• 1864 ~ Richard Strauss, German composer and conductor. Strauss wrote in nearly every genre but is best known for his tone poems and operas.
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• 1874 ~ Richard Stohr, Composer
• 1896 ~ Friedrich Gottlieb Schwencke, Composer, died at the age of 72
• 1899 ~ George Frederick McKay, Composer
• 1900 ~ Charles Swinnerton Heap, Composer, died at the age of 53
• 1904 ~ Emil Frantisek Burian, Composer
• 1904 ~ Clarence “Pinetop” Smith, Jazz pianist and singer of Boogie Woogie Piano
• 1910 ~ Carmine Coppola, Composer and conductor
• 1912 ~ Mukhtar Ashrafi, Composer
• 1913 ~ Risë Stevens (Steenberg), American mezzo-soprano at the New York Metropolitan Opera
• 1924 ~ Théodore Dubois, French organist and composer, died at the age of 86
• 1926 ~ Carlisle Floyd, American opera composer
• 1927 ~ Josef Anton Reidl, Composer
• 1928 ~ King Oliver and his band recorded Tin Roof Blues for Vocalion Records.
• 1939 ~ Wilma Burgess, Country singer
• 1940 ~ Joey Dee (Joseph DiNicola), Singer with Joey Dee and The Starliters
• 1940 ~ The Ink Spots recorded Maybe on Decca Records. By September 1940, the song had climbed to the number two position on the nation’s pop music charts.
• 1946 ~ John Lawton, Singer
• 1949 ~ Hank Williams sang a show-stopper on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. He sang the classic Lovesick Blues, one of his most beloved songs.
• 1951 ~ Bonnie Pointer, Grammy Award-winning singer (with sister Anita) in the Pointer Sisters
• 1955 ~ Marcel Louis Auguste Samuel-Rousseau, Composer, died at the age of 72
• 1961 ~ Roy Orbison was wrapping up a week at number one on the Billboard record chart with Running Scared, his first number one hit. Orbison recorded 23 hits for the pop charts, but only one other song made it to number one: Oh Pretty Woman in 1964. He came close with a number two effort, Crying, number four with Dream Baby and number five with Mean Woman Blues. Orbison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 but suffered a fatal heart attack just one year later.
• 1964 ~ The group, Manfred Mann, recorded Do Wah Diddy Diddy
• 1966 ~ Janis Joplin made her first onstage appearance — at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. She began her professional career at the age of 23 with Big Brother and The Holding Company. The group was a sensation at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Piece of My Heart was the only hit to chart for the group in 1968. Big Brother and The Holding Company disbanded in 1972, though Joplin continued in a solo career with hits such as Down on Me and Me and Bobby McGee. Janis ‘Pearl’ Joplin died of a heroin overdose in Hollywood in October 1970. The movie The Rose, starring Bette Midler, was inspired by the life of the rock star.
• 1966 ~ (I’m A) Road Runner by Jr Walker & The All-Stars peaked at #20
• 1966 ~ I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel peaked at #3
• 1966 ~ “On A Clear Day You…” closed at Mark Hellinger NYC after 280 performances
• 1966 ~ Paint It, Black by The Rolling Stones peaked at #1
• 1966 ~ “Skyscraper” closed at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 248 performances
• 1966 ~ Sloop John B by The Beach Boys hit #1 in the United Kingdom
• 1969 ~ “The Ballad Of John & Yoko” by The Beatles hit #1 in the United Kingdom
• 1969 ~ David Bowie released Space Oddity
• 1975 ~ Floro Manuel Ugarte, Composer, died at the age of 90
• 1976 ~ Australian band AC/DC began their first headline tour of Britain
• 1976 ~ The Beatles “Rock & Roll Music” LP was released in America
• 1977 ~ Dance & Shake Your Tambourine by Universal Robot Band peaked at #93
• 1977 ~ I Need A Man by Grace Jones peaked at #83
• 1977 ~ I’m Your Boogie Man by KC & Sunshine Band peaked at #1
• 1977 ~ Lonely Boy by Andrew Gold peaked at #7
• 1977 ~ The Pretender by Jackson Browne peaked at #58
• 1990 ~ Clyde McCoy, Jazz trumpeter, died at the age of 86
• 1995 ~ Lovelace Watkins, Singer, died at the age of 58
• 2001 ~ Amalia Mendoza, one of Mexico’s most famous singers of mariachi and ranchera music, died at the age of 78. She was famous for songs such as Echame a mi la Culpa (Put the Blame on Me) and Amarga Navidad (Bitter Christmas). Born in the Michoacan town of San Juan Huetamo in 1923, she was part of a family of noted musicians. Ranchera music is a kind of Mexican country music that overlaps with Mariachi music.
