• 1913 ~ Mary Martin, American singer and actress, primarily for the musical theater,
Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress, mother of actor Larry Hagman More about Mary Martin
• 1924 ~ Lady Be Good opened in New York City. George Gershwin wrote the music
while Fred and Adele Astaire were well-received by the show’s audience for
their dancing talents.
• 1936 ~ Lou Rawls (Louis Allen), American Grammy Award-winning singer of popular
music, TV regular on Dean Martin Presents
• 1938 ~ Sandy Nelson, Drummer
• 1939 ~ Diane Lennon, Singer with The Lennon Sisters on Lawrence Welk Show,
Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters
• 1940 ~ Glenn Miller got a call from ASCAP (American Society of Composers and
Publishers). He was informed that he couldn’t use his Moonlight Serenade as
his band’s theme song. He had to use Slumber Song instead because of an
• 1945 ~ Bette Midler, American Grammy Award-winning pop-rock singer and actress
• 1945 ~ Burl Ives made his concert debut. He appeared at New York’s Town Hall. We
lovingly listen every year for the voice of this old-time radio personality
as the narrator and banjo-pickin’ snowman in TV’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed
• 1918 ~ Milton DeLugg, Bandleader on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson;
Milton DeLugg and His Orchestra: Abe Burrows’ Almanac, The Chuck Barris Rah
Rah Show, Dagmar’s Canteen, Doodles Weaver, The Gong Show, Judge for
Yourself, Your Hit Parade; played accordion in The Milton DeLugg Quartet and
• 1928 ~ Jörg Demus, Austrian pianist
• 1934 ~ Billy Paul (Paul Williams), Singer
• 1941 ~ Tom McGuinness, Bass, guitar with Manfred Mann; McGuinness Flint; and
• 1942 ~ Ted Bluechel, Jr., Singer, drummer with The Association
• 1944 ~ Eric Bloom, Singer, guitarist
• 1945 ~ John Densmore, Musician with The Doors
• 1952 ~ Michael McDonald, Singer, songwriter, keyboard with The Doobie Brothers
• 1960 ~ Rick Savage, Bass with Def Leppard
• 1972 ~ Motown’s Temptations reached the #1 spot on the top 40 charts with Papa
Was a Rollin’ Stone. It was the fourth #1 hit for the Temptations, joining
My Girl, I Can’t Get Next to You and Just My Imagination.
• 1596 ~ Nicola Amati, Italian violin maker, teacher of
Guarneri and Stradivari
• 1729 ~ Padre Antonio Francisco Javier Jose Soler, Spanish composer whose works span the late Baroque and early Classical music eras. He is best known for his keyboard sonatas, an important contribution to the harpsichord, fortepiano and organ repertoire.
1883 ~ Anton Webern, Austrian composer and conductor
Read quotes by and about Webern More information about Webern
• 1907 ~ Connie (Connee) Boswell, Singer
Connie or Connee (a spelling she preferred later in life), who also played
several musical instruments, arranged vocals for herself and her two
Although she was stricken with polio and worked from her wheelchair, she never
let this get in the way of being part of her jazz-singing trio. The Boswell
Sisters’ talent was quickly recognized and by the time Connee was 24 years
old, the sisters were doing vaudeville, radio, playing New York’s Paramount
Theatre, recording with the Dorsey Brothers: You Oughta Be in Pictures;
making films and appearing on the U.S.A.’s first public TV broadcast.
One thing led to another and Connie went solo, entertaining World War II
troops, making films, appearing on Broadway and recording with big names
like Woody Herman’s; even a duet classic with Bing Crosby: Basin Street Blues.
Her musical influence spanned many generations and music styles. If you’d have
asked Ella Fitzgerald, she would have told you, "They just don’t make ’em
like Connee Boswell anymore."
1923 ~ Maria Callas (Calogeropoulous), American soprano
More information about Callas
Read quotes by and about Callas
• 1925 ~ The first jazz concerto for piano and orchestra was presented at CarnegieHall in NYC. Commissioned by Walter Damrosch, American composer GeorgeGershwin presented Concerto In F, and was also the featured soloist playing
a flugelhorn in a slow, bluesy style as one of his numbers.
• 1927 ~ Phyllis Curtin, Singer: soprano with the New York City Opera, MetropolitanOpera, Vienna Staatsoper, La Scala, Teatro Colon; coordinator of Voice Dept
and Opera at Yale School of Music, Dean Emerita of Boston Univ School for
• 1927 ~ Ferlin Husky (aka: Simon Crum, Terry Preston), Singer
• 1930 ~ Andy (Howard Andrew) Williams, American Emmy Award-winning
• 1931 ~ Jaye P. (Mary Margaret) Morgan, Singer, performer
• 1944 ~ Frank Sinatra was in the Columbia Records studio recording Old Man River.
• 1948 ~ Ozzy (John) Osbourne, Songwriter, singer
• 1949 ~ Mickey Thomas, Singer with Jefferson Starship
• 1953 ~ Kismet opened on Broadway in New York. The show ran for 583 performances.
• 1955 ~ Elvis Presley's first release on RCA Victor Records was announced. No, it
wasn’t Hound Dog or Heartbreak Hotel. The first two sides were actually
purchased from Sam Phillips of Sun Records: Mystery Train and I Forgot to
Remember to Forget. Elvis was described by his new record company as "The
most talked about personality in recorded music in the last 10 years."
• 1960 ~ Camelot opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. Richard Burton
and Julie Andrews played the leading roles in the musical written by Lerner
and Loewe. Robert Goulet got rave reviews for his songs, If Ever I Would
Leave You, Then You May Take Me to the Fair and How to Handle a Woman,
among others. Camelot had a run of 873 performances. Broadway went Hollywood
in the 1967 film version of Camelot. Its run was not quite as successful.
• 1968 ~ The O’Kaysions received a gold record for Girl Watcher. The song had a
promotional reprise in the 1990s as a theme for Merv Griffin's Wheel of
Fortune, with the revamped lyrics, I’m a Wheel Watcher...
• 1977 ~ After 29 weeks in the #1 position on the album charts (a record,
literally...), Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac, was replaced at the top spot by
the album Simple Dreams, sung by Linda Ronstadt.
• 2000 ~ Kevin Mills, a member of the Christian rock groups Newsboys and White
Heart, died after a motorcycle accident in Hollywood. He was 32.
Mills, of Louisville, Ky., was a singer and bass player, his family said. He
also was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and appeared on TV in "An
Inconvenient Woman" in 1991.
White Heart started in 1982. Newsboys, an Australian band now based near
Nashville, was formed four years later. Newsboys have sold nearly 3 million
records and earned three Grammy nominations on the religious rock circuit.
• 2002 ~ Rich Dangel, credited with creating the opening guitar chords of garage
band staple Louie Louie, died of an aneurysm at his home. He was 60.
Dangel was a member of the seminal Northwest rock band the Wailers, who
introduced the nation to the Northwest sound - raw, unpolished and catchy.
He may be best known for coming up with the power chords that opened the
Wailers' 1961 regional hit, Louie, Louie, written by rhythm-and-blues
singer Richard Berry and taken to the top of the national charts by another
Northwest band, the Kingsmen from Portland, Ore.
Dangel co-wrote his first chart hit, "Tall Cool One" with fellow Wailer John
Greek when he was still in high school. The song resulted in the group's
first album, "The Fabulous Wailers," a cross-country tour and a 1959
appearance on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand." 4Christmas Music, Part 4 ~ I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day
• 2002 ~ Emmy-nominated pianist George Gaffney, who accompanied such musicians as
Peggy Lee, Engelbert Humperdink and Sarah Vaughan, died. He was 62.
Born in New York City, Gaffney began studying the piano at age 10 but switched
to the trombone. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1958 to 1961,
Gaffney returned to New York, where he played piano and began arranging and
Gaffney moved to the Chicago area in the mid-1960s and was musical director of
the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wis., where he first met Vaughan.
Gaffney came to California in the early 1970s and found work as a studio
musician and accompanist. He worked on a number of television programs,
including the TV series "Moonlighting," and was nominated for an Emmy. From 1980 to 1990, he was Vaughan's accompanist and musical director.
He moved to Las Vegas in 1994 and worked as Humperdink's musical director. In
recent years, he also orchestrated tunes for Rita Moreno.
• 2002 ~ Mary Hansen, guitarist and vocalist with the '90s alternative band
Stereolab died. She was 36.
Hansen, from Maryborough in Queensland, Australia, died in a cycling accident
in London, The Independent newspaper reported Friday.
Details of the accident were not available. Band spokesman Mick Houghton was
quoted by The Independent as saying a truck might have backed into her, "but
I really don't know much more than that."
Hansen joined the band in 1992, two years after it was formed by Tim Gane,
formerly of the band McCarthy, and his girlfriend Laetitia Sadier.
Among hundreds of messages posted on the band Web site, one from a fan who
identified himself as Louis called Hansen "the soul" of the band.
Hansen, who played several instruments, first appeared on 1992's LoFi single
and all subsequent releases, including 1994's Mars Audiac Quintet and 1996's
Emperor Tomato Ketchup.
Stereolab had been working on a new album, expected to be released next year.
• 2003 ~ Barry Morell, a tenor who played leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and
internationally for more than two decades, died of esophageal cancer. He was 75.
Morell began his career as a baritone, until he sought the guidance of former
Metropolitan Opera baritone Giuseppe Danise, who told him he should be a tenor.
He was best known for performing the operas of Puccini. He made his debut as Pinkerton
in "Madame Butterfly" in 1955 with the New York City Center Opera Company. In 1958,
he made his Met debut in the same role.
He appeared in Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna and other opera houses in Europe, South
America and across the United States.
Among his more than 20 roles during 257 performances at the Met were Rodolfo in "LaBoheme," Enzo in "La Gioconda" and the title roles of "Don Carlo" and "Faust". 5Christmas Music, Part 5 ~ Carol of the Bells
• 1791 ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer, died in Vienna,
Austria at the age of 35. 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.
• 1901 ~ Walt Disney, Man behind many much-loved animated musicals
• 1922 ~ Don Robertson, Nashville Songwriters Association Hall of Famer, whistler
• 1930 ~ Larry Kert, Actor, singer, dancer in the West Side Story original cast, 1957
• 1932 ~ Little Richard (Pennimann), US rock 'n roll artist, preacher
• 1936 ~ Chad Mitchell, Singer with Chad Mitchell trio
• 1936 ~ Bing Crosby took over as host of The Kraft Music Hall. Jimmy Dorsey (who
would later be host, himself) led the Kraft Orchestra.
• 1945 ~ José Carreras, Spanish tenor with the New York Metropolitan Opera
• 1947 ~ Jim Messina, American rock guitarist and singer, duo of Loggins and
Messina and groups: Buffalo Springfield and Poco
• 1960 ~ Les Nemes, Bass with Haircut 100
• 1960 ~ Jack Russell, Singer with Great White
• 1973 ~ Paul McCartney released Band On The Run, his fifth album since his departure from The Beatles. Two hit singles from the album Ð 'Jet' and 'Band on the Run' made it McCartney's most successful album.
• 2003 ~ Avie Parton, mother of country music singer, songwriter and actress Dolly Parton,
died after a long illness. She was 80.
Parton was responsible for stitching the patchwork rag coat for young Dolly that the
singer later recounted in the song, Coat of Many Colors. The song helped propel
Dolly Parton to stardom and came to symbolize her climb from rags to riches.
She also was the witness at Dolly's secret marriage to Carl Dean in 1966 in Ringgold,
2012 ~ Dave Brubeck, American jazz pianist and composer
More information about Brubeck
• 1877 ~ Thomas Alva Edison made the first sound recording ever
by reciting and recording the nursery rhyme, "Mary had a Little Lamb".
Edison recorded sound on a cylinder, which was then rotated against a
needle. The needle moved up and down in the grooves of the cylinder,
producing vibrations that were amplified by a conical horn. Edison
assuumed that this would be useful only for office dictation
purposes and not much for recording music.
• 1956 ~ Rick (Paul) Buckler, Drummer, singer with The Jam
• 1960 ~ Eileen Farrell debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC in the title
role of Gluck'sAlcestis.
