• 1949 ~ B.B. (Morris) Dickerson, Bass and singer with War
• 1951 ~ Johnny Graham, Guitarist with Earth, Wind and Fire
• 1963 ~ The Beatles made their final appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. The group was about to leave its hometown behind for unprecedented worldwide fame and fortune.
• 1963 ~ The Beach Boys’ Surfer Girl, was released on Capitol Records. It became one of their biggest hits. Surfer Girl made it to number seven on the hit music charts on September 14, 1963
• 1963 ~ Comedian Allan Sherman’s summer camp parody, Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter from Camp) was released on Warner Brothers Records. The melody was based on the Dance of the Hours from Ponchielli’s opera La Giaconda. This dance was also performed in the original Disney movie Fantasia.
• 1971 ~ Paul McCartney formed a new band called Wings. Joining McCartney in the group were Denny Laine, formerly of The Moody Blues, Denny Seilwell and McCartney’s wife, Linda.
• 1998 ~ Alfred Schnittke, one of the most original and influential composers to emerge from the Soviet Union, died. He was 63.
• 2001 ~ Jeanne Loriod, the leading performer of an electronic instrument used in film scores and symphonic works to produce mysterious glassy tones, died in southern France. She was 73. Loriod, who played the ondes martenot – invented by the French musician Maurice Martenot – died of a stroke in Juan-les-Pins, Le Monde newspaper reported.
She was the younger sister of pianist Yvonne Loriod, who was married to composer Olivier Messiaen. The three musicians often collaborated.
The ondes martenot – which translates as “Martenot waves” – produces electronic waves from a system of transistors, a keyboard and a ribbon attached to a ring on the performer’s forefinger.
Loriod’s career took her all over the world. She performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, among others.
Composers such as Tristan Murail, Jacques Charpentier and Michael Levinas wrote works for her, according to Le Monde. Loriod had also been planning to collaborate with the pop group Radiohead, the paper wrote.
• 2008 ~ Louis Teicher died at 83. He was half of the piano duo Ferrante & Teicher, which toured for four decades and released 150 albums, some as suitable for elevators as for concert halls.
• 2016 ~ Ricci Martin, an entertainer/musician son of Dean Martin, died at the age of 62.
• 1946 ~ Alan Gorrie, Rock Singer with the Average White Band
• 1947 ~ Bernie Leadon, Musician, guitar with The Eagles
• 1947 ~ Brian Harold May, Musician, guitarist, singer and songwriter with Queen, who had the 1975 UK No.1 single Bohemian Rhapsody, which returned to No.1 in 1991. Queen scored over 40 other UK Top 40 singles, and also scored the 1980 US No.1 single Crazy Little Thing Called Love. May had the solo 1992 UK No.5 single Too Much Love Will Kill You. May was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for ‘services to the music industry and his charity work’. May earned a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College, London, in 2007.
• 1949 ~ Singer Harry Belafonte began recording for Capitol Records on this day. The first sessions included They Didn’t Believe Me and Close Your Eyes. A short time later, Capitol said Belafonte wasn’t “commercial enough,” so he signed with RCA Victor (for a very productive and commercial career).
• 1952 ~ Allen Collins, Musician, guitar with Lynyrd Skynyrd
• 1952 ~ “Paint Your Wagon” closed at Shubert Theater New York City after 289 performances
• 1966 ~ Frank Sinatra married actress Mia Farrow this day.
• 1963 ~ Kelly Shiver, Country Singer
• 1980 ~ Billy Joel, pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer, earned his first gold record with It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, which reached the top of the Billboard pop music chart. He would score additional million-sellers with Just the Way You Are, My Life, Uptown Girl (for girlfriend and later, wife and supermodel Christie Brinkley) and We Didn’t Start the Fire. Joel reached the top only one other time, with Tell Her About It in 1983.
• 2000 ~ H. LeBaron Taylor, a Sony executive who pioneered the mass marketing of music rooted in black culture and fostered minority development in the corporate world, died at the age of 65 of a heart attack. He was recognized by Ebony magazine as one of the top 50 black executives in corporate America. In the 1970s, Taylor was at CBS Records, leading its Black Music Marketing department, which sold music originating in black culture and styles that sprang from it, such as blues, soul, rap and hip-hop.