• 2001 ~ Ponn Yinn, a flutist of traditional Cambodian music and dance who survived the Khmer Rouge purge and helped preserve his country’s culture, died of a stroke at the age of 82. Yinn was working under Prince Norodom Sihanouk, then Gen. Lon Nol, for the Classical Symphony of the Army for the Royal Ballet, when the Khmer Rouge overthrew Cambodia’s government in 1975. Khmer Rouge forces found Yinn during their campaign to uncover and eliminate Cambodia’s intellectuals and artists. He begged for his life and claimed to be a steelworker who enjoyed playing the flute. He was allowed to live but was forced to play a makeshift flute nightly into loudspeakers to drown out the screams of people being slaughtered in fields nearby. In 1979, Yinn crossed through minefields and escaped to Thailand. In a border refugee camp, Yinn headed the Khmer Classical Dance Troupe. At a time when Cambodian culture was believed to have been almost eradicated – a result of the Khmer Rouge’s genocide of 1 million to 2 million people, the troupe was discovered by Western visitors. Yinn settled in Long Beach in 1984, where he taught music for more than 20 years and continued to perform.
• 2015 ~ Ornette Coleman died at the age of 85. He was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer. He was one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s.
• 2015 Ron Moody [Ronald Moodnick], British composer, singer and actor (12 Chairs, Oliver!), died at the age of 91
• 1966 ~ Percy Sledge hit number one with his first, and what turned out to be his biggest, hit. When a Man Loves a Woman would stay at the top of the pop music charts for two weeks. It was the singer’s only hit to make the top ten and was a million seller.
• 1973 ~ Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, German composer and conductor, died at the age of 73
• 1975 ~ The Doobie Brothers went gold with the album, “Stampede”. The group, formed in San Jose, CA, recorded 16 charted hits. Two made it to number one, becoming million-selling, gold record winners: Black Water in March, 1975 and What a Fool Believes in April, 1979.
• 1977 ~ Jiri Reinberger, Composer, died at the age of 63
• 1981 ~ Mary Lou Williams, Musician, died at the age of 71
• 2014 ~ James K. Randall, American composer, died at the age of 84
• 1050 ~ Guido d’Arezzo, Italian music theorist, died. He is regarded as the inventor of modern musical notation (staff notation) that replaced neumatic notation.
• 1866 ~ Erik Satie, French composer and pianist
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• 1890 ~ Pietro Mascagni’s famous opera “Cavalleria Rusticana”, set in Sicily, was first performed in Rome.
• 1901 ~ Werner Egk, German composer and conductor
• 1918 ~ Birgit Nilsson, Swedish soprano. Famed for her singing of Wagner, she took part in the first pioneering commercial recording of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
• 1921 ~ Bob Merrill, Songwriter
• 1924 ~ Dick Hixson, Trombonist, studio musician
• 1932 ~ Jackie (John) McLean, Jazz musician: alto sax; composer, playwright; educator: University of Hartford, CT
• 1935 ~ French composer Paul Dukas, whose composition “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” featured in the Disney films “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” died
• 1938 ~ Pervis Jackson, Singer with The Spinners
• 1939 ~ The Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, NY was the scene of a memorable dual- network radio broadcast of Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Both NBC and Mutual carried the event, which was attended by 1,800 people in the casino ballroom.
• 1942 ~ Taj Mahal (Henry St. Claire Fredericks), Entertainer, songwriter, singer
• 1944 ~ Paul Crossley, concert pianist
• 1949 ~ Bill Bruford, Drummer
• 1971 ~ Jordan Knight, Singer with New Kids on the Block
• 1971 ~ The musical, Godspell, opened this night at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. Godspell featured the song Day by Day (a top-15 hit in 1972). The rock musical that featured Robin Lamont played for 2,124 performances and was the third longest-running off-Broadway production at the time.
• 1975 ~ NBC-TV paid a whopping $5,000,000 for the rights to show Gone with the Wind just one time. It was the top price paid for a single opportunity to show a film on television.