• 1962 ~ Ben Watt, Guitarist, keyboard, singer with Everything but the Girl
• 1969 ~ Musician Cab Calloway turned actor as he was seen in the Hallmark Hall of
Fame presentation of The Littlest Angel on NBC. The big band singer, known
for such classics as Minnie the Moocher, became a movie star in The Blues
Brothers (1980) with John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd.
• 1969 ~ Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, by Steam, reached the #1 spot on the top
40. It stayed at the top for two weeks and was the only major hit for the
• 2000 ~ Werner Klemperer, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who went on to play
the inept German prison-camp commandant Col. Klink on TV's "Hogan's Heroes,"
died of cancer at the age of 80.
Klemperer fled Germany in 1935 with his father, Otto, a distinguished
conductor and composer. He won two Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the
monocled Col. Wilhelm Klink on the 1960s sitcom about World War II Allied
prisoners of war.
He was a gifted actor on both film and stage, receiving a Tony nomination in
• 1988 as a feature actor in a musical for his role in Hal Prince's revival of
Other Broadway roles included starring opposite Jose Ferrer in "The Insect
Comedy," and with Tallulah Bankhead in the 1955 production of "Dear
Charles." Most recently, he co-starred in Circle in the Square's production
of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya."
Klemperer also appeared as a narrator with nearly every major symphony
orchestra in the United States. His repertoire included such works as
Beethoven's "Egmont" and "Fidelio," Stravinsky's "L'Histoire du Soldat" and
His narration of Mozart's "The Impresario," with the Mostly Mozart Festival
Orchestra, aired on PBS's "Live from Lincoln Center." He also performed in
various operas, including "The Sound of Music," with the New York City
Opera. He played Prince Orlofsky in "Die Fledermaus" with companies in
Seattle and Cleveland.
• 2003 ~ Hans Hotter, the world's leading Wagnerian bass-baritone of his time, died at
the age of 94.
The 6-foot-4 Hotter, whose career spanned half a century, was known for his
booming, noble voice.
He mastered such roles as Wotan in Wagner's Ring Cycle, Gurnemanz in "Parsifal",
the title role in "The Flying Dutchman" and Hans Sachs in DieMeistersinger. He also won praise for Schubert lieder.
Hotter started his operatic career in 1930, and sang in Prague and Hamburg and at
the Munich Opera, where he became a leading singer in 1937. He remained with the
company until 1972. He also was a member of the Vienna Opera from 1939 until
Hotter created the role of Olivier in the world premiere of Richard Strauss"Capriccio" in 1942. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the role
of Jupiter in Strauss's "Die Liebe der Danae" had been written for him but its
premiere was disrupted when all theaters were closed after the assassination
attempt on Adolf Hitler in August 1944.
After the war, Hotter began a 12-year association with the Wagner family's opera
house at the Bayreuth festival in 1952. The same year, he made his Metropolitan
Opera debut as the Dutchman.
He also became a producer. His final production was in 1981 in Chicago of
Chanukah Chanukah Music Chanukah Music Lyrics
• 1842 ~ The Philharmonic Society of New York, the first permanent orchestra in the
U.S., held its first concert. Despite uncomfortable seating, the event was
a huge success. They performed works of Beethoven.
1863 ~ Pietro Mascagni, Italian composer and conductor
More information about Mascagni
• 1887 ~ Ernst Toch, Austrian-born American composer
• 1911 ~ Louis Prima, Trumpeter, bandleader with Louis Prima and His New Orleans
Gang, Gleeby Rhythm Orchestra; songwriter, singer, married to Keely Smith
• 1931 ~ Bobby Osborne, Musician, mandolin, singer with the duo - Osborne Brothers
• 1942 ~ Harry Chapin, American folk-rock singer and songwriter,
Recipient of Special Congressional Gold Medal, Worldwide Humanitarian for
the Hungry, Needy and Homeless
• 1948 ~ NBC presented Horace Heidt's Youth Opportunity Program for the first time.
The talent show earned Dick Contino, an accordionist, the $5,000 prize as
the program’s first national winner.
• 1949 ~ Tom Waits, Singer, songwriter, playwright, married to Kathleen Brennan
• 1954 ~ Mike Nolan, Singer with Bucks Fizz
• 1957 ~ Pat Boone was at the top of the pop charts for the first of six weeks with
April Love. His other number one hits included Ain’t That a Shame, I Almost
Lost My Mind, Don’t Forbid Me and Love Letters in the Sand.
• 1984 ~ Michael Jackson was in Chicago to testify that the song, The Girl is Mine,
was exclusively his and he didn’t swipe the song, Please Love Me Now. It was
a copyright infringement case worth five million dollars. He won.
• 1946 ~ John Rubinstein, Tony Award-winning actor, composer
• 1947 ~ Gregg Allman, Keyboards, guitar, singer with Allman Brothers Band
• 1957 ~ Phil Collen, Guitarist with Def Leppard
• 1961 ~ Surfin’, The Beach Boys first record, was released on Candix Records. It
became a local hit in Los Angeles but only made it to #75 nationally. The
surfin’ music craze didn’t take hold across America for another year. By the
time Surfin’ Safari entered the Top 40 (September, 1962), though, The Beach
Boys were ridin’ a wave of popularity that continues today.
• 1963 ~ Florence Henderson and Jose Ferrer co-starred in The Girl Who Came to
Supper on Broadway. The production, however, only lasted for 112 shows.
• 1963 ~ Frank Sinatra, Jr. was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He was set free
four days later. It was discovered that Sinatra, Jr. cooperated with his
abductors in their plot. Dad was not proud, nor pleased. Frank, Jr. went on
to conduct the big band for Frank, Sr. and all was well.
• 1966 ~ Sinead O’Connor, Singer
• 1980 ~ John Lennon was shot and killed on
this day as he stood outside of his New York City apartment house, the
Dakota. A deranged, obsessed ‘fan’ asked Lennon to autograph an album, then
shot him as Lennon started to comply. The man was quickly apprehended by
others gathered at the scene. A several-days vigil by hundreds of mourning
fans is remembered as candles flickered and the song Give Peace a Chance
was heard, a continuing tribute to the musician and songwriter of a
John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, together with New York’s officials, set up a
permanent memorial to her husband: a section of Central Park, opposite the
Dakota, named Strawberry Fields.
• 2003 ~ Lewis Allen, producer of the Broadway hit "Annie" and winner of three Tony Awards,
died of pancreatic cancer, his wife said. He was 81.
"Annie" opened in 1977 and ran for six years. Allen won a Tony for it and for two plays he
produced: Herb Gardner's "I'm Not Rappaport" in 1986 and Terrence McNally's "Master Class"
Allen also produced several films, including Shirley Clarke's "The Connection" (1961),
Francois Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451" (1966) and both the 1963 and 1990 versions of "Lord ofthe Flies."
He was an early supporter of "Annie," which started life at a regional theater in
Connecticut. Although that production received lukewarm reviews, Allen got producer-
director Mike Nichols to join him in backing the Broadway version, which spawned the 1982
film version that Allen did not produce.
Allen was born in Berryville, Va., graduated from the University of Virginia and served with
the American Field Service during World War II.
His wife, Jay Presson Allen, wrote the screenplays for "Cabaret" (1972) and Alfred
Hitchcock's "Marnie" (1964).
• 2003 ~ Cuban pianist Ruben Gonzalez, who found new fame in the mid-1990s playing with
Compay Segundo's Buena Vista Social Club band, died. He was 84.
Gonzalez's keyboard gymnastics provided the heartbeat of the Buena Vista Social Club's
string of traditional Cuban "son" music albums beginning in 1997.
The smallish man with grizzled hair and beard gained worldwide attention as the
pianist on the opening album of the series, the Grammy-winning "Buena Vista Social
• 1926 ~ Benny Goodman's first recording session was this day. He played clarinet
with the Ben Pollack Orchestra on a tune titled Downtown Shuffle on Victor
Records. Goodman, incidentally, was all of 17 years old.
• 1944 ~ Neil Innes, Keyboard, singer, songwriter with The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
• 1950 ~ Joan Armatrading, British rock singer and songwriter
• 1953 ~ Frank Sinatra recorded Young At Heart. The song was turned down by Nat ‘King’ Cole and other artists, believe it or not. It became a top hit in the
U.S. in March of 1954.
• 1954 ~ Jack Hues, Singer with Wang Chung
• 1956 ~ Sylvia (Sylvia Allen), Singer
• 1956 ~ The Million Dollar Session was held at Sun Records in Memphis, TN. ElvisPresley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis gathered for an
impromptu jam session. Six songs by the artists were recorded at this
session. None of the songs was released for nearly three decades.
• 1957 ~ Donny Osmond, Singer with the Osmond Brothers, TV host of Donny and Marie,
• 1973 ~ Keith Moon, Rod Stewart and Roger Daltrey opened the rock opera Tommy in
London. The show featuring Tommy, Pinball Wizard and other tunes, was so hot
that tickets sold for $50 and up.
• 1984 ~ The Jackson’s Victory Tour came to a close at Dodger Stadium in Los
Angeles after 55 performances in 19 cities. The production was reported to
be the world’s greatest rock extravaganza and one of the most problematic.
The Jackson brothers received about $50 million during the five-month tour
of the U.S., with some 2.5 million fans in attendance.
• 2000 ~ Marina Koshetz, who followed her famous Russian diva mother Nina to the
opera and concert stage and into the movies, died at the age of 88.
• 2004 ~ Country and Western singer Jerry Scoggins, whose baritone rendition of
the theme song of "The Beverly Hillbillies" became one of television's
favorite tunes, died at age 93.
Chanukah Chanukah Music Chanukah Music Lyrics
• 1913 ~ Morton Gould, American Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, conductor and
• 1924 ~ Ken Albers, Bass singer with The Four Freshmen
• 1927 ~ For the first time, famed radio announcer George Hay introduced the WSM
Barn Dance as the Grand Ole Opry. The show’s title may have changed but it
remained the home of country music.
• 1930 ~ Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded the haunting Mood Indigo
on Victor Records. It became one of the Duke’s most famous standards.
• 1943 ~ Chad Stuart, Guitarist, lyricist, singer with the duo - Chad & Jeremy
• 1946 ~ Christopher ‘Ace’ Kefford, Bass with The Move
• 1947 ~ Walter ‘Clyde’ Orange, Drummer, singer with The Commodores
• 1948 ~ Jessica Cleaves, Singer with Friends of Distinction
• 1949 ~ Frank Beard, Drummer with ZZ Top
• 1949 ~ Fats Domino recorded his first sides for Imperial Records. The legend from
New Orleans recorded The Fat Man, one of the earliest rock and roll records.
The title also turned into Domino’s nickname and stayed with him through his
years of success.
• 1951 ~ John (Raul) Rodriguez, Singer
• 1953 ~ Harry Belafonte debuted on Broadway in Almanac at the Imperial Theatre.
Critics hailed Belafonte’s performance as "electrifyingly sincere." Also
starring in the show: Hermione Gingold, Billy DeWolfe, Polly Bergen and
• 1966 ~ The Beach Boys made a one-week stop at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 as
Good Vibrations made it to #1. It was the third #1 hit the group scored. The
others were I Get Around and Help Me, Rhonda.
• 1967 ~ Otis Redding and four members of the Bar-Kays (Otis’ backup group) were
killed in the crash of a private plane near Madison, Wisconsin. Redding was 26 years old. His signature song, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay was
recorded three days before his death. It was #1 for four weeks beginning
February 10, 1968. Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Bar-Kays biggest hit was in July, 1967: Soul Finger. James Alexander, bass
player for the group, was not on the plane. Ben Cauley, trumpet player,
survived the crash. The group played for a time with various new members.
• 1940 ~ David Gates, Guitarist, keyboard, singer with Bread
• 1944 ~ Brenda Lee (Tarpley), American singer of popular music
• 1944 ~ "The Chesterfield Supper Club" debuted on NBC radio. Perry Como, JoStafford and many other stars of the day shared the spotlight on the 15-minute show that aired five nights a week. The show was sponsored by
• 1952 ~ An audience of 70,000 people watched from 31 theatres as Richard Tucker
starred in Carmen. The event was the first pay-TV production of an opera.
