February 2: On This Day in Music

It’s Groundhog Day…again!  In weather lore, if a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck, or marmot emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow winter will soon end. If on the other hand, it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, winter will continue for 6 more weeks.

. 1594 ~ Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina, Italian composer, died at the age of 68

. 1714 ~ Gottfried August Homilius, German composer, cantor and organist

. 1789 ~ Armand-Louis Couperin, French composer, organist, and harpsichordist died at the age of 63

. 1875 ~ Fritz Kreisler, Austrian-born American violinist and virtuoso/composer Some of his best-known works are Caprice Viennois, Tambourin Chinois, Liebesfreud and La Gitana

. 1901 ~ Jascha Heifetz, Russian-born American violinist
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. 1911 ~ Jussi Björling, Swedish tenor

. 1912 ~ Burton Lane (Levy), Composer of How Are Things in Glocca Morra, That Old Devil Moon, Look to the Rainbow, How About You, I Hear Music, Come Back to Me, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, How Could You Believe Me?; His Broadway musicals were Finian’s Rainbow (collaboration with Yip Harburg), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (collaboration with Alan Jay Lerner). He contributed songs to over 30 films: Babes on Broadway, Royal Wedding, Ship Ahoy, St. Louis Blues and credited with discovering Judy Garland

. 1927 ~ Stan Getz (Stanley Gayetzby), American jazz tenor saxophonist

. 1937 ~ Tom Smothers, Entertainer, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Steve Allen Show, Dick’s Brother

. 1937 ~ Guy Lombardo and his orchestra recorded one of Guy’s most famous tunes. Boo Hoo was waxed on Victor Records and became one of the group’s all-time great hits.

. 1940 ~ Alan Caddy, Guitarist with The Tornados

. 1941 ~ Serge Alexandrovich Tcherepnin, composer

. 1942 ~ Graham Nash, Singer with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

. 1947 ~ Peter Lucia, Drummer with Tommy James and The Shondells

. 1945 ~ The first 45 RPM vinyl record was released. It was one of the most popular ways for music lovers to enjoy their favorite song without buying an entire record. The cassette single during the 1980s and 1990s was a comparable format.

. 1949 ~ Ross Valory, Bass with Journey

. 1959 ~ The Coasters tune, Charlie Brown, was released. The tune went to #2 and stayed there for three weeks, but didn’t make it to the top spot of the charts. A catchy song (“Fee fee fi fi fo fo fum. I smell smoke in the auditorium…”), it was on the charts for a total of 12 weeks. The song at number one, preventing Charlie Brown from reaching the top, was Venus, by Frankie Avalon.

. 1996 ~ Gene Kelly, American actor and dancer (Singin’ in the Rain), died at the age of 83

. 2001 ~ French pianist Nicole Henriot, who entered the Paris Conservatory at age 7 and went on to perform around the globe with conductor Charles Munch, died at the age of 75. Emerging on the world music scene after World War II, Henriot built her reputation on interpretations of works from Liszt to Prokofiev, and especially French composers such as RavelFauré and Milhaud. She was most famous for her performances with Munch, music director of the Boston Symphony from 1949 to 1962. Munch, who died in 1968, was the uncle of Henriot’s husband. Born in 1925, Henriot won the Paris Conservatory’s first prize at age 13. During the war, Henriot gave aid to her brother, a member of the French Resistance. When Gestapo agents searched her home in 1944, she managed to destroy her brother’s secret documents but was badly beaten. After the war, Henriot became the first French pianist to appear in Britain and began an international tour that took her from Scandinavia to Egypt. She made her American debut in 1948 as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Munch’s direction. When Munch formed the Orchestra of Paris in 1967, Henriot was one of the fledgling orchestra’s first soloists. In the 1970s and 1980s, Henriot devoted herself to teaching, and worked at the Conservatory of Liege, Belgium, and at the Walloon Conservatory of Brussels.

. 2001 ~ Victor Norman, who founded the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and conducted the group for three decades, died at the age of 95. Colleagues said Norman was a visionary who needed to be as skilled in politics as he was in music to keep the symphony together. “He had this idea that a symphony orchestra could be created around here, when really it had been tried several times before, never with any kind of significant success,” said Charles Frink, a New London composer who studied with Norman. Norman founded the New London Civic Orchestra in 1946. It merged with the Willimantic Orchestra in 1952 to become the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. He stepped down from the podium in 1980. In his retirement, Norman composed music. Two of his orchestral pieces were performed by the New Britain Symphony Orchestra and the Westminster Community Orchestra in Princeton, N.J. His memoirs, “Victor Norman: A Life in Music, a Lifetime of Learning,” were published in 1999.

