On May 12 in Music History

Happy Mother’s Day!

• 1739 ~ Jan Krtitel Vanhal, composer

• 1754 ~ Franz Anton Hoffmeister, composer

• 1755 ~ Giovanni Battista Viotti, composer

OCMS 1842 ~ Jules Emile Frédéric Massenet, French composer
More information about Massenet

• 1845 ~ Gabriel Fauré, French composer and organist
More information about Fauré

• 1871 ~ Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber, French opera composer, died. He was best known for developing opera containing spoken as well as sung passages.

• 1884 ~ Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, composer of operas including “The Bartered Bride” and “The Brandenburgers in Bohemia”, died.
More information about Smetana

• 1909 ~ Margaret Harshaw, American opera singer and voice teacher

• 1921 ~ (Otis W.) Joe Maphis, Country singer with wife, Rose Lee

• 1928 ~ Burt Bacharach, American pianist and Oscar-winning composer. With Hal David, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, Tony award for score for Promises, Promises; What the World Needs Now, Walk on By, Close to You, I Say a Little Prayer, Do You Know the Way to San Jose? Oscar-winning team with his wife, Carol Bayer Sager

• 1943 ~ David Walker, Keyboards with Gary Lewis & The Playboys

• 1946 ~ Ian McLagan, Keyboards

• 1955 ~ Gisele MacKenzie played a singer on the NBC-TV program, Justice. She introduced her soon-to-be hit song, Hard to Get. The song went to number four on the Billboard pop music chart by September.

• 1971 ~ The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger married Bianca Perez Morena de Macias.

• 1973 ~ Dueling Tubas by Martin Mull hit #92

• 1977 ~ The Eagles earned a gold record for the hit, Hotel California. The award was the second of three gold record singles for the group. The other million sellers were New Kid in Town and Heartache Tonight. Two number one songs by The Eagles — Best of My Love and One of These Nights — didn’t quite make the million-seller mark.

• 1985 ~ Lionel Richie received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama (his alma mater). Richie had put 14 hits on the pop charts in the 1980s, including one platinum smash, Endless Love (with Diana Ross) and four gold records (Truly, All Night Long, Hello and Say You, Say Me). All but one song (Se La) of the 14 charted made it to the top ten.

• 1987 ~ Victor Feldman, British jazz pianist and drummer, died at the age of 53 of a heart attack

• 2001 ~ Perry Como, the crooning baritone barber famous for his relaxed vocals, cardigan sweaters and television Christmas specials, died after a lengthy illness. He was 87.

• 2016 ~ Julius La Rosa, American singer (fired by Arthur Godfrey on the air), died at the age of 86

 

On May 3 in Music History

today

• 1844 ~ Richard D’Oyly Carte, British impresario; producer of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. He also founded the Savoy Theater in London.

• 1912 ~ Virgil Fox, Organ virtuoso: credited for bringing the organ “to the forefront among classical concert instruments”

• 1919 ~ Betty Comden, Composer

• 1919 ~ Pete Seeger, American folk singer, banjo player, guitarist and songwriter

• 1924 ~ Joe Ames, Singer with The Ames Brothers

• 1926 ~ Jimmy Cleveland, Composer, musician, trombone

• 1928 ~ Dave Dudley (Pedruska), Country singer

• 1933 ~ James Brown, American rhythm-and-blues singer-songwriter, dancer and instrumentalist, The Godfather of Soul, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986

• 1937 ~ Frankie Valli (Francis Castellucio), Falsetto singer with The Four Seasons

• 1939 ~ Beer Barrel Polka, one of the standards of American music, was recorded by The Andrews Sisters for Decca Records. Patti, Maxine and LaVerne turned this song into a giant hit.

 

• 1951 ~ In Britain, the King and Queen inaugurated the Festival of Britain on London’s South Bank and also opened the Festival Hall.

• 1956 ~ Most Happy Fella, a musical by Frank Loesser, opened at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. The show, an adaptation of They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard, ran for 676 performances on Broadway.

• 1960 ~ The play, The Fantasticks, opened at the Sullivan Playhouse in New York City. It would later become the longest-running off-Broadway play.

 

• 1971 ~ NPR, National Public Radio, the U.S. national, non-commercial radio network, was born.

• 1997 ~ Narciso Yepes, famous Spanish classical guitarist, died.