Ticket prices ranged from $1.20 to $7.20.
• 1982 ~ Toni Basil reached the #1 one position on the pop music charts for the
first time, with her single, Mickey.
• 2000 ~ Ruth Martin, a writer whose translations of both popular and obscure
operas were widely used in American opera houses, died at the age of 86.
Martin collaborated with her husband Thomas Martin in translating the
librettos of some of the world's most famous operas, including Mozart'sDon Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, as well as Puccini'sBoheme, and Bizet'sCarmen.
Martin and her husband also translated some of the rarest operas, such as
Offenbach'sGrand Duchess of Gerolstein, and Dvorák'sRusalka.
The Martins' translations were marked by their clarity and singability,
and despite the increasing use of closed-captioning systems in major
opera houses, their translations are still used widely.
Martin contributed articles on opera for Opera News, Aria, and Theater
Arts. She also served on the boards of the New York Federation of Music
Clubs, the Liederkranz Foundation and the National Opera Foundation.
• 2001 ~ Erik Johns, who wrote the libretto for Aaron Copland's only full-length
opera, The Tender Land, died in a fire at his home in Fishkill, N.Y. He was
Born Horace Eugene Johnston in Los Angeles, Johns began his career in music as
a dancer. He met Copland when he was 19 at a New Year's Eve party in New
In 1952 the two began collaborating on an opera based on Let Us Now PraiseFamous Men, a book by writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans that
describes the lives of several Southern sharecropper families during the
Copland composed the music and Johns wrote the libretto, or the words.
The work was originally commissioned as a television opera by NBC but was
subsequently rejected by the network. The New York City Opera performed it
at its premiere at City Center in April 1954 in a short two-act version. The
two later added a third act.
• 2001 ~ Jose Fajardo, a Cuban flutist who was one of the most influential
bandleaders in Latin music, died an aneurysm. He was 82.
The Cuban native had emigrated from Cuba in 1961, when he refused a request
from the Cuban government to continue a musical tour to other communist
During his lengthy career, Fajardo recorded more than 40 albums and performed
around the world. He was credited with expanding the audience for charanga,
a Cuban musical style that backs a singer with flute, violins, piano, bass
Fajardo started his first group, Fajardo y sus Estrellas, in the 1940s. He
later led three bands by the same name.
After moving to the United States, he founded bands in New York and Miami and
began performing in new style called pachanga, featuring a slightly more
Fajardo was featured on "Cuban Masters: Los Originales," an album of
performances by leading Cuban musicians that was released November 2001.
• 2002 ~ Kay Rose, the first woman to win an Academy Award for sound editing, died.
She was 80.
Rose won the statuette for her work on the 1984 film The River.
A native of New York, Rose was recognized in March with a career achievement
award from the Cinema Audio Society. The Motion Picture Sound Editors gave
her a similar lifetime achievement award in 1993.
In October 2002, directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg endowed the
Kay Rose Chair in the Art of Sound and Dialogue Editing at the University of
Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. The chair is the first of its
kind in the country.
After studying film at Hunter College, she became a civilian film apprentice
for the Army Signal Corps during World War II. There, she helped create such
training films as How to Erect a Double Apron Barbed Wire Fence and
the John Huston documentary Report from the Aleutians.
She moved to Hollywood in 1944 and found a job as an assistant to an editor at
Universal studios. In 1951, she married film editor Sherman Rose. Together,
they produced the 1954 sci-fi cult classic, Target Earth. They later
During her five-decade career, Rose received sound editing credits on such
films as The Rose,Ordinary People,On Golden Pond,The Milagro Beanfield War,The Prince of Tides,For the Boys
and Speed. 12
Chanukah Chanukah Music Chanukah Music Lyrics
• 1949 ~ Paul Rodgers, Piano, vocals with Free, Bad Company, The Firm
• 1959 ~ Sheila E. (Escovedo), Drummer, singer
• 1959 ~ Paul Rutherford, Singer with Frankie Goes to Hollywood
• 1984 ~ The group known as Band Aid, 38 of Britain’s top rock musicians, recorded
Do They Know This is Christmas? for Ethiopian famine victims. Despite the
best of intentions, much of the food raised never got to the starving
Ethiopians. In fact, much of it was found rotting on docks, not fit for
human consumption. More than a Band-Aid was needed to fix that political
• 2002 ~ Actor Brad Dexter, who rode with Yul Brynner as one of the "Magnificent
Seven" and became a confidant of both Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra, died.
He was 85.
Burly and handsome, he was often cast as a tough guy in supporting roles,
which included 1958's "Run Silent, Run Deep," starring Burt Lancaster and
Clark Gable, and 1965's "None but the Brave," starring Sinatra.
He made his film debut in the "The Asphalt Jungle" in 1950, but his most
prominent role came in 1960's "The Magnificent Seven," in which he starred
with Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn.
Born Boris Milanovich in Goldfield, Nev., Dexter made guest appearances on the 1950s television shows "Zane Gray Theater," "Death Valley Days" and "Wagon
In January 1953, he married singer Peggy Lee, but they divorced eight months
Soon after his divorce, Dexter befriended Monroe. In 1954, he tried
unsuccessfully to persuade her to stay with her husband, Joe DiMaggio.
His friendship with Sinatra took on legendary proportions during the filming
of "None but the Brave" in 1964. On location in Hawaii, Sinatra nearly
drowned and Dexter saved his life.
• 2002 ~ Marvin O. Herzog, who traveled the world with his Bavarian Polka Band for
58 years, died of pancreatic cancer. He was 70.
Herzog was a polka celebrity who regularly booked 170 appearances a year. He
and his band would travel more than 75,000 miles a year in a converted
For years, Herzog was the star and co-sponsor of Frankenmuth's Summer Music
Fest, which drew about 25,000 visitors annually to the town known for its
Bavarian events and shopping.
Born in Frankenmuth, Herzog lived there his entire life. He quit his job at
Star of the West Milling in 1973 to concentrate full-time on polka music.
He played a Cordovox - a mix of organ and accordion.
Herzog recorded 32 albums, including his Schnitzelbank and Octoberfest records
in German as well as Polish, Italian and English polkas. He had a radio show
and co-hosted a television show.
Herzog was inducted into the International Polka Association Hall of Fame in 1979. 13
Chanukah Chanukah Music Chanukah Music Lyrics
• 1843 ~ Charles Dickens published his play "A Christmas Carol"
• 1874 ~ Josef Lhévinne, Russian pianist, teacher. After gaining fame as a
soloists in Russia and Europe, he and Rosa came to the U.S.A. in 1919. While
they continued to concertize, they both taught at Juilliard; although he had
the more prominent concert career, she lived on to become legendary for
teaching an endless succession of prominent pianists including Van Cliburn.
• 1925 ~ Wayne Walker, Songwriter
• 1925 ~ Dick Van Dyke, American Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian
• 1928 ~ Audiences at Carnegie Hall heard the first performance of
George Gershwin's composition, An American in Paris. The debut was performed
by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of
Advertised as "a tone poem with jazz and sound effects", it was used as a ballet for
Gene Kelly's 1951 performance in the movie of the same name.
Unfortunately, George Gershwin did not live to see his composition being
danced to in the Academy Award-winning An American in Paris. It won six
Oscars: Best Art Direction/Set Direction [Color], Best Color Cinematography,
Best Costume Design [Color], Best Story and Screenplay, Best Picture ... and
• 1929 ~ Christopher Plummer (Orme), Actor, Sound of Music, Doll's House
• 1940 ~ The two-sided jump tune, The Anvil Chorus, was recorded by Glenn Miller
and his orchestra for Bluebird Records in New York. The 10-inch, 78 rpm
record ran six minutes (including flipping).
• 1941 ~ John Davidson, Actor, singer, TV game show host of the Hollywood Squares
• 1948 ~ Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter, Guitarist with Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers
• 1948 ~ Ted Nugent, Guitarist, singer with Amboy Dukes
• 1948 ~ The American Federation of Musicians went back to work after an 11½-month
strike. During the strike, there was an 11½-month ban on phonograph records
• 1949 ~ Randy Owen, Guitarist, singer with Alabama
• 1949 ~ Tom Verlaine (Miller), Guitarist, singer with Television
• 1974 ~ Former George Harrison was greeted at the White House. President
Gerald R. Ford invited Harrison to lunch. The two exchanged buttons, Ford
giving George a WIN (Whip Inflation Now) pin and Harrison gave the President
an OM (Hindu mantra word expressing creation) button.
• 2000 ~ Cellist Yo-Yo Ma made a special guest appearance on NBC television's
West Wing. No, he did't play a partisan leader, but he was
featured in some of the music of Bach.
• 2002 ~ Maria Bjornson, a set and costume designer whose work on the hit musical
The Phantom of the Opera won critical acclaim, was found dead at her
London home. She was 53.
Bjornson was born in Paris in 1949 and grew up in London, the daughter of a
Romanian woman and a Norwegian father. She went to the French Lycee in
London and then studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Central
School of Art and Design.
Bjornson worked as a theater designer from 1969, and designed 13 productions
at the Glasgow Citizens' Theater. She worked for the Welsh National Opera
and its English and Scottish counterparts, and was involved with the Royal
Shakespeare Company and the Royal Ballet.
Her colorful and grand design for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Phantom of
the Opera at Her Majesty's Theater in London in 1986 won her
In 1988, Bjornson's work on Phantom won two Tony Awards, one for sets
and the other for costumes.
After Phantom she collaborated with Lloyd Webber again on Aspects of
Love, and worked on the Royal Ballet's production of Sleeping
Beauty at Covent Garden in London in 1994 and on Cosi Fan Tutte
at Glyndebourne in 1991.
• 2002 ~ Former Lovin' Spoonful guitarist Zal Yanovsky, who traded in the wild rock
star life for a quiet existence as a restaurant owner in Canada, died.
The Toronto native died of a heart attack at his home in Kingston, Ontario,
six days before his 58th birthday.
Famed for such hits as Do You Believe in Magic and Summer in the City,
the Lovin' Spoonful enjoyed a brief reign in the mid 1960s as America's
answer to the Beatles. The quartet, led by singer/guitarist John Sebastian,
racked up seven consecutive top 10 singles in 16 months.
Yanovsky, a tall Russian Jew who resembled Ringo Starr, joined forces
with Sebastian in New York City in 1964. The pair shared a love of folk
music, and both had played in the Mugwumps, a short-lived combo that also
included future Mamas and Papas members "Mama" Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty.
The Lovin' Spoonful, named after a Mississippi John Hurt song, took shape in 1965 when Yanovsky and Sebastian teamed up with drummer Joe Butler and bass
player Steve Boone.
The group's first single, Do You Believe In Magic reached the top 10
that year. Its followup, You Don't Have To Be So Nice also went top 10 in early 1966. Summer in the City was their sole No. 1. Besides
recording five albums, the band also did the soundtracks to Woody Allen'sWhat's Up, Tiger Lily? and Francis Ford Coppola You're A Big Boy Now.
Yanovsky was the zany member of the group. He was the focal point during live
performances, but his biting humor often rubbed his colleagues the wrong
way, especially when one of his girlfriends ended up with Sebastian.
In 1966, the group's banner year, Yanovsky was faced with deportation after he
and Boone were arrested for marijuana possession in San Francisco. They
turned in their dealer, which damaged the band's hipster credentials.
Amid rising tensions, Yanovsky was voted out of the band in 1967, but remained
on amicable terms with his colleagues. He recorded a solo album, Alive
and Well in Argentina, in 1968.
Sebastian, the band's creative force, left that year, and the band soon broke
up. The original members reunited in 1980 to appear in the Paul Simon film
One-Trick Pony and then in 2000 when it was inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame.
Yanovsky dabbled in TV before going into the restaurant business. He ran Chez
Piggy, an acclaimed eatery in Kingston.
• 2003 ~ Jazz trumpeter Webster Young, who played with greats such as MilesDavis and John Coltrane in the 1950s, died of a brain tumor. He was 71.
