. 1795 ~ Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, harpsichordist and composer, the fifth son of Johann Sebastian Bach, died at the age of 62
. 1905 ~ Maria von Trapp, singer
. 1908 ~ Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist
. 1913 ~ Jimmy Van Heusen (Edward Chester Babcock), American songwriter and Academy Award-winning composer. He wrote Swinging on a Star in 1944, All the Way in 1957, High Hopes in 1959 and Call Me Irresponsible in 1963. He also wrote the music to over 75 songs for Frank Sinatra with lyricists Johnny Burke and Sammy Cahn … My Kind of Town and Second Time Around
. 1928 ~ Eartha Kitt, American singer of popular music. See January 17 for Ms. Kitt’s real birthday.
. 1934 ~ Huey “Piano” Smith, American rhythm and blues pianist (Rockin’ Pneumonia & Boogie Woogie Flu, Having a Good Time), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
. 1934 ~ The Apollo Theatre opened in New York City as a ‘Negro vaudeville theatre’. It became the showplace for many of the great black entertainers, singers, groups and instrumentalists in the country.
. 1945 ~ Jacqueline DuPré, British cellist
. 1956 ~ Buddy Holly had his first of three 1956 recording sessions for Decca Records and producer, Owen Bradley, in Nashville. Nothing much came out of those sessions. He formed the group, The Three Tunes (changed later to The Crickets), and went on to find fame and fortune when he hooked up with producer Norman Petty in New Mexico. Holly died in a plane crash near Mason City, IA, February 3, 1959 (“the day the music died”). He was 22. Holly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
. 1979 ~ The Gizmo guitar synthesizer was first demonstrated.
. 1988 ~ “Phantom of the Opera” opened at Majestic Theater in New York City for 4,000+ performances
. 1992 ~ Jose Ferrer, Puerto Rican actor, theater, and film director, died.
. 1995 ~ Geoffrey Penwill Parsons, piano accompanist, died at the age of 65
. 1998 ~ Shinichi Suzuki, Japanese music teacher (Suzuki Method), died at the age of 99
. 2003 ~ John Browning, American pianist (Leventritt Award-1956), died at the age of 69
. 2019 ~ Michel Legrand, French composer, film arranger and jazz musician (Summer of ’42, Windmills of Your Mind), died at the age of 86