. 2015 ~ French piano virtuoso Aldo Ciccolini died at age 89. Born on August 15, 1925, into a musical family in Naples, Aldo Ciccolini was a child prodigy, beginning composition classes in the city’s conservatory at age nine.

 

National Ukulele Day

 

Not only is it Groundhog Day but it is also National Ukulele Day!

The ukulele is a four-stringed instrument that has its origins in Portugal, but was adapted by Hawaiians in the 19th Century. Its size can vary, with the larger instruments producing deeper tones.

The ukulele became particularly popular in Hawaii during the reign of King Kalākaua, who incorporated the instrument into performances at official state gatherings. It was later used in recordings by artists such as Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley.

National Ukulele Day takes place on February 2, when ukulele players from around the country will strum their favorite tunes to celebrate.

February 1: On This Day in Music

month-february

 

 

. 1669 ~ Miquel Lopez, composer, born. He died sometime in 1723

. 1671 ~ Francesco Stradivari, Italian violin maker

. 1862 ~ The Battle Hymn of the Republic was first published in “Atlantic Monthly”. The lyric was the work of Julia Ward Howe. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is still being sung and to the tune of a song titled John Brown’s Body.

. 1869 ~ Victor Herbert, Composer, cellist and conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony. He composed operettas such as Babes in Toyland, Naughty Marietta and songs like Ah Sweet Mystery of Life (At Last I’ve Found You)

. 1877 ~ Thomas Frederick Dunhill, English composer and writer on musical subjects

. 1894 ~ James P. Johnson, American pianist and composer (Charleston), born in New Brunswick, New Jersey

. 1896 ~ Puccini’s “La Bohème” premiered in Turin, Italy. La Bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini between 1893 and 1895 to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème (1851) by Henri Murger. The story is set in Paris around 1830, and shows the Bohemian lifestyle of a poor seamstress and her artist friends.

. 1904 ~ Enrico Caruso recorded his first sides for Victor Records. He did ten songs in the session and was paid only $4,000.

. 1907 ~ Mozart Camargo Guarnieri, Brazilian composer

. 1934 ~ Bob Shane, Singer with The Kingston Trio

. 1937 ~ Don Everly born, Singer with his brother, Phil, in The Everly Brothers. Some of their hits were: Wake Up Little Susie, Bye Bye Love, Cathy’s Clown and All I Have To Do Is Dream

. 1937 ~ Ray Sawyer, Singer with Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show

. 1939 ~ Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded And the Angels Sing on Victor Records. The vocalist on that number, who went on to find considerable fame at Capitol Records, was Martha Tilton.

. 1940 ~ Frank Sinatra sang Too Romantic and The Sky Fell Down in his first recording session with the Tommy Dorsey Band. The session was in Chicago, IL. Frankie replaced Jack Leonard as lead singer with the band.

. 1941 ~ “Downbeat” magazine reported this day that Glenn Miller had inked a new three-year contract with RCA Victor Records. The pact guaranteed Miller $750 a side, the fattest record contract signed to that time.

. 1949 ~ RCA Victor countered Columbia Records’ 33-1/3 long play phonograph disk with not only a smaller, 7-inch record (with a big hole in the center), but an entire phonograph playing system as well. The newfangled product, the 45- rpm, which started a revolution (especially with the new rock and roll music), soon made the 78-rpm record a blast from the past.

. 1952 ~ Rick James (James Johnson), Singer

. 1954 ~ Mike Campbell, Guitarist with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

. 1968 ~ Elvis Presley celebrated the birth of his daughter, Lisa Marie. Lisa Marie married and divorced the ‘Gloved One’, Michael Jackson, in the ’90s.

. 1971 ~ The soundtrack album from the movie, “Love Story”, starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw, with music by Frances Lai, was certified as a gold record on this day.

. 1995 ~ Richey Edwards, guitarist with the Manic Street Preachers, vanished leaving no clues to his whereabouts. He left The Embassy Hotel in London at 7am, leaving behind his packed suitcase. His car was found on the Severn Bridge outside Bristol, England sixteen days later. Edwards has never been found, despite constant searching, and in November 2008 he was declared officially dead.