• 2001 ~ Legendary jazz drummer Billy Higgins died at the age of 64. Higgins was one of the most recorded figures in the history of jazz, performing with John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Milt Jackson, Charles Lloyd, Pat Metheny, Lee Morgan, Art Pepper and Joshua Redman, among others. He played with pianist Cedar Walton and was involved with the first edition of bassist Charlie Haden’s innovative Quartet West. Higgins came to prominence in the 1950s with saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s free jazz group, which included Haden and trumpeter Don Cherry. Higgins’ drumming laid the foundation for the group’s free jazz flights of fancy. That group sparked a decade of innovation in jazz that was carried on by the Coleman Quartet, Coltrane, George Russell, Charles Mingus and Albert Ayler, among others. Higgins’ ability to adapt his sense of swing to any genre made him one of the most in-demand drummers of the past four decades. Higgins helped found World Stage, a storefront performance space and teaching venue in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park. He was also on the jazz faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. Higgins was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master’s Fellowship in 1997.

• 2002 ~ Yevgeny Svetlanov, a renowned Russian pianist, composer and former chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater, died. He was 73. He was born in Moscow in 1928. He graduated from the Gnesinykh Musical- Pedagogical Institute and from the Moscow Conservatory. For several years he was conductor and chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre. From 1965 on he was artistic director and chief conductor of the State Symphonic Orchestra of USSR. He composed several symphonies, symphonic poems, chamber music works, and vocal-instrumental works. Svetlanov was the chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater from 1963 to 1965, when he was named artistic director and chief conductor of the Soviet State Symphony. He was named a People’s Artist of the Soviet Union in 1968 and was awarded the Lenin prize in 1972 and the Order of Lenin 1978. He was given the Soviet State prize for creative achievement in 1983. Svetlanov was born in the Soviet Union in 1928. In 1951, he graduated from the Gnesin Institute of Music. Svetlanov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1955 as a pianist, composer and conductor.

• 2007 ~ Ellsworth Milburn, American composer and educator (Menil Antiphons), died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 69

On April 14 in Music History

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. 1759 ~ George Frideric Handel, organist, violinist and composer, died. Among his best-known oratorios are “Saul,” “Israel in Egypt” and the “Messiah”.

. 1900 ~ Salvatore Baccaloni, Opera singer

. 1922 ~ Soprano Jeanette Vreeland sang the first radio concert from an airplane as she flew over New York City.

. 1922 ~ Ali Akbar Khan, Indian composer and maestro sarod player

. 1924 ~ Shorty Rogers (Milton Rajonsky), Musician: trumpet, bandleader, songwriter, composer, arranger

. 1933 ~ Buddy Knox, Singer

. 1933 ~ Morton Subotnick, American composer of experimental music

. 1935 ~ Loretta Lynn, American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist, first woman to earn the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year award; named ACM Artist of the Decade in 1979

. 1941 ~ Hildegarde recorded the standard Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup on Decca Records. Hildegarde was the elegant singer with the long white gloves who was accompanied by the Harry Sosnik Orchestra. It took another 14 years, but Nat ‘King’ Cole turned the song into an even bigger hit, landing at number 7 on the pop music charts.

. 1951 ~ Julian Lloyd Webber, British cellist

. 1958 ~ Pianist Van Cliburn was presented on national TV for the first time on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jack Paar.

. 1958 ~ Laurie London reached the top spot on the music charts with He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, knocking Perry Como’s Catch a Falling Star down a peg or two.

. 1960 ~ The musical Bye Bye Birdie opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York City. Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke starred in the Broadway show which ran for 607 performances.

. 1967 ~ Herman’s Hermits, featuring lead singer Peter Noone, went gold with the single, There’s a Kind of Hush. It was a two-sided hit, with the flip-side, No Milk Today, also receiving considerable play. Hush, however, was a top five song, while the ‘B’ side just made it into the top 40 at number 35.

. 1995 ~ Burl Ives, Oscar-winning actor and singer whose gentle voice helped popularize American folk music, died. He played powerful dramatic roles in movies including “The Big Country,” for which he won an Academy Award for best-supporting actor, and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

. 1999 ~ Anthony Newley, British actor and singer-songwriter (Doctor Dolittle; Goldfinger theme; Willy Wonka score), died at the age of 67

. 2007 ~ Don Ho, American musician (b. 1930)

. 2013 ~ Sir Colin Davis, English conductor (NY Met 1967-71), died at the age of 85

. 2015 ~ Percy Sledge, American soul singer (When A Man Loves A Woman), died at the age of 73

On March 31 in Music History

 

. 1732 ~ Franz Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer
Listen to Haydn’s music
More information about Haydn

. 1872 ~ Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev.  He was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes.

