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 7 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1899 ~ Robert Casadesus, French pianist and composer

. 1908 ~ Percy Faith, Grammy Award-winning orchestra leader, composer

. 1915 ~ Billie Holiday, American jazz singer, born as Eleanora Fagan. She sang with all the American big band leaders of her day while developing her own intimate style.

. 1919 ~ Ralph Flanagan, Bandleader

. 1920 ~ Ravi Shankar, Indian sitarist and composer

. 1925 ~ David Carr Glover, Piano Educator

. 1949 ~ Opening day of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “South Pacific”. It was a musical classic of love and war, and it unfolded on a lush tropical island swarming with Seabees, nurses, natives and coconut trees on this night in 1949. Actually, it was not a tropical island, but the stage of the Majestic Theatre in New York City. Ezio Pinza starred as the suave French plantation owner with a shady past and Mary Martin portrayed the bubbly, pretty, but naive Navy nurse. Mary Martin washed her hair a zillion times as she sang, I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair in 1,925 performances.

. 1950 Tony Awards went to the show and its producers, performers, director (Joshua Logan) and composers nine statuettes. It also earned a Pulitzer Prize in the same year and in 1958 was made into a movie.
More about Mary Martin

. 1951 ~ Janis Ian, Singer-songwriter

. 1954 ~ Gee, by The Crows, became the first rhythm and blues single to gain attention on pop music charts.

. 1973 ~ Vicki Lawrence got her number one single as The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia made it to the top of the pop charts on this day.

. 1987 ~ Maxine Sullivan (Marietta Williams) passed away

March 19 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1872 ~ Sergei Diaghilev, Russian impresario; founder of the Ballets Russes
More information about Diaghilev

. 1873 ~ Max Reger, German composer
Read quotes by and about Reger
More information about Reger

. 1917 ~ Dinu Lipatti, Rumanian pianist and composer
More information about Lipatti

. 1930 ~ Ornette Coleman, American jazz alto saxophonist and composer
More information about Coleman

. 1941 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded one of their biggest musical successes. It became one of Decca Records’ all-time greats. Green Eyes featured vocalists Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly.

. 1946 ~ Ruth Pointer, Singer from The Pointer Sisters

. 2001 ~ Cuba-born entertainer Tony Alvarez of “El Show de Olga y Tony” died at age 85. Alvarez was best known for the television and radio programs he hosted with his wife, singer Olga Chorens. He began his career in Cuba in the 1940s as a singer and model, starring in a tango program on Channel Azul. In the 1960s, Alvarez and Chorens moved to Puerto Rico, where they began “El Show de Olga y Tony.” They later moved to New York, where they performed on WABC-TV, WPIX-TV and WNJU-TV from 1965 to 1972.

. 2001 ~ Elena Del Rubio, whose 60-year singing career with her sisters as the Del Rubio Triplets got a boost with campy covers of 1980s tunes, died of cancer. She was believed to be in her 70s. “It was a terrible blow to me,” said Milly, the only surviving sister. “Now I’m left alone.” Another triplet, Eadie, died in 1996. The sisters lived together in a mobile home overlooking the ocean. The trio that promoted itself as “3 Gals 3 Guitars 1 Birthday” performed for six decades in showcases ranging from television comedy to retirement homes. The three were in their 60s when they hit the Hollywood scene, dressed in identical miniskirts, go-go boots and big blonde hairdos. Calling themselves “song stylists,” the sisters’ diverse acts included mariachi strolling, country western music, Hawaiian-Calypso and holiday theme music.

. 2001 ~ Randall Hylton, a bluegrass performer who wrote Room at the Top of the Stairs, died in St. Thomas Hospital after suffering an aneurysm. He was 55. Hylton, who played guitar in the fingerpicking style of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis, was known for his ability to instantly write songs to fit any occasion. The 6-foot-6-inch performer also told jokes, did impersonations and could do guitar tricks, such as playing a song backward or two songs at once. Hylton’s songs were performed by more than 150 singers, including Ralph Stanley, Vern Gosdin, Mac Wiseman, Leo Kottke and Lester Flatt.

