March 2: Today’s 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

February 27: On This Day in Music

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.

February 24: On This Day in Music

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

February 21: On This Day in Music

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.

February 17: On This Day in Music

. 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, the 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

February 14: On This Day in Music

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

February 12: On This Day in Music

. 1728 ~ Mysterious priest-composer Agostino Steffani died.

. 1760 ~ Jan Ladislav Dussek, Czech composer and pianist.  Along with his friend, famed piano maker John Broadwood, Dussek made important design improvements to the piano, allowing for the more dynamic style of playing that his highly original compositions required. Beethoven himself later used a Broadwood piano with Dussek’s innovations. This helped pave the way for Romanticism and Dussek’s influence on Beethoven’s piano writing has been well documented.

Dussek’s Piano Sonata Op. 77 in F minor (“L’invocation”), from 1812, is the last work he ever composed, and he saved the best for last. This is a neglected masterpiece that foreshadows Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms.

. 1881 ~ Anna (Pavlovna) Pavlova, Russia’s premier ballerina

. 1894 ~ Hans von Bülow, German pianist and composer died (b. 1830)
More about von Bulow

. 1898 ~ Roy Harris, American composer

. 1904 ~ Ted Mack (William Maguiness), TV host of The Original Amateur Hour, The Ted Mack Family Hour

. 1914 ~ (Gordon) Tex Beneke, Bandleader, singer, tenor sax in the Glenn Miller Orchestra

, 1915 ~ Charles Emile Waldteufel, composer, died at the age of 77

. 1918 ~ All theatres in New York City were shut down in an effort to conserve coal.

. 1923 ~ Mel Powell, American jazz pianist and composer. One of his works is Mission to Moscow for Benny Goodman. He was also Dean of Music at California Institute of Arts.

. 1923 ~ Franco Zeffirelli, Italian director and producer of opera, theatre, film and television

. 1924 ~ Bandleader Paul Whiteman presented his unique symphonic jazz at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. The concert marked the first public performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The composer, himself, was at the piano this night. Distinguished guests included John Philip Sousa and Jascha Heifetz.

. 1935 ~ Gene McDaniels (Eugene Booker McDaniels), Singer

. 1939 ~ Ray Manzarek, Keyboards with The Doors

. 1942 ~ Mildred Bailey recorded More Than You Know on Decca Records.

. 1948 ~ Joe Schermie, Bass with Three Dog Night

. 1949 ~ “Annie Get Your Gun” closed at the Imperial Theater in New York City after 1147 performances

 

. 1964 ~ The Beatles played two concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, concluding a very successful American tour.

. 1968 ~ Singer and famed guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, received an honorary high school diploma from Garfield High School in Seattle, WA, where he had dropped out at the age of 14.

. 1972 ~ Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together knocked American Pie out of the top spot on the music charts. The record stayed at the top for one week, before giving way to Nilsson’s Without You. Green returned to his gospel roots in 1980 and is a minister in Memphis, TN. Green recorded 14 hit songs with six of them making it to the Top 10.

. 1976 ~ Sal Mineo, singer, died

. 1983 ~ Eubie Blake, US ragtime-composer/pianist (Memories of You), died at the age of 96

. 2011 ~ Elizabeth “Betty” Garrett, American actress, comedian, singer and dancer (All in the Family), died of an aortic aneurysm at the age of 91

 

February 7: On This Day in Music

today

. 1710 ~ William Boyce, English organist/composer (Cathedral Music), born in London (d. 1779)

. 1818 ~ Henry Charles Litolff, piano virtuoso, composer of Romantic music and music publisher

. 1871 ~ Wilhelm Stenhammar [Carl Wilhelm Eugen Stenhammar], Swedish composer considered the finest Swedish pianist of his time, born in Stockholm, Sweden (d. 1927)

. 1883 ~ Herbert “Eubie” Blake, American jazz pianist, vaudevillian, songwriter and composer
More information about Blake

. 1920 ~ Oscar Brand, Folk singer, composer, music director of NBC-TV Sunday, host of Let’s Sing Out

. 1921 ~ Wilma Lee Cooper (Leary), Country singer with husband, Stoney and the group, Clinch Mountain Clan with her daughter, Carol Lee

. 1931 ~ The American opera, “Peter Ibbetson”, by Deems Taylor premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

. 1941 ~ The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Frank Sinatra teamed to record Everything Happens to Me for Victor Records in New York City.