• 2015 ~ Van Alexander, American composer and bandleader (A-Tisket, A-Tasket), died at the age of 100
Circus marches are called “screamers” because they are traditionally so high, loud & fast!! Circus Band members are often called “windjammers” because they jam so much wind into their instruments in the process of playing these screamers. Playing the circus requires incredible endurance & skills on your instrument. The windjammers play almost none stop and much of the music is really difficult!
The greatest circus bands were about 100 years ago in the heyday of the circus. At that time the big top band could be 25 or so, plus there were often sideshow musicians as well. Cowboy bands, women’s bands and bands of Blacks were often part of the sideshows.
Contemporary circuses are much smaller all the way around, and some don’t use live musicians at all, just “canned” music (recordings). Others carry 3 musicians, a drummer, a trumpet player and a keyboard (synthesizer) player. A few, like the Big Apple Circus, still have bands. The Big Apple Circus has 8 musicians on its bandstand: a conductor/trumpet, a person who plays alto sax and clarinet, one who plays tenor sax and flute, a violin, a trombone, a bass player, a keyboard player and a drummer.
In the “old days,” being a circus musician was one of the most strenuous jobs a musician could have. In the days before musicians’ unions, the windjammer would be expected to play for the circus parade, play a pre-show free concert for the townspeople, ballyhoo around the grounds before the big top show, play the show itself (nonstop for two or three hours!), play post-show concerts on the grounds or play sideshows. Then after everyone left, they helped take down the tents or do other chores around the grounds. It was a busy day and the pay was not very good, but it was an exciting life with lots of great music, and many musicians loved it!
Entry of the Gladiators (Thunder and Blazes) was written in 1897 by, the Czechoslovakian composer, Julius Fucik (1872-1916). This march is a classic circus march & one that just about everyone will think, “Ah, circus!” when they hear it. Thunder and Blazes (as it is most frequently called) and Fucik’s Florentiner March are probably his most well-known marches.
Most circus marches follow the standard American military march form, but often abbreviated (no repeats in the second half):
Introduction (a bit longer than military marches)
First strain (repeated)
Second strain (repeated)
Trio (more mellow and the key changes)
Breakup strain (often called the dogfight in military marches)
In a circus march, the last strain is often the same as the trio, but louder, and often the trio, breakup strain and last strain are not repeated like they are in a military march (in military marches, the trio and breakup strain are often reversed & the way they repeat may vary).
The music sets the scene for the performer’s act. Different music is needed for different kinds of acts: the bareback riders galloping around the hippodrome need a lively tune, the trapeze artists want something more peaceful, and of course the clowns need music that sounds humorous (like trombone smears!).
In the early days of the circus, the band masters would take some of the European classical music and arrange it for the circus band. “The most obvious example would be the beautiful, flowing waltz music that is essential to the trapeze artists (‘flyers’ and ‘catchers’). The bandmaster and musicians must be precise in coordinating the music and the timing of the artists, requiring rehearsal with the artists and the musicians. Similarly, it may be interesting to note that the bareback riders perform in a smaller ring because of the gait of the horses. The centrifugal effect requires a ring of a certain diameter for timing. Thus, the conductor must follow the gait of the horses, whereas the aerialists depend on the tempo of the music for timing their act.”
Modern circuses also play a lot of popular tunes, jazz and other songs that people will recognize. You will likely hear fewer of the standard circus marches at a circus today.
The drummer has a particularly challenging and important role in the circus music. He/she must “play the tricks.” Usually the drummer is situated so that he can see the ring because it is his job to accent and intensify what is happening in the ring. This was true 100 years ago, and it is true today. If the act is getting tense, the drummer will get intense. If someone slides down a rope or vaults off the trampoline, there will be a cymbal crash or drum hit when the performer reaches the floor. Sometimes the cues come from the conductor or from the ringmaster, but sometimes it is the drummer who is really in charge!
Circus bands occasionally play a John Philip Sousa composition during the traditional Center Ring Concert, but his melodic marches are not the right structure for most circus acts.
Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever is never part of the regular program. It is reserved for emergency use – sometimes called the “Disaster March”. If a major problem happens — an animal gets loose, a high wind threatens the tent, or a fire breaks out — the band plays the march as a warning signal to every worker on the circus lot that something is wrong.
Charles Nelson Reilly – who grew up to be a famous actor, comedian, director and drama teacher – was attending the Ringling Bros. circus, in Hartford, on the day the big top burned to the ground. Listen as he recalled his memories of the fire.
For lesser problems, the 12th Street Rag was played to alert the clowns to come out and divert attention during the more common mishaps.
Edward F. Shevlin describes what goes on in the circus band as follows:
“Our music is usually by Karl King, Alexander, Fred Jewell, C. E. Duble and other old time circus bandmasters and musicians. Much of the music by these circus musician-composers is amenable to quick cut-offs and tempo changes as necessary to fit particular acts. Hence, Windjammers usually play two musicians to a stand so that when the conductor cuts to a new piece and tempo, one musician can quickly move the music to expose the next piece while the other continues without skipping a beat! We might quickly go from a march to a Samba or rhumba or galop; or from a waltz to an up-tempo march or galop for the “come down” when the aerialists quickly descend into the net or slide down a rope at the conclusion of their act . . .followed by that ubiquitous B-flat chord! The old circus bands would play anything from Ragtime to a Polonaise or a tone poem!”
*Information from an email from Edward F. Shevlin, a Windjammer who happened upon this page! Many thanks, Mr. Shevlin!
When the circus came to town, there was always a circus parade — the parade served to get the wagons filled with people, equipment, baggage, tents and animals to the location of the circus, but it also provided some free advertisement. The wagons were very elaborate & were intended to get people interested in the circus so they would come and see the acts. The band road on top of a bandwagon and inside the bandwagon was luggage, tents and other necessities.
Hey, have you ever heard the term, “jump on the bandwagon”? Here’s the story. In 1848, when Zachary Taylor won the Whig party nomination for president, Dan Rice, a famous clown whose attire inspired the image of Uncle Sam, invited Mr. Taylor to ride on the bandwagon that Dan Rice had. When the bandwagon arrived at the center of town, Dan Rice stopped his parade and made a very emotional speech supporting Zachary Taylor’s candidacy. Someone noted that Dan Rice was on Mr. Taylor’s bandwagon and the term stuck, so that to jump on the bandwagon means to get involved with whatever the issue is. “He jumped on the ecology bandwagon.” “She is definitely on the civil rights bandwagon.”
Below you will find some links to pictures of bandwagons.
The Columbia Bandwagon– purchased by James Bailey for the Barnum & Bailey Circus — and see this wagon hitched to FORTY horses!!! The picture including the wagon & the band is at the bottom of the page.
Most people pronounce this instrument “cal eye’ o pee”. Circus people pronounce it “cal’ ee ope” (last syllable like “rope”). What is a calliope?? It is a huge instrument made of whistles with a steam engine that blows steam through the whistles when you press the key. Most calliopes are played with a keyboard like a piano keyboard & each key controls one whistle. It is LOUD!!!! Some can be heard up to 3 – 5 miles! Don’t stand too close to one!
The calliope traditionally brought up the rear in a circus parade.
Most performing entities have some superstitions. One of the superstitions in circus bands is that you can not play Franz von Suppe’sLight Cavalry March. Quoting from Mr. Beal’s book:
“To play it on the circus lot means disaster and sudden death.”You may not believe this but most circus folks do, at least those who know the facts. Played once in Oklahoma, a train wreck followed and sixteen were killed. Played again, this time while [Merle] Evans was on tour with Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Wild West, a blowdown followed and 38 fatalities resulted. [A blow down is a wind that destroys all or part of the tents.]
“And the last time Merle played it a cornet player died immediately after the performance. That was enough for Evans. He collected the parts, tied them up in a neat bundle, and dropped them over the nearest bridge…
“From that day to this the music of Suppe’s Light Cavalry march is taboo. Even its presence in the music trunk would be considered a serious menace to the life and safety of the circus musicians.”