• 1975 ~ Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy album was released and certified a platinum record on the very same day. It was the first album to be certified a million-seller (in this case, a two-million seller) on the first day of release.
• 2002 ~ John de Lancie, an oboist whose talent as a player and teacher helped create a new repertoire for his instrument, died from leukemia. He was 80. De Lancie’s style became a signature of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which he joined in 1946 and served as principal from 1954-77. He was then appointed director of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia conservatory whose graduates include Leonard Bernstein. Students of Mr. de Lancie also occupy principal chairs in Boston, Montreal and Minneapolis. As a 24-year-old soldier stationed in Germany during World War II, de Lancie approached Richard Strauss about writing a concerto for oboe. The 81-year-old Strauss said he had not considered such a work, but went on to create a score that joined the standard repertoire. De Lancie entered the Curtis Institute at 14 to study with the legendary French oboist Marcel Tabuteau. De Lancie entered the Army in 1942 and played in the Army Band. While stationed in Paris, he met his wife, Andrea. They had two children; Christina, a playwright, and John de Lancie, an actor who played the character Q on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
1879 ~ Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor. Founded the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947 and did much to promote the works of Delius, Sibelius and Richard Strauss.
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. 1895 ~ Sir Malcolm Sargent, English conductor, born. He was in charge of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 1942 until 1948 and of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1950 until 1957.
. 1913 ~ Donald Mills, Singer with The Mills Brothers.
. 1925 ~ Danny Davis (George Nowland), Grammy Award-winning bandleader with Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass. Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1969, Country Music Awards Instrumental Group of the Year 1969 to 1974
. 1936 ~ Zubin Mehta, Indian conductor, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and violinist
. 1936 ~ April Stevens (Carol Lo Tempio), Singer
. 1943 ~ Duane Allen, Singer with the Oak Ridge Boys
. 1947 ~ Tommy James (Jackson), Singer with Tommy James and The Shondells
. 1949 ~ Francis Rossi, Musician, guitar and singer with Status Quo
. 1968 ~ Hair made its way from Greenwich Village to Broadway. The show certainly opened eyes. It was the first time that actors appeared nude in a Broadway musical. Hair ran for 1,844 shows on and off Broadway. It was even more successful in its London run later. Big songs from the show: Hair (The Cowsills) and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The 5th Dimension).
. 1969 ~ Sir Duke, Duke Ellington, celebrated his 70th birthday. He was honored with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom, the U.S. government’s highest civilian honor.
. 2001 ~ Opera diva Rita Nellie Hunter, a powerful soprano celebrated for her fine Wagnerian performances, died at the age of 67. Hunter, originally from Wallasey, England, was best remembered as the quintessential Brunnhilde of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, which she performed in London, New York, Germany and Sydney. Hunter’s agile voice led her through performances of Verdi’s “Aida,” and “Macbeth,” Puccini’s “Turandot” and Strauss’ challenging “Elektra.” Despite her remarkable voice, Hunter did not reach international stardom. Her physical size, at a time when the opera was seeking slimmer performers, and the fact that she sang roles primarily in English, kept her from achieving global fame. Hunter married tenor John Darnley Thomas in 1960, and after his death in 1994, took over management of his Singing Academy in Sydney.
. 1941 ~ Artie Shaw and his orchestra recorded Moonglow on Victor Records. In the band were such sidemen as Johnny Guarnieri, Jack Jenney, Billy Butterfield and Ray Conniff on trombone.
. 1943 ~ Duke Ellington and the band played for a black-tie crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was the first of what was to become an annual series of concerts featuring the Duke.
. 1948 ~ Anita Pointer, Singer with The Pointer Sisters
. 1950 ~ Bill Cunningham, Bass, piano with The Box Tops
. 1950 ~ Patrick Simmons, Singer, guitarist with The Doobie Brothers
. 1974 ~ Mike Oldfield’sTubular Bells opened the credits of the movie, “The Exorcist”, based on the book by William Peter Blatty. The song received a gold record this day.
. 1977 ~ Carole King’s landmark album, “Tapestry”, became the longest-running album to hit the charts, as it reached its 302nd week on the album lists.
. 1978 ~ Vic Ames killed in car crash
. 1981 ~ Samuel Barber, American composer (School for Scandal), died of cancer at the age of 70
. 2002 ~ Alfred Glasser, a former director of education for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, died of cancer. He was 70. Glasser held the education post for 30 years before his retirement in 1996. Since 1997, Glasser served as chairman of the board and commentator for Chicago’s concert opera company, da Corneto Opera. For the past decade, he served on the board of Alliance Francaise of Chicago, a French cultural group. Glasser also founded the Lyric Opera Lecture Corps, a community service project.