. 2002 ~ Hildegard Knef, a smoky-voiced actress and singer who starred in Germany’s first post-World War II movie and scandalized church officials with a 1951 nude scene, died of a lung infection at a Berlin hospital. She was 76. Knef became a star for her role as a former concentration camp inmate returning home in Wolfgang Staudte’s 1946 “Murderers Are Among Us.” Knef, who sometimes went as Hildegard Neff in the United States, appeared in more than 50 films, most of them made in Europe. She reportedly turned down a Hollywood studio contract after being told she would have to change her name and say she was Austrian, not German. She scandalized Roman Catholic authorities with a brief nude scene in the 1951 German film “The Story Of A Sinner.” Her work in the United States included the role of Ninotchka in Cole Porter’s Broadway musical “Silk Stockings” in the 1950s, and a supporting role in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” She launched a career as a singer in the 1960s and wrote a best-selling 1970 autobiography. She continued to act and sing almost until the end of her life, appearing as herself in the 2000 documentary “Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song” and in the 1999 German comedy, “An Almost Perfect Wedding.”

. 2003 ~ Latin jazz musician Ramon “Mongo” Santamaria, a Cuban-born percussionist and bandleader known for his conga rhythms, died in Miami at age 85. He was best known for his 1963 recording of Herbie Hancock’s song Watermelon Man, which became his first Top 10 hit. In 1959, Santamaria penned Afro Blue, which quickly became a jazz standard covered by stars such as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. Born in Havana, Santamaria performed at Havana’s famed Tropicana Club before moving to New York City in the early 1950s, touring with the Mambo Kings and performing with Tito Puente and Cal Tjader. Santamaria recorded scores of albums in a career that spanned nearly 40 years, mixing rhythm and blues with jazz and hip-swaying conga. In 1977 he was awarded a Grammy for Best Latin Recording for his album “Amancer.” In recent years, he divided his time between Manhattan and Miami.

. 2007 ~ Gian Carlo Menotti, Italian-born composer died

. 2018 ~ Alan Stout, American composer, died at the age of 85

. 2018 ~ Dennis Edwards, who joined the Temptations in 1968 and sang on a string of the group’s hits including “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” in an initial tenure that stretched to 1977, died at the age of 74

 

January 31: On This Day in Music

today

. 1759 ~ François Devienne, French composer and professor of flute

. 1797 ~ Franz Peter Schubert, Austrian composer
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. 1798 ~ Carl Gottlieb Reissiger, German Kapellmeister and composer

. 1882 ~ Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina and choreographer

. 1892 ~ Eddie Cantor (Iskowitz), Entertainer, ‘banjo eyes’ Some of his hits were: If You Knew Susie like I Know Susie, Alabamy Bound, Dinah, Ida, Makin’ Whoopee and Ma He’s Makin’ Eyes at Me

. 1906 ~ Benjamin Frankel, British composer

. 1921 ~ Mario Lanza, Opera singer. Some of his non-operatic songs were Be My Love, The Loveliest Night of the Year and Because You’re Mine

. 1923 ~ Carol Channing, Broadway entertainer and Tony Award-winning actress in shows such as Hello, Dolly! (1964) and Thoroughly Modern Millie

. 1934 ~ Ron Weatherburn, jazz pianist

. 1936 ~ “The Green Hornet” was introduced by its famous theme song, The Flight of the Bumble Bee, originally by Rachmaninoff. The radio show was first heard on WXYZ radio in Detroit, MI on this day. The show stayed on the air for 16 years. “The Green Hornet” originated from the same radio station where “The Lone Ranger” was performed.

. 1937 ~ Phillip Glass, American composer of minimalist music
More information about Glass

. 1946 ~ Terry Kath, Guitarist with Chicago

. 1951 ~ Harry Wayne Casey, Keyboards, singer with KC and the Sunshine Band

. 1951 ~ Phil Collins, British rock drummer, songwriter and singer

. 1951 ~ Phil Manzanera (Targett-Adams), Guitarist with Roxy Music

. 1955 ~ Electronics pioneer RCA demonstrated the first music synthesizer that could electronically play musical sounds.

. 1960 ~ Julie Andrews, Henry Fonda, Rex Harrison and Jackie Gleason, appeared in a two-hour TV special titled, The Fabulous ’50s. 1961 ~ Lloyd Cole, Guitarist, singer with Lloyd Cole and The Commotions Dial Records founder Ross Russell died. He released 78-rpm recordings of Charlie Parker on his small jazz label and wrote a biography of Parker in 1973 called “Bird Lives! The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker”.