A second superstition about the music played is that the only time you can play Home Sweet Home is during the very last performance of the season, the very last song. Otherwise, it could mean the immediate closing of the show.
Beal, George Brinton. Through the Back Door of the Circus with George Brinton Beal. Springfield, Massachusetts: McLoughlin Bros., Inc., 1938. p. 1-20.
Some important Windjammers and composers of circus music
Sounds of the Circus — This is the site of the South Shore Circus Concert Band which is ” one of the few bands in the country dedicated to preserving authentic music from the golden age of the American Circus.” The site includes pictures, CDs to purchase and a few RealAudio files for circus music. http://world.std.com/~tsh/circus.html
Screamers – Circus marches are called screamers because they are so loud, fast & often very high!
Windjammers – Circus musicians are often called windjammers because they jam so much wind into their instruments in the process of playing these screamers.
Ballyhooing – The dictionary defines the verb “ballyhoo” as a vigorous attempt to win customers. When not playing, the musicians went around the grounds & the town shouting about the circus & trying to get people to come to see it. Ex: “Come to the circus tonight! See flying trapeze artists and the ….”
Hippodrome – The hippodrome is the track around the inside of the ring where the horses were run.
Trombone Smears – Smear refers both to a trombone technique and to a type of music. The technique (officially called a glissando) where the trombonist pulls the slide in or out without tonguing and you get a smearing sound as the notes move up or down, rather than a distinct set of individual notes. Smear also refers to a type of music that includes and features these smear techniques. These pieces are often used as clown music. Henry Fillmore wrote many trombone smears and they had an African-American minstrel sound to them.
• 1947 ~ James Melvin Lunceford, American jazz dance-band leader, passed away
More information about Lunceford
• 1949 ~ John Wetton, Bassist, singer with Asia
• 1952 ~ Liz Mitchell, Singer
• 1953 ~ Marie-Alphonse-Nicolas-Joseph Jongen, Belgian composer, died at the age of 79
• 1956 ~ Sandi Patti, Gospel Singer
• 1958 ~ “Li’l Abner” closed at St James Theater New York City after 693 performances
• 1958 ~ Yakety Yak, by The Coasters, became the number one song in America according to Billboard magazine. It was the first stereo record to reach the top of the chart.
• 1962 ~ The Rolling Stones first performance, at the Marquee Club, London. The lineup featured Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, bass player Dick Taylor and drummer Mick Avory. Taylor and Avory were soon replaced.
• 1970 ~ Blues-Rock singer Janis Joplin’s debut, in Kentucky
• 1979 ~ Kalervo Tuukkanen, Composer, died at the age of 69
• 1979 ~ Minnie Ripperton (Andrea Davis) Singer, died at the age of 30
• 1985 ~ “Singin’ in the Rain” opened at Gershwin Theater New York City for 367 performances
• 1995 ~ Alan David Marks, Pianist and composer, died at the age of 49
• 1995 ~ Earl Coleman, Singer, died at the age of 69
• 1995 ~ Ernie Furtado, Bassist, died at the age of 72
• 1996 ~ Gottfried von Einem, Composer, died at the age of 78
• 1996 ~ Jonathan Melvoin, Keyboardist with Smashing Pumpkins, died
• 2000 ~ Ras Shorty I, who fused calypso with an up-tempo beat that he said represented the true soul of calypso, died of bone cancer. He was 59. He was born Garfield Blackman and started singing calypso as Lord Shorty. Dozens of musicians later adopted his up-tempo “soca” beat, which he called the “Indianization of calypso,” bringing together the music of his Caribbean nation’s two major ethnic groups, descendants of African slaves and of indentured laborers from India.
• 2001 ~ James Bernard, who composed the eerie musical scores for some of Britain’s most famous horror films, died at the age of 75. The British composer was best known for his work with Hammer Film studios, which made low-budget gothic horror films featuring actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. During his nearly 40-year career, Bernard composed scores for “The Curse of Frankenstein” (1957), “Dracula” (1958) and “The Devil Rides Out” (1968). He won an Academy Award, but not for his music. Bernard shared an Oscar in 1951 with Paul Dehn for best motion picture story for “Seven Days to Noon.” His last work was the score for “Universal Horror” in 1998, a documentary of Universal Studios’ horror films of the 1930s and 1940s.