. 2003 ~ Nell Carter, actress-singer, died at the age of 54. She was best known for her role as the housekeeper in the TV sitcom “Gimme a Break!”. Carter, who was born September 13, 1948, in Birmingham, Alabama, first rose to stardom on the New York stage. After a series of roles on- and off-Broadway — and a short-lived part in the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope” — in 1977 she starred in the show “Ain’t Misbehavin’!”, a revue of the works of composer Fats Waller. She was rewarded for her performance with an Obie Award, and later with a Tony Award when the show moved to Broadway. Several years later, she earned an Emmy for her performance on a television presentation of the musical. Despite her Broadway success, Carter would have preferred to sing opera. “When I was growing up, it was not something you aspired to,” she said in 1988. “I was a weirdo to want to be in show business. Most kids wanted to be teachers or nurses.” “Gimme a Break!” ran from 1981 to 1987. Carter was nominated for two Emmys for her role as housekeeper Nell Harper, who helped run the household of police chief Carl Kanisky, played by Dolph Sweet. She also garnered two Golden Globe nominations for the role.
. 2003 ~ For Sale: One of London’s most famous music venues, which in its heyday in the 1960s played host to The Who, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, is for sale, its administrators said. The Marquee Club, which in the 1970s was the epicenter of the punk explosion, ran into financial difficulties after its high-profile relaunch last fall, said a spokeswoman for administrator BDO Stoy Hayward. “We’re looking for someone in the music business who can capitalize on the Marquee brand and keep running it as a live venue,” she said. The price tag is at least $200 million. The club opened in London’s Soho district in 1958 and was so cramped and sweaty that, according to legend, Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats blacked out on stage. In 1988, it moved to a new location in nearby Charing Cross, but within eight years it had closed down. A high-profile relaunch at a new venue in Islington, north London September 2002 was headlined by the controversial electro-rockers Primal Scream, but according to the club’s administrators, huge start-up costs quickly led to its downfall.
. 2017 ~ Bobby Freeman, American singer (Do You Want to Dance), died at the age of 76
. 2018 ~ Hugh Masekela, South African trumpeter, anti-apartheid activist (I Am Not Afraid), described as the “father of South African jazz,” died at the age of 78
• 1689 ~ Joseph Bodin De Boismortier, French baroque composer of instrumental music, cantatas, opéra-ballets, and vocal music.
• 1893 ~Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel premiered on this day in Weimar in 1893, with Richard Strauss conducting. Is there any better opera for Christmas time?
• 1907 ~ Don McNeill, Radio host
1918 ~ José Greco, Italian flamenco dancer
• 1929 ~ Chet Baker, American jazz trumpeter and singer
• 1934 ~ Claudio Scimone, Italian conductor and musicologist
• 1935 ~ ‘Little’ Esther Phillips (Esther Mae Jones), Pianist, singer, Grammy nomination for Best female R & B vocalist in 1973. Aretha Franklin won but she gave the award to Esther
• 1939 ~ Johnny Kidd (Frederick Heath), Singer, songwriter with Johnny Kidd & The Pirates
• 1940 ~ Tim Hardin, Singer, composer
• 1940 ~ Jorma Kaukonen, Guitarist with Jefferson Airplane and also Hot Tuna
• 1940 ~ Eugene Record, Singer with Chi-Lites
• 1942 ~ Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of his many famous Christmas shows for American armed forces around the world. The tradition continued for more than three decades.
• 1943 ~ The first complete opera to be televised was aired on WRBG in Schenectady, NY. (WRGB was named after GE engineer Dr. W.R.G. Baker. It was not named, as many have thought over the years, for red, blue and green, the three primary colors of a TV picture tube.) Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” was the opera presented.