Young's career got an early boost when Louis Armstrong took him as a
student when he was 10 years old. As a teenager, Young jammed with DizzyGillespie, earning the nickname "Little Diz" in Washington D.C.-area
clubs for a style that resembled Gillespie's.
Young broke into the modern jazz scene in New York City in the late 1950s,
recording several albums. He returned to Washington D.C. in the 1970s to
raise his family. He toured in Europe in the 1980s and performed
regularly at jazz clubs until eight months before his death.
Young's career peaked in 1957, when he played coronet with John Coltrane
for the album "Interplay for Two Trumpets and Two Tenors" for the
Prestige record label. 14
Chanukah Chanukah Music Chanukah Music Lyrics
• 1970 ~ George Harrison received a gold record for his single, My Sweet Lord.
• 1983 ~ The musical biography of Peggy Lee opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
in New York City. The show was titled Peg.
• 1984 ~ The Cotton Club opened around the U.S. There were nine classic songs
by Duke Ellington on the soundtrack of the movie.
• 1990 ~ Opera lovers were turned into couch potatoes. For four
evenings, starting on this day, they watched and listened to an
unabridged telecast of Richard Wagner's
marathon-length opera The Ring.
• 2001 ~ Conte Candoli, a Trumpet player and staple of The Tonight Show band during
Johnny Carson's era, died of cancer. He was 74.
Candoli was recognized for developing a musical style based on DizzyGillespie's bebop playing, with a touch of Miles Davis and Clifford Brown.
The Indiana-born Candoli, grew up surrounded by musical instruments and
influences. His father, a factory worker, played the trumpet and wanted
Candoli and his brother Pete to become musicians.
At 16, he worked in Woody Herman’s orchestra during summer vacations.
While playing in California, Candoli began his association with the then New
York-based Tonight Show. In 1972, when Carson moved the show to Burbank,
Candoli joined the band. He left when Carson retired in 1992. 15Christmas Music, Part 15 Ð The FirstÊNoel
• 1939 ~ One of the most celebrated motion pictures of all time, Gone with the Wind,
starring with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable was premiered in Atlanta to critical
acclaim. The picture ran for close to four hours.
• 1941 ~ A musical standard was recorded this day on Victor Records. Lena Horne
sang the torch classic that became her signature: Stormy Weather. "Don’t
know why there’s no sun up in the sky. Stormy weather..."
• 1942 ~ Dave Clark, British rock drummer and singer
• 1943 ~ Fats (Thomas Wright) Waller died. He was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano.
at the age of 39 from pneumonia
More information about Waller
• 1944 ~ Glenn Miller passed away when
his plane disappeared over the English Channel. Major Glenn Miller was
on his way to lead his Air Force Band in a Christmas concert.
• 1954 ~ Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter was featured on Walt Disney’s TV series
for the first time. Crockett was played by Fess Parker. It wasn’t long
before the Davy Crockett craze brought a new number one song to the pop
music charts. "Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier."
• 1962 ~ The first record album to poke fun at a U.S. President became the #1
LP in the country. Vaughn Meader’sThe First Family made the humorist a
household word. The album stayed at #1 for three months.
• 1986 ~ Violinist Isaac Stern arrived in a horse-drawn carriage to cut the
ribbon for the renovated Carnegie Hall in New York City.
• 1986 ~ Kenny Rogers cut himself a deal with the Dole Food Company. The singer
became the highest-paid celebrity pitchman, ‘doling’ out nice words
about pineapple and other Dole products for 17 million dollars.
• 2000 ~ Revered conjunto musician Valerio Longoria, who taught accordion to
children in San Antonio for many years, died at the age of 76.
Musicians and friends remembered the master accordionist as an innovator
and influential stylist of conjunto music, a Texas-based rhythm fueled
by the accordion and the bajo sexto, a 12-string Spanish bass guitar.
As a teen-ager, Longoria played weddings and parties in Harlingen. In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and at the end of World War II
was stationed in Germany, where he managed to get an accordion and play
In 1945, he moved to San Antonio, where he began recording for Corona
Longoria was among the first inductees into the Tejano Conjunto Music Hall
of Fame in 1982, and in 1986 he received the National Heritage Award,
the nation's highest honor for folk artists.
• 2001 ~ Rufus Thomas, a musician whose Bear Cat helped Sun Records get its
start and whose Funky Chicken gave a boost to the Stax Label, died
at the age of 84.
Rufus Thomas was best known for novelty dance recordings like Walking the
Dog,Do the Funky Chicken and Push and Pull.
He began tap dancing on the streets of Memphis for tips and performed in
amateur shows in high school.
In the 1940s, Thomas ran his own Beale Street amateur show that attracted B.B.King, Bobby "Blue" Bland and many other performers who went on to become
In his declining years, Thomas took on the title of Beale Street
ambassador and liked to refer to himself as the world's oldest teen-
In 1953, Thomas recorded Bear Cat, an answer to Big Mama Thornton'sHound Dog, and it became Sun Record's first hit.
That was before Elvis Presley arrived on the scene to become Sun's undisputed
star. Thomas complained in later years that Sun's black artists were pushed
aside after Presley's success.
In the 1960s, Thomas became one of the founding performers for Stax Records,
which created what came to be known as "the Memphis sound," with performers
like Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and Sam and Dave.
• 2002 ~ John Crosby, founder and longtime former general director of the Santa Fe
Opera, died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a brief illness. He was 76.
Crosby founded the Santa Fe Opera in 1957 and was its general director until
his retirement at the end of the 2000 season.
After his military service during World War II, Crosby majored in music theory
at Yale and studied under composer Paul Hindemith, whom Crosby later brought
to Santa Fe for the 1961 U.S. premiere of Hindemith's opera News of the
Crosby also had worked as a Broadway arranger and studied at Columbia
University in New York before making his move to found an opera company in
With $200,000 in financing from his father, Crosby purchased a ranch seven
miles north of Santa Fe and oversaw construction of a 480-seat, open-air
The inaugural performance July 3, 1957, was Puccini'sMadama Butterfly.
With the participation of Igor Stravinsky, early Santa Fe seasons gained world
attention. Stravinsky brought music to the 1957 through 1963 seasons.
His last night as both conductor and general director was Aug. 24, 2000, when
he led Richard Strauss'Elektra.Former President Bush presented Crosby a National Medal of Arts in 1991. He
also received an Officer's Cross of the Federal German Order of Merit in 1992 for his service to German music.
• 2002 ~ Rick Chase, a morning radio personality for KWIN-FM of Stockton, was found
dead in his apartment. He was 45.
Chase was best known for his work at KMEL-FM in San Francisco from 1986 to 1998. He also worked at KFRC-FM and KITS-FM in the Bay Area, KNVQ-FM in Reno
and KZZO-FM in Sacramento.
Chase, a 20-year radio veteran known to his listeners for his bombastic on-air
personality, had worked at KWIN for two years.
• 2002 ~ Washington, DC Area: The storied history and sweeping skyline of US
Airways Arena ended in a billowing cloud of dust Sunday morning as
technicians reduced it to rubble with hundreds of pounds of dynamite.
Almost 200 people, some of whom grew up watching sports and cultural events at
arena, gathered hundreds of yards away in the chill morning to say goodbye
to the piece of 20th-century Washington's history just outside the Capital
Beltway. A shopping center will replace it.
The arena began life in 1973 as the Capital Centre, a state-of-the-art
architectural gem. In the ensuing decades, it housed the Washington Bullets
basketball team and the Washington Capitals hockey team and held concerts by
Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, LucianoPavarotti.
"I remember seeing the Washington Bullets when they were really good and the
Caps when they were really bad, as well as Prince and Tina Turner," said
Stewart Small, who grew up near the arena and now lives in Alexandria, Va.
"I know it's not Ebbets Field, but it had a lot of memories for me."
Crews used about 400 pounds of dynamite at 500 locations to do the job. In
just over 15 seconds, the stadium that took 15 months to build caved into a
cloud of light brown dust. Some in the crowd cheered, but most were silent.
A few were teary-eyed as dust soared above where the 18,000-seat arena had
The arena opened Dec. 2, 1973, to a sellout crowd that watched the Bullets
beat the Seattle SuperSonics 98-96. It has had no regular clients since the
NBA Bullets, now Wizards, and the NHL Capitals moved to the MCI Center
downtown. 16Christmas Music, Part 16 Ð We Three Kings
1882 ~ Zoltán Kodály, Hungarian composer and collector of folk songs
More information on Kodály
• 1893 ~ Antonin Dvorák attended the first performance of his New World Symphony
at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
• 1899 ~ Sir Noel Coward, British composer of musical comedies, actor and
• 1905 ~ Sime Silverman published the first issue of Variety, the weekly show
biz magazine. The first issue was 16 pages in length and sold for a
nickel. Variety and Daily Variety are still going strong.
• 1907 ~ Eugene H. Farrar became the first singer to broadcast on radio. He
sang from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. The song was Do You
Really Want to Hurt Me?
• 1940 ~ Bob Crosby and his Bobcats backed up brother Bing as San Antonio Rose
was recorded on Decca Records.
• 1960 ~ Lucille Ball took a respite from her weekly TV series to star in the
Broadway production of Wildcat, which opened at the Alvin Theatre in New
York City. The show ran for 171 performances.
• 1967 ~ The Lemon Pipers released Green Tambourine on an unsuspecting
psychedelic world this day. The tune made #1 on February 3, 1968.
• 1971 ~ Melanie (Safka) received a gold record for the single, Brand New Key,
about roller skates and love and stuff like that. This one made it to #1
on Christmas Day, 1971.
• 1971 ~ Don McLean’s eight-minute-plus (8:32) version of American Pie was
released. It became one of the longest songs with some of the most
confusing (pick your favorite interpretation) lyrics to ever hit the pop
charts. American Pie hit #1 on January 15, 1972.
• 1972 ~ Paul McCartney's single, Hi, Hi, Hi, was released. It peaked at #10 on
the top tune tabulation (February 3, 1973).
• 2003 ~ Singer and guitarist Gary Stewart, who had a No. 1 country hit in 1975 with She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles), died of
an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 58.
A native of Letcher County, Ky., Stewart was a compelling songwriter
and performer of guitar-driven, honky tonk country. His last album,
Live at Billy Bob's Texas, was released in 2003.
Besides the 1975 chart-topper, his hits included Drinkin' Thing
and Out of Hand.
He worked with Southern rock greats Dickie Betts and Gregg Allman of
The Allman Brothers Band on the 1980 album Cactus and a Rose. 17 1749 ~ Domenico Cimarosa, Italian composer
1894 ~ Arthur Fiedler, American violinist and conductor
More information on Fiedler
• 1926 ~ Benny Goodman played a clarinet solo. This was not unusual for Benny
except that it was his first time playing solo within a group recording
session. Goodman was featured with Ben Pollack and His Californians
on He’s the Last Word.
• 1936 ~ Tommy Steele (Hicks), Singer, actor
• 1937 ~ Art Neville, Keyboards, percussion, singer with The Neville Brothers
• 1943 ~ Dave Dee (Harmon), Tambourine, singer, record promoter
• 1955 ~ Carl Perkins wrote Blue Suede Shoes. Less than 48 hours later, he
recorded it at the Sun Studios in Memphis. The tune became one of the
first records to be popular simultaneously on rock, country and rhythm &
• 1958 ~ Mike Mills, Bass with R.E.M
• 1961 ~ Sarah Dallin, Singer with Bananarama
• 1969 ~ Tiny Tim (Herbert Buchingham Khaury) married Miss Vickie (Victoria
Budinger) on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. This is the Tiny
Tim of the falsetto version of Tiptoe Through the Tulips fame.
The NBC-TV program earned the second-highest, all-time audience rating;
second only to Neil Armstrong’s walking on the the moon.
Mr. Tiny Tim and Miss Vickie had a daughter, Tulip. Then in 1977 they
stopped tiptoeing together.
• 1969 ~ Chicago Transit Authority became a gold record for the group of the
same name (they later changed their name to Chicago). When the album was
released by Columbia Records, it marked the first time an artist’s
debut LP was a double record.
