. 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
. 1834 ~ Albert Heinrich Zabel, harpist and composer
. 1857 ~ Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts
. 1923 ~ Frederick A. Julliard set up a million-dollar fund to establish a music school. Today, Juilliard is one of the world’s leading music and dance schools.
. 1927 ~ David Ahlstrom, American composer
. 1931 ~ Maurice Chevalier recorded Walkin’ My Baby Back Home for Victor Records in New York City. The same tune was recorded 21 years later by Nat ‘King’ Cole and Johnny Ray. It became a major hit for both artists.
. 1945 ~ Oliver (Swofford), Singer
. 1956 ~ Elvis Presley entered the music charts for the first time. Heartbreak Hotel began its climb to the number one spot on the pop listing, reaching the top on April 11, 1956. It stayed at the top for eight weeks.
. 1958 ~ Roy Hamilton’s record, Don’t Let Go, became #13 in its first week on the record charts. The song was the first stereo record to make the pop music charts. 1958 was the year for several stereo recordings, including Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes by Chuck Willis, Yakety Yak by the Coasters, Born Too Late by The Poni-Tails, It’s All in the Game by Tommy Edwards and What Am I Living For by Chuck Willis.
. 1965 ~ Filming began for The Beatles’ second movie, “HELP!”, in the Bahamas.
. 1976 ~ Florence Ballard passed away. She was an American vocalist, one of the founding members of the popular Motown vocal group the Supremes. Ballard sang on sixteen top forty singles with the group, including ten number-one hits.
. 1985 ~ Efrem A Zimbalist, Russian/US composer/violinist, died at the age of 95
. 2001 ~ Ray Hendricks, a singer of the Big Band era who performed with Benny Goodman and Betty Grable, died at the age of 88. His career took him to Hollywood and across the country with stars including Goodman, Grable, Hoagy Carmichael, Ben Bernie, Ray Noble and Sid Lippman. His earliest performances were on Spokane radio station KFPY. He soon set out for California with Bob Crosby, brother of Bing Crosby. After serving as a flying instructor in the Air Force during World War II, he returned to Spokane and formed his own orchestra. He continued playing local venues for several decades but said he regretted not pushing his career after the war.
. 1736 ~ Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Austrian musician
. 1809 ~ (Jacob Ludwig) Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn, German composer
More information about Mendelssohn
. 1900 ~ Mabel Mercer, British-born American cabaret singer
. 1904 ~ Luigi Dallapiccola, Italian composer
More information about Dallapiccola
. 1911 ~ Jehan Alain, French organist and composer
. 1928 ~ Frankie Vaughn (Abelson), Singer
. 1929 ~ Russell Arms, Singer
. 1940 ~ Angelo D’Aleo, Singer with Dion and The Belmonts
. 1941 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded the classic, Amapola, on Decca Records. Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly joined in a vocal duet on this very famous and popular song of the Big Band era.
. 1943 ~ Eric Haydock, Bass with The Hollies
. 1943 ~ Dennis Edwards, singer with the Temptations since 1968. He 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.
. 1947 ~ Melanie (Safka), Singer
. 1947 ~ Dave Davies, Singer, guitarist with The Kinks
. 1950 ~ Ed, Gene, Joe and Vic, The Ames Brothers, reached the #1 spot on the pop music charts for the first time, as Rag Mop became the most favorite song in the U.S. The brothers enjoyed many successes with their recording efforts.
