Violetta in La Traviata, Cio-Cio- San in Madama Butterfly, Mimi (and the occasional Musetta) in La Bohème, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Francesca in Francesca da Rimini. She is also an opera director.

. 1940 ~ Frances Langford recorded one of the classic songs of all time — and one that would become a Walt Disney trademark. When You Wish Upon a Star was recorded on Decca Records during a session in Los Angeles. Many artists have recorded the song, including pop diva Linda Ronstadt (with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in the early 1980s). One can hear the song not only on record, but as the theme in the opening credits of any Disney movie, video and TV program and those “I’m going to Disneyland/World!” commercials, too.

. 1942 ~ Paul Jones, Harmonica, singer with Manfred Mann

. 1943 ~ Stephen Douglas Burton, American composer and teacher

. 1947 ~ Rupert Holmes, Songwriter: over 300 songs & jingles, singer, producer

. 1947 ~ Lonnie Turner, Bass, singer with The Steve Miller Band

. 1964 ~ The musical, “What Makes Sammy Run”, opened in New York at the 54th Street Theatre. Making his Broadway debut in the show was Steve Lawrence. The production ran for 540 performances.

. 1985 ~ Yul Brynner reprised his role in “The King and I” setting a box office record for weekly receipts. The show took in $520,920.

. 1990 ~ Johnnie Ray died.  He was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist.

. 1991 ~ Webb Pierce passed away.  He was one of the most popular American honky tonk, rockabilly vocalists, guitarists of the 1950s

. 1994 ~ Donald Phillips, pianist/composer, died at the age of 80

On February 21 in Music History

today

. 1791 ~ Carl Czerny, Austrian pianist and composer whose vast musical production amounted to over a thousand works. His books of studies for the piano are still widely used in piano teaching.
More information on Czerny

Czerny is in the center top of this image. He influenced many!

Czerny is in the center top of this image. He influenced many!

 

. 1836 ~ Léo Delibes, French composer of ballets, operas, and other works for the stage.
More information on Delibes

. 1893 ~ Andrés Segovia, Spanish guitarist
More information on Segovia

. 1933 ~ Nina Simone, American jazz and soul singer

. 1943 ~ David Geffen, Tony Award-winning producer of Cats in 1983, M Butterfly in 1988, “Miss Saigon”, Beetlejuice and Risky Business. Also a record executive: Geffen Records and a partner in Dreamworks film production company with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg.

. 1944 ~ New York City Opera, first performance

. 1958 ~ Mary Chapin Carpenter, Grammy Award-winning singer

. 1982 ~”Ain’t Misbehavin'” closed at Longacre Theater in New York City after 1604 performances

. 1990 ~ “The Batman Theme” by Danny Elfman won Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition at 32nd Annual Grammy Awards

. 1991 ~ Dame Margot Fonteyn died. She is widely regarded as one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of all time.

. 2015 ~ Clark Terry died.   He was an American swing and bebop trumpeter, a pioneer of the flugelhorn in jazz, educator, and NEA Jazz Masters inductee. He played with Charlie Barnet (1947), Count Basie (1948–1951), Duke Ellington (1951–1959) and Quincy Jones (1960).

Terry’s career in jazz spanned more than seventy years and he is among the most recorded of jazz musicians.

. 2017 ~ Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Polish-born classical conductor and composer, died at the age of 93

. 2019 ~ Peter Tork, a musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of The Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold The Beatles, has died at the age of 77.

On February 17 in Music History

today

. 1653 ~ Arcangelo Corelli, Italian violinist and composer
More information on Corelli

. 1902 ~ Marian Anderson, American contralto
Read quotes by and about Anderson
More information on Anderson

. 1904 ~ Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly was first performed at La Scala, world’s most famous opera house in Milan, Italy.

. 1909 ~ Marjorie Lawrence, Opera soprano: “One of the truest Wagnerian interpreters of our time, unchallenged for the stirring magnificence of her Brunnhilde and the tender simplicity of her Sieglinde, or the stately loveliness of her Elsa and the compelling malevolence of her Ortrud.”

. 1923 ~ Buddy (Boniface) DeFranco, Clarinetist, bandleader. He won all modern jazz music polls in the early 1950s

. 1933 ~ Bobby Lewis, Pianist, singer

. 1941 ~ Gene Pitney, Singer, songwriter

. 1945 ~ Zina Bethune, Dancer, choreographer, actress

. 1946 ~ Dodie Stevens (Geraldine Ann Pasquale), Singer

. 1954 ~ Doris Day’s single, Secret Love, became the #1 tune in the U.S. The song, from the motion picture, “Calamity Jane”, stayed at the top of the music charts for three weeks.