• 1970 ~ The Beach Boys played to royalty at Royal Albert Hall in London.
Princess Margaret was in attendance and shook the royal jewelry to such
classics as Good Vibrations, I Get Around and Help Me, Rhonda.
• 1977 ~ Elvis Costello, making a rare TV appearance, agreed to perform on
NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
1644 ~ Antonio Stradivari, Italian,
most celebrated of all violin makers
Read more information about Stradivari
• 1778 ~ Joseph Grimaldi, Clown: ‘greatest clown in history’, ‘king of
pantomime’, Joey the Clown; singer, dancer, acrobat, his character was
part of the plot for the movie "Her Alibi". He died in 1837.
• 1786 ~ Baron Karl von Weber, Opera composer
1869 ~ Edward Alexander MacDowell, American composer and pianist
More information about MacDowell
• 1892 ~ Premiere of The Nutcracker ballet by Tchaikovsky. This traditional
Christmas ballet is so popular that its annual performances keeps many opera
companies afloat. Act 1 tells a story of how little Clara aids her magical
Christmas gift (a Nutcracker in the form of a soldier) defeat an army of
mice. As a reward, he takes her to his magic kingdom and introduces her to a
variety of subjects in a colorful stream of character dances. Tchaikovsky's
supply of themes is endless and he constantly provides brilliant
• 1919 ~ Anita O'Day (Colton), American jazz singer
• 1920 ~ Conductor Arturo Toscanini made his first recording for Victor Records
in Camden, New Jersey.
• 1934 ~ Willie Smith sang with Jimmy Lunceford and his orchestra on Rhythm is
Our Business on Decca Records
• 1941 ~ Sam Andrew, Guitarist with Big Brother and the Holding Company
• 1943 ~ Keith Richards, British rock guitarist and singer with The Rolling Stones
• 1948 ~ Bryan ‘Chas’ Chandler, Bass with the Animals
• 1961 ~ The Tokens celebrated their first #1 hit single. The Lion Sleeps
Tonight (Wimoweh) was a chart topper for four weeks in a row.
• 1972 ~ Helen Reddy received a gold record for the song that became an anthem
for women’s liberation, I Am Woman. The song had reached number one on
December 9, 1972.
• 1975 ~ Rod Stewart announced that he was leaving the group, Faces, and was
going solo in a deal with Warner Brothers.
• 1981 ~ Rod Stewart gave a concert at the Los Angeles Forum, which was
televised to 23 countries and carried by FM radio stations in the US to
an audience of about 35 million.
• 1982 ~ Daryl Hall and John Oates reached the #1 spot on the music charts for
the fifth time with Maneater. The song stayed in the top spot for four
weeks, making it Hall and Oates’ most popular hit.
• 2001 ~ Eddie Baker, whose efforts to create a jazz hall of fame planted the seeds
for the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, died after complications from
heart surgery. He was 71.
Baker, a trumpeter and pianist, had led the New Breed Jazz Orchestra since the 1960s, forming close relationships with many top jazz artists. He began
calling for a jazz hall of fame as early as the 1970s.
He held what he hoped would be the first annual induction to the International
Jazz Hall of Fame in 1985 at the Music Hall. But attendance was low, despite
a star-studded roster of talent that included the Count Basie Orchestra,
George Benson and Woody Herman. He maintained the hall of fame on paper,
even though it never had a physical home.
Through the years, Baker suggested building a jazz hall in several spots in
Kansas City, including the 18th and Vine district and Union Station.
His push generated interest in the project, but the American Jazz Museum
opened under a different name in 1997 without his involvement.
He also was an original member of the Kansas City Jazz Commission, which
organized pub crawls and promoted jazz in the 1980s, and he helped organize
the Elder Statesmen of Jazz, a service organization of older musicians.
• 2004 ~ Legendary British saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, who played with
a list of musicians that reads like a who's who of the international jazz
and rock music scene, has died. 19Christmas Music, Parts 19-22 Ð Johnny Marks
1888 ~ Fritz Reiner, Hungarian-born American conductor who was the musical
director of the Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Metropolitan Opera and
Chicago Symphony. He died in 1963.
• 1952 ~ Jeff Davis, Bass with Amazing Rhythm Aces
• 1952 ~ Janie Fricke, Singer, Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the
Year in 1982 and 1983
• 1957 ~ Meredith Willson’sThe Music Man opened at the Majestic Theatre in New
York City. The Broadway show starred Robert Preston and had a run of1,375 shows. It also had 76 trombones and 101 cornets in the band...
• 1960 ~ Neil Sedaka’sCalendar Girl was released on RCA Victor Records. The
song became Sedaka’s fourth record to make the charts. Other hits from
the guy who made money off of a love song for Carole King (Oh,
Carol) include The Diary, Stairway to Heaven, Bad Girl, Next Door to an
Angel, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, Laughter in the Rain and Breaking
Up is Hard to Do.
• 1960 ~ Frank Sinatra recorded his first session with his very own record
company. Frank did Ring-A-Ding-Ding and Let’s Fall in Love for Reprise
• 2001 ~ Bill Bissell, a former University of Washington marching band director who
helped create "The Wave", died in his sleep. He was 70.
Bissell directed the Huskies' band with flair, innovation and humor from 1970
until he retired in 1994.
He and former Washington yell leader Robb Weller introduced "The Wave," in
which fans stand with arms raised and cheer section by section, to college
football 20 years ago.
Bissell directed halftime shows at 14 bowl games, including six Rose Bowls and
an Orange Bowl, and was awarded a Citation of Excellence from the National
Band Association in 1981. 20Christmas Music, Parts 19-22 Ð Johnny Marks
• 1898 ~ Irene (Marie) Dunne, Actress in Show Boat, Anna and the King of Siam,
Alternate Delegate to the United Nations, Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime
Achievement Award in 1985.
• 1909 ~ Vagn Holmboe, Danish composer and music critic
• 1920 ~ An English-born comedian named Leslie Downes became an American
citizen. He had lived in the United States since 1908 and became one of
the nation’s true ambassadors for show business and charity. We say,
"Thanks for the memories," to Bob Hope.
• 1928 ~ For the first time, a living actress in the United States had a
theatre named after her. The Ethel Barrymore Theatre opened in New York
• 1932 ~ Al Jolson recorded April Showers on Brunswick Records.
• 1938 ~ John Harbison, American composer and conductor
• 1944 ~ Bobby Colomby, Drummer, singer with Blood, Sweat & Tears
• 1948 ~ Little Stevie Wright, Singer with The Easybeats
• 1949 ~ Harry Belafonte had his second session with Capitol Records. Included
in the session were Whispering and Farewell to Arms. With eight tunes
then recorded and little enthusiasm from record buyers, Capitol decided
to part company with Belafonte by not renewing the singer’s contract. He
went to RCA Victor in April, 1952.
• 1952 ~ Jimmy Boyd reached the #1 spot on the record charts with the Christmas
song of the year,I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.
• 1957 ~ Billy (Steven) Bragg, Songwriter, guitarist, singer
• 1966 ~ Chris Robinson, Singer with The Black Crowes
• 1972 ~ Jack Albertson and Sam Levine starred as two retired vaudevillians in
Neil Simon’s classic comedy, The Sunshine Boys, which opened at the
Broadhurst Theatre in NYC. The play had a run of 538 performances. The
movie version later became a box office smash, as well.
• 1973 ~ Singer Bobby Darin passed away following open-heart
surgery at the age of 37. He left a legacy of memories in rock ’n’ roll
and pop tunes, as well as on television and in movies (even an Oscar
nomination for his role in Captain Newman, M.D.). The story of Darin
being groomed to replace Frank Sinatra at Capitol Records is absolutely
true. Unfortunately, Capitol didn’t think the grooming was going so
well, and withheld many of Darin’s songs for many years; releasing them
in a compilation CD in 1995. Good stuff to listen to: Splish Splash,
Queen of the Hop, Dream Lover, Mack the Knife, Beyond the Sea, If I Werea Carpenter, etc. At the end, Darin, who had recorded for Atco, Capitol
and Atlantic Records had just begun recording for Motown.
• 2000 ~ Roebuck "Pops" Staples, patriarch of the Staple Singers whose lyrics
on "Respect Yourself" and other hits delivered a civil rights message
with a danceable soul beat, passed away.
"They took this really positive message music and made it contemporary and
popular by putting it with electric guitars and inserting a groove,"
said Sherman Wilmott, who is helping create a museum in Memphis,
Tennessee, honoring the musical stars at Stax Records, the Staple
Singers' principal label.
Born in Winona, Mississippi, Staples learned to sing acappella and
developed his Delta blues electric guitar style.
Starting out as a gospel group in 1948, the Staple Singers with son Pervis
and daughters Mavis and Cleotha as singers reached an even wider
audience with 1970s soul hits such as Respect Yourself,I'll Take You
There and If You're Ready (Come Go With Me).
Before achieving stardom, Staples resisted taking his family on tour and
held jobs in Chicago's stockyards andsteel mills.
Staples came to believe he could contribute in song to the battle for
blacks' civil rights being waged by the Rev. Martin Luther King and
others, Wilmott said. "He sang and played guitar. He was extremely well-
spoken and calm and intelligent," he said.
Another daughter, Yvonne, told the Tribune: "When Dr. King started
preaching, Pops said 'I think we can sing it.' That's what he felt," she
said. "He believed that the world could be made a better place for all
At age 80, Staples won a Grammy Award as a solo artist in 1994 for his
album "Father Father." He also received a National Heritage Fellowship
Award at the White House from first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The
group entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.
In a 1998 interview with the Tribune, Staples said his musical education
began early. "We'd come home and didn't have anything to do after we eat
but go to bed. So we'd go out in the yard and sing."
• 2000 ~ Rob Buck, lead guitarist for the rock band 10,000 Maniacs, died of
liver failure at the age of 42, three weeks after he collapsed at his
home in western New York.
2004 ~ Blues singer-guitarist Son Seals, one of the most distinctive voices to emerge
in the genre during the 1970s, died at the age of 62.
More information about Son Seals
• 1885 ~ (Joseph) Deems Taylor, American opera composer and writer,
music critic for New York World from 1921 until 1925, New York American from 1931 to 1932, intermission commentator for Sunday radio broadcasts of NY
Philharmonic (1936 to 1943), president of ASCAP, married to poet and
playwright Mary Kennedy
• 1901 ~ André Kostelanetz, Russian-born American conductor and arranger of
Broadway show tunes
• 1941 ~ Jimmy Lunceford and his orchestra recorded Blues in the Night on
Decca. The song became one of Lunceford’s biggest hits. Between 1934 and 1946 Jimmy Lunceford had more hits (22) than any other black jazz
band (except Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway).
• 1944 ~ Barry Jenkins, Drummer with Nashville Teens and also the Animals
• 1946 ~ Rick Nielsen, Guitarist, singer with Cheap Trick
• 1958 ~ The Chipmunks were at the #1 position on the music charts on this day
in 1958 as Alvin, Simon, and Theodore sang with David Seville.
The Chipmunk Song, the novelty tune that topped the charts for a month,
is still a Christmas favorite today...
Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We’ve been good, but we can’t last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast
Want a plane that loops the loop
Me, I want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don’t be late
• 1972 ~ Folk singer Joni Mitchell received a gold record for the album, For
the Roses. The album included the song, You Turn Me on, I’m a Radio.
• 1981 ~ London was the scene of a rock ’n’ roll auction where buyers paid
$2,000 for a letter of introduction from Buddy Holly to Decca Records.
Cynthia and John Lennon’s marriage certificate was worth $850
and an autographed program from the world premiere of the Beatles film
Help! brought $2,100.
• 1984 ~ CBS Records announced plans for the release of Mick Jagger's first
solo album, set for February,
• 1985 ~ The Rolling Stones went solo after a 20-year career with the self-
proclaimed "greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world." The album: She’s
• 2002 ~ Joe Strummer (John Mellors), who brought punk attitude
and politics to one of the most significant bands in rock 'n' roll history, the
Clash, died of a heart attack at his home in Somerset, England. He was 50.
