Tuesday, April 14

This Week in Musical History
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April 14

This date in musical history

In 1759, the German composer George Frideric Handel, died.

He worked mainly in England and Italy, and his most famous work is "The Messiah." Totally blind for the last six years of his life, he still occasionally conducted performances of his works.

 Other musical milestones on this date:
  • In 1956, Ampex corporation demonstrated its first commercial videotape recorder.
  • In 1964, Motown released a duet record featuring Mary Wells and Marvin Gaye. Both sides - "What's the