• 1860 ~ Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor
More information about Mahler Grammy winner
• 1911 ~ Gian Carlo Menotti, Italian composer and conductor
More information about Menotti
• 1962 ~ Mary Ford (Iris Colleen Summers), Singer with Les Paul
• 1927 ~ Doc (Carl) Severinsen, Bandleader, trumpeter, The Tonight Show Band, The Doc Severinsen Band, played with Charlie Barnet and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras, owner of a trumpet factory
• 1927 ~ Charlie Louvin (Loudermilk), Country singer, joined Grand Ole Opry in 1955
• 1940 ~ Ringo Starr, British rock drummer and singer with The Beatles
• 1944 ~ Warren Entner, Musician, guitarist and singer with The Grass Roots
• 1950 ~ David Hodo, Singer with The Village People
• 1954 ~ Cherry Boone, Singer; daughter of singer Pat Boone, sister of singer Debby Boone
• 1962 ~ Mark White, Rock Musician
• 1962 ~ Orchestra leader David Rose reached the top spot on the popular music charts. The Stripper stayed at the pinnacle of musicdom for one week. Rose’s previous musical success on the charts was in 1944 with Holiday for Strings.
• 2001 ~ Folk singer Fred Neil, who had such hits as Everybody’s Talking, and Candyman, died at the age of 64. Neil started his music career in 1955 when he moved from St. Petersburg to Memphis, Tenn. He released his first single, You Ain’t Treatin’ Me Right/Don’t Put the Blame On Me, two years later. The singer became a cult favorite in New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene after Roy Orbison released a blues recording of Neil’s Candyman in 1960. Neil released his first solo album, Bleecker & MacDougal, in 1965. After moving back to Florida, Neil took an interest in protecting dolphins. He frequently visited Kathy, the star of the television show Flipper, and wrote a song called The Dolphins, which was released on his 1967 album Fred Neil. In 1970, Neil co-founded the Dolphin Research Project to help curb the capture and exploitation of dolphins worldwide. His last big hit came in 1969 when the film Midnight Cowboy featured singer Harry Nilsson’s version of Neil’s Everybody’s Talking.
• 2002 ~ Dorle Jarmel Soria, a writer and co-founder of the music label Angel Records, died. She was 101. Soria and her husband, Dario Soria, together founded Angel Records, which distributed some of the labels of EMI, a British company. The label released some 500 recordings, including the work of singer Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, pianist Walter Gieseking and conductor Herbert von Karajan. The company was eventually sold by EMI, and the Sorias went on to help found Gian Carlo Menotti’s Festival of Two Worlds in Italy. Before founding Angel, Soria had a career in journalism and worked for Arthur Judson, who was a concert manager for the New York Philharmonic. Soria wrote regularly for several music magazines and had a weekly column for the Carnegie Hall program in the 1960s. She also published a book about the history of the Metropolitan Opera.
• 1938 ~ A Tisket A Tasket by Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb hit #1
• 1940 ~ Clint Warwick (Eccles), Musician, bass with The Moody Blues
• 1945 ~ Carley Simon, American Grammy Award-winning singer – Best New Artist in 1971; Academy Award-winning song, Let the River Run, 1988
• 1946 ~ Allen Lanier, Musician, guitarist, keyboards with Blue Oyster Cult
• 1946 ~ Ian McDonald, Musician, instrumentalist with Foreigner
• 1952 ~ “Wish You Were Here” opened at Imperial Theater New York City for 597 performances
• 1955 ~ “Can Can” closed at Shubert Theater New York City after 892 performances
• 1961 ~ Pat Boone spent this day at number one for one last time with Moody River. Boone, a teen heart-throb in the 1950s, had previously walked his way up the music charts, wearing white buck shoes, of course, with these other hits: Ain’t That a Shame, I Almost Lost My Mind, Don’t Forbid Me, Love Letters in the Sand and April Love.
