March 21 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1685 ~ Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer
Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor was featured in the Walt Disney movie Fantasia and the new Fantasia 2000
Listen to Bach’s music
Read quotes by and about Bach
More information about Bach
Grammy winner

. 1839 ~ Modeste Mussorgsky, Russian composer
More information about Mussorgsky

. 1869 ~ Florenz Ziegfeld, Producer, Ziegfeld Follies ~ annual variety shows famous for the Ziegfeld Girls from 1907 to the 1930s
More information about Ziegfeld

. 1882 ~ Bascom (Lamar) Lunsford, Appalachian folk song writer, started first folk music festival in 1928 ~ annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival at Asheville, N.C. He was responsible for formation of the National Clogging and Hoedown Council.

. 1921 ~ Arthur Grumiaux, Belgian violinist

. 1934 ~ Franz Schreker, Austrian composer and conductor, died

. 1935 ~ Erich Kunzel, American orchestra conductor. Called the “Prince of Pops” by the Chicago Tribune, he performed with a number of leading pops and symphony orchestras, especially the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, which he led for 32 years.

. 1936 ~ Alexander Glazunov died.  He was a Russian composer of the late Russian Romantic period, music teacher and conductor.

. 1939 ~ God Bless America, written by Irving Berlin back in 1918 as a tribute by a successful immigrant to his adopted country, was recorded by Kate Smith for Victor Records on this day in 1939. Ms. Smith first introduced the song on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938, at the New York World’s Fair. It was a fitting tribute to its composer, who gave all royalties from the very popular and emotional song to the Boy Scouts. The song became Kate Smith’s second signature after When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain and the second national anthem of the United States of America. On several occasions, it has even been suggested that the U.S. Congress enact a bill changing the national anthem to God Bless America.

. 1941 ~ Singer Paula Kelly joined Glenn Miller’s band. Her husband, also a part of the Miller organization, was one of the four singing Modernaires.

. 1955 ~ NBC-TV presented the first “Colgate Comedy Hour”. The show was designed to stop the Sunday popularity of Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” on CBS.  Gordon MacRae, the Gabor sisters and Mama Gabor, in addition to a host of singers and dancers were in the opening program with the gangway of the nation’s biggest ship, the “S.S. United States” as the stage. In addition to MacRae, other hosts of the “Colgate Comedy Hour” included: Fred Allen, Donald O’Connor, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante.

. 1961 ~ The Beatles made their debut in an appearance at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where they became regulars in a matter of months.

. 1963 ~ A year after opening in the Broadway show, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand tied the matrimonial knot.

. 1964 ~ Singer Judy Collins made her debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City and established herself “in the front rank of American balladeers.” She would first hit the Top 40 in 1968 with Both Sides Now, a Joni Mitchell song. Her versions of Amazing Grace and Send In the Clowns also became classics.

. 1970 ~ The Beatles established a new record. Let It Be entered the Billboard chart at number six. This was the highest debuting position ever for a record. Let It Be reached number two a week later and made it to the top spot on April 11, overshadowing Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water.

. 1991 ~ Leo Fender, the inventor of The Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars died from Parkinson’s disease. He started mass producing solid body electric guitars in the late 40s and when he sold his guitar company in 1965, sales were in excess of $40 million a year.

. 1998 ~ Galina Ulanova, the leading ballerina at the Bolshoi Theater for nearly two decades, died aged 88.

. 2000 ~ Jean Howard, a Ziegfeld girl-turned-starlet who became known as a legendary Hollywood hostess and photographer, died at the age of 89. She wasn’t interested in becoming a film star. Instead, she came to wield power as favorite Hollywood hostess and photographer, turning her portraits into the books “Jean Howard’s Hollywood” in 1989 and “Travels With Cole Porter” in 1991.

. 2005 ~ Legendary cabaret singer Bobby Short, an icon of old-world style who played for more than three decades at New York’s Carlyle Hotel, died at the age of 80.