• 1945 ~ Ron Bushy, Drummer with Iron Butterfly
• 1951 ~ Johnny Contardo, Singer with Sha-Na-Na, formerly Eddie and The Evergreens
• 1964 ~ Eddie Vedder (Mueller), Songwriter, singer with Pearl Jam
• 1964 ~ Rock ’n’ roll radio, in the guise of Pirate Radio, went to the U.K. Radio London began its regular broadcasts. It was joined, at sea, by other pirates like Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg. It was a gallant effort to broadcast commercial radio, which was illegal in Great Britain. On England’s mainland, one had to listen to ‘Auntie Beeb’ (the BBC) or nothing at all. It was generally like a battle. Government agents would attempt to board a floating radio station, take it over, and shut it down. Many times the ships would broadcast from different locales to foil the governmental crackdown on the high seas. Later, the BBC split into four different radio networks, Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4, to stem the tide of the pirates who gained huge audiences by playing popular music. Eventually, limited commercial broadcasting came to Great Britain.
• 1969 ~ B.J. Thomas received a gold record for the single, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head from the motion picture, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Raindrops hit number one on the pop charts on January 3, 1970 and stayed there for 4 weeks.
• 1969 ~ Elton John met with arranger Paul Buckmaster, writer Bernie Taupin and producer Gus Dudgeon. The collaboration marked the start of one of the most successful milestones of music in the 1970s. Together, they created Your Song, Friends, Levon, Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man and many more.
• 2001 ~ Anthony Charles Chavis, Zydeco musician and son of the late Zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis, died after suffering a heart attack He was 45. His death came just eight months after his father’s. Charles Chavis, in addition to playing the washboard, was lead vocalist on numerous recordings with Boozoo, including his 1996 hit What You Gonna Do? After Boozoo Chavis’ death, his sons had agreed to continue the Magic Sounds Band. It was not clear how Charles Chavis’s death would affect the group. In addition to his music, Charles Chavis had worked with his father as a jockey and trainer at Chavis stables.
• 2018 ~ Liza Redfield, who broke a barrier on July 4, 1960, when she raised her baton at the Majestic Theater to start a performance of “The Music Man,” becoming the first woman to be the full-time conductor of a Broadway pit orchestra, died at the age of 94.
• 1796 ~ Anton Thadäus Johann Nepomuk Stamitz, German composer
• 1908 ~ George Feyer, Pianist and entertainer, born in Budapest
• 1917 ~ Jascha Heifetz made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Heifetz was a 16-year-old sensation who had played the violin since age 5.
• 1927 ~ Dominick Argento, American composer
• 1933 ~ Floyd Cramer, Pianist
• 1941 ~ Edda Moser, German soprano
• 1941 ~ Everything I Love, by Buddy Clark, was recorded this day, number 6469 on the Okeh label.
• 1943 ~ Lee (Melvin) Greenwood, CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, 1983 and 1984, sax, piano, bandleader
• 1957 ~ The Crickets started a three-week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘That’ll Be The Day’. It was also a No.3 hit in the US where it went on to sell over a million. The song was inspired by a trip to the movies by Holly, Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis in June 1956. The John Wayne film The Searchers was playing and Wayne’s frequently-used, world-weary catchphrase, “that’ll be the day” inspired the young musicians.
• 1958 ~ Simon LeBon, Singer with Duran Duran
• 1960 ~ Singer Ben E. King recorded “Spanish Harlem” & “Stand By Me”
• 1975 ~ Rocker Bruce Springsteen appeared on the cover of both TIME and Newsweek. Things were certainly going well for ‘The Boss’ that week.
• 2000 ~ Walter Berry, a bass-baritone who won acclaim for his interpretations of Mozart and Strauss and was beloved by Austrians for his renditions of Schubert, died of a heart attack at the age of 71. Known for the powerful timbre of his voice, Berry was a prolific performer who sang 100 different roles in more than 1,280 appearances at the Vienna State Opera. His U.S. debut was a 1963 performance with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His interpretations of classical lieder by fellow Austrian Franz Schubert won him his most loyal following. Austrians who rarely went to the opera loved Berry for his renditions of popular Viennese songs performed as they believed only a native- born son could. In 1989, he became a professor at the Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts.
• 2001 ~ John Roberts, a promoter of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969, died of cancer. He was 56. Roberts produced the festival concert with three others, almost by accident. The idea originally was a pitch for a television comedy show about two young venture capitalists with money but no business plans. Roberts and his partners funded the festival with Roberts’ inheritance and ticket sales. They lost $2.3 million but recovered their loss with royalties from film and album spinoffs, and held on to the profitable name and trademark symbol of a dove on the neck of a guitar. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Roberts later invested in other companies, avoiding the music business. Roberts also was a championship bridge player.