. 1962 ~ The Beach Boys started making waves with their first Southern California hit, Surfin’. Their new musical style swept the U.S. like a tidal wave when they hit nationally with Surfin’ Safari in August of this same year.

. 1962 ~ Gene Chandler hit #1 with Duke of Earl on this day. The song stayed at the top for three weeks. It hit #1 on the rhythm & blues charts, as well. Duke of Earl was Chandler’s biggest hit out of a half-dozen he recorded. His only other million seller came with Groovy Situation in 1970. Curtis Mayfield wrote several hits for Chandler, including Just Be True, What Now and Nothing Can Stop Me. Chandler’s real name is Eugene Dixon. He owned his own record label, Mr. Chand, from 1969 to 1973, though Groovy Situation was recorded in 1970 for Mercury.

. 1966 ~ Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler received a gold record from RCA Victor, for both the album and the single of The Ballad of the Green Berets. Sadler, who recorded one other single (“The “A” Team”) for the label, had served in Vietnam until injuring a leg in a Viet Cong booby trap.

. 1972 ~ Billie Joe Armstrong, Grammy Award-winning singer (1994), guitarist and songwriter with Green Day

. 1998 ~ Bob Merrill passed away.  Merrill was an American songwriter, theatrical composer, lyricist, and screenwriter.

. 2010 ~ Kathryn Grayson [Zelma Hedrick], American vocalist and actress (Anchors Aweigh, Kiss Me Kate), died of natural causes at the age of 88

. 2017 ~ Alan Aldridge, British artist, graphic designer and illustrator whose artwork was used in record covers for The Beatles and The Who, died at the age of 73

On February 14 in Music History

valentine-heart

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

. 1602 ~ Pier Francesco Cavalli, Italian opera composer

. 1813 ~ Alexander Dargomyzhsky, Russian composer

. 1882 ~ Ignace Friedman, Polish pianist and composer

. 1894 ~ Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky), The stingy, violin-playing, perennial-39- year-old comedian of radio, television and vaudeville

. 1923 ~ Cesare Siepi, Opera basso

. 1925 ~ Elliot Lawrence (Broza), Emmy Award-winning composer, conductor, arranger, musical director of Night of 100 Stars, Night of 100 Stars II,

. 1993, 1994, 1995 Kennedy Center Honors; Tony Award: musical direction: How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

. 1931 ~ Phyllis McGuire, Singer

. 1934 ~ Florence Henderson, Singer

. 1946 ~ Gregory Hines, Dancer

. 1950 ~ Roger Fisher, Guitarist with Heart

. 1957 ~ Lionel Hampton’s only major musical work, “King David”, made its debut at New York’s Town Hall. The four-part symphony jazz suite was conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos.

. 1972 ~ “Grease” opened at the Eden Theatre in New York City. The musical later moved to the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway where it became the longest-running musical ever with 3,388 performances. A hit movie based on the stage play starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and produced the hit song, Grease, by Frankie Valli, You’re the One That I Want and Summer Nights by Travolta and Newton-John.

. 1984 ~ British rocker Elton John married Renata Blauel in Sydney, Australia on this day.

. 1998 ~ Frederick Loewe American composer of musicals, died
More information about Loewe

. 2003 ~ Jack Maher, 78, who served more than three decades as publisher of respected jazz magazine Down Beat and its parent company, Maher Publications, died. Down Beat began in 1934 to chronicle the comings and goings of touring swing bands. A previous owner forfeited the magazine to his printer, Mr. Maher’s father, John Maher. After his father died in 1968, Jack Maher put up his own money to acquire Down Beat, outbidding Playboy founder and jazz aficionado Hugh Hefner. Mr. Maher was credited with transforming Down Beat into a leading forum on jazz, with a roster of writers that included Leonard Feather, Nat Hentoff, Dan Morgenstern and Ira Gitler. He changed a number of his father’s policies, including one that had frowned on putting pictures of black musicians on Down Beat’s cover.

. 2004 ~ Joe McFarlin, whose late-night shows on WCCO radio featured big bands, swing and traditional jazz for a quarter-century, died. He was 78. McFarlin was as a nightly presence on 830 AM during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, attracting a following across the country. McFarlin retired from WCCO in 1992. Management and format changes had reduced his broadcast to about two hours on the weekends and he was forced to choose from a jazz-free play list. He served as a U.S. Navy signalman during World War II and was stationed in the Philippines and Pearl Harbor. McFarlin began his radio career in 1947 at WREX in Duluth and worked at several other stations before moving to the Twin Cities in 1961, where he worked at KRSI before joining WCCO.

. 2011 ~ George Shearing, British-American blind jazz pianist (Lullaby of Birdland), died at the age of 91