Strummer, a singer, guitarist, songwriter, activist and actor, had been touring
with his band the Mescaleros since the release of their second album "Global a-
Go-Go" in July 2001; the latest leg of the tour ended in November in Liverpool.
The Clash, which formed in 1976, released its first album in '77 and broke up for
good in 1986, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.
The original lineup of Strummer, Mick Jones, Terry Chimes and Paul Simonon was
expected to re-form for the induction ceremony and play the band's first
single, "White Riot," at the ceremony.
Although it was written as an advertising tagline, the Clash successfully lived
up to its slogan as "the only band that matters."
The son of a diplomat, Strummer was born John Graham Mellor on Aug. 21, 1952, in
Ankara, Turkey. He attended boarding schools in London, and as a teenager grew
infatuated with reggae, R&B and rock 'n' roll. He formed a pub band, the 101ers, in 1974, which he gave up to form the Clash with Jones, Chimes and
The band was playing standard rock 'n' roll prior to Strummer's arrival. He added
reggae to the mix and upped the ante in politics and intensity. He took a Jones
tune, for example, that was a complaint about a girlfriend and turned it into
one of the band's early anthems, "I'm So Bored With the U.S.A."
"Within the Clash, Joe was the political engine of the band," British troubadour
Billy Bragg said. "Without Joe there's no political Clash, and without the
Clash the whole political edge of punk would have been severely dulled."
Jones and Strummer penned all of the tunes on their debut and often worked as a
team, though later albums would have songs attributed solely to Strummer and,
for their final two efforts, have all songs attributed to the band.
• 1939 ~ Johnny Kidd (Frederick Heath), Singer, songwriter with Johnny Kidd & The
• 1940 ~ Tim Hardin, Singer, composer
• 1940 ~ Jorma Kaukonen, Guitarist with Jefferson Airplane and also Hot Tuna
• 1940 ~ Eugene Record, Singer with Chi-Lites
• 1942 ~ Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of
his many famous Christmas shows for American armed forces around the world.
The tradition continued for more than three decades.
• 1943 ~ The first complete opera to be televised was aired on WRBG in Schenectady,
NY. (WRGB was named after GE engineer Dr. W.R.G. Baker. It was not named, as
many have thought over the years, for red, blue and green, the three primary
colors of a TV picture tube.) Humperdinck’s "Hansel and Gretel" was the
• 1945 ~ Ron Bushy, Drummer with Iron Butterfly
• 1951 ~ Johnny Contardo, Singer with Sha-Na-Na, formerly Eddie and The Evergreens
• 1964 ~ Eddie Vedder (Mueller), Songwriter, singer with Pearl Jam
• 1964 ~ Rock ’n’ roll radio,in the guise of Pirate Radio, went to the U.K. Radio
London began its regular broadcasts.
It was joined, at sea, by other pirates like Radio Caroline and Radio
Luxembourg. It was a gallant effort to broadcast commercial radio, which
was illegal in Great Britain.
On England’s mainland, one had to listen to ‘Auntie Beeb’ (the BBC) or nothing
at all. It was generally like a battle. Government agents would attempt to
board a floating radio station, take it over, and shut it down.
Many times the ships would broadcast from different locales to foil the
governmental crackdown on the high seas.
Later, the BBC split into four different radio networks, Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4,
to stem the tide of the pirates who gained huge audiences by playing popular
music. Eventually, limited commercial broadcasting came to Great Britain.
• 1969 ~ B.J. Thomas received a gold record for the single, Raindrops Keep Fallin’
on My Head from the motion picture, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Raindrops hit number one on the pop charts on January 3, 1970 and stayed
there for 4 weeks.
• 1969 ~ Elton John met with arranger Paul Buckmaster, writer Bernie Taupin and
producer Gus Dudgeon. The collaboration marked the start of one of the most
successful milestones of music in the 1970s. Together, they created Your
Song, Friends, Levon, Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man and many more.
• 2001 ~ Anthony Charles Chavis, Zydeco musician and son of the late Zydeco pioneer
Boozoo Chavis, died after suffering a heart attack He was 45.
His death came just eight months after his father's.
Charles Chavis, in addition to playing the washboard, was lead vocalist on
numerous recordings with Boozoo, including his 1996 hit What You GonnaDo?
After Boozoo Chavis' death, his sons had agreed to continue the Magic Sounds
Band. It was not clear how Charles Chavis's death would affect the group.
In addition to his music, Charles Chavis had worked with his father as a
jockey and trainer at Chavis stables.
• 1924 ~ Carol Haney, Dancer, member of Jack Cole dance company, worked with BobFosse, in films
• 1928 ~ The first broadcast of The Voice of Firestone was heard. The program aired
each Monday evening at 8:00. The Voice of Firestone became a hallmark in
radio broadcasting. It kept its same night, time (in 1931 the start time
changed to 8:30) and sponsor for its entire run. Beginning on September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semiclassical music was also seen on
• 1930 ~ Robert Joffrey (Khan), Choreographer with The Joffrey Ballet; died in 1988
• 1931 ~ Ray Bryant, Pianist, composer
• 1944 ~ Mike Curb, Music executive, producer, Oscar-winner
• 1944 ~ The Andrews Sisters starred in the debut of The Andrews Sisters’ Eight-To-
The-Bar-Ranch on ABC radio. Patti, Maxine and LaVerne ran a fictional dude
ranch. George ‘Gabby’ Hayes was a regular guest along with Vic Schoen’s
orchestra. The ranch stayed in operation until 1946.
• 1945 ~ Lemmy (Ian Kilmister), Bass, singer with Motorhead
• 1946 ~ Jan Akkerman, Guitar, lute with bands: Friendship Sextet, Johnny and the
• 1951 ~ Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors", the first opera composed for
television, made its debut on NBC-TV. Amal and the Night Visitors became a
• 1955 ~ The lovely Lennon Sisters debuted as featured vocalists on The LawrenceWelk Show on ABC-TV. They became regulars with Welk within a month and
stayed on the show until 1968.
• 1957 ~ Ian Burden, Keyboards with Human League
• 1977 ~ The Bee Gees spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve at the top of the music
charts. How Deep is Your Love became #1 this day and stayed that way for
• 2000 ~ Felix Popper, a conductor and music administrator at the New York CityOpera, died at the age of 92.
Popper joined the New York City Opera in 1949 as an assistant conductor and
By 1958 he was named music administrator, and he played an important role in
guiding the opera through a period in which the house truly established
During this time, the company is credited with discovering important American
singers such as Johanna Meier, Tatiana Troyanos, Gianna Rolandi, Faith Esham
and Jane Shaulis.
Popper retired from the opera in 1980 but continued to work as a consultant
and vocal coach.
• 2000 ~ Longtime Detroit blues radio personality and promoter Famous Coachman died
of an apparent heart attack. He was 75.
Coachman was host of the weekend blues and gospel show on Detroit's WDET for 21 years until 1997 and remained busy in the city's music world until his
"Everybody knew Coachman," said JoAnn Korczynska, blues music director for
WHFR at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn. "He really did know B.B.King and John Lee Hooker. When I met John Lee Hooker, one of the first
things he said to me was `How is Coachman doing?'"
Coachman said he was named "Famous" because "my mother knew I would be."
• 2000 ~ Nick Massi, an original member of the Four Seasons who handled bass vocals
and vocal arrangements throughout the band's glory days, died of cancer at
the age of 73.
Massi was born in Newark as Nicholas Macioci. The longtime West Orange
resident performed with several bands before joining Frankie Valli in a
group called the Four Lovers.
By 1961, the group had evolved into the Four Seasons.
Massi remained with the group until 1965, when he grew tired of touring, Valli
said. Massi performed on hits such as Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk
Like a Man and Rag Doll, which friends said was his favorite.
During his tenure, the group made the Billboard Top 40 chart 17 times and
toured throughout the United States and overseas, melding doo-wop vocals
with a contemporary beat. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame in 1990.
Valli's falsetto was the band's trademark, but he said Massi was his musical
"He could do four-part modern harmonies that would amaze musicians who had
studied for years. And he did it all in his head without writing it down,"
• 1912 ~ Tony Martin (Alvin Morris), Singer, actor, married to dancer Cyd Charisse
• 1915 ~ Pete Rugolo, Bandleader, arranger, scored TV’s The Fugitive
• 1931 ~ Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the
Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera was Hansel und
Gretel by Humperdinck, heard on the NBC network of stations.
In between acts of the opera, moderator Olin Downes would conduct an opera
quiz, asking celebrity guests opera-related questions. The program’s host
and announcer was Milton Cross. He worked out of the Met’s Box 44.
• 1932 ~ Little Richard, American rock-and-roll singer, pianist and songwriter
• 1937 ~ O’Kelly Isley, Singer with the Grammy Award-winning group,
The Isley Brothers
• 1937 ~ Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of Symphony of the Air over
• 1939 ~ The Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, was read by LionelBarrymore on The Campbell Playhouse on CBS radio. The reading of the tale
became an annual radio event for years to come.
• 1945 ~ Noel Redding, Bass with Noel Redding Band and also The Jimi Hendrix
• 1946 ~ Jimmy Buffett, Songwriter, singer
• 1948 ~ Barbara Mandrell, CMA Entertainer of the Year (1980, 1981), Female
Vocalist of the Year in 1979
• 1954 ~ Robin Campbell, Guitar, singer with UB40
• 1954 ~ Annie Lennox, Singer with Eurythmics
• 1957 ~ Shane MacGowan, Songwriter, musician: guitar, singer with The Pogues
26 Happy Boxing Day! ÊBoxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their masters, employers or customers, in the United Kingdom,The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other former British colonies. Today, Boxing Day is a public holiday usually falling on 26 December.
• 1931 ~ George Gershwin's musical, Of Thee I Sing, opened at the Music Box Theatre
in New York City. The show became the first American musical to be awarded
a Pulitzer Prize.
• 1935 ~ Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, Singer with The Four Tops
• 1939 ~ W.C. Handy of Memphis, TN one of the legendary blues composers of all
time, recorded the classic St. Louis Blues. W.C. and his band recorded in
New York for Varsity Records. Handy was one of the first to use the flat
third and seventh notes in his compositions, known in the music world as
‘blue’ notes. The music awards for blues artists’ are called the W.C. Handy
National Blues Awards.
• 1940 ~ Phil Spector, ‘Tycoon of Teen’, record company executive, originator of
Wall of Sound, sang with The Teddy Bears, songwriter
• 1942 ~ Adriana Maliponte, Italian soprano
• 1952 ~ André-Michel Schub, French-born American pianist
• 1963 ~ Capitol Records rushed to release its first single by the Fab Four,
otherwise known as The Beatles. I Want to Hold Your Hand, backed with I Saw
Her Standing There, reached #1 on February 1, 1964. The flood of music by
John, Paul, George and Ringo had started the British Invasion; changing
contemporary music forever.
• 1964 ~ More Beatles news: The Fab Four got their sixth #1 hit song since February
• 1, as I Feel Fine became the top tune this day. The first five #1 hits by
The Beatles were: I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me
Love, Love Me Do and A Hard Day’s Night.
• 1967 ~ A sad day for jazz fans, as the Dave Brubeck Quartet formally disbanded
after sax man Paul Desmond left the group. Desmond was a fixture with the
quartet for 16 years and can be heard on all the immortal Brubeck standards,
including Take Five.
• 2001 ~ Edward Downes, a professor best known as host of the "Texaco Opera Quiz"
heard during live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, died at the age of 90.
Opera experts answered questions from listeners in the opera quiz, held during
opera intermissions from 1958 to 1996. Known for his wit and mellow baritone
voice, Downes put his panelists at ease and offered teasing hints to the
answers when experts were stumped.
Born in Boston, Downes began attending operas at a young age with his father,
Olin Downes, who later became chief music critic at The New York Times.
Edward Downes, who never completed an undergraduate degree, received a Ph.D.
in musicology from Harvard University at the age of 47. He later taught at
Wellesley College, the Longy School of Music, the University of Minnesota
and Queens College. 27 1879 ~ "Bunk" Johnson, American jazz trumpeter
• 1901 ~ Marlene Dietrich, German singer and actress
• 1903 ~ The barbershop quartet favorite, Sweet Adeline, was sung for the first
time, in New York City. The song was composed by Henry Armstrong with the
words of Richard Gerard. The title of the song came from a theatre
marquee that promoted the great operatic soprano, Adelina Patti. Now
female barbershop quartets call themselves Sweet Adelines.
