October 19 ~ This Day in Music History

 

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere).  One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.

As per India’s official holiday calendar, Diwali in 2017 will be on October 19, coinciding with the 15th day of Kartik, the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar.

 

• 1911 ~ George Cates, Musician, worked with Steve Allen, musical director of the Lawrence Welk Show for 25 years

• 1916 ~ Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Swedish opera composer

• 1916 ~ Emil Gilels, Russian pianist

• 1938 ~ The Bob Crosby Orchestra recorded I’m Free for Decca. Billy Butterfield was featured on trumpet. A few years later, the song would be retitled, What’s New.

• 1939 ~ Benita Valiente, American soprano

• 1944 ~ Peter Tosh (Winston McIntosh), Singer, baritone and musician. He uses homemade instruments and performed reggae with Bob Marley

• 1944 ~ An actor who would become legend in scores of tough guy roles made his stage debut in New York. Marlon Brando appeared in the Broadway hit, “I Remember Mama”.

• 1945 ~ Jeannie C. Riley (Stephenson), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1953 ~ Julius LaRosa, popular singer of the time, was unceremoniously fired on the air by Arthur Godfrey. “Julie lacks humility,” Godfrey told the stunned audience, while putting his arm around LaRosa. He said, “So, Julie, to teach you a lesson, you’re fired!”

• 1956 ~ Nino DeFranco, Singer with The DeFranco Family

• 1957 ~ Karl Wallinger, Musician, keyboards, guitarist with World Party

• 1959 ~ Twelve-year-old Patty Duke made her first Broadway appearance, in “The Miracle Worker”. The play would last for 700 performances and become a classic motion picture, launching Patty to fame and fortune.

• 1973 ~ Elvis and Priscilla Presley were divorced after six years and one child (Lisa Marie).

October 15 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1818 ~ Alexander Dreyschock, Bohemian pianist

• 1844 ~ Friedrich Niedzsche, German philosopher and composer

• 1900 ~ Boston Symphony Hall’s first concert took place

• 1906 ~ American premièr of Puccini’s opera, “Madama Butterfly”, Washington, D.C.

• 1913 ~ David Carroll, Conductor, arranger, record producer for The Diamonds and The Platters

• 1925 ~ Mickey (McHouston) Baker, Guitarist, singer in the duo, Mickey and Sylvia

• 1925 ~ Grand Ole Opry started on radio in Nashville, Tennessee (where it still originates). It was first heard on network radio in 1939. The show finally made it to TV on this day in 1955.

• 1926 ~ Karl Richter, German organist and conductor

• 1931 ~ The production of “Cat and the Fiddle” opened in New York. It played for 395 performances.

• 1932 ~ The first city-owned opera house, the War Memorial Opera House of San Francisco, opened this day. “Tosca” was the first opera presented.

• 1937 ~ Barry McGuire, Singer, songwriter with The New Christy Minstrels

• 1938 ~ Marv Johnson, Singer

• 1942 ~ Don Stevenson, Drummer, singer with Moby Grape

• 1946 ~ Richard Carpenter, Composer, singer, Grammy Award-winning group, the Carpenters

• 1948 ~ Chris De Burgh (Davidson), Singer, songwriter

• 1951 ~ I Love Lucy debuted on CBS-TV. For the next 20 years, Lucille Ball would be a TV regular. She did take 1956 off. Why? No, having little Ricky had nothing to do with it. She starred in “Damn Yankees” on Broadway that year.

• 1953 ~ Tito (Toriano) Jackson, Singer with The Jackson Five, brother of Michael, Janet, Jermaine, LaToya

• 1953 ~ “Teahouse of the August Moon” opened on Broadway to begin a long and successful run of 1,027 performances.

• 1955 ~ The Grand Ole Opry started on TV

• 1964 ~ An American treasure passed away. Cole Porter, renowned lyricist and composer, died at age 73. I’ve Got You Under My Skin and hundreds of other classics crossed all musical style and format boundaries throughout his long and rich career. More information about Porter

• 2001 ~ Etta James, the prolific jazz vocalist whose soulful, blues-influenced recordings over more than a half century won her acclaim and two Grammy nominations, died of complications from a bout with cancer. She was 72. Jones’ style was described as a cross between Billie Holiday, her idol, and Dinah Washington. She died the same day her last recording, Etta Jones Sings Lady Day, hit music stores. Born in Aiken, S.C., Jones was a teenager when she was discovered while competing in a contest at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem. Jones collaborated with such greats as Oliver Nelson, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Kenny Burrell and Cedar Walton, both in concert and on recordings. She recorded prolifically for RCA, Prestige, Muse and more recently Highnote Records. Jones earned a gold record for her 1960 recording Don’t Go to Strangers, and received a Grammy nomination in 1981 for Save Your Love For Me. She got a second Grammy nomination in 1999 for a collection of songs: My Buddy – Etta Jones Sings the Songs of Buddy Johnson. Jones was the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Eubie Blake Jazz Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women in Jazz Foundation.

Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence-Foster-Jenkins

Meryl Streep has made her famous (again)

In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her ambition far exceeds her talent. The voice Florence hears in her head is beautiful, but to everyone else it is quite lousy. Her husband St. Clair goes to extreme lengths to make sure his wife never finds out how awful she truly is. When Florence announces her plans for a concert at Carnegie Hall, St. Clair soon realizes that he’s facing his greatest challenge yet.

 

August 28 ~ This Day in Music History

• 1850 ~ Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, was performed for the first time.

• 1894 ~ Karl Böhm, Austrian conductor

OCMS   1913 ~ Richard Tucker, American tenor
More information about Tucker

• 1924 ~ Dinah Washington, American rhythm-and-blues singer. She popularized many, many great songs, including What a Diff’rence a Day Makes, Unforgettable, and several hits with Brook Benton.

• 1925 ~ Billy (William Wayne) Grammer, Singer

• 1931 ~ You Rascal You was recorded by Henry Allen, with the Luis Russell Band, for the Victor label.

• 1939 ~ Clem Cattini, Drummer with Tornados

• 1948 ~ Daniel Seraphine, Drummer with Chicago

• 1951 ~ Wayne Osmond, Singer with The Osmond Brothers

• 1964 ~ The Beatles appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine.

• 1965 ~ Shania Twain (Eilleen Regina Edwards), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1984 ~ The Jacksons’ Victory Tour broke the record for concert ticket sales. The group surpassed the 1.1 million mark in only two months.

• 2002 ~ Kay Gardner, whose last musical work with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra memorialized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died of a heart attack. She was in her early 60s.
On hearing of her death, symphony officials scheduled Gardner’s work, “Lament for Thousand,” for the orchestra’s season-opening concert Oct. 13 at the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono.
Gardner was a pianist, flutist and conductor who performed in 46 states and several countries.
More than 20 years ago, she sued the Bangor Symphony, unsuccessfully, for sex discrimination after she had applied for a conducting position and learned that orchestra members had been asked how they felt about working with a female conductor.
In 2000, she was the guest conductor for a 40-member orchestra of women from the Bangor Symphony, playing a repertoire written by women.
Gardner studied music at the University of Michigan and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1972, she helped found a feminist and openly lesbian women’s band, Lavender Jane.

August 6 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1834 ~ Hermann Mendel, German music lexicographer

• 1909 ~ Karl Ulrich Schnabel, German pianist and composer

• 1912 ~ Marina Koshetz, who followed her famous Russian diva mother Nina to the opera and concert stage and into the movies, was born.  Koshetz was born in Moscow, trained in France and came to the United States as a teenager. She made her debut substituting for her mother Nina Koshetz on radio’s “Kraft Music Hall.”  Using her father’s surname, she began appearing in films in the early 1930s as Marina Schubert. Among her early films were “Little Women,” “All the King’s Horses” and “British Agent.”
Marina concentrated more on her voice in the 1940s. Adopting the professional name Marina Koshetz, she went on to sing with the New York Metropolitan Opera and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Koshetz made her Los Angeles recital debut at the old Philharmonic Auditorium in 1947.

• 1921 ~ Buddy (William) Collette, Musician. reeds, piano and composer

• 1939 ~ After becoming a success with Ben Bernie on network radio, Dinah Shore started her own show on the NBC Blue radio network. Dinah sang every Sunday evening. Dinah also had a successful TV career spanning over two decades.

• 1940 ~ Columbia Records cut the prices of its 12-inch classical records. The records were priced to sell at $1. Within two weeks, RCA Victor did the same and ended a record-buying slump brought on by disinterested consumers.

• 1958 ~ Randy DeBarge, Musician, bass, vocals with DeBarge

• 1966 ~ The Beatles’ “Revolver” LP was released.

• 1973 ~ Stevie Wonder came close to losing his life, following a freak auto accident. Wonder, one of Motown’s most popular recording artists, was in a coma for 10 days. Miraculously, he recovered and was back in the recording studio in less than eight weeks.

• 1976 ~ Gregor Piatigorsky, Russian-born cellist, died
More information about Piatigorsky

• 1981 ~ Stevie Nicks’ first solo album, Bella Donna, was released. The lead singer for Fleetwood Mac scored a top-three hit with Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around from the album. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were featured on the track. Nicks went on to record a total of 11 hits for the pop-rock charts through 1988.