. 1976 ~ ABBA knocked Queen from the UK No.1 position on the UK singles chart with ‘Mamma Mia.’ Queen’s single ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ had enjoyed a nine-week run at the top of the charts, by coincidence, Queen’s single contains the famous “mamma mia, mamma mia, mamma mia let me go” line.

. 1981~ Justin Timberlake, singer with *NSYNC who had the 2000 US No.1 single ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ and the 1999 UK No.5 single ‘I Want You Back’. As a solo artist scored the 2003 UK No.2 & US No.3 single ‘Cry Me A River’. His second solo album ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’ was released in 2006 with the US No.1 hit singles ‘SexyBack’, ‘My Love’ and ‘What Goes Around… Comes Around.’ With his first two albums, Timberlake has sold over fourteen million albums worldwide. Timberlake has his own record label called Tennman Records. He also has an acting career, having starred in films such as The Social Network, Bad Teacher and Friends with Benefits.

. 1982 ~ Sandy Duncan of Tyler, Texas gave her final performance as Peter Pan in Los Angeles, CA. The actress completed 956 performances without missing a show. She flew a total of 261.5 miles while on stage.

. 1985 ~ John Fogerty, former leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival, returned to the A&M recording studios in Hollywood, CA to give his first ‘live’ performance in 14 years. Actually, Fogerty performed in a video called Rock and Roll Girls.

. 1987 ~ Madonna’s record, Open Your Heart, moved to the #2 spot on the pop charts (right behind At This Moment by Billy Vera and The Beaters). A week later, Open Your Heart became Madonna’s fifth #1 hit since 1983. She had 11 consecutive singles in the Top 10, the most for any female artist of the rock era.

. 1995 ~ George Abbott, Director, passed away.

. 2002 ~ Evelyn Scott, the city’s first female disc jockey who later played a tough-talking tavern keeper on the television soap opera “Peyton Place,” died at the age of 86. Born in Brockton, Mass., Scott moved to Los Angeles and landed a job as a disc jockey on radio station KMPC. She later was hired as a singing DJ on KHJ’s “Rise and Shine” morning show. She began acting in theater companies and eventually landed small roles in films such as “Wicked Woman,” “The Green-Eyed Blonde” and “I Want to Live.” She may be best remembered as saloon keeper Ada Jacks in the soap “Peyton Place,” which showed the extramarital affairs and other dark secrets of the residents of a small New England town. Scott played the role from 1965 to 1969, and then reprised the role on “Return to Peyton Place” from 1972 to 1974. She also came back for the 1985 television movie “Peyton Place: The Next Generation.” Scott appeared in episodes of other TV shows including “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke” and “Perry Mason.” After she retired from acting, she dedicated her time to helping the homeless and served as a board member of Portals House Inc., a center for mentally ill people.

. 2004 ~ Roberto Ocasio, a versatile musician and bandleader of Latin Jazz Project, died in a car accident. He was 49. Ocasio performed more than 250 times last year, mostly in Cleveland. He has shared stages with such other Latino musicians as Eddie Palmieri and Nestor Torres. His band played venues from street festivals to Cleveland’s Severance Hall. Ocasio played the piano and six other instruments. He earned a degree in composition and arranging from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He formed Latin Jazz Project in 1997. Ocasio composed and arranged the band’s music, a repertoire ranging from original pieces to rock tunes and American standards with his own twist. He performed songs in Spanish and English.

January 30: On This Day in Music

today

. 1505 ~ Thomas Tallis, English composer

. 1566 ~ Alessandro Piccinini born. He was an Italian lutenist and composer who died sometime in 1638

. 1697 ~ Johann Joachim Quantz, German flutist, flute maker and composer

. 1861 ~ Charles Martin Tornow Loeffler, Alsatian-born American composer

. 1862 ~ Walter Johannes Damrosch, German conductor and composer

. 1911 ~ (David) Roy ‘Little Jazz’ Eldridge, Trumpeter and soloist with Gene Krupa’s Band, U.S. President Carter’s White House jazz party in 1978

. 1917 ~ The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded a classic for Columbia Records titled, The Darktown Strutters’ Ball. It was one of the first jazz compositions recorded.

. 1921 ~ Bernie Leighton, Jazz pianist

. 1928 ~ Ruth Brown, R&B and jazz singer

. 1928 ~ Harold Prince, Broadway producer and director of A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

. 1936 ~ Horst Jankowski, Pianist, most famous work was A Walk In The Black Forest

. 1938 ~ Norma Jean (Beasler), Country singer

. 1941 ~ Joe Terranova, Singer with Danny and the Juniors

. 1943 ~ Marty Balin (Buchwald), Singer with Jefferson Airplane/Starship

. 1943 ~ The Nat King Cole Trio reached the top of the charts with the song “That Ain’t Right.” It stayed there for one week before dropping off the top spot.