• 1963 ~ George Michael (Yorgos Panayiotou), Singer
• 1966 ~ The Beatles’Paperback Writer, single went #1 & stayed #1 for 2 weeks
• 1967 ~ 400 million watched The Beatles “Our World” TV special
• 1969 ~ The Guess Who from Canada received a gold record for their hit single, These Eyes.
• 2000 ~ Andrew Lloyd Webber’sCats, the longest-running production in Broadway history, closed after 7,397 performances.
• 2000 ~ Arnold Black, a composer and violinist who started a beloved classical music program in the rural Berkshires, died at the age of 77.
More information on Arnold Black
• 2002 ~ Nellie Monk, wife and muse of the jazz musician Thelonious Monk, died of a cerebral hemorrhage. She was 80. Born Nellie Smith in St. Petersburg, Fla., she moved to New York with her family and met Thelonious Monk at the age of 16 at a neighborhood basketball court. Throughout their nearly four-decade relationship, Thelonious Monk, who was known as an eccentric absorbed in his work, depended on his wife for financial and emotional support. Nellie Monk worked as a seamstress during World War II, and afterward occasionally made clothes for her husband and others. While she was never her husband’s official manager, she paid musicians, collected money from promoters, and made sure band members had plane tickets. Thelonious Monk wrote a famed ballad, Crepuscule With Nellie, when she was undergoing surgery for a thyroid problem in 1957. The couple was together from about 1947 until Thelonious Monk died in 1982.
• 1920 ~ Michel-Gaston Carraud, Composer, died at the age of 55
• 1936 ~ Erroll Garner (1921) ASCAP Award-winning American jazz pianist
• 1922 ~ John Veale, Composer
• 1926 ~ Jan Carlstedt, Composer
• 1929 ~ Geoffrey Penwill Parsons, Piano accompaniest
• 1929 ~ Nigel Pickering, Guitarist
• 1934 ~ Alfred Bruneau, Composer, died at the age of 77
• 1936 ~ Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler starred in Burlesque on the Lux Radio Theatre.
• 1937 ~ Rolf Riehm, Composer
• 1937 ~ Waylon Jennings, American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist, won the Country Music Association Award in 1974
• 1938 ~ Jean-Claude Eloy, French Composer
• 1940 ~ Willem Frederik Bon, Dutch Composer
• 1941 ~ Harry (Edward) Nilsson III, Singer
• 1944 ~ Terri Gibbs, Singer
• 1945 ~ Rod Argent, English keyboardist for the Zombies
• 1946 ~ Janet Lennon, Singer with the Lennon Sisters
. 1946 ~ Artemios “Demis” Ventouris Roussos (June 15 1946-January 25, 2015) was a Greek singer and performer who had international hit records as a solo performer in the 1970s after having been a member of Aphrodite’s Child, a progressive rock group that also included Vangelis. He has sold over 60 million albums worldwide.
• 1956 ~ Sixteen-year-old John Lennon of the music group, The Quarrymen, met 14-year-old Paul McCartney and invited him to join the group. In a few years, the group became The Beatles.
• 1957 ~ “Ziegfeld Follies of 1957″ closed at Winter Garden NYC after 123 performances
• 1962 ~ Alfred Cortot, French pianist, died at the age of 84
• 1963 ~ Kyu Sakamoto from Kawasaki, Japan, reached the number one spot on the pop music charts with Sukiyaki. The popular song captivated American music buyers and was at the top of the Billboard pop chart for three weeks. In Japan, where Sakamoto was enormously popular, Sukiyaki was known as Ue O Muite Aruko (I Look Up When I Walk). The entertainer met an untimely fate in 1985. Kyu (cue) Sakamoto was one of 520 people who perished in the crash of a Japan Air Lines flight near Tokyo. He was 43 years old.
• 1963 ~ “Sound of Music” closed at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 1443 performances
• 1965 ~ Bob Dylan recorded Like a Rolling Stone
• 1968 ~ Wes Montgomery, Jazz guitarist, died of a heart attack at 48
• 1982 ~ Art (Arthur E) Pepper, American alto saxophonist, died at the age of 56
• 1864 ~ Richard Strauss, German composer and conductor. Strauss wrote in nearly every genre but is best known for his tone poems and operas.