March 16 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1736 ~ Giovanni Battista Pergolesi died.  He was an Italian composer, violinist and organist.

. 1905 ~ Nadia Boulanger made her public concert debut at the piano.

. 1924 ~ Christa Ludwig, German mezzo-soprano

. 1935 ~ Theresa Berganza, Spanish mezzo-soprano

. 1937 ~ David Del Tredici, American composer

. 1942 ~ Fats Waller recorded The Jitterbug Waltz in New York for Bluebird Records.  The Jitterbug Waltz was inspired by some piano exercises that Waller’s son Maurice had been practicing on the piano.

. 1955 ~ The Ballad of Davy Crockett, by Bill Hayes, reached the number one spot on the pop music charts and stayed for five weeks beginning this day. The smash hit song sold more than 7,000,000 records on more than 20 different labels. Everyone seemed to be singing the song that saluted the frontier hero who was “Born on a mountain top in Tennessee…” Coonskin caps were seen everywhere as the Crockett craze spread like a frontier fire.

. 1963 ~ Peter, Paul and Mary released the single, Puff The Magic Dragon.

. 1971 ~ Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water LP and single won six Grammys including Record, Song and Album of the Year. Aretha Franklin won the Best Female R&B Performance Grammy for Don’t Play That Song. B.B. King won the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy for The Thrill Is Gone.

. 1983 ~ Arthur Godfrey passed away

. 1985 ~ A Chorus Line played performance number 4,000 this night at New York’s famed Shubert Theatre. The show originally opened in July, 1975, and became the longest-running show to light up the Great White Way in September, 1983.

. 1999 ~ Honoring a roster of music artists that range from The Beatles to the Backstreet Boys, the Recording Industry Association of America presented the first Diamond Awards, given in recognition of albums and singles that have sold a million copies or more.

. 1999 ~ Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and the late Roosevelt Sykes were inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.

March 10 ~ This Day in Music History

mario-day

National Mario Day is observed each year on March 10th and honors Mario from the popular Nintendo game.
It is celebrated on March 10th because of the way the date appears, when abbreviated (Mar.10),  it looks just like the name Mario.

. 1832 ~ Muzio Clementi died.  He was an Italian-born English composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer.  He is also the subject of this month’s Piano Explorer, which is enjoyed by my students.

. 1844 ~ Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist

. 1879 ~ Ignaz Moscheles died.  He was a Bohemian composer and piano virtuoso

. 1892 ~ Arthur Honegger, French composer
Read quotes by and about Honegger
More information about Honegger

1903 ~ “Bix” Beiderbecke, American jazz cornetist
More information about Beiderbecke

. 1935 ~ Nelson Eddy recorded Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life for Victor Records. The song came from the film, “Naughty Marietta”. Later, Eddy recorded the classic tune with Jeanette MacDonald.

. 1937 ~ An audience of 21,000 jitterbuggers jammed the Paramount Theatre in New York City to see a young clarinetist whom they would crown, ‘King of Swing’ on this night. The popular musician was Benny Goodman.

. 1940 ~ W2XBS-TV in New York City originated the first televised opera as members of the Metropolitan Opera Company presented scenes from “I Pagliacci”.

. 1956 ~ Julie Andrews was 23 years old this night when she made her TV debut. She appeared with Bing Crosby and Nancy Olson in the musical adaptation of Maxwell Anderson’s play, “High Tor”.

. 2003 ~ Lionel Dakers, who directed the Royal School of Church Music for 16 years, died at age 79. Dakers was a stickler for high musical standards and opposed some of the modernizing trends in English church music. Dakers was organist at Ripon Cathedral from 1954 to 1957, then moved to Exeter Cathedral before his appointment as director of the Royal School of Church Music in 1972. In 1976, he was appointed a director of Hymns Ancient & Modern, publisher of some of the most widely used Anglican hymnals.