. 1880 ~ Henryk Wieniawski, Polish violist/composer, died at the age of 44

. 1901 ~ John Stainer died.  He was an English composer and organist whose music, though not generally much performed today, was very popular during his lifetime.

. 1922 ~ Richard Kiley, American actor and singer (Kismet, Man of La Mancha, Endless Love)

. 1928 ~ Lefty (William Orville) Frizzell, Country Music Hall of Famer

. 1934 ~ Shirley Jones, Singer, actress

. 1935 ~ Herb Alpert, American trumpeter, bandleader (Tijuana Brass), composer, record company executive: the “A” of A&M Records

. 1937 ~ Phil Harris recorded one of his best-known songs in Los Angeles, CA. That’s What I Like About the South was recorded on a 78 RPM disk. Harris would move to TV stardom and continue as a popular vocalist during the 1950s with such hit songs as The Thing.

. 1943 ~ The show, Away We Go, was renamed. The show opened at the St. James Theatre in New York City and, thanks to the talents of stars like Alfred Drake, Joan Roberts and Howard DeSilva, it became an instant hit. The show ran for 2,248 performances, until 1948. The musical, which has grossed millions of dollars on stage and as a blockbuster movie was initially produced for the sum of $75,000. It is still legendary among musical productions – especially after it was retitled Oklahoma!

. 1944 ~ Rod Allen (Rodney Bainbridge), Bass, singer with The Fortunes

. 1944 ~ Mick Ralphs, Guitarist

. 1945 ~ Al Nichol, Guitarist, keyboards with The Turtles

. 1953 ~ Sean Hopper, Keyboards with Clover and Huey Lewis and The News

. 1959 ~ Angus Young, Guitarist with AC/DC

. 1967 ~ Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar for the first time in a public performance at Finsbury Park in London.

. 1985 ~ Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, long a favorite of country music stars, closed its doors in Nashville, TN.

On March 29 in Music History

 

Piano Day, an annual worldwide event founded by a group of like-minded people, takes place on the 88th day of the year – in 2019 it’s the 29th March – because of the number of keys on the instrument being celebrated.

 

. 1788 ~ Charles Wesley, writer of over 5,500 hymns and, with his brother John, the founder of Methodism, died.

. 1871 ~ The Royal Albert Hall in London opened

. 1878 ~ Albert Von Tilzer, Composer.  He was the composer of “Take Me out to the Ball Game” among other old favorites.
More information about Von Tilzer

. 1879 ~ “Eugene Onegin”, best-known opera by Russian composer Tchaikovsky, was first performed at the Maliy Theatre in Moscow

. 1888 ~ Charles-Valentin Alkan died.  He was a French composer and pianist.

. 1902 ~ Sir William Walton, British composer
More information about Walton

. 1906 ~ E. Power Biggs, English Organist

. 1918 ~ Pearl Mae Bailey, American jazz singer, lead in black cast of Hello Dolly

. 1936 ~ Richard Rodney Bennett, British composer

. 1943 ~ Vangelis, (Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou), composer/keyboardist (Chariots of Fire)

. 1947 ~ Bobby Kimball (Toteaux), Singer with Toto

. 1949 ~ Michael Brecker, Jazz musician, reeds with The Brecker Brothers

. 1951 ~ The King and I, the wonderful Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on Margaret Langdon’s novel, Anna and the King of Siam, opened this night in 1951 on Broadway. The King and I starred Yul Brynner in the role of the King of Siam. The king who, along with his subjects, valued tradition above all else. From this day forward, the role of the King of Siam belonged to Yul Brynner and no other. Brynner appeared in this part in more than 4,000 performances on both stage and screen (the Broadway show was adapted for Hollywood in 1956). Anna, the English governess hired to teach the King’s dozens of children, was portrayed by Gertrude Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Brynner acted, danced and sang their way into our hearts with such memorable tunes as Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance, Hello, Young Lovers, I Whistle a Happy Tune, We Kiss in a Shadow, I Have Dreamed, Something WonderfulA Puzzlement and March of the Siamese Children. The King and I ran for a total of 1,246 outstanding performances at New York’s St. James Theatre.

