Thursday, September 17, 2009

Today in Music History ~ 9/17

• 1878 ~ Vincenzo Tommasini, Italian composer

• 1884 ~ Charles Tomlinson Griffes, American composer

• 1923 ~ Hank (Hiram) Williams, Sr., American country-western singer and songwriter. He was the first country musician whose music crossed over into pop and he wrote 125 compositions

• 1926 ~ Bill Black, Bassist with Bill Black Combo, played in Elvis Presley band, backup for Elvis

• 1929 ~ Sil Austin, Tenor saxophone, composer

• 1931 ~ RCA Victor began demonstrating a very early version of the long-playing (LP), 33~1/3 RPM phonograph record. It would be another 17 years before RCA rival Columbia would begin mass production of the LP.

• 1940 ~ LaMont McLemore, Singer with The 5th Dimension

• 1950 ~ Fee Waybill (John Waldo), Singe with The Tubes

• 1952 ~ Frank Sinatra sang at his final session with Mitch Miller and Columbia Records.

• 1955 ~ The Perry Como Show moved to Saturday nights on NBC~TV. Soon, U.S.A. audiences would "Sing along with me ... I’m on my way to the stars..." with the incomparable Mr. C. Como’s hourlong variety show replaced his three-times-per-week, 15-minute show, which had been on the air since 1948. The new version of The Perry Como Show soon became Saturday’s highest-rated TV program, beating CBS competitor Jackie Gleason.

• 1955 ~ Capitol Records released Magic Melody, Part Two. The tune consists only of the last two notes of the musical phrase, "Shave and a haircut, two bits," making it the shortest tune ever to be released.

• 1973 ~ Hugo Winterhalter passed away

• 1973 ~ Singer-songwriter Billy Joel recorded his song "Piano Man."

• 2002 ~ Michael "Dodo" Marmarosa, a jazz pianist who played with luminaries like Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Dorsey and Buddy Rich in the 1940s before a military stint derailed his music career, died of a heart attack. He was 76. Marmarosa died at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Pittsburgh, where he lived the past few years, playing the piano and organ for other residents and guests. Marmarosa joined the Johnny "Scat" Davis Orchestra at age 15 in 1941. He then played with Gene Krupa's band, Charlie Barnet's big band, where he recorded "The Moose" and "Strollin", and played with the great Gillespie. He played in Dorsey's band in 1944, which included Buddy DeFranco, Sidney Block and Buddy Rich. And later that same year, Marmarosa joined Artie Shaw's band. In 1947 Marmarosa was selected by Esquire magazine as one of the nation's top jazz artists. Marmarosa disappeared from public view in the early 1950s after a series of personal tragedies and a stint in the Army.

• 2009 ~ The multi-awarded American composer and professor of composition at Harvard University, Leon Kirchner, passed away.

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