Read quotes by and about Strauss
More information about Richard Strauss
• 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
• 1937 ~ Archie Shepp, African-American tenor saxophonist, one of the first improvisers and composers in free jazz, and one of its most eloquent spokesmen.
• 1938 ~ Art Kassel’s orchestra recorded a song for Bluebird Records that may not have been a smash hit, but had a great title: So You Left Me for the Leader of a Swing Band.
• 1941 ~ Bob Dylan, America folk and rock singer, songwriter and guitarist. He moved from folk to rock music in the 1960s, infusing the lyrics of rock and roll, previously concerned mostly with boy-girl romantic innuendo, with the intellectualism of classic literature and poetry. Hailed as the Shakespeare of his generation, Dylan sold more than 58 million albums.
• 1941 ~ Brian Dennis, Composer
• 1941 ~ Konrad Boehmer, Composer
• 1942 ~ Derek Quinn, Guitarist with Freddie and the Dreamers
• 1943 ~ James Levine, British conductor
• 1944 ~ Patti LaBelle (Holt), American soul-rock singer
• 1945 ~ Priscilla Presley, American actress and was wife of Elvis Presley
• 1996 ~ Jacob R Druckman, Composer, died at the age of 67
• 2002 ~ BBC News Online Conductor Colin Davis and The London Symphony were recognized for their successful partnership on the orchestra’s new record label and popular tenor Russell Watson was the big winner at the third Classical Brit awards Thursday, BBC News reports. Davis won the award for Best Male Artist, his recording of Berlioz’s Les Troyens received the Critics’ Choice award and the London Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Vaughan Williams’ “London” Symphony under Richard Hickox was named Best Ensemble/Orchestral Album at the ceremony, which took place in the Royal Albert Hall. In the only award voted for by radio listeners, Best Album, Watson beat Italian opera singer Cecilia Bartoli with his Encore disc. It was the second time Watson won Best Album. He also picked up an award for the biggest selling classical album in the UK. Bartoli won for Female Artist of the Year. The Contemporary Music award was won by Tan Dun, composer of the score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The Best Male Artist award recognizes Davis’ highly successful Berlioz CD series on the LSO Live label. During 2001, his interpretations of Symphonie Fantastique, La damnation de Faust and Les Troyenswere released to excellent reviews. Les Troyens won Grammys earlier this year for Best Opera and Best Overall Classical Recording. The LSO’s disc of Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 2 “A London Symphony” on Chandos was the first recording of the score in its original version.
• 2015 ~ Marcus Belgrave, jazz trumpeter, died. He recorded with a variety of famous musicians, bandleaders, and record labels since the 1950s.
• 1960 ~ Harry Belafonte presented his second Carnegie Hall concert in New York City.
• 1965 ~ Ed Sullivan had said he would not have this British rock group on his CBS- TV Sunday night show again. This night, however, Ed softened up — and allowed Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones to make a second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
• 1985 ~ Larry Clinton passed away. He was a trumpeter who became a prominent American bandleader and arranger.
• 2001 ~ Robert McKinley “Uncle Bob” Douglas, a renowned mountain fiddler who debuted at the Grand Ole Opry at age 100 last year, died of pneumonia. He was 101. He was scheduled to receive the state’s highest arts award, the Governor’s Folklife Heritage Award, on May 15 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Douglas, a retired steamfitter who never pursued a lucrative commercial career, won the Smithsonian Institution’s national fiddling contest in 1975 and performed at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville.
• 2003 ~ George Wyle, 87, who wrote the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island,” the Christmas classic “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and more than 400 other songs, died. “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island,” which he wrote with the show’s creator and producer, Sherwood Schwartz, became one of the most popular television theme songs. The show debuted on CBS in 1964 and ran until 1967, and its reruns have remained popular. The New York native moved to Los Angeles in 1946 to write and conduct music for “The Alan Young Radio Show.” He went on to work as choral director for television shows including “The Dinah Shore Show,” “The Jerry Lewis Show” and “The Andy Williams Show.” He also handled music for specials by magician David Copperfield and Carol Channing and for the People’s Choice Awards presentations.