• 1906 ~ Oscar Levant, American pianist, composer, writer and radio personality
• 1911 ~ Anna Russell, Operatic parodies
• 1927 ~ The Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) musical, Show
Boat, opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. Its star, HelenMorgan, received excellent reviews from critics of the show; a musical
about riverboat show people and their romances and disappointments.
• 1931 ~ Walter Norris, Pianist, composer
• 1932 ~ Radio City Music Hall, in New York City, opened. It was the largest
indoor theatre in the world. The gala grand opening show was a six-hour
extravaganza that lost half a million dollars within three weeks. The
theatre has since been renovated to recapture its original decorative
charm. An Art Deco cathedral of entertainment, it seats more than 6,200
people and is still a must-see for those visiting New York. During the
holiday season, audiences continue to get a kick out of seeing the world-
famous Rockettes perform in precision on Radio City Music Hall’s nearly 10,000-square-foot stage which is a combination movie palace and live
theater. It remains a showcase for many exciting musical events. It has
a seating capacity of 6,200 seats.
• 1939 ~ The Glenn Miller Show, also known as Music that Satisfies, started on CBS
radio. The 15-minute, twice-a-week show was sponsored by Chesterfield
cigarettes and was heard for nearly three years.
• 1940 ~ Singer Al Jolson and actress Ruby Keeler were divorced after 12 years of
marriage. They had separated a year earlier; but Jolson talked Keeler into
co-starring with him in the Broadway show, Hold on to Your Hats. She left
the show before the opening and then left the marriage.
• 1941 ~ Leslie Maguire, Pianist with Gerry and The Pacemakers
• 1944 ~ Mick Jones, Guitarist with Foreigner
• 1952 ~ David Knopfler, Guitarist, singer with Dire Straits
• 1953 ~ Elliot Easton (Shapiro), Guitarist with The Cars
• 1975 ~ The Staple Singers reached the top spot on the pop music charts for the
second time in their career. This time with Let’s Do It Again. The song, the
theme from the movie soundtrack of the same name, was the last hit the group
would have. I’ll Take You There was The Staple Singers’ first number one hit
(June 3, 1972).
• 1980 ~ The John Lennon hit, (Just Like) Starting Over, began a five-week stay at
#1 on the pop charts. The hit was from the album, Double Fantasy. Lennon was
murdered on December 8th of that year, as the single and LP had started
their climb up the charts.
• 2003 ~ Vestal Goodman, a pioneering gospel music singer who performed for half
a century, including a stint on "The PTL Club" with Jim and Tammy Faye
Bakker, died. She was 74.
Goodman and her late husband Howard "Happy" Goodman were part of The Happy
Goodman Family act, which recorded 15 No. 1 gospel music songs and
performed more than 3,500 concerts.
In the mid-1980s, the couple were regulars on "The PTL Club" television
show starring the Bakkers. They left in 1988 after three years on the
show, and were not linked to financial improprieties as others on the
The Happy Goodman Family was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in
• 1998. They were original members of "The Gospel Singing Jubilee"
syndicated TV program that was a pioneer in gospel music broadcasting,
appearing on more than 100 U.S. stations.
The Goodmans sang at the White House in 1979 for President Carter.
• 2003 ~ Bobbie Nell Brookshire Gordon, a singer who toured in the 1970s with jazz great
Duke Ellington, died. She was 64.
Gordon, a Dayton native, was discovered in 1961 while singing at a bar in her hometown.
She performed with pianist Betty Greenwood and had come to the attention of Ellington,
the noted bandleader.
Gordon toured from 1970 to 1974 with Ellington. A newly released digital video disc of a
• 1971 performance, "Live at Tivoli Gardens," includes Gordon singing "Love You Madly" and
"One More Time."
Gordon was featured as "Nell Brookshire" with Ellington on the cover of Jet magazine
in September 1971.
• 2003 ~ Dick St. John, half of the Dick & Dee Dee duo, whose 1961 hit, The Mountain's High,
made No. 2 on the Billboard pop singles chart, died. He was 63.
Dick & Dee Dee's biggest hit was The Mountain's High, but they also cracked the Top 25
pop singles chart in 1963 with Young and In Love and 1965's Thou Shalt Not Steal.
St. John, born Richard Gosting, began performing with his friend Mary Sperling in junior
high. With St. John as the chief songwriter, the two soon attracted the attention of
Liberty Records in Los Angeles.
St. John and Sperling, who was renamed Dee Dee by the label, combined elements of doo-
wop, soul and R&B in their sound. They toured with the Beach Boys and the Rolling
Dick & Dee Dee were semi-regulars on such musical shows as "American Bandstand." St. John
also wrote songs that were recorded by Lesley Gore, Jan and Dean, the Four Seasons and
Quincy Jones, and he contributed music to many television shows. 28 1812 ~ Julius Rietz, German composer, conductor and cellist
• 1938 ~ Charles Neville, Saxophone, flute, percussion with The Neville Brothers
• 1943 ~ Bobby Comstock, Singer
• 1944 ~ The musical, On the Town, opened in New York City for a run of 462
performances. It was Leonard Bernstein's first big Broadway success. The
show’s hit song, New York, New York, continues to be successful.
• 1946 ~ Edgar Winter, American rock vocalist, saxophonist, guitarist and keyboardist
• 1946 ~ Carrie Jacobs Bond passed away. She was an American singer, pianist, and songwriter who composed some 175 pieces of popular music from the 1890s through the early 1940s
• 1947 ~ Dick Diamonde (Dingeman Van Der Sluys), Bass with The Easybeats
• 1950 ~ Alex Chilton, Guitarist, singer
• 1953 ~ Richard Clayderman, Pianist
• 1953 ~ Joe Diffie, Country Singer
• 1957 ~ At The Hop, by Danny and The Juniors, hit #1 on the music charts. It
stayed at the top spot for seven weeks. The title of the tune was originally
Do the Bop, but was changed at the suggestion of ‘America’s Oldest
Living Teenager’ Dick Clark. Trivia: Danny and The Juniors filled in for a
group that failed to appear on Clark’s American Bandstand show in
Philadelphia. He called The Juniors to come into the studio immediately.
They did and lip-synced At The Hop (written by Junior, Dave White and a
friend, John Medora). It took off like a rocket to number one. (A few years
later, Danny and The Juniors handed stardom to Chubby Checker when they
failed to appear on Clark’s show.)
• 1964 ~ Principal filming of the movie classic, Dr. Zhivago, began on location
near Madrid, Spain. When completed, the film was 197 minutes long and so
spectacular that it received ten Oscar nominations, winning five of the
Academy Awards, including Best Original Score. Lara’s Theme was first heard
in this movie.
• 1981 ~ WEA Records (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) raised the price of its 45 rpm
records from $1.68 to $1.98 this day. The company was the leader of the pack
with other labels soon boosting their prices. Within a few years, the 45 rpm
record was boosted right out of existence.
• 2001 ~ Frankie Gaye, whose combat experience during the Vietnam War was credited
with influencing his older brother Marvin's legendary Motown album "What's
Going On," died of complications following a heart attack. He was 60.
Gaye was a radio operator stationed in Vietnam in the 1960s when he wrote
letters to his brother expressing his dissatisfaction with the war. His
experiences influenced several songs on his brother's 1971 album, including
Save The Children, Inner City Blues and Mercy Mercy Me, according to Ralph
Tee in the book "Soul Music Who's Who."
Gaye, like his brother, had begun singing in church as a youngster. He went on
to work with several Motown artists, including Mary Wells and Kim Weston and
provided background vocals on many of his brother's albums, including
"What's Going On" and 1977's "Marvin Gaye, Live at the London Palladium."
On his own, Gaye composed the soundtrack to the 1972 film "Penitentiary 1" and
toured extensively, both in the United States and England. He also released
the singles Extraordinary Girl in 1989 and My Brother in 1990. 29
• 1876 ~ Pablo Casals, Spanish cellist and conductor
More information about Casals
• 1922 ~ Rose Lee Maphis, Entertainer, half of the team: Mr. and Mrs. Country Music
with husband Joe, Hee Haw regular
• 1942 ~ Ray Thomas, Flute, saxophone, harmonica, singer with The Moody Blues
• 1943 ~ San Fernando Valley was recorded by Bing Crosby. He chose the tune because
he felt it would be a big hit. He was right. Within a week after its
release, the song became a popular favorite everywhere, including the San
Fernando Valley in California.
• 1945 ~ Sheb Wooley recorded the first commercial record made in Nashville, TN.
The song was recorded on the Bullet label; but it was 13 years before Wooley
would finally score with a big hit (The Purple People Eater was #1 for six
weeks in June and July, 1958). Wooley (whose first name is Shelby) played
the part of Pete Nolan on TV’s Rawhide, recorded novelty tunes under the
name, Ben Colder, and acted in High Noon, Rocky Mountain, Giant and
Hoosiers. The Country Music Association honored him with the title of
Comedian of the Year in 1968. If you remember the TV show Hee Haw, with BuckOwens and Roy Clark, it was Sheb Wooley who wrote the theme song.
• 1951 ~ Yvonne Elliman, Actress, singer joined Eric Clapton in his 1974 comeback
• 1957 ~ Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married. They became popular singers
on the The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, and as Las Vegas showroom regulars
and recording artists. They are still together in one of Hollywood’s most
• 1961 ~ Mark Day, Guitarist with Happy Mondays
• 1963 ~ Much to the chagrin of the disc jockeys at 50,000-watt WABC in New York,
the 5,000-watt blowtorch known as WMCA and its famed ‘Good Guys’ became the
first New York radio station to play The Beatles'I Want to Hold Your Hand.
It didn’t take long for WABC to get revenge. It started calling itself the
‘official’ Beatles station (W-A-Beatle-C).
• 1980 ~ American singer, songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose. Hardin wrote the songs 'If I Were A Carpenter' (covered by Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash and June Carter, The Four Tops, Leon Russell, Small Faces, Robert Plant and Bob Seger,) and 'Reason To Believe', (covered by Rod Stewart). Hardin appeared at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
• 1967 ~ Orchestra leader Paul Whiteman passed away at the age of 76.
Known as the King of Jazz, Whiteman had 28 #1 hits between 1920 and 1934
including Three O’Clock in the Morning, My Blue Heaven, All of Me and SmokeGets in Your Eyes.
• 2001 ~ Cassia Eller, one of the most irreverent singers of Brazilian rock music,
died at the age of 39.
Eller's fame peaked in 2001 with the sale of about 250,000 copies of her "MTV
Unplugged" album and a performance in January's Rock in Rio festival in
front of hundreds of thousands of fans, singing along with one of her hits,
I just ask God for a little indecency.
• 2001 ~ Jazz pianist Ralph Sutton, a leading practitioner of the stride piano,
died at the age of 79.
Born in St. Charles, Mo., in 1922, Sutton made his professional debut at age 11 with his father's band. He later signed on with trombone great JackTeagarden, and played at several clubs along New York's famed 52nd Street.
To create his eclectic style, Sutton drew from the jazz piano, from ragtime
and the blues to stride, in the style made famous by James P. Johnson,
Willie "The Lion" Smith, and Fats Waller.
Critics hailed Sutton as one of the best contemporary jazz pianists with a
mastery of his instrument. He was a founding member of the 1968 World's
Greatest Jazz Band, which performed at Elitch Gardens in Denver.
• 2003 ~ Manny Dworman, who owned a Greenwich Village nightspot where comedians including
Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano and Jon Stewart performed, died. He was 73.
Dworman, a musician who played the oud, guitar and mandolin, owned the Comedy Cellar and
the Olive Tree Cafe upstairs.
The club was previously the site of Cafe Feenjon, a Middle Eastern nightclub that
originally opened as a coffeehouse in 1960.