. 1944 ~ Lynn Harrell, American cellist

. 1947 ~ Steve Marriott, Singer, songwriter, guitarist

. 1949 ~ William King, Trumpeter, keyboard with The Commodores

. 1951 ~ Phil Collins, English singer-songwriter, drummer, keyboard player with Genesis.  As a solo performer he had a number of world wide singles to his credit including “You Can’t Hurry Love”, “Take a Look at Me Now)” “One More Night”, “A Groovy Kind of Love” and “Another Day in Paradise”. He is also remembered for his role in Live Aid 1985 when he performed at Wembley Stadium, England and JFK Stadium Philadelphia using the Concorde to fly from England to the US.

. 1959 ~ Jody Watley, Singer with Shalamar

. 1963 ~ Francis Poulenc died
More information about Poulenc

. 1969 ~ The Beatles made their last public appearance. It was at a free concert at their Apple corporate headquarters in London. The group recorded Get Back and also filmed the movie “Let It Be”.

. 2004 ~ Jazz bassist Malachi Favors, who played with such bandleaders as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Hubbard before beginning a 35-year association with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, died. After service in the Army during the Korean War, he studied with the bassists Wilbur Ware and Israel Crosby, and worked with the pianists Andrew Hill and King Fleming. After playing with Gillespie, Hubbard, and other members of the bebop revolution, Favors joined the band of Chicago saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and played a major part on Mitchell’s influential free-jazz album, “Sound”, in 1966. Mitchell’s band soon evolved into the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which combined traditional elements of jazz and blues, West African music, chanting, ritual, abstract sound and silence. Although founded in Chicago, the group was based in Europe until 1971. In addition to his distinctive bass sound, Favors also added vocals and such folk instruments as banjo, zither and harmonica to group’s compositions. He also recorded a solo bass album, “Natural and the Spiritual”.

. 2011 ~ John Barry, English film score composer died at the age of 77

. 2013 ~ Patty Andrews, American singer (Andrews Sisters), died at the age of 94

January 29: On This Day in Music

today

. 1715 ~ Georg Christoph Wagenseil, Austrian composer and pianist

. 1782 ~ Daniel François Esprit Auber, French composer, primarily of comic operas

. 1784 ~ Ferdinand Ries, German composer. Ries was a friend, pupil and secretary of Ludwig van Beethoven.

. 1862 ~ Frederick (Fritz) Theodor Albert Delius, British composer
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. 1876 ~ Havergal Brian, British classical composer

. 1889 ~ Huddie Ledbetter, Blues singer

. 1924 ~ Luigi Nono, Italian composer

. 1937 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra waxed the famous Song of India on Victor Records.

. 1942 ~ Claudine Longet, Singer, formerly married to Andy Williams

. 1947 ~ David Byron, Singer

. 1949 ~ Tommy Ramone (Erdelyi), Drummer with The Ramones

. 1953 ~ Teresa Teng, Chinese singer

. 1954 ~ Oprah Winfrey, Entertainer, Emmy Award-winning talk show host

. 1962 ~ Fritz Kreisler died.  He was an Austrian-born violinist and composer

. 1966 ~ “Sweet Charity”, with Gwen Verdon, opened at the Palace Theatre in New York City. The musical, by Neil Simon, was an adaptation of the Federico Fellini film, “Notti di Cabiria”. The play ran for 608 performances. In 1969, Hollywood produced a big-budget version of the Broadway musical starring Shirley MacLaine.

. 1973 ~ Johnny Rivers received a gold record for the hit single, Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu. As is tradition, Rivers removed the fragile gold disk from the wooden frame and, as he was putting it on his stereo, had a ferocious sneezing fit and never did find out how his song sounded in solid gold.

. 1977 ~ From the One-Hit Wonder File, this note: Rose Royce earned the #1 spot on the music charts with Car Wash, from the movie of the same name. The song stayed at the peak of the pop charts for one week, then faded away.