. 2016 ~ Keith Emerson died.  He was an English keyboardist and composer.

March 5 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1853 ~ Arthur William Foote, American composer

. 1887 ~ Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian composer and collector of Brazilian folk songs
More information about Villa-Lobos

. 1917 ~ The first jazz recording for Victor Records was released. The Original Dixieland ‘Jass’ Band performed on the tune The Dixie Jass Band One Step. The word ‘Jass’ was later changed to ‘Jazz‘.

. 1928 ~ Lou Levy, Pianist with Supersax; recorded with Sinatra, Peggy Lee,Nancy Wilson and Anita O’Day

. 1931 ~ Barry Tuckwell, Austrian French-horn player

. 1931 ~ Without a Song was recorded by Lawrence Tibbett for Victor Records. This wonderful melody came from the film, “The Southerner” and has been a hit for many, including Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.

. 1947 ~ Eddie Hodges, Singer, actor

. 1948 ~ Eddy Grant, Singer, songwriter

. 1950 ~ Eugene Fodor, Violinist, made solo debut at age 10 with the Denver Symphony, won first national competition at age 12, won first prize in International Paganini Competition, won highest prize in International Tchaikovsky Competition
More information about Fodor

. 1952 ~ Alan Clark, Keyboards with Dire Straits

. 1953 ~ Sergei Prokofiev passed away
More information about Prokofiev

. 1958 ~ Andy (Andrew Roy) Gibb, Singer with the Bee Gees, host of TV’s Solid Gold

. 1960 ~ Elvis Presley returned to civilian life after a two-year hitch in the U.S. Army. Not since General Douglas MacArthur returned from battle has a soldier received such publicity. Elvis said he probably would not be growing his famous and long sideburns back, though he did relent in later years.

. 1963 ~ Patsy Cline, Cowboy (Lloyd) Copas and Hankshaw Hawkins were killed in a plane crash at Camden, TN, near Nashville. The famous country music stars were returning from a benefit performance. Cline, the ‘Queen of Country Music’ was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973. Jessica Lange played Patsy in the 1985 biographical film, Sweet Dreams, named after one of Cline’s hugely popular songs. Willie Nelson wrote her biggest hit, Crazy, which become a number one country hit and a top 10 pop song in November, 1961.

. 1969 ~ The rock magazine, Creem, was published for the first time this day.

. 1973 ~ Roberta Flack, riding at #1 on the pop music charts with, Killing Me Softly with His Song, could hardly wait to rip into the fancy frame containing her brand new gold record. She flew to the stereo machine and set the needle down on the shiny surface, only to hear Come Softly to Me. She was so impressed by this unexpected turn of the table that she wound up humming the old Fleetwoods song for three days.

February 24 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1766 ~ Samuel Wesley, English organist and composer in the late Georgian period. Wesley was a contemporary of Mozart (1756–1791) and was called by some “the English Mozart.”

. 1771 ~ Johann Baptist Cramer,  English musician of German origin. He was the son of Wilhelm Cramer, a famous London violinist and musical conductor, one of a numerous family who were identified with the progress of music during the 18th and 19th centuries.

. 1832 ~ Frederic Chopin’s first Paris concert. The musicologist Arthur Hedley has observed that “As a pianist Chopin was unique in acquiring a reputation of the highest order on the basis of a minimum of public appearances—few more than thirty in the course of his lifetime.

. 1842 ~ Arrigo Boito, Italian composer, librettist and poet

. 1858 ~ Arnold Dolmetsch, British music antiquarian and musician

. 1932 ~ Michel Legrand, Academy Award-Winning composer for Best Original Score: Yentl in 1983, Brian’s Song, Ice Station Zebra

. 1934 ~ Renata Scotto, Italian soprano. She made her operatic debut at age 18 and is best known for performances as Violetta in La Traviata, Cio-Cio- San in Madama Butterfly, Mimi (and the occasional Musetta) in La Bohème, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Francesca in Francesca da Rimini. She is also an opera director.