1959 ~ 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens died in an airplane crash near Mason City, Iowa. February 3rd has been remembered as ‘The Day the Music Died’ since Don McLean made the line popular in his 1972 hit, “American Pie”. Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holly in Lubbock, Texas, recorded That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy, Maybe Baby, and others, including It Doesn’tMatter Anymore (recorded just before his death, a smash in the U.K., non-top-10 in the U.S.). Buddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. A convincing portrait of the singer was portrayed by Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story, a made for TV movie. J.P. (Jiles Perry) Richardson was from Sabine Pass, TX. He held the record for longest, continuous broadcasting as a DJ at KTRM Radio in Beaumont, TX in 1956. He was on the air for 122 hours and eight minutes. In addition to his smash hit, Chantilly Lace, Richardson also penned Running Bear (a hit for Johnny Preston) plus White Lightning (a hit for country star, George Jones). Richard Valenzuela lived in Pacoima, CA (near LA) and had a role in the 1959 film, Go Johnny Go. Ritchie Valens’ two big hits were Donna and La Bamba … the last, the title of a 1987 film depiction of his life. La Bamba also represented the first fusion of Latin music and American rock. Of the three young stars who died in that plane crash, the loss of Buddy Holly reverberated the loudest over the years. But, fans of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll will agree, all three have been sorely missed.
. 1959 ~ Lol (Laurence) Tolhurst, Drummer, keyboard with The Cure
. 1964 ~ The British group, The Beatles, received its first gold record award for the single, I Want To Hold Your Hand. The group also won a gold LP award for “Meet The Beatles”. The album had been released in the United States only 14 days earlier.
. 1971 ~ Lynn Anderson received a gold record for the single, Rose Garden. The Grand Forks, ND country singer was raised in Sacramento, CA. In addition to being a singer, she was an accomplished equestrian and California Horse Show Queen in 1966.
. 1974 ~ “Pajama Game” closed at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 65 performances
. 1979 ~ “YMCA“ by Village People peaked at #2 on the pop singles chart. It was fun to dance to!
. 2002 ~ Remo Palmier, a self-trained guitarist who was a fixture in the New York jazz scene in the 1940s, died at the age of 78, and had been suffering from leukemia and lymphoma, his wife said. Over the course of his career, Palmier played with jazz legends Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. Born Remo Palmieri in the Bronx, Palmier achieved his greatest fame performing with broadcaster Arthur Godfrey on CBS, and taught Godfrey how to play the ukulele. After Godfrey retired, Palmier released his own albums, “Windflower and “Remo Palmier”.
. 1912 ~ Erich Leinsdorf, Austrian-born American conductor
. 1937 ~ Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra recorded A Study in Brown, on Decca Records.
. 1941 ~ John Steel, Singer, drummer with The Animals
. 1944 ~ Florence LaRue (Gordon), Singer with The Fifth Dimension
. 1962 ~ Clint Black, Singer, actor
. 2002 ~ Blues and jazz pianist Abie “Boogaloo” Ames died at the age of 83. Ames was born on Big Egypt Plantation in Cruger, Miss., on May 23, 1918. He began playing piano at the age of 5 and his style earned him the nickname “Boogaloo” in the 1940’s. Ames moved to Detroit as a teenager and started a band, touring Europe with Louis Armstrong in 1936. Ames worked at Motown Studio and befriended other great musicians like Nat King Cole and Erroll Garner. In 1980, Ames moved to Greenville, where he became a regular performer at local clubs and festivals. Cassandra Wilson’s forthcoming Blue Note CD tentatively titled “Belly of the Sun” is set to include Darkness in the Delta, a song written by Ames for the CD. Ames was named the 2001 winner of the Artist’s Achievement Award of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in the state of Mississippi. With his protege and 1990s musical partner Eden Brent, Ames performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in 2000. Ames’ last public performance was in October 2001 at the E.E. Bass Cultural Center in Greenville with another former student, Mulgrew Miller.
. 2002 ~ David Stetler, a big band swing drummer who played with Benny Goodman and Spike Jones, died of pneumonia. He was 79. A Seattle native, Stetler was discovered in high school by Lunceford. With a style close to that of Gene Krupa and Jo Jones, Stetler toured the country in the 1940s but returned to Seattle after his first son was born. He backed up national acts in local performances, including many during the world’s fair in 1962.
. 2003 ~ Charlie Biddle, a leader of Montreal’s jazz scene in the 1950s and ’60s who played bass with Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, died after a battle with cancer. He was 76. Biddle was a native of Philadelphia who moved to Canada in 1948. Over the next five decades, the World War II veteran and former car salesman became synonymous with jazz in Montreal. Biddle opened his own club, Uncle Charlie’s Jazz Joint, in suburban Ste- Therese in 1958. He later performed in such legendary Montreal nightspots as The Black Bottom and the Penthouse, where he worked with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton. When there were no jobs in Montreal, Biddle played smaller Quebec cities with a group called Three Jacks and a Jill. Until recently, Biddle played four nights a week at Biddle’s Jazz and Ribs, a Montreal landmark for nearly 25 years. Coincidentally, the club closed Tuesday for planned renovations, which included erecting a wall of fame to honor Biddle and others who have played at the club. In 1979, he organized the three-day festival that some say paved the way for the renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival. News Item about Charlie Biddle
. 2003 ~ Jerome Hines, a bass vocalist who performed regularly at the Metropolitan Opera during a career that spanned more than six decades, died. He was 81. Hines spent 41 years performing at the Met, more than any other principal singer in its history. He was known for his timbral richness, as well as the research he conducted into the historical and psychological background of the roles he portrayed. During his career at the Met, he portrayed 45 characters in 39 works, including title roles in Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” and Colline in Puccini’s “La Boheme.” He gave a total of 868 performances at the Met, retiring in 1987. He went on to perform with regional opera companies and at benefits. Hines, who became a born-again Christian in the 1950s, composed his own opera, “I Am the Way,” about the life of Jesus. He sang the title role at the Met in 1968 and 93 times around the world.
. 2003 ~ Saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus, a former member of the Doobie Brothers who had performed with Steely Dan since 1993, died en route to a series of performances in California. He was 58. Bumpus began his career at age 10, playing alto saxophone in the school band in Santa Cruz, Calif. In 1966, he spent six months performing with Bobby Freeman, and joined Moby Grape in 1977, writing one tune for the “Live Grape” album. Bumpus also recorded two solo albums and toured with his own band. Since performing with The Doobie Brothers in the early 1980s, Bumpus played with a number of bands, most recently with Steely Dan, which won the “Album of the Year” Grammy for its 2000 “Two Against Nature” release. His relations with his former Doobies bandmates turned contentious in the late 1990s, when they sued him and several other musicians over their use of the Doobies name. A federal judge in 1999 ruled against Bumpus and the other musicians, ordering them not to use the name.
Statistically, people who’ve ‘liked’ Mozart on Facebook have a higher IQ. It got us thinking… what would Mozart ‘like’ on Facebook? And what would his profile look like?! On the tenth anniversary of the social network’s launch, we’ve imagined what the composer might have posted online throughout his life.
. 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.
. 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 ~ 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
Wolfgang Amadeus Theophilus Mozart lived between 1756 and 1791. He is considered to be a classical composer. Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria, began composing before most children go to kindergarten. By the time he was six he had played the piano and violin in public.
A Wunderkind, a prodigy of the first rank before the age of five, Mozart astounded the musical world with compositions of unsurpassed brilliance. His father Leopold had recognized his talent at the age of three and immediately set out to teach him to play the harpsichord, violin, and organ. Mozart and his sister made their debut in Munich when he was just six and traveled about Europe together, performing at courts and before royalty, always with success. While still a little child Mozart was inventing symphonies, sonatas, and his first opera. Legends abound about how Mozart could hear an entire work in his head and write everything down without making even one change.
As a child performer he was often treated as a freak. People would cover his hands as he played the piano, make him compose tunes on the spot and perform all sorts of other musical tricks.
In 1787 Mozart became court composer to Joseph II. He played for royalty, received commissions from aristocrats and in his short lifetime composed nearly a thousand masterpieces, including symphonies, operas, serenades, sonatas, concertos, masses, vocal works, and church works.
Mozart was a prolific composer writing masterpieces using every form of music, including his operas “The Marriage of Figaro” (based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais), “Don Giovanni”, “Cosi fan tutte” and “The Magic Flute”. His mastery of instrumental and vocal forms, from symphony to concerto and opera, was unrivalled in his own time and perhaps in any other.
