Musical Presidents

presidents-day

 

Presidents’ Day (celebrated on the third Monday in February), was originally established in 1885 in recognition of George Washington. The holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

Wondering how many U.S. Presidents played musical instruments?

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) Third president of the United States, drafted the Declaration of Independence, and played the violin and cello.

John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848) The sixth president of the United States formulated the Monroe Doctrine, and played the flute.

John Tyler (1790-1862) The tenth president of the United States was the first Vice President to become President by the death of his predecessor.  He played the violin.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) The sixteenth president of the United States issued the Emancipation Proclamation and played the violin.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822- 1884) The eighteenth president of the United States certainly scrapes the bottom of the list. He was tone deaf and famously commented, “I only know two tunes. One of them is Yankee Doodle and the other isn’t.”

Chester Alan Arthur (1829 – 1886) Became the 21st president of the United States following the assassination of President James A. Garfield. He played the banjo.

Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945) The 32nd President of the United States and the fifth cousin to President Theodore Roosevelt, played the piano and sang soprano in his school choir.

Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924) The 28th president of the United States and creator of the League of Nations, played the violin and sang tenor in his college glee club.

Warren Harding (1865-1923) The 29th president of the United States organized the Citizen’s Cornet Band, available for both Republican and Democratic rallies. He once remarked that, “I played every instrument but the slide trombone and the E-flat cornet.”

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) The 30th president of the United States was determined to preserve old moral and economic precepts amid American prosperity. He played the harmonica.

Harry Truman (1884 – 1972) The 33rd president of the United States who served during the conclusion of World War II, played the piano.

Richard Nixon (1913 – 1994) The 37th president of the United States, who ended American fighting in Vietnam and later resigned from office in the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal, was a classically-trained pianist and also played the accordion. He composed and played this piece, set to concerto form with “15 Democratic violinists.”  Nixon takes a dig at Harry Truman just before playing.:

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) The 40th president of the United States implemented the Reagan Revolution, which aimed to reinvigorate the American people and reduce their reliance upon Government. He played the harmonica.

Bill Clinton (born 1946) The 42nd president of the United States and the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second term, plays the saxophone.

Barack Obama (born 1961) The 44th president of the United States and first African American president has broken into song on several recent occasions. President Obama sang Amazing Grace at the funeral for South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney:

Technic Series: Scales and Arpeggios

scales

PDF Article on Scales and Arpeggios

In music, a scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch.

An arpeggio (it. /arˈpeddʒo/) is a musical technique where notes in a chord are played or sung in sequence, one after the other, rather than being played together like a chord. This word comes from the Italian word “arpeggiare”, which means “to play on a harp”. An alternative translation of this term is “broken chord”.

Make any scale or chord here

 

February 15: On This Day in Music

today

 

. 1571 ~ Michael Praetorius, German organist, composer and theorist

. 1621 ~ Michael Praetorius, German composer (In Dulce Jubilo), died on his 50th birthday
More information about Praetorius

. 1797 ~ Heinrich Engelhard Steinway, German piano manufacturer
More information about Steinway

. 1847 ~ Robert Fuchs, Austrian composer and music teacher

. 1857 ~ Mikhail Glinka, Russian composer (“Ruslan and Ludmilla”), died at the age of 53
More about Glinka

. 1905 ~ Harold Arlen, (Hyman Arluck) American composer of musicals and songs
More information about Arlen

. 1918 ~ Hank Locklin (Lawrence Hankins Locklin), Country singer

. 1932 ~ George Burns and Gracie Allen debuted as regulars on The Guy Lombardo Show on CBS radio. The couple was so popular that soon, they would have their own Burns & Allen Show. George and Gracie continued on radio for 18 years before making the switch to TV. All in all, they were big hits for three decades.

. 1941 ~ Brian Holland, Songwriter

. 1941 ~ Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded one of big band’s all-time classics on this day. Take the “A” Train was recorded at Victor’s Hollywood studio and became the Duke’s signature song.

 

. 1944 ~ Mick Avory, Drummer with The Kinks

. 1951 ~ Melissa Manchester, Singer

. 1958 ~ Get A Job, by The Silhouettes, reached the top spot on the music Tunedex. It remained at #1 for two weeks. Talk about sudden change in American popular music! One week earlier, the number one song was Sugartime, by The McGuire Sisters, a song that definitely was not classified as rock ‘n’ roll. Get A Job was replaced by Tequila, an instrumental by a studio group known as The Champs.

. 1959 ~ Ali (Alistair) Campbell, Guitarist, lead singer with UB40

. 1964 ~ Jack Teagarden [Weldon Leo Teagarden], American trombonist and actor (Meet Band Leaders), died from bronchial pneumonia at the age of 58
More about Teagarden

. 1965 ~ This was a sad day in music, as singer Nat ‘King’ Cole died in Santa Monica, CA. The music legend was 45.

. 1986 ~ Whitney Houston reached the #1 spot on the music charts. Her single, How Will I Know, replaced a song recorded by her first cousin, Dionne Warwick (That’s What Friends Are For). Whitney is the daughter of singer Cissy Houston.

. 1992 ~ William Schuman passed away. Schuman was an American composer and arts administrator.