. 1940 ~ Frances Langford recorded one of the classic songs of all time — and one that would become a Walt Disney trademark. When You Wish Upon a Star was recorded on Decca Records during a session in Los Angeles. Many artists have recorded the song, including pop diva Linda Ronstadt (with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in the early 1980s). One can hear the song not only on record, but as the theme in the opening credits of any Disney movie, video and TV program and those “I’m going to Disneyland/World!” commercials, too.

. 1942 ~ Paul Jones, Harmonica, singer with Manfred Mann

. 1943 ~ Stephen Douglas Burton, American composer and teacher

. 1947 ~ Rupert Holmes, Songwriter: over 300 songs & jingles, singer, producer

. 1947 ~ Lonnie Turner, Bass, singer with The Steve Miller Band

. 1964 ~ The musical, “What Makes Sammy Run”, opened in New York at the 54th Street Theatre. Making his Broadway debut in the show was Steve Lawrence. The production ran for 540 performances.

. 1985 ~ Yul Brynner reprised his role in “The King and I” setting a box office record for weekly receipts. The show took in $520,920.

. 1990 ~ Johnnie Ray died.  He was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist.

. 1991 ~ Webb Pierce passed away.  He was one of the most popular American honky tonk, rockabilly vocalists, guitarists of the 1950s

Musical U.S. Presidents

presidents-day

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 17 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1653 ~ Arcangelo Corelli, Italian violinist and composer
More information on Corelli

. 1902 ~ Marian Anderson, American contralto
Read quotes by and about Anderson
More information on Anderson

. 1904 ~ Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly was first performed at La Scala, world’s most famous opera house in Milan, Italy.

. 1909 ~ Marjorie Lawrence, Opera soprano: “One of the truest Wagnerian interpreters of our time, unchallenged for the stirring magnificence of her Brunnhilde and the tender simplicity of her Sieglinde, or the stately loveliness of her Elsa and the compelling malevolence of her Ortrud.”

. 1923 ~ Buddy (Boniface) DeFranco, Clarinetist, bandleader. He won all modern jazz music polls in the early 1950s

. 1933 ~ Bobby Lewis, Pianist, singer

. 1941 ~ Gene Pitney, Singer, songwriter

. 1945 ~ Zina Bethune, Dancer, choreographer, actress

. 1946 ~ Dodie Stevens (Geraldine Ann Pasquale), Singer

. 1954 ~ Doris Day’s single, Secret Love, became the #1 tune in the U.S. The song, from the motion picture, “Calamity Jane”, stayed at the top of the music charts for three weeks.

. 1962 ~ The Beach Boys started making waves with their first Southern California hit, Surfin’. Their new musical style swept the U.S. like a tidal wave when they hit nationally with Surfin’ Safari in August of this same year.

. 1962 ~ Gene Chandler hit #1 with Duke of Earl on this day. The song stayed at the top for three weeks. It hit #1 on the rhythm & blues charts, as well. Duke of Earl was Chandler’s biggest hit out of a half-dozen he recorded. His only other million seller came with Groovy Situation in

. 1970. Curtis Mayfield wrote several hits for Chandler, including Just Be True, What Now and Nothing Can Stop Me. Chandler’s real name is Eugene Dixon. He owned his own record label, Mr. Chand, from 1969 to 1973, though Groovy Situation was recorded in 1970 for Mercury.

. 1966 ~ Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler received a gold record from RCA Victor, for both the album and the single of The Ballad of the Green Berets. Sadler, who recorded one other single (“The “A” Team”) for the label, had served in Vietnam until injuring a leg in a Viet Cong booby trap.

. 1972 ~ Billie Joe Armstrong, Grammy Award-winning singer (1994), guitarist and songwriter with Green Day

. 1998 ~ Bob Merrill passed away.  Merrill was an American songwriter, theatrical composer, lyricist, and screenwriter.