Composing the Requiem Mass commissioned for Count Walsegg, he felt he was writing his own requiem and he died before it was finished.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer, died in Vienna Austria at the age of 35, penniless, on December 5th, 1791, of malignant typhus. Mozart, the precocious child prodigy, composed several pieces that are deemed central to the classical era. Though he ranked as one of the greatest musical genius, he did not live a life of affluence as none of his compositions earned him a decent commission but the world is forever enriched by such works as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the Symphonies No. 38 through 41 and the Coronation Mass.
On January 18, 1958 Leonard Bernstein began presenting his television series What does music mean? The series ran for 53 programs. Some of the episodes can be found below:
Part 1 What is Classical Music?
Plot: Bernstein conducts Handel’s Water Music and cites it as an indisputable example of classical music. “Exact” is the word that best defines classical music, Bernstein says and he demonstrates with musical illustrations from Bach’s Fourth Brandenburg Concerto, Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C Major and The Marriage of Figaro, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 102.
The decline of classical music at the end of the eighteenth century is tied to Beethoven’s innovations and the Romantic movement, and Bernstein conducts Beethoven’s Egmont Overture.
Part 2 What is Melody?
Plot: Bernstein discusses the different forms melody can take, including tune, theme, motive, melodic line and musical phrase. He illustrates by conducting the orchestra in excerpts from Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Hindemith, and Brahms.
Part 3 What is a Mode?
Plot: Bernstein discusses scales, intervals, and tones, and analyzes several pieces, including Debussy’s Fêtes, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and music from the Kinks and the Beatles, to illustrate different modes.
An excerpt from Bernstein’s ballet Fancy Free is also performed.
. 1715 ~ Jacques Duphly, French harpsichordist and composer.
.1782 ~ On this day Mozart wrote a letter to his father about Muzio Clementi. He said: “Clementi plays well, as far as execution with the right-hand goes. His greatest strength lies in his passages in 3rds. Apart from that, he has not a kreuzer’s worth of taste or feeling – in short he is a mere mechanicus.”
. 1876 ~ Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Italian Opera Composer
. 1905 ~ Tex (Woodward Maurice) Ritter, Country singer, actor, John Ritter’s father
. 1921 ~ The opening of Town Hall in New York City, an important new concert hall
. 1926 ~ Ray Price, Singer
. 1926 ~ Morton Feldman, American composer, born in NYC, New York
. 1928 ~ Vladimir Horowitz debuted as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was the very same night that Sir Thomas Beecham gave his first public performance in the United States.
. 1930 ~ Glenn Yarbrough, Singer with The Limeliters
. 1933 ~ Václav Suk, Czech-born Russian composer and violinist, died at the age of 71
. 1939 ~ William Lee Golden, Singer with The Oak Ridge Boys
. 1939 ~ The Ink Spots gained national attention after five years together, as they recorded If I Didn’t Care. Many other standards by the group soon followed.
. 1946 ~ Cynthia Robinson, Singer, trumpeter with Sly and the Family Stone
. 1949 – Arthur Godfrey and His Friends was first seen on CBS-TV this day. The program stayed on the network for seven years.
. 1959 ~ Per Gessle, Guitarist, singer with Roxette
. 1963 ~ Songwriter Bob Dylan sang Blowin’ In the Wind on the BBC radio presentation of “The Madhouse on Castle Street”. The song soon became one of the classics of the 1960s protest movement.
. 1985 ~ After a record 24 weeks as the #1 album in the nation, Prince (now known as The Artist Previously Known as Prince) slipped to the #2 spot with Purple Rain. Replacing Prince at the top spot: ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springsteen’s Born In the USA, which spent 24 weeks waiting for Purple Rain to fall.