. 1948 ~ Jimmy Greenspoon, Organist with Three Dog Night

. 1949 ~ Alan Lancaster, Bass with Status Quo

. 1959 ~ Brian Travers, Saxophone with UB40

. 1962 ~ (Troyal) Garth Brooks, American Grammy Award-winning singer: In Another’s Eyes (1998 with Trisha Yearwood), Friends in Low Places and The Thunder Rolls. His LP Ropin’ the Wind was the first LP in history to debut at #1 on Billboard’s pop and country charts, The Chase, In Pieces, Fresh Horses, Sevens, Double Live has sold over 80 million albums — second only to The Beatles.

. 1962 ~ David Bryan, Keyboards with Bon Jovi

. 1964 ~ 3,000+ fans crowded the JFK airport in New York to receive the four stars of the music sensation, The Beatles. One word summarizes the reaction to The Beatles on their first US tour: hysteria.

. 1969 ~ Tom Jones, ‘The Prince of Wales’, premiered on ABC-TV after the network acquired the rights to the singing sensation’s popular United Kingdom show. The network paid a British production company an estimated $20 million for those rights. And they cried in one of Tom’s hankies all the way to the bank.

. 1974 ~ Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra received a gold record for the disco hit Love’s Theme.

. 1985 ~ New York, New York became the official anthem of the Big Apple. The announcement was made by then New York mayor, Ed “How’m I Doin’?” Koch. Frank Sinatra fans rejoiced at the honor.

. 2001 ~ Dale Evans died at the age of 88. She was an actress-singer who became “Queen of the West” by starring with husband Roy Rogers in 27 cowboy films and writing their theme song, Happy Trails.

. 2002 ~ Bert Conway, an actor and director whose 60-year career included theater, movies and television, died of heart failure. He was 87. The son of vaudeville performers, Conway was born in Orange, N.J. He had a walk-on part in the original 1937 Group Theater staging of Clifford Odets’ “Golden Boy” and later had the lead as a reform school youth in Lee Strasberg’s production of “Dance Night.” After serving in the Army in World War II, Conway went to Hollywood. He began directing plays in 1947. His work included the first interracial production of “Golden Boy” for the Negro Art Theater in Los Angeles. In 1950, he returned to New York to act in and direct plays. His work included an off-Broadway revival of “Deep Are the Roots” and appearances with Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. He also appeared in several road company productions, had small roles in the movies “The Three Musketeers,” “Little Big Man” and “The Arrangement,” and on TV’s “St. Elsewhere.”

. 2009 ~ Blossom Dearie, American jazz singer and pianist, died of natural causes at the age of 84

January 31: On This Day in Music

today

. 1759 ~ François Devienne, French composer and professor of flute

. 1797 ~ Franz Peter Schubert, Austrian composer
Read quotes by and about Schubert
More information about Schubert

. 1798 ~ Carl Gottlieb Reissiger, German Kapellmeister and composer

. 1882 ~ Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina and choreographer

. 1892 ~ Eddie Cantor (Iskowitz), Entertainer, ‘banjo eyes’ Some of his hits were: If You Knew Susie like I Know Susie, Alabamy Bound, Dinah, Ida, Makin’ Whoopee and Ma He’s Makin’ Eyes at Me

. 1906 ~ Benjamin Frankel, British composer

. 1921 ~ Mario Lanza, Opera singer. Some of his non-operatic songs were Be My Love, The Loveliest Night of the Year and Because You’re Mine

. 1923 ~ Carol Channing, Broadway entertainer and Tony Award-winning actress in shows such as Hello, Dolly! (1964) and Thoroughly Modern Millie

. 1934 ~ Ron Weatherburn, jazz pianist

. 1936 ~ “The Green Hornet” was introduced by its famous theme song, The Flight of the Bumble Bee, originally by Rachmaninoff. The radio show was first heard on WXYZ radio in Detroit, MI on this day. The show stayed on the air for 16 years. “The Green Hornet” originated from the same radio station where “The Lone Ranger” was performed.

. 1937 ~ Phillip Glass, American composer of minimalist music
More information about Glass

. 1946 ~ Terry Kath, Guitarist with Chicago

. 1951 ~ Harry Wayne Casey, Keyboards, singer with KC and the Sunshine Band

. 1951 ~ Phil Collins, British rock drummer, songwriter and singer

. 1951 ~ Phil Manzanera (Targett-Adams), Guitarist with Roxy Music

. 1955 ~ Electronics pioneer RCA demonstrated the first music synthesizer that could electronically play musical sounds.

. 1960 ~ Julie Andrews, Henry Fonda, Rex Harrison and Jackie Gleason, appeared in a two-hour TV special titled, The Fabulous ’50s. 1961 ~ Lloyd Cole, Guitarist, singer with Lloyd Cole and The Commotions Dial Records founder Ross Russell died. He released 78-rpm recordings of Charlie Parker on his small jazz label and wrote a biography of Parker in 1973 called “Bird Lives! The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker”.