. 1981 ~ Cozy (William Randolph) Cole, drummer, passed away

. 1996 ~ The 6,138th performance of “Cats” was held in London, surpassing the record of Broadway’s longest-running musical, “A Chorus Line”

. 2001 ~ Suzanne Bloch, a concert chamber musician and teacher at the Juilliard School, died at her home. She was 94. Bloch played and taught ancient instruments, in particular the lute, a guitar-like instrument common in 18th-century Europe. Mostly self-taught, she also played the recorder and the virginal, a tiny relative of the harpsichord. Beginning in the late 1930s, she performed frequently in concert, often dressed in Renaissance costume. She taught classes at Juilliard from 1942 to 1985. After marrying Paul Smith, a mathematician who became chairman of Columbia University’s mathematics department, Bloch played chamber music with well-known scientists, including Albert Einstein. Born in Geneva, Bloch moved to New York with her family in 1916, when her musician father, Ernest Bloch, began teaching and conducting in the United States. Bloch promoted her father’s music throughout her life, collecting clippings, writing program notes and founding the Ernest Bloch Society in 1967.

. 2015 ~ Rod McKuen, American singer-songwriter (Jean) and poet, died at the age of 81

. 2019 ~ James Ingram, American R&B singer-songwriter and musician (Just Once), died at the age of 66

January 28: On This Day in Music

today

. 1722 ~ Johann Ernst Bach, German composer of the Bach family

. 1791 ~ Ferdinand Herold, French composer

. 1887 ~ Artur Rubinstein, Polish-born American pianist, played solo for the Berlin Symphony at the age of 12.
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. 1904 ~ Enrico Caruso signed his first contract with Victor Records. He had debuted at the Metropolitan Opera just two months before.

. 1927 ~ Ronnie Scott (Schatt), Jazz musician: tenor sax, bandleader, jazz club owner in London

. 1927 ~ Twenty years before the famous record by Art Mooney was recorded, Jean Goldkette and his dancing orchestra recorded, I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover. Though the name of the bandleader may not be so famous, two of his sidemen on this Victor recording session certainly were: Big band fans know Bix Beiderbecke and Joe Venuti.

. 1929 ~ Acker (Bernard) Bilk, Clarinetist, composer

. 1935 ~ Mikhail Mikhaylovich Ippolitov-Ivanov, Russian composer, died at the age of 75

. 1938 ~ Bill Phillips, Country singer

. 1940 ~ “Beat the Band” made its debut on NBC radio. The band was that of Ted Weems and his 14-piece orchestra, who were joined by Elmo ‘The Whistling Troubadour’ Tanner, Harry Soskind and Country Washington. One other star of the show was a barber from Pittsburgh, PA (nearby Canonsburg, actually), who would record many hits for RCA Victor from 1943 right through the dawn of the 1970s. His name was Perry Como. Beat the Band was a funky show where listeners’ questions were selected in the hopes of stumping the band. If a listener’s question was chosen, he or she received $10. The questions were posed as riddles: What song title tells you what Cinderella might have said if she awoke one morning and found that her foot had grown too large for her glass slipper? If the band played the correct musical answer, Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?, the listener lost.

. 1943 ~ Dick Taylor, Bass, guitar with The Pretty Things

. 1944 ~ John Tavener, British avant-garde composer
More information about Tavener

. 1944 ~ Brian Keenan, Drummer with groups Manfred Mann and The Chambers Brothers

. 1948 ~ Mikhail Nikolayavich Baryshnikov, Russian-born American ballet dancer Washington Honored Eastwood, Baryshnikov, Others

. 1959 ~ Dave Sharp, Guitarist with The Alarm

. 1956 ~ Elvis Presley made his first appearance on national television. No, he didn’t appear on some teenage dance show; but rather, “The Dorsey Brothers Show”, starring Tommy and Jimmy. Elvis sang Blue Suede Shoes and Heartbreak Hotel. He was backed by the instruments of the Dorsey band.

. 1968 ~ Sarah McLauchlan, Singer

. 1985 ~ 45 of the world’s top recording artists were invited to an all-night recording session at the A&M studios in Los Angeles. As each of the artists walked through the studio door, they were greeted by a hand-lettered sign — put there by Lionel Richie. It simply said, “Check your ego at the door.” The session started at 10 p.m. with producer Quincy Jones conducting. At 8 o’clock the following morning, the project, “USA for Africa”, spearheaded by promoter, Ken Kragen, was recorded and mixed. The resulting song, We Are the World, featuring Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Sting, Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross, Paul Simon and many others became the top song in the U.S. on April 13, 1985.