. 1995 ~ Laurel McGoff, American singer
. 2001 ~ Luis Floriano Bonfa, the master guitarist and composer who helped found Bossa Nova music, died of cancer at the age of 78. Bonfa, who was born in Rio de Janeiro in Oct. 17, 1922, began composing in the 1940s and launched his career as a solo artist in 1952. Better known abroad than at home, Bonfa became internationally famous for his contributions to the soundtrack of Marcel Camus’ 1959 classic film “Black Orpheus.” The film introduced an international audience to Bossa Nova – a more sophisticated and less percussive samba style – and made Bonfa and fellow composer Antonio Carlos Jobim stars. “Bonfa plays the guitar like no other, in a very personal, charismatic style. His guitar is a little orchestra,” the late composer Jobim once said. His reputation grew further when he was a featured performer at the Bossa Nova festival at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1962. He was even more famous for his more than 500 compositions especially Manhade Carnaval andSamba de Orpheu. Placido Domingo, Julio Iglesias, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley recorded songs written by Bonfa. In recent years, his productivity slowed. His last major label release “The Bonfa Magic,” was recorded in 1991.
. 2001 ~ Opera singer Kyra Vayne, a star of the 1940s and 1950s whose talents were rediscovered in the 1990s, died at age 84. The Russian-born soprano was born in St. Petersburg. Vayne fled the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution with her family and was eight years old when her family settled in London. She began a successful opera career in the 1940s, and sang for allied troops during World War II. She later joined the Russian Opera Company, then based at London’s Savoy Theater. Her career collapsed in 1957 when her agent, Eugene Iskoldoff, committed suicide, and for the next 35 years she worked as a secretary for the British Broadcasting Corp.
In the early 1990s, a music company released four recordings of her voice, leading the U.S. music magazine “Fanfare” to ask, “How is it possible that such a singer has not come down to us as one of the century’s most celebrated sopranos?” Soon afterward, Arcadia Books published her autobiography, “A Voice Reborn,” which tenor Placido Domingo described as having “all the elements of an opera.” At the end of 1999, nearly 80 years after she fled Russia, Vayne was invited to perform at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater to mark the new millennium – her first public performance in 40 years. “For me to sing at the Bolshoi is beyond any fairy tale,” she said at the time. “I am not worried about singing in public again after so long, but I am fearful of the emotional impact.” Vayne never married and had no children.
. 2003 ~ Maurice Gibb, a member of the famed disco band the Bee Gees, died at a Miami Beach hospital. He was 53. Gibb, joined with his older brother and his twin to harmonize their way to becoming one of the best selling musical groups ever. Gibb played bass and keyboard for the group, whose name is short for the Brothers Gibb. In a 1978 interview with TG Magazine, Gibb lamented the perception that the Bee Gees were only a disco band. “People accuse us of being nothing more than a disco band now,” Gibb said. “But they don’t know what they’re talking about. If you listen to our records, you’ll find that there’s dance music. But there are also ballads like More Than A Woman. And there are some very beautiful, undanceable songs, too.” The Bee Gees – twins Maurice and Robin, and their older brother Barry – have lived in South Florida since the late 1970s. Their younger brother, Andy, who had a successful solo career, died in 1988 at age 30 from a heart ailment. Chris Hutchins, a writer and former press agent for the Bee Gees, said Maurice was “very much a tormented soul.” “He was not the star (of the Bee Gees), and he knew it, he felt it,” Hutchins told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. Known for their close harmonies and original sound, the Bee Gees are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and their 1977 contributions to the “Saturday Night Fever” album made it the best selling movie soundtrack ever with more than 40 million copies sold. Among their disco hits on that album are Stayin’ Alive, More Than a Woman and How Deep Is Your Love and Night Fever. The group won seven Grammy Awards. The Bee Gees last album was in 2001, entitled “This Is Where I Came In.” The family emigrated from England to Australia in 1958, and the brothers soon gained fame as a teen pop group. They returned to England in the 1960s, and their first four albums contained hits such as 1941 New York Mining Disaster, To Love Somebody and their first U.S. number one song, 1971’s How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.
The Bee Gees followed “Saturday Night Fever” with the 1978 album “Spirits Having Flown” which sold 20 million copies. The brothers wrote and produced songs for Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick in the 1980s. They also wrote the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hit Islands in the Stream. The Bee Gees released three studio albums and went on a world tour in the 1990s. The live album from the tour “One Night Only,” sold more than 1 million albums in the United States. The Bee Gees run a music production company in Miami called Middle Ear Studios. Gibb’s first wife was British singer Lulu. He and his second wife, Yvonne, were married for more than 20 years and had two children.