. 1952 ~ Roy Henderson’s last singing performance was on this date in the role of Christus in Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” at Southwark Cathedral, the Anglican cathedral on the south bank of the Thames in London.

. 1958 ~ W.C. (William Christopher) Handy, Composer passed away
More information about Handy

. 1963 ~ M.C. Hammer (Stanley Kirk Burrell), Grammy Award-winning singer

. 1973 ~ Hommy, the Puerto Rican version of the rock opera Tommy, opened in New York City. The production was staged at Carnegie Hall.

. 1973 ~ After recording On the Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’, Dr. Hook finally got a group shot on the cover of Jann Wenner’s popular rock magazine. Inside, a Rolling Stone writer confirmed that members of the group (Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show) bought five copies of the magazine for their moms – just like in the song’s lyrics!

. 1980 ~ Annunzio Paolo Mantovani, Anglo-Italian conductor and arranger, died. Created the “Mantovani sound” that made him a highly successful recording artist and concert attraction.

. 1982 ~ Carl Orff, German composer of “Carmina Burana,” died.

. 1982 ~ Ray Bloch passed away

. 1999 ~ Legendary U.S. jazz and blues singer Joe Williams died aged 80.

. 2001 ~ John Lewis, a pianist who masterminded one of the most famous ensembles in jazz, the Modern Jazz Quartet, died at the age of 80. The M.J.Q., as the quartet was known, remained mostly unchanged from the mid-1950’s to the 90’s. It began recording in 1952 with Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke. When Clarke moved to Paris in 1955, Connie Kay replaced him and the quartet continued until Kay’s death in 1994. Lewis contributed the bulk of the group’s compositions and arrangements, including Django and Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West, and he insisted members wear tuxedos to dignify jazz as an art. He was born in LaGrange, Ill., in 1920, and grew up in Albuquerque, N.M. His entree to the jazz world came during World War II, when he met Kenny Clarke, an established drummer in the nascent bebop movement. At Clarke’s urging, Lewis moved to New York after his discharge and eventually replaced Thelonious Monk as Dizzy Gillespie’s pianist. He also performed or recorded with Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Ella Fitzgerald. In 1952 he formed the M.J.Q. with Clarke, Jackson and Heath. The quartet was a steady seller of records and concert tickets well into the 1970’s. Lewis also taught music at Harvard and the City College of New York, and in the late 1950’s helped found the Lenox School of Jazz in Massachusetts.

. 2009 ~ Maurice Jarre, French composer (Doctor Zhivago-Acadamy Award winner in 1966), died at the age of 84

On March 16 in Music History

today

. 1736 ~ Giovanni Battista Pergolesi died.  He was an Italian composer, violinist and organist.

. 1894 ~ Jules Massenet’s opera “Thaïs” premiered in Paris

. 1905 ~ Nadia Boulanger made her public concert debut at the piano.

. 1924 ~ Christa Ludwig, German mezzo-soprano

. 1935 ~ Theresa Berganza, Spanish mezzo-soprano

. 1937 ~ David Del Tredici, American composer

. 1942 ~ Fats Waller recorded The Jitterbug Waltz in New York for Bluebird Records.  The Jitterbug Waltz was inspired by some piano exercises that Waller’s son Maurice had been practicing on the piano.

. 1955 ~ The Ballad of Davy Crockett, by Bill Hayes, reached the number one spot on the pop music charts and stayed for five weeks beginning this day. The smash hit song sold more than 7,000,000 records on more than 20 different labels. Everyone seemed to be singing the song that saluted the frontier hero who was “Born on a mountain top in Tennessee…” Coonskin caps were seen everywhere as the Crockett craze spread like a frontier fire.

. 1963 ~ Peter, Paul and Mary released the single, Puff The Magic Dragon.

. 1971 ~ Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water LP and single won six Grammys including Record, Song and Album of the Year. Aretha Franklin won the Best Female R&B Performance Grammy for Don’t Play That Song. B.B. King won the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy for The Thrill Is Gone.

. 1983 ~ Arthur Godfrey passed away

. 1985 ~ A Chorus Line played performance number 4,000 this night at New York’s famed Shubert Theatre. The show originally opened in July, 1975, and became the longest-running show to light up the Great White Way in September, 1983.

. 1999 ~ Honoring a roster of music artists that range from The Beatles to the Backstreet Boys, the Recording Industry Association of America presented the first Diamond Awards, given in recognition of albums and singles that have sold a million copies or more.