• 2016 ~ Pete Fountain, the famed New Orleans jazz clarinetist whose 60-year career was marked by performances for presidents and a pope, making him an international ambassador for the music and culture of his hometown, died at the age of 86.

August 2 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1891 ~ Sir Arthur Bliss, British composer
Read quotes by and about Bliss

• 1900 ~ Helen Morgan (Riggins), Pop Singer

• 1905 ~ Karl Amadeus Hartmann, German composer

• 1924 ~ Joe Harnell, Conductor and arranger

• 1925 ~ John Dexter, Opera director, Mid-America Chorale

• 1921 ~ Enrico Caruso, Italian operatic tenor, died in Naples.

• 1926 ~ The first demonstration of the Vitaphone system, that combined picture and sound for movies, was held at the Warner Theatre in New York City. John Barrymore and Mary Astor starred in the demonstration film for the new moving picture projector.

• 1935 ~ Hank Cochran, Pop Singer and songwriter

• 1937 ~ Garth Hudson, Musician, keyboard with The Band

• 1937 ~ Benny Goodman and his quartet recorded Smiles for Victor Records. Playing with Goodman’s clarinet on the famous song were Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa.

• 1939 ~ Edwin Patten, Singer with Gladys Knight & The Pips

• 1941 ~ Doris Kenner-Jackson (Coley), Singer with The Shirelles

• 1943 ~ Kathy Lennon, Singer with The Lennon Sisters

• 1951 ~ Andrew Gold, Singer, son of composer Ernest Gold

• 1991 ~ Jeri Southern passed away

• 1997 – Nigeria’s musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who popularized the Afro-music beat globally, died of AIDS aged 58.

• 2000 ~ Helen Quinn, who for more than 30 years presided over the Metropolitan Opera patrons who lined up to buy standing-room tickets, died at the age of 76. Often called the Queen of Standees by those who allowed her to take charge of the ticket queue, Quinn was herself a veteran of standing-room lines at the Met, and attended five or six performances a week, almost always as a standee. In 1966, on her own initiative, she imposed a system on the standee process that the throng of regulars was apparently happy to abide by, and to which the Met gave tacit approval.

• 2001 ~ Ron Townson, the portly centerpiece singer for the Grammy-winning pop group  The 5th Dimension, died of renal failure after a four-year battle with kidney disease. He was 68.  Other members of the reconstituted group – known for such 1960s hits as Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In, Wedding Bell Blues and Stoned Soul Picnic – performed at the Capitol Fourth music and fireworks show on July 4 in Washington, D.C.   Declining health had forced Townson to retire from The 5th Dimension in 1997, bringing to an end a career that saw him tour with such music legends as Nat King’ Cole and Dorothy Dandridge, appear in operas and direct choirs. He helped front The 5th Dimension when the group’s smooth mixture of pop, jazz, gospel, and rhythm and blues won it four Grammys in 1968 for the Jimmy Webb song Up Up and Away. Other hits included One Less Bell to Answer and Sweet Blindness. As various members left The 5th Dimension in the 1970s to pursue solo projects, Townson formed the group Ron Townson and Wild Honey. Later, he reunited with McLemore and LaRue in a new version of The 5th Dimension that included Phyllis Battle and Greg Walker. He also appeared on television and in films, including the 1992 movie The
Mambo Kings.

• 2002 ~ Freidann Parker, co-founder of the Colorado Ballet, died at the age of 77.  Colorado Ballet co-founder Lillian Covillo met Parker in the late 1940s in a dance class taught by Martha Wilcox. The two began the Covillo-Parker School of Dance, and then a fledgling ballet company.After an ambitious double bill in 1961, they created Colorado Concert Ballet, which presented Denver’s first Nutcracker the following season. Every performance sold out. By 1978, the board of directors more than doubled its budget to $100,000, and Colorado Ballet was born. Today its budget has grown to $7 million with a roster of 40 dancers. Parker’s first dance lessons were with Iris Potter. She later trained with modern-dance pioneer Hanya Holm.

July 21 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1748 ~ Louis-Henry Paisible, Composer

• 1779 ~ Gottlob Wiedebein, Composer

• 1782 ~ Placidus Cajetan von Camerloher, Composer, died at the age of 63

• 1797 ~ Franz Schoberlechner, Composer

• 1865 ~ Robert Kahn, Composer

• 1870 ~ Josef Strauss, Austrian composer, died at the age of 42

• 1896 ~ Jean Rivier-Villemomble France, Composer

• 1898 ~ Ernest Willem Mulder, Composer

• 1898 ~ Sara Carter, Vocalist/guitarist with the Carter Family

• 1903 ~ Theodore Karyotakis, Composer

• 1906 ~ Daniel Ayala Perez, Composer

• 1915 ~ Floyd McDaniel ~ blues singer/guitarist

• 1920 ~ Isaac Stern, American concert violinist
Read quotes by and about Stern
More information about Stern

• 1920 ~ Manuel Valls Gorina, Composer

• 1921 ~ Billy Taylor, Orchestra leader on the David Frost Show

• 1922 ~ Kay Starr (Katherine Starks), Pop Singer

• 1925 ~ Lovro Zupanovic, Composer

• 1926 ~ Albert Fuller, American harpsichordist

• 1926 ~ Norman Jewison, Director of Jesus Christ, Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof

• 1927 ~ Stefan Niculescu, Composer

• 1931 ~ Leon Schidlowsky, Composer

• 1931 ~ Ted Husing was master of ceremonies for the very first CBS-TV program. The gala show featured singer Kate Smith, composer George Gershwin and New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker.

• 1935 ~ Kaye Stevens, Singer and comedienne on the Jerry Lewis Show

• 1938 ~ Anton Emil Kuerti, Composer

• 1938 ~ Paul Hindemith and Leonide Massines ballet premiered in London

• 1947 ~ Cat Stevens (Steven Demitri Georgiou) (Muslim name: Yusuf Islam), British folk-rock singer and songwriter

• 1948 ~ Donald Nichols Tweedy, Composer, died at the age of 58

• 1950 ~ Albert Riemenschneider, Composer, died at the age of 71

• 1958 ~ The last of Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts programs aired on CBS-TV. Many artists got their start on Talent Scouts, including Tony Bennett, Pat Boone, The McGuire Sisters and a singer named Connie Francis, who not only sang, but played the accordion, as well.

• 1962 ~ Dmitri Shostakovitch completed his 13th Symphony

• 1964 ~ Dmitri Shostakovitch completed his 10th String quartet

• 1969 ~ Just one day after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Duke Ellington and a portion of his band performed a 10-minute composition on ABC-TV titled Moon Maiden. The work featured piano, drums, bass and vocals.

• 1973 ~ Bad, Bad Leroy Brown reached the top spot on the Billboard pop-singles chart, becoming Jim Croce’s first big hit. Croce died in a plane crash two months later (September 20, 1973).

• 1976 ~ “Guys & Dolls” opened at Broadway Theater New York City for 239 performances

• 1994 ~ Dorothy Collins, Singer on Your Hit Parade, died at the age of 67

• 1995 ~ Edwin “Russell” House, Saxophonist, died at the age of 65

• 2000 ~ Iain Hamilton, the Scottish composer who turned Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” into an opera at the age of 78. Hamilton wrote four symphonies and dozens of orchestral and chamber works but is known best for his vocal music, which includes a cantata based on the poems of Robert Burns. “Anna Karenina” premiered at the English National Opera in 1981 to critical acclaim. His other operas include “Agamemnon”, “The Catiline Conspiracy”, based on a Ben Jonson play, and an adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s play “The Royal Hunt of the Sun”. From 1961 to 1978 he was a professor of music at Duke University in North Carolina.

• 2000 ~ Barbra Streisand announced final concerts

• 2001 ~ Norman Hall Wright, the last surviving writer who worked on the Disney film Fantasia 2000, died at the age of 91. Wright studied at the University of Southern California before being hired by Walt Disney Productions. He started as an animator but later became a writer, producer and director. Wright developed the story of The Nutcracker Suite sequence for Fantasia 2000. He also was responsible for a sequence in Bambi. He wrote several cartoon shorts for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy and also produced several Wonderful World of Disney television programs.

• 2002 ~ Gus Dudgeon, a respected music producer who worked on many of Elton John’s hit recordings, died in a car crash in western England. He was 59. Dudgeon produced Rocket Man, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Your Song, Daniel and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me. Dudgeon also produced David Bowie’s Space Oddity and worked with other stars, including Chris Rea and Joan Armatrading. But it was his partnership with Sir Elton in the 1970s for which he will be best remembered. Dudgeon began his career in the early 1960s as a tea boy, running errands at Olympic Studios in London before joining Decca Records. He engineered the Zombies’ classic She’s Not There and the groundbreaking Blues Breakers album by John Mayall with Eric Clapton, before moving into producing.

• 2015 ~ Theodore Meir Bikel,  Austrian-American actor, folk singer, musician, composer, and activist, died at the age of 91.