. 1762 ~ The first public concert by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, age 6 and his sister Nannerl, age 12 was on this day.
. 1857 ~ First performance of Franz Liszt‘s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A, in Weimar. Liszt conducted and the soloist was his pupil, Hans von Bronsart.
. 1876 ~ William Yeates Hurlstone, composer
. 1899 ~ Francis Poulenc, French composer
More information about Poulenc
. 1922 ~ Jean-Pierre Rampal, French flutist
More information about Rampal
. 1924 ~ George Gershwin completed the incomparable score of Rhapsody in Blue. Incidentally, George was only 26 years old at the time. George didn’t even have an interest in music until his family got him a piano when he was twelve. Nine years later he had his first hit, Swanee, with lyrics written by Irving Caesar. Rhapsody in Blue was commissioned in 1924 by Paul Whiteman and then orchestrated by Ferde Grofe of Grand Canyon Suite fame. This first orchestration of Gershwin’s score was never quite right. Grofe’s style didn’t gel with Gershwin’s. Several other artists attempted to do justice to Rhapsody in Blue, never quite making the grade. Some thirty years later, orchestra leader Hugo Winterhalter with Byron Janis at the piano did a jazzed up version; pretty close to the way Gershwin had described his piece. However, it wasn’t until Gershwin’s original solo piano was accompanied by a jazz band led by Michael Tilson Thomas, that the true arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue was heard. No matter how you hear it, Rhapsody in Blue will remain the signature of one of the most influential of composers, songwriters and pianists in American music history.
. 1926 ~ A famous marriage that endured for many years is remembered this day. It’s the wedding anniversary of George Burns and Gracie Allen who were married by a Justice of the Peace in Cleveland, Ohio.
. 1930 ~ Jack Greene, The Green Giant, CMA Male Vocalist, Album, Single and Song of the Year
. 1940 ~ The gate to Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch opened. The ‘singing cowboy’ would entertain on CBS radio for the next 16 years.
. 1941 ~ Good-for-Nothin’-Joe was recorded by the sultry Lena Horne. She sang the classic song with Charlie Barnet and his orchestra on Bluebird Records.
. 1942 ~ Paul Revere, Singer, keyboards with Paul Revere and The Raiders
. 1946 ~ Jann Wenner, Publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine
. 1950 ~ Ernest Tubb made his first appearance at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Ernest also did a 15-minute radio program each day that became very popular in West Texas. So popular, in fact, that he bought the radio station that had aired the program for years and years: KGKL in San Angelo, Texas.
. 1955 ~ The first black singer at the Metropolitan Opera was Marian Anderson, who appeared as Ulrica in Verdi’s“The Masked Ball”.
. 1958 ~ The Flying V guitar, which is a favorite of rock musicians, was patented this day by the Gibson Guitar Company.
. 1985 ~ Yul Brynner returned to the Broadway stage this night as “The King and I” returned to where Yul first began his reign, 33 years before. Through his career to that date, Brynner appeared in 4,434 shows without missing a single performance.
. 2002 ~ Jon Lee, drummer for the Welsh rock band Feeder, died at the age of 33. The trio’s biggest hit single was the 2001 single Buck Rogers, which reached No. 5 on the British charts. Feeder released its first full-length album, “Polythene,” in England in 1997; it was released in the United States in early 1998. The band released its third album, “Echo Park,” last year, which debuted at No. 5 in Britain and swiftly sold more than 100,000 copies.
. 2002 ~ Nauman Steele Scott III, co-owner of Black Top Records which gained an international reputation for its blues, rhythm-and-blues and zydeco recordings, died. Scott suffered from heart disease. He was 56. Scott owned Black Top Records with his brother, Hammond. The label featured such artists as Earl King, Snooks Eaglin and the Neville Brothers. Black Top releases picked up two Grammy nominations and have won more than 30 W.C. Handy Blues Awards.