. 2001 ~ Herbie Jones, a jazz musician who worked with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, died of complications from diabetes. He was 74. Jones, a jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger and educator, toured five continents with the Ellington band. His recorded arrangements for the band were El Busto, Cootie’s Caravan, The Prowling Cat and The Opener, and he contributed to Ellington’s first and second Sacred Concerts. After leaving the Ellington band, Jones became the first director of Arts and Culture Inc., a New York City alternative school, and as a volunteer directed the Bugle Corps of the Police Athletic League in Harlem. In Ellington’s 1973 memoir, “Music Is My Mistress,” he called Jones “a great asset” to his orchestra in the 1960s. Jones often played first trumpet but rarely soloed.

. 2015 ~ Peter Katin died.  He was a British classical pianist and pedagogue.

March 6 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1808 ~ The first college orchestra ever, organized at Harvard College.

. 1925 ~ Wes Montgomery, American jazz guitarist

. 1930 ~ Lorin Maazel, American conductor
More information on Maazel

. 1941 ~ Les Hite and his orchestra recorded The World is Waiting for the Sunrise on Bluebird Records. The instrumental became Hite’s most popular work. A decade later, Les Paul and Mary Ford added a vocal to the tune, making it one of their biggest-selling hit songs.

. 1944 ~ Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, New Zealand soprano
More information on Te Kanawa

. 1962 ~ Frank Sinatra recorded his final session for Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sinatra had been recording for his own record label, Reprise, for two years. His final side on Capitol was I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues, with Skip Martin’s orchestra.

. 1967 ~ Nelson Eddy passed away

. 1985 ~ Yul Brynner played his famous role as the king in “The King and I” in his 4,500th performance in the musical. The actor, age 64, opened the successful production on Broadway in 1951.

. 2001 ~ Michael Smith, the drummer for the 1960s rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders, died in Kona, Hawaii, of natural causes at the age of 58. Smith, who played the part of the madcap jokester on stage, joined the band in 1962. The Raiders were known for their tri-cornered hats, colonial costumes and wild stage act. The Raiders were signed by CBS’ Columbia Records in 1963, and in 1965 they were hired to host “Where the Action Is,” a daily afternoon television show on ABC produced by Dick Clark Productions. The Raiders’ hit singles included Just Like Me, Kicks, Good Thing and Indian Reservation.

February 28 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1876 ~ John Alden Carpenter, American composer

. 1882 ~ Geraldine Farrar, American soprano

. 1890 ~ Vasalav Nijinsky, Ballet dancer

. 1903 ~ Vincente Minnelli (Lester Anthony Minnelli), Director, Judy Garland’s husband and Liza Minnelli’s father

. 1915 ~ Lee Castle (Castaldo), Trumpet, bandleader, led Jimmy Dorsey’s band during time of smash hit, So Rare

. 1926 ~ Seymour Shifrin, American composer

. 1930 ~ Ted Lewis and his orchestra recorded On the Sunny Side of the Street for Columbia Records on this day. Mr. Lewis was heard as the featured vocalist as well, on the tune that has been recorded hundreds of times and is an American music standard.

. 1939 ~ Tommy Tune, Tony Award-winning dancer, actor, director of musical theater

. 1942 ~ Brian Jones (Lewis Hopkin-Jones), Singer, rhythm guitar with The Rolling Stones

. 1948 ~ Bernadette Peters, Singer and actress

. 1959 ~ Cash Box magazine, a trade publication for the music/radio industry, began using a red ‘bullet’ on its record charts to indicate those records that have the strongest upward movement each week. The phrase, “Number one with a bullet” designates those hits that have reached the pinnacle of statistical chartdom. To be so means to be at the top of the list and still climbing higher.

. 1960 ~ Dmitri Capyrin, Russian composer of contemporary classical music.

. 1966 ~ The famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, England closed because of financial difficulties. During its peak of success, the club was best known as the home of The Beatles.

. 1968 ~ Frankie Lymon passed away.  He was an American rock and roll/rhythm and blues singer and songwriter.

. 1984 ~ It was Michael Jackson Night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. He set a record for most wins by taking home eight of the gramophone statuette honors. He broke the previous record of six awards set by Roger Miller in 1965. The reason: the biggest selling album of all time, Thriller, which sold more than 35-million copies around the world soon after its release in 1983.

. 1993 ~ Ruby Keeler passed away.  She was a Canadian-born American actress, dancer and singer most famous for her on-screen coupling with Dick Powell in a string of successful early musicals at Warner Brothers, particularly 42nd Street.

February 22 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1817 ~ Niels Wilhelm Gade, Danish composer

. 1834 ~ Albert Heinrich Zabel, harpist and composer

. 1857 ~ Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts

. 1923 ~ Frederick A. Julliard set up a million-dollar fund to establish a music school. Today, Juilliard is one of the world’s leading music and dance schools.

. 1927 ~ David Ahlstrom, American composer

. 1931 ~ Maurice Chevalier recorded Walkin’ My Baby Back Home for Victor Records in New York City. The same tune was recorded 21 years later by Nat ‘King’ Cole and Johnny Ray. It became a major hit for both artists.

. 1945 ~ Oliver (Swofford), Singer

. 1956 ~ Elvis Presley entered the music charts for the first time. Heartbreak Hotel began its climb to the number one spot on the pop listing, reaching the top on April 11, 1956. It stayed at the top for eight weeks.

. 1958 ~ Roy Hamilton’s record, Don’t Let Go, became #13 in its first week on the record charts. The song was the first stereo record to make the pop music charts. 1958 was the year for several stereo recordings, including Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes by Chuck Willis, Yakety Yak by the Coasters, Born Too Late by The Poni-Tails, It’s All in the Game by Tommy Edwards and What Am I Living For by Chuck Willis.

. 1965 ~ Filming began for The Beatles’ second movie, “HELP!”, in the Bahamas.

. 1976 ~ Florence Ballard passed away.  She was an American vocalist, one of the founding members of the popular Motown vocal group the Supremes. Ballard sang on sixteen top forty singles with the group, including ten number-one hits.

. 2001 ~ Ray Hendricks, a singer of the Big Band era who performed with Benny Goodman and Betty Grable, died at the age of 88. His career took him to Hollywood and across the country with stars including Goodman, Grable, Hoagy Carmichael, Ben Bernie, Ray Noble and Sid Lippman. His earliest performances were on Spokane radio station KFPY. He soon set out for California with Bob Crosby, brother of Bing Crosby. After serving as a flying instructor in the Air Force during World War II, he returned to Spokane and formed his own orchestra. He continued playing local venues for several decades, but said he regretted not pushing his career after the war.

. 2001 ~ Herbert Kupferberg, a music critic and a senior editor of Parade magazine, died at the age of 83. For more than 20 years, Kupferberg was an editor and critic for The New York Herald Tribune. After it folded in 1966, he joined Parade. He also wrote reviews for The Atlantic Monthly, and The National Observer. Kupferberg, born in New York in 1918, published several books including Amadeus: A Mozart Mosaic and Those Fabulous Philadelphians: The Life and Times of a Great Orchestra, a history of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

February 6 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1843 ~ The first minstrel show in America, “The Virginia Minstrels”, opened at the Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City.

. 1903 ~ Claudio Arrau, Chilean pianist

. 1929 ~ Rudy Vallee and his orchestra recorded Deep Night. It says in the fine print, under the artist’s name, that the tune was written by Vallee, himself.

. 1943 ~ Fabian (Fabian Forte), Singer

. 1943 ~ Frank Sinatra made his debut as vocalist on radio’s “Your Hit Parade” this night. Frankie had left the Tommy Dorsey Band just four months prior to beginning the radio program. He was described as, “…the biggest name in the business.”

. 1945 ~ Bob Marley, Jamaican reggae singer and songwriter

. 1947 ~ Alan Jones, Saxophone with Amen Corner

. 1950 ~ Natalie Cole, Grammy Award-winning singer, Best New Artist in 1975 with This Will Be, I’ve Got Love on My Mind. She is the daughter of Nat ‘King’ Cole

. 1966 ~ Rick Astley, Singer, songwriter

. 1981 ~ Former Beatle, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison teamed up once again to record a musical tribute to John Lennon. The result of that session became All Those Years Ago. The song went to #2 on the pop music charts for three weeks. It was recorded on Harrison’s own Dark Horse label.