Hanns Eisler lived from 1898 until 1962. He was a composer, born in Leipzig, Germany. He studied under Schoenberg at the Vienna Conservatory
(1919--23). A committed Marxist, he wrote political songs, choruses, and theatre music, often in
collaboration with Brecht. From 1933 he worked in Paris, London, and Copenhagen, and moved to
Hollywood in 1938, teaching and writing film music. Denounced in the McCarthy anti-Communist
trials, he returned to Europe in 1948. He settled in East Germany in 1952, composing popular songs
and organizing workers' choirs. He wrote about 600 songs and choruses, and music for over 40 films
and for nearly 40 plays.
Duke Ellington (1899 to 1974) was a composer, bandleader, and pianist. He was born Edward Kennedy Ellington in Washington, D.C.
From an early age, the handsome, sharply dressed teenager
(that's where he got the nickname, Duke) was headed for success.
At first it was art. He won a poster-design contest and an art scholarship,
left school and started a sign-painting business.
But it was his natural piano-playing ability that attracted the young
women, so Duke Ellington headed in that direction. He
developed his keyboard skills by listening to local black ragtime pianists; he composed his first piece,
Soda Fountain Rag, around 1915. A successful professional musician by the early 1920s, he left
Washington in the spring of 1923 for New York, which was his home base for the rest of his life.
Between December 1927 and 1931 his orchestra held forth at Harlem's Cotton Club, where regular
radio broadcasts, together with an active recording schedule, helped him establish a nationwide
reputation. Take the "A" Train was his "signature song".
In such compositions as Black and Tan Fantasy (1927), Mood Indigo (1930), Solitude (1934),
and Echoes of Harlem (1935), Ellington emerged as a distinctive composer for his ensemble,
employing the rhythms, harmonies, and tone colors of jazz to create pieces that vividly captured
aspects of the African-American experience. At the same time, he sought to broaden jazz's
expressive range and formal boundaries in such extended works as Reminiscing in Tempo (1935),
Black, Brown, and Beige (1943), and Harlem (1951).
An essential feature of Ellington's composing method was to write with specific instrumentalists in
mind, often drawing them into the creative process by building entire pieces out of their musical
He wrote scores for big band pieces, film scores, operas, ballets,
Broadway shows, gospel music, musicals, films, television, and ballet and in the 1960s
produced a series of sacred concerts combining his orchestra, choirs, vocalists, and dancers. He would work with each section of his orchestra as an entity unto its own
and then bring them together to create the unique sounds such as, Mood Indigo. Over 1,000 musical pieces are
credited to the great Duke Ellington. James Lincoln Collier studied the Duke and his Orchestra, comparing Duke
Ellington to a "master chef who plans the menus, trains the assistants, supervises them, tastes everything, adjusts
the spices ... and in the end we credit him with the result."
Ellington was successful, as few others have been, in reconciling the practical function of a popular
entertainer with the artistic aspirations of a serious composer. His rich legacy consists of hundreds
of recordings, his many pieces that have entered the standard repertory, and his musical materials
now preserved in the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. There is a statue of Duke Ellington in New York.
John Entwistle, the bass player for veteran British rock band The Who, died in Las Vegas on Thursday, June 27, 2002, at age 57, just one day before the group was set to begin a North American tour in the city, officials said.
Entwistle, a bearded, taciturn musician affectionately known as "Ox" or "Thunderfingers," died in his room at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, officials said, of an apparent heart attack.
The Who, known for such raw percussive hits as "My Generation," "Pinball Wizard" and "Won't Get Fooled Again," were scheduled to begin their three-month tour at the Joint, a small club at the hotel. An MCA official said the show had been canceled, as well as two weekend concerts in Los Angeles. She referred questions about the rest of the tour to promoter Clear Channel, where a spokesman was not available for comment.
With Entwistle's death, The Who are down to just two original members -- singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist-songwriter Pete Townshend. Original drummer Keith Moon died of an accidental pill overdose in 1978.
A source close to the band told Reuters that a devastated Daltrey and Townshend spent several hours together in Los Angeles after hearing of Entwistle's death. Entwistle had arrived in Las Vegas ahead of his bandmates to open a traveling exhibition of his artwork, said a statement from MCA Records.
In addition to his lightning finger work on the bass, Entwistle helped out on backing vocals, supplying an alto-tenor on "A Quick One While He's Away" and "Summertime Blues." His unique playing style mixed bass melodies with a more rhythmic role, producing a trebly sound that essentially became the band's lead instrument.
On stage he rarely moved from his spot, allowing his colorful bandmates to vie for the spotlight.
His songwriting contributions were mostly limited to a few album tracks and B-sides. The first song he wrote for The Who, 1966's creepy-crawly gem "Boris the Spider," was resurrected on their 1989 reunion tour. Other songs he wrote for The Who included "My Wife" and "Whiskey Man."
Entwistle released a half-dozen eclectic solo albums that revealed his wry sense of humor, and he also dabbled in art. He had spent the last dozen years writing a novel, although he noted in a recent interview that "at the current rate of writing they're gonna have to engrave the end on my tombstone."
ROOTS OF THE WHO
Born John Alec Entwistle in the London suburb of Chiswick on Oct. 9, 1944, he studied piano, trumpet and French horn as a youngster before moving on to a homemade bass. The formal music education proved helpful later on as he performed and arranged all the brass parts on The Who's records.
At the age of 14, he formed a traditional jazz band at his grammar school, the Confederates, and invited schoolmate Townshend to join the short-lived combo. He then joined the Detours, a band formed by an older boy at their school, Roger Daltrey. At Entwistle's suggestion, Daltrey brought in Townshend, and the early The Who started to take shape.
After leaving school, Entwistle worked as a tax clerk by day and played with the band by night. The group changed its name to The Who in 1964, and Moon joined later that year, replacing drummer Doug Sandom, who did not play aggressively enough for the other members of the band.
Influenced by the likes of bluesman Jimmy Reed, rocker Eddie Cochran and soul giants James Brown and Jackie Wilson, The Who made an immediate impression on the London "Mod" scene with its seemingly undisciplined garage rock, which it dubbed "Maximum R&B."
The band trashed its equipment at the end of each show, and it was years before it made enough money to pay off its bills for new instruments.
After briefly flirting with a new name, the High Numbers, The Who released its first single in early 1965, "I Can't Explain." It followed up with "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" and its signature anthem, "My Generation," famed for Townshend's nihilistic lyric "Hope I die before I get old."
With Townshend and Daltrey often at loggerheads with each other, and Moon busy pioneering the lifestyle of a destructive rock star, Entwistle became the first member to release a solo album, 1971's "Smash Your Head Against the Wall."
"I never really wanted The Who to do more of my songs because I thought at the time they would mess them up," Entwistle once said.
He released a succession of follow-up albums, and launched a money-losing tour of Britain and the United States with his own band, the Ox, in the mid-1970s.
The Who, meanwhile, became one of the biggest bands in the world, even earning a mention in the 1976 Guinness Book of Records for playing the loudest concert -- 120 decibels, the same intensity as a jet engine.
Albums such as the 1969 rock opera "Tommy," "Who's Next" (1971) and "Quadrophenia" (1973) cemented its position as the third band in the great triumvirate of British rock, just below the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
After Moon's death in 1978, shortly following the release of "Who Are You," the band recruited former Faces drummer Kenney Jones. But the group had lost its momentum and released its last studio album in 1982, "It's Hard," accompanied by a farewell tour. It regrouped in 1989 and toured sporadically.
Entwistle was married twice and has one son from his first marriage, Christopher.