. 2002 ~ Michael Hammond, who became chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts just a week earlier, died apparently of natural causes. He was 69. A native of Kenosha, Wis., the conductor and composer had been dean of the School of Music at Rice University in Houston when President Bush nominated him to lead the federal agency that decides grants for the arts. After being confirmed by the Senate on Dec. 20, 2001, Hammond had assumed the post-Jan. 22, 2002, and was still in the process of moving to Washington. A student of music and medicine, Hammond’s interests included music from Southeast Asia, the Renaissance and medieval times and the intersection between music and neuroscience. He received a Rhodes scholarship to study philosophy, psychology and physiology at Oxford University. He also studied Indian philosophy and music at Dehli University in India. In 1968, he left his post as director of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee to become the founding dean of music at the State University of New York at Purchase. He later served as president of the school, until he left for Rice’s Shepherd School of Music in 1986. All the while, he retained his interest in medicine, teaching neuroanatomy and physiology at Marquette Medical School and at the University of Wisconsin. Hammond also served as the founding rector of the Prague Mozart Academy in the Czech Republic, now the European Mozart Academy was on the board of the Houston Symphony, and was vice chairman of the board of Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.

. 2002 ~ Steve Caldwell, who sang and played saxophone for the Swingin’ Medallions at the time of the band’s 1966 hit Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love), died of pancreatic cancer. He was 55. Caldwell was with the group from 1963 to 1969. After getting his master’s degree in chemistry at the University of South Carolina, he returned to his native Atlanta and ran the Norell temporary staffing agency until starting his own company in 1976. His wife, Lynn Caldwell, said he raised $1 million for charity through World Methodist Evangelism.

January 27: On This Day in Music

. 1629 ~ Hieronymus Praetorius, composer, died at the age of 68

. 1731 ~ Bartolomeo Cristofori, Italian instrument maker considered the inventor of the piano, died at the age of 75

. 1756 ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer, pianist
Listen to Mozart’s music
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Happy Birthday, Mozart!

 

. 1823 ~ Edouard Lalo, French composer

. 1885 ~ Jerome Kern, American songwriter and composer of musical comedies He was known as the father of the American musical, composing Show Boat, Ol’ Man River, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Lovely to Look At, The Way You Look Tonight and The Last Time I Saw Paris

. 1895 ~ Harry Ruby (Rubinstein), Musician and composer

. 1901 ~ Giuseppe Verdi, Italian composer, died at the age of 77. He was an Italian operatic composer, the leading figure of Italian music in the nineteenth century and made important contributions to the development of opera.
More information about Verdi

. 1905 ~ John Schaum, Pianist, composer and music educator. Schaum began his career as a piano teacher in the late 1920s. In 1933 he founded the Schaum Piano School in Milwaukee. About the same time he began to compose piano music for teaching purposes. He also founded the first company to produce award stickers specifically for music students. Always on the lookout for better materials for his students, Schaum eventually decided to create his own books, beginning in 1941 with Piano Fun for Boys and Girls, which he later revised as the first in a series of nine piano method books that became the Schaum Piano Course, completed in 1945. These books are still widely used today.

. 1916 ~ Milt (Milton W.) Raskin, Pianist, composer and arranger

. 1918 ~ Skitch Henderson, Conductor of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, bandleader, musical director of NBC-TV’s The Tonight Show with Steve Allen and Johnny Carson

. 1948 ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bolshoi ballet dancer, defected to the U.S.

 

. 1961 ~ Leontyne Price made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. She sang in the role of Leonora in “Il Trovatore”. Price was only the seventh black singer to make a debut at the Met. Marian Anderson was the first (1955).

. 1968 ~ The Bee Gees played their first American concert, as a group. They earned $50,000 to entertain at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. This is identical to what The Beatles were paid to perform at the Hollywood Bowl a few years earlier.

. 1968 ~ Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay was released on this day, seven weeks after the singer’s death. It became #1 on March 16, 1968 and remained at the top spot for a month. Redding began his recording career in 1960 with Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers (on Confederate Records). He sang a duet with Carla Thomas and had 11 chart hits. Redding of Dawson, GA was killed in a plane crash at Lake Monona near Madison, WI.  Four members of the Bar-Kays were also killed in the crash. The Dock of the Bay, his only number one song, was recorded just three days before his death.

 

. 1973 ~ John Lennon wrote and recorded “Instant Karma” in a single day

. 1973 ~ Mr and Mrs O got married 🙂
Read more here.

. 1982 ~ “Joseph & the Amazing Dreamcoat” opened at the Royale NYC for 747 performances

. 1984 ~ Michael Jackson’s hair caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in Los Angeles. Pyrotechnics did not operate on cue, injuring the singer. Jackson was hospitalized for a few days and fans from around the world sent messages of concern.