• 2006 ~ Amy Winehouse released her second and final studio album Back to Black. The album spawned five singles: ‘Rehab’, ‘You Know I’m No Good’, ‘Back to Black’, ‘Tears Dry on Their Own’ and ‘Love Is a Losing Game’ and won Best Pop Vocal Album at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. Back to Black sold 3.58 million copies in the UK alone, becoming the UK’s second best-selling album of the 21st century. Worldwide, the album has sold over 20 million copies.
• 1934 ~ Cole Porter recorded his own composition titled, You’re the Top, from the show “Anything Goes”, on Victor.
• 1935 ~ A talented twelve-year-old sang on Wallace Beery’s NBC radio show on NBC. Judy Garland delighted the appreciative audience. The young girl would soon be in pictures and at the top of stardom. It would be only four years before Ms. Garland (George Jessel gave her the name, thinking it would be better than her own, Frances Gumm) captured the hearts of moviegoers everywhere with her performance as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”.
• 1944 ~ Michael Piano, Singer with The Sandpipers
• 1946 ~ Keith Hopwood, Singer, guitarist with Herman’s Hermits
• 1952 ~ NBC~TV premiered Victory at Sea. The show was the first documentary film series to gain wide acceptance. Richard Rodgers wrote the score and Robert Russell Bennett orchestrated it. No Other Love, adapted from one of the songs in the score, became a hit for Perry Como in the summer of 1953.
• 1953 ~ Keith Strickland, Drummer with The B-52s
• 1956 ~ Walter Gieseking, German pianist/composer, died at the age of 60
• 1962 ~ The Rolling Stones consisting of Keith Richard, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, pianist Ian Stewart and drummer Tony Chapman recorded their first demo tape at Curly Clayton Studios in Highbury, London. They recorded three songs, Jimmy Reed’s ‘Close Together’, Bo Diddley’s ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover’ and Muddy Waters’ ‘Soon Forgotten.’
• 1965 ~ The Beatles received MBE medals from the Queen of England, as they became Members of the British Empire. Ceremonies were held at Buckingham Palace. John Lennon returned his medal four years later in protest of Britain’s involvement in the Nigerian Civil War.
• 1971 ~ Memphis minister Al Green received a gold record for his single, Tired of Being Alone.
• 1984 ~ Barbra Streisand won multiplatinum certification for three albums that reached the four-million-dollar sales mark. “Greatest Hits, Vol. II”, “Guilty”, and “A Star is Born” (with Kris Kristofferson) were honored.
• 2001 ~ Laszlo Halasz, the first music director of the New York City Opera, died at the age of 96. Halasz became the opera’s first director in 1943. During his eight-year tenure, the New York City Opera became an important training ground for young singers. The company also became an important venue for new works. Born in Hungary, Halasz studied at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, where his teachers included Béla Bartók, Ernst von Dohnanyi, Leo Weiner and Zoltán Kodály. He made his professional debut as a pianist in 1928, but in 1931 decided to focus on conducting. He came to New York in 1936, and when the New York City Opera was formed in the fall of 1943, Halasz was appointed its music director. The company’s first season included productions of Puccini’s “Tosca,” Flotow’s “Martha” and Bizet’s “Carmen” Halasz conducted the company’s first American premiere, Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos,” in 1946, and the opera’s first world premiere, of William Grant Still’s “Troubled Island,” with a libretto by Langston Hughes. But the opera’s board was uneasy with Halasz’s ventures into modern opera. When the board insisted in 1951 that Halasz submit his repertory plans for approval, he resigned. The board ultimately relented, but when Halasz became involved in union disputes later that year, the board fired him. After leaving City Opera, Halasz began a second career as a record producer. He also conducted opera at houses in Frankfurt, Barcelona, Budapest, London and South America. As a teacher, he was on the conducting faculty at the Peabody Conservatory, in Baltimore, and the Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, N.Y.
• 2001 ~ Herbert Weissenstein, a consultant who specialized in classical music, died at the age of 56. Weissenstein began his career in 1970 as public relations director for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He moved on to the New York Philharmonic and in 1979 became director of development and strategic planning at Carnegie Hall. In 1984, he founded H.F. Weissenstein & Co., which specialized in consulting, directing seminars, and publishing articles in the fields of management and development. His clients included the Electronic Media Forum, the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater, the Manhattan Theater Club, the International Organization for the Transition of Professional dancers and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.