. 1999 ~ Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and the late Roosevelt Sykes were inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.

. 2014 ~ Mitch Leigh, American musical composer (Man of La Mancha), died at the age of 86

. 2017 ~ James Cotton, American blues vocalist and harmonica player, died at the age of 81

On March 14 in Music History

pi-day

. 1681 ~ Georg Philipp Telemann, German composer. One of the leading composers of the German Baroque, Georg Philipp Telemann was immensely prolific and highly influential. He wrote an opera at age 12, produced it at school, and sang the lead. His mother put all his instruments away and forbade further music. However, he continued to study and write in secret. He led a remarkably busy life in Hamburg, teaching, composing two cantatas for each Sunday, leading a collegium, and writing immense amounts of additional music. For two centuries musical scholars tended to look down on him by comparison with Bach, but from the midpoint of the twentieth century his reputation soared as musicologists began cataloguing his immense output, uncovering masterpiece after masterpiece.
More information about Telemann

. 1727 ~ Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, German virtuoso harpsichordist, organist, and composer of the late Baroque and early Classical period

. 1804 ~ Johann Strauss, Sr., Austrian composer; “The Father of the Waltz”
Read quotes by and about Strauss
More information about Strauss

. 1864 ~ (John Luther) Casey Jones, railroad engineer, subject of The Ballad of Casey Jones, killed in train crash Apr 30, 1900

. 1879 ~ Albert Einstein, Mathematician and enthusiastic amateur violinist
Read quotes by and about Einstein

. 1885 ~ “The Mikado,’ the comic operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, premiered at the Savoy Theater, London.

. 1912 ~ Les Brown, Bandleader, Les Brown and His Band of Renown

. 1922 ~ Les Baxter, Bandleader

. 1931 ~ Phil Phillips (Baptiste), Singer

. 1933 ~ Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., American jazz composer, trumpeter, bandleader and pianist. He composed film scores, TV show themes; record producer; arranger; 25 Grammys, Grammy’s Trustees Award in 1989, Grammy’s Legends Award in 1990; Musical Director for Mercury Records, then VP; established Qwest Records

. 1934 ~ Shirley Scott, Swinging, blues-oriented organist, recorded mostly with former husband Stanley Turrentine

. 1941 ~ Years before Desi Arnaz would make the song Babalu popular on the I Love Lucy TV show, Xavier Cugat and his orchestra recorded it with Miguelito Valdes doing the vocal. The song was on Columbia Records, as was the Arnaz version years later.

. 1945 ~ Walter Parazaider, Reeds with Chicago

. 1955 ~ Boon Gould, Guitarist with Level 42

. 1958 ~ The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the first gold record. It was Perry Como’s Catch A Falling Star on RCA Victor Records. The tune became the first to win million-seller certification, though other songs dating as far back as the 1920s may have sold a million records or more. Due to lack of a certification organization like the RIAA, they weren’t awarded the golden platter. The next three gold records that were certified after Perry Como’s million seller were the 45 rpm recordings of He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Laurie London, Patricia, an instrumental by the ‘Mambo King’, Perez Prado and Hard Headed Woman by Elvis Presley. The first gold-album certification went to the soundtrack of the motion picture, Oklahoma!, featuring Gordon MacRae. Is there really a gold record inside the wooden frame presented to winners? Those who know say, “No.” Its a gold-leaf veneer of maybe 18 kt. gold and/or it is a record painted gold. Yes, the song earning the award is supposed to be the one making up the gold record, but this is not always the case, according to several artists who have tried to play theirs.

. 1959 ~ Elvis Presley made the album charts, but no one would have known by the title of the disk. For LP Fans Only was the first LP ever issued without the artist’s name to be found anywhere on the cover — front or back.

. 1976 ~ Busby Berkeley, U.S. director and choreographer, died. He was best known for his lavish mass choreography in the films “42nd Street,” “Gold Diggers of 1933” and “Roman Scandals.”

. 1985 ~ Bill Cosby captured four People’s Choice Awards for The Cosby Show. The awards were earned from results of a nationwide Gallup Poll. Barbara Mandrell stunned the audience by announcing that she was pregnant while accepting her second award on the show. Bob Hope won the award as All-Time Entertainer beating Clint Eastwood and Frank Sinatra for the honor.

. 2016 ~ Sir Peter Maxwell Davies died.  He was an English composer and conductor.