. 1976 ~ ABBA knocked Queen from the UK No.1 position on the UK singles chart with ‘Mamma Mia.’ Queen’s single ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ had enjoyed a nine-week run at the top of the charts, by coincidence, Queen’s single contains the famous “mamma mia, mamma mia, mamma mia let me go” line.

. 1981~ Justin Timberlake, singer with *NSYNC who had the 2000 US No.1 single ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ and the 1999 UK No.5 single ‘I Want You Back’. As a solo artist scored the 2003 UK No.2 & US No.3 single ‘Cry Me A River’. His second solo album ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’ was released in 2006 with the US No.1 hit singles ‘SexyBack’, ‘My Love’ and ‘What Goes Around… Comes Around.’ With his first two albums, Timberlake has sold over fourteen million albums worldwide. Timberlake has his own record label called Tennman Records. He also has an acting career, having starred in films such as The Social Network, Bad Teacher and Friends with Benefits.

. 1982 ~ Sandy Duncan of Tyler, Texas gave her final performance as Peter Pan in Los Angeles, CA. The actress completed 956 performances without missing a show. She flew a total of 261.5 miles while on stage.

. 1985 ~ John Fogerty, former leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival, returned to the A&M recording studios in Hollywood, CA to give his first ‘live’ performance in 14 years. Actually, Fogerty performed in a video called Rock and Roll Girls.

. 1987 ~ Madonna’s record, Open Your Heart, moved to the #2 spot on the pop charts (right behind At This Moment by Billy Vera and The Beaters). A week later, Open Your Heart became Madonna’s fifth #1 hit since 1983. She had 11 consecutive singles in the Top 10, the most for any female artist of the rock era.

. 1995 ~ George Abbott, Director, passed away.

. 2002 ~ Evelyn Scott, the city’s first female disc jockey who later played a tough-talking tavern keeper on the television soap opera “Peyton Place,” died at the age of 86. Born in Brockton, Mass., Scott moved to Los Angeles and landed a job as a disc jockey on radio station KMPC. She later was hired as a singing DJ on KHJ’s “Rise and Shine” morning show. She began acting in theater companies and eventually landed small roles in films such as “Wicked Woman,” “The Green-Eyed Blonde” and “I Want to Live.” She may be best remembered as saloon keeper Ada Jacks in the soap “Peyton Place,” which showed the extramarital affairs and other dark secrets of the residents of a small New England town. Scott played the role from 1965 to 1969, and then reprised the role on “Return to Peyton Place” from 1972 to 1974. She also came back for the 1985 television movie “Peyton Place: The Next Generation.” Scott appeared in episodes of other TV shows including “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke” and “Perry Mason.” After she retired from acting, she dedicated her time to helping the homeless and served as a board member of Portals House Inc., a center for mentally ill people.

. 2004 ~ Roberto Ocasio, a versatile musician and bandleader of Latin Jazz Project, died in a car accident. He was 49. Ocasio performed more than 250 times last year, mostly in Cleveland. He has shared stages with such other Latino musicians as Eddie Palmieri and Nestor Torres. His band played venues from street festivals to Cleveland’s Severance Hall. Ocasio played the piano and six other instruments. He earned a degree in composition and arranging from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He formed Latin Jazz Project in 1997. Ocasio composed and arranged the band’s music, a repertoire ranging from original pieces to rock tunes and American standards with his own twist. He performed songs in Spanish and English.

January 29: On This Day in Music

today

. 1715 ~ Georg Christoph Wagenseil, Austrian composer and pianist

. 1782 ~ Daniel François Esprit Auber, French composer, primarily of comic operas

. 1784 ~ Ferdinand Ries, German composer. Ries was a friend, pupil and secretary of Ludwig van Beethoven.

. 1862 ~ Frederick (Fritz) Theodor Albert Delius, British composer
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. 1876 ~ Havergal Brian, British classical composer

. 1889 ~ Huddie Ledbetter, Blues singer

. 1924 ~ Luigi Nono, Italian composer

. 1937 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra waxed the famous Song of India on Victor Records.

. 1942 ~ Claudine Longet, Singer, formerly married to Andy Williams

. 1947 ~ David Byron, Singer

. 1949 ~ Tommy Ramone (Erdelyi), Drummer with The Ramones

. 1953 ~ Teresa Teng, Chinese singer

. 1954 ~ Oprah Winfrey, Entertainer, Emmy Award-winning talk show host

. 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.

. 1981 ~ Cozy (William Randolph) Cole passed 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