Dworman performed at Cafe Feenjon with his band, the Feenjon Group, which recorded five
albums, performed at Carnegie Hall and inspired the radio show "Music From Around the
Comedy Cellar, which opened in 1980, also hosted performances by Chris Rock and Colin
Quinn. Discussions at the club inspired the Comedy Central show "Tough Crowd with
Colin Quinn." Dworman was featured in the 2002 documentary "Comedian" by Jerry
• 2004 ~ Jerry Orbach, American singer and actor for the musical theater and
longtime star of the "Law & Order" television series, died at 69.
Orbach, a lanky actor with a deep voice and a slicked mop of black hair,
first made his name on Broadway, winning a Tony for "Promises, Promises."
He was also in the original cast of "Chicago" and "42nd Street."
• 1919 ~ Sir David Willcocks, British organist, conductor and educator
• 1928 ~ Bo Diddley (Otha Ellas Bates McDaniel), Singer
• 1931 ~ Skeeter Davis (Mary Frances Penick), Singer
• 1936 ~ The famous feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen was ignited. After a 10-
year-old performer finished a violin solo on The Fred Allen Show, Mr. Allen
said, "A certain alleged violinist should hide his head in shame for his
poor fiddle playing." It didn’t take long for Mr. Benny to respond. The
humorous feud lasted for years on both comedian’s radio shows.
• 1937 ~ John Hartford, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, banjo, fiddle, guitar on
Glen Campbell's Good Time Comedy Hour
• 1942 ~ Michael Nesmith, Guitarist with The Monkees, formed The First National
Band, movie producer of the first Grammy-winning video
• 1945 ~ Davy Jones (David Thomas Jones), Singer with The Monkees, actor
• 1947 ~ Jeff Lynne, Singer, guitar with The Electric Light Orchestra, songwriter
• 1948 ~ Alfred Drake and Patricia Morrison starred in Kiss Me Kate which opened at
the New Century Theatre in New York City. Cole Porter composed the music for
the classic play that was adapted from Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming ofthe Shrew. The show ran for 1,077 performances on the Great White Way.
• 1942 ~ Frank Sinatra opened at New York’s Paramount Theatre for what was
scheduled to be a 4-week engagement (his shows turned out to be so popular
that he was booked for an additional 4 weeks). An estimated 400 policemen
were called out to help curb the excitement. It is said that some of the
teenage girls were hired to scream, but many more screamed for free. Sinatra
was dubbed ‘The Sultan of Swoon’, ‘The Voice that Thrills Millions’, and
just ‘The Voice’. Whatever he was, it was at this Paramount Theatre
engagement that modern pop hysteria was born.
• 1954 ~ Pearl Bailey opened on Broadway in the play, House of Flowers, about two
madams with rival bordellos. Diahann Carroll was also cast in the play,
written by Truman Capote. Harold Arlen provided the musical score.
• 1969 ~ Peter, Paul and Mary received a gold record for the single, Leaving On aJet Plane. The song had hit #1 on December 20.
• 1970 ~ Paul McCartney sued the other three Beatles to dissolve the partnership
and gain control of his interest. The suit touched off a bitter feud between
McCartney and the others, especially his cowriter on many of
the Beatles compositions, John Lennon. The partnership officially came to
end in 1974.
• 1976 ~ The Smothers Brothers, Tom and Dick, played their last show at the Aladdin
Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business. Each continued
as a solo artist. They reunited years later for another stab at TV (on NBC)
plus concert appearances that proved very successful.
• 2000 ~ Bohdan Warchal, a violinist and conductor who was one of Slovakia's most
popular musicians, of an unspecified illness at the age of 70.
A violinist in the Slovak Philharmonic, Warchal, who died on Saturday, won
acclaim as the founder and conductor of the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, which
has given concerts all over the world ever since it was established in 1960.
Warchal was awarded a medal by President Rudolf Schuster for his life-time
work last year.
• 2003 ~ Hong Kong's Canto-pop diva and actress Anita Mui died. She was 40 years old.
Mui began her career after winning a singing contest in Hong Kong in 1982. She rose to
stardom with her song Homecoming in 1984.
Canto-pop refers to hits sung in Cantonese, the dialect of Chinese that is widely spoken
in Hong Kong and in many overseas Chinese communities.
Mui also turned to acting and won Taiwan's Golden Horse film award for best actress in
• 1987 for her role as a tormented ghost in the movie "Rouge."
• 1922 ~ Rex Allen, ‘The Arizona Cowboy’, entertainer, rodeo star, singer,
songwriter who published over 300 songs
• 1923 ~ Singer Eddie Cantor opened in the lead role of Kid Boots. Broadway critics
called the production, "A smash musical hit!" Eddie made several of the
songs from that show into smash hits also, like Alabamy Bound and
If You Knew Susie. Three years later, If You Knew Susie became the title
song for a movie starring Cantor.
• 1928 ~ Ross Barbour, Singer with The Four Freshmen
• 1929 ~ Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played Auld Lang Syne as a New Year’s
Eve song for the first time. Auld Lang Syne had been the band’s theme song
long before 1929. However, this night was the start of a New Year’s Eve
tradition as Lombardo’s famed orchestra played at the Hotel Roosevelt Grill
in New York City to usher in the new year.
Where did it Auld begin? Scottish poet Robert Burns said he heard an old man
singing the words, and wrote them down; but Burns is considered the original
author. The literal translation means "old long since"; less literal means
"days gone by". Auld Lang Syne and Happy New Year!
• 1930 ~ Odetta (Holmes Felious Gordon), American folk-blues singer, guitarist,
songwriter and actress
• 1940 ~ As a result of a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP (the
American Society of Composers and Publishers), the radio industry was
prevented from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten
months. An ASCAP competitor, BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) made giant
strides, expanding to include 36,000 copyrights. Many radio stations had to
resort to playing public domain songs, such as marches and operas, to keep
their stations on the air. Even kids songs were played over and over again
until the ban was lifted.
One of the most popular songs to be played was Happy Birthday to You, which
was performed in many different languages just to get past the ban. The
original song is now, in fact, a copyrighted piece of music, though it
wasn’t at the time.
• 1942 ~ Andy Summers (Somers), Guitarist, singer with The Police
• 1947 ~ Burton Cummings, Jr., Singer with The Guess Who
• 1947 ~ Roy Rogers, ‘the King of the Cowboys’, and Dale Evans were hitched in
marriage. They rode off into that sunset together for over fifty years. (Roy
died July 6, 1998.)
• 1948 ~ Donna Summer (LaDonna Gaines), Grammy Award-winning singer
• 1951 ~ Tom Hamilton, Bass with Aerosmith
• 1960 ~ After playing California nightclubs as The Pendletones, Kenny and the
Cadets, and Carl and the Passions, a new group emerged this day: The BeachBoys. The group’s first national hit, Surfin’ Safari, was soon to be.
They recorded for local (Los Angeles) Colpix Records and at the height of
their popularity, Capitol Records. The Beach Boys also recorded under the
Reprise Records banner. The revitalized group still tours and Capitol
continues to reissue various greatest hits packages. The Beach Boys were
inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
• 1972 ~ Joe McIntyre, Singer with New Kids on the Block
• 1975 ~ Elvis Presley performed before 60,000 fans at the Silverdome in Pontiac,
MI. He earned $800,000 for the concert, a world record for a single concert
by a single artist.
• 1985 ~ Over 54,500 people played kazoos in downtown Rochester, New York. The
assembled multitude played A Bicycle Built for Two. Any idea why? Well, they
felt it was appropriate for the last day of the year and it got the crowd
listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for ‘Most Kazoo-ers’.
• 2000 ~ Tanaquil Le Clercq, the ballerina who dazzled the world in the 1940s and
'50s before her career was cut short by paralytic polio, died of pneumonia
at the age of 71.
Le Clercq contracted the disease, which left her paralyzed below the waist, in 1956. At the time, she was the fourth wife of George Balanchine and had
attracted an adoring public because of her long-legged elegance.
She later became a teacher at Dance Theater of Harlem, wrote two books and
regularly attended dance performances.
The New York City Ballet, of which Le Clercq was a charter member, paid
tribute to her in 1988, when it opened its 50th-anniversary season. She
acknowledged a thunderous New York State Theater ovation from her
Le Clercq was blessed with an elongated physique that she used with refinement
or humor. She epitomized the modernized look in classical dancing, which
enthralled Balanchine, who once cast her as a dragonfly.
As the first City Ballet ballerina trained since childhood by Balanchine, she
was naturally identified with the roles he created for her in his major
works, such as the ballets "Symphonie Concertante," "Symphony in C" and "La
Valse," in which her doomed heroine danced herself to death.
She was equally unforgettable in the ballets of Jerome Robbins and as the
white-faced allegorical figure of Sacred Love in "Illuminations" in 1950.
• 2000 ~ José Greco, the famed flamenco dancer and choreographer who founded the
José Greco Spanish Dance Company,of heart failure at the age of 82.
Born in Montorio nei Frentani, Italy, of Spanish-Italian parents, he moved to
Seville, Spain, at the age of 3, then was raised in Brooklyn from the age of 10. He began his career in 1937 and became known as the greatest Spanish
dancer in the world.
In 1941, the already famous Argentine-born dancer La Argentinita (known off
the stage as Encarnacion Lopez) was preparing for an American tour when she
saw Greco dance and asked him to perform as her partner and the featured
male performer in her company until she died in 1945. After that, Greco
danced with her sister Pilar Lopez.
In 1951, Greco shared with Carol Channing the title of "New Broadway
Personality of the Year." The José Greco Dance Company, which helped
integrate flamenco with mainstream ballet, toured extensively in North
America, and six times worldwide, over the following two decades.
In 1962, he Greco was knighted by the Spanish government.
In 1971, Greco formed the Foundation for Hispanic Dance. His autobiography,
"Gypsy in My Soul: The Autobiography of Jose Greco," was published in 1977.
• 2000 ~ Eddy Shaver, a guitarist who performed with his father Billy Joe Shaver and
Dwight Yoakam, died at the age of 38.
Eddy Shaver grew up around music because of his father, a celebrated
songwriter whose songs include I'm Just an Old Chuck of Coal (But I'm GonnaBe a Diamond Someday) and Georgia on a Fast Train. Dickie Betts of The
Allman Brothers Band helped teach Eddy Shaver to play and gave him his two
favorite guitars, one formerly owned by the late guitarist Duane Allman.
Eddy Shaver began playing guitar with his father at 13, and gradually became
Billy Joe Shaver's musical partner and sometime co-writer. Billy Joe Shaver
merged from country to a more rock-influenced sound because of his son.
Albums by the band Shaver include "Tramp on Your Street," the live "Shaver:
Unshaven," and "Electric Shaver." A new album, "The Earth Rolls On," was
released on March 20, 2001.
• 2001 ~ Marie Hartford, a well-known businesswoman on Music Row and widow of the late
songwriter and performer John Hartford, died of lung cancer. She was 67.
Marie Hartford worked at Glaser Publishing, booking the studios at the Glaser
Brothers' Music Row operation, where country music's Outlaw movement was bred.
John Hartford, who wrote the standard Gentle on My Mind, died June 4 after a
decade-long battle with cancer. The song was recorded more than 300 times, most
prominently by Glen Campbell in 1967 but also by Dean Martin, Elvis Presley and
• 2003 ~ Renata Babak, an internationally known mezzo-soprano with the Bolshoi Opera who
defected from the Soviet Union in 1973, died of pancreatic cancer. She was 69.
Babak gave recitals until last year, singing in a sweet but powerful and well-controlled
voice described by critics as among the best in the world. Her last opera was in 1997,
when she performed in Tchaikovsky'sIolanta with Opera Camerata of Washington.
Babak was an international star with 10 years' experience at the Bolshoi when she
defected while the opera company was playing at La Scala in Milan, slipping out of a
hotel lobby wearing a wig and dark glasses. She immigrated to Canada and went into
hiding for two years.
Babak's U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall in 1975 was met with enthusiastic reviews. She moved
to New York and then to Washington in the hopes of working with George London, then
general director of the Washington Opera. Babak joined the faculty of the Washington
Conservatory of Music when London was disabled by a stroke.