. 2010 ~ Adam Kaczyński, Polish pianist and composer, died at the age of 76

. 2016 ~ George Gaynes, American singer, actor and voice artist (Tootsie, Police Academy, General Hospital), died at the age of 98

February 9: On This Day in Music

today

1885 ~ Alban Berg, Austrian composer
More information about Berg

. 1909 ~ Carmen Miranda (Maria do Carmo Miranda Da Cunha), ‘Brazilian Bombshell’, singer, dancer, actress

. 1914 ~ Gypsy Rose Lee (Rose Hovick), Actress, dancer, stripper, subject of Broadway show and film, Gypsy, sister of actress, June Havoc

. 1914 ~ Ernest Tubb, Country Music Hall of Famer, headlined 1st country music show at Carnegie Hall

. 1923 ~ Kathryn Grayson, Singer, actress in Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, The Kissing Bandit, It Happened in Brooklyn, Anchors Aweigh

. 1937 ~ Hildgarde Beherns, German Soprano

. 1939 ~ Barry Mann, Songwriter, with Cynthia Weil on dozens of ’60s and ’70s ‘Brill Building’ hits, singer

. 1940 ~ Brian Bennett, Drummer with The Shadows

. 1940 ~ The old piano played for dances in the Tattersall house in High Forest for many year – as long ago as the Civil War period – will be played once more when the Olmsted County Historical association formally opens its museum in the basement of the Rochester, MN public library.

. 1942 ~ Carole King (Klein), American pop-rock singer and songwriter

. 1944 ~ Barbara Lewis, Singer

. 1960 ~ Ernst von Dohnanyi, Hungarian composer, pianist and conductor, died at the age of 82

 

 

. 1963 ~ (James) Travis Tritt, Grammy Award-winning singer

. 1964 ~ Several days after their arrival in the U.S., The Beatles made the first of three record-breaking appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. The audience viewing the Fab Four was estimated at 73,700,000 people in TV land. The Beatles sang She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand. One could barely hear the songs above the screams of the girls in the audience.

. 1966 ~ Liza Minnelli brought her night club act to the Big Apple. She opened in grand style at the Persian Room of the Plaza Hotel in New York.

. 1969 ~ A young lady named Roslyn Kind made her quiet TV debut this night on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. Ed said she’s “…America’s teenager who wasn’t protesting or playing a guitar.” She only appeared once. Her sister appeared many times. Roslyn Kind is the sister of Barbra Streisand.

. 1970 ~ Sly and The Family Stone received a gold record for the single, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin). Sly (Sylvester) Stewart was a DJ in Oakland, CA.

. 1981 ~ Bill Haley died on this day in Harlingen, TX. He was 55. Haley, with his Comets, recorded what became known as the anthem of rock and roll: Rock Around the Clock, from the movie, “Blackboard Jungle”. The song turned into a multimillion-dollar hit and one of many hits Haley and the Comets had, including Dim Dim the Lights, Razzle Dazzle, Crazy Man Crazy, Rock the Joint, See You Later Alligator and Shake Rattle & Roll. Bill Haley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

 

 

 

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

February 4: On This Day in Music

today

. 1677 ~ Johann Ludwig Bach, German composer/violinist and second cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach. (d. 1731)

. 1893 ~ Bernard Rogers, American composer

. 1894 ~ Adolphe Sax, Belgian musician and inventor of the saxophone, died at the age of 79
More about Sax

. 1912 ~ Erich Leinsdorf, Austrian-born American conductor

. 1937 ~ Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra recorded A Study in Brown, on Decca Records.

. 1941 ~ John Steel, Singer, drummer with The Animals

. 1944 ~ Florence LaRue (Gordon), Singer with The Fifth Dimension

. 1962 ~ Clint Black, Singer, actor

. 1975 ~ Louis (Thomas) Jordan passed away

. 1983 ~ Karen Carpenter died at 32 of cardiac arrest at her parent’s house in Downey, California; the coroner’s report gave the cause of death of imbalances associated with anorexia nervosa. The Carpenters 1970 album Close to You, featured two hit singles: “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “We’ve Only Just Begun.”  They peaked at No.1 and No.2, on the US chart. In 1975 – In Playboy’s annual opinion poll; its readers voted Karen Carpenter the Best Rock Drummer of the year.

. 1987 ~ The show-biz world was saddened when Liberace died at his Palm Springs, CA estate. He was 67. Lee, as he was known, was the master of Las Vegas. Hundreds of thousands flock to his museum there (operated by his brother, George) to see Liberace’s garish suits, trademark candelabra, and learn of the myths behind this hugely successful star of television, stage and concerts the world over.
More information about Liberace

. 2001 ~ James Louis “J.J.” Johnson, an influential jazz trombonist who later forged a career arranging and recording scores for motion pictures and television, died at the age of 77. The Indianapolis native, who began playing piano at age 11, was a perennial winner of “Down Beat” magazine’s reader’s poll as best trombonist. While he was praised by jazz aficionados, Johnson also made his mark in popular culture, writing and arranging music for such television shows as “Starsky and Hutch”, “Mayberry, R.F.D.” and “That Girl”. His film music credits included “Cleopatra Jones” and “Shaft.” During his long career, he performed with such jazz greats as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. While touring with jazz bands during the heyday of those ensembles, he played with the Clarence Love and Snookum Russell bands. He got his first big break with the Benny Carter band in 1942.

. 2016 ~ Leslie Bassett, American classical composer (Variations for Orchestra – Pulitzer Prize 1966), died at the age of 93