. 2000 ~ Friedrich Gulda, Austrian pianist died at the age of 69.

. 2014 ~ Pete Seeger, American folk singer and activist, helped create the modern American folk music movement, died at 94

January 26: On This Day in Music

today

 

. 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 CahnMy Kind of Town and Second Time Around

. 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” by Andrew Lloyd Webber opened at Majestic Theater in New York City for 4,000+ performances. It is now the longest running Broadway show in history.

. 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

January 25: On This Day in Music

 

. 1759 ~ Burns Night commemorates the life of the Scottish bard (poet) Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759. Burns’ best-known work is “Auld Lang Syne”.

Learn more about Burns Night

. 1858 ~ Felix Mendelssohn’s overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was first used as a wedding march. The bride was Queen Victoria’s daughter, the groom was the Crown Prince of Prussia.

. 1886 ~ Wilhelm Furtwängler, German conductor and composer

. 1905 ~ Julia Smith, American composer, pianist, and author on musicology

. 1913 ~ Witold Lutoslawski, Polish composer
More information about Lutoslawski

. 1921 ~ Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovych, composer, died at the age of 43.  One of his most famous works was Carol of the Bells.

. 1938 ~ Etta James, Singer

. 1940 ~ Mary Martin recorded My Heart Belongs to Daddy — for Decca Records. The song was her signature song until she starred in “South Pacific” in 1949. Then, Larry Hagman’s mother had a new trademark: “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair…”

. 1945 ~ Richard Tucker debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City in the production of “La Gioconda”.

 

. 1945 ~ Vaughn Moore made it to the top of the Billboard Pop Chart with his hit, “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” The song is still one of the most popular holiday songs to this day.

. 1964 ~ The Beatles reached the #1 spot on the music charts, as their hit single, I Want to Hold Your Hand, grabbed the top position in “Cash Box” magazine, as well as on the list of hits on scores of radio stations. It was the first #1 hit for The Beatles. “Billboard” listed the song as #1 on February 1. The group’s second #1 hit song, She Loves You, was also released this day – but not on Capitol Records. It was on Swan Records. Other songs by The Beatles were released on Vee Jay (Please, Please Me), M-G-M (My Bonnie with Tony Sheridan), Tollie (Twist and Shout), Atco (Ain’t She Sweet) and the group’s own label, Apple Records, as well as Capitol.

. 1981 ~ Alicia Keys is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, pianist and actress. She was born in one of the roughest areas on New York (Hell’s Kitchen) where it was known in earlier decades as the home of organized crime. Keys attended Professional Performing Arts School where a number of other notable artists have attended including Britney Spears, and graduated at sixteen. She has had a successful career as a solo artist winning eleven Grammy Awards, and 4 top selling albums Songs in A Minor, The Diary of Alicia Keys, Unplugged and As I Am . She has also had a number of singles that have not only topped the charts in the US but around the world including “Fallin'” and “No One”.

. 1999 ~ Robert Shaw passed away.  Shaw was an American conductor most famous for his work with his namesake Chorale, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Shaw received 14 Grammy awards, four ASCAP awards for service to contemporary music, the first Guggenheim Fellowship ever awarded to a conductor, the Alice M. Ditson Conductor’s Award for Service to American Music; the George Peabody Medal for outstanding contributions to music in America, the Gold Baton Award of the American Symphony Orchestra League for “distinguished service to music and the arts,” the American National Medal of Arts, France’s Officier des Arts et des Lettres, England’s Gramophone Award, and was a 1991 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

. 2004 ~ Ronald Fredianelli, a co-founder of the 1950s pop vocal group the Gaylords, died in Las Vegas. He was 73. Fredianelli, who performed as Ronnie Gaylord teamed with Bonaldo Bonaldi and Don Rea in the early 1950s. Bonaldi performed as Burt Holiday. Their debut song, Tell Me You’re Mine, was a Top 10 hit in 1953. Other hits included From the Vine Came the Grape and The Little Shoemaker. Although the Gaylords formed in Detroit, Fredianelli and Bonaldi became a staple in Nevada showrooms, where they performed for decades as Gaylord and Holiday. Bonaldi and Rea live in Reno. One of Fredianelli’s sons, Anthony, is the guitarist for the rock group Third Eye Blind.

. 2015 ~ 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.

. 2018 ~ John Morris, American film and Broadway composer who commonly worked alongside Mel Gibson and Gene Wilder, died of a respiratory infection at the age of 91.

. 2021 – People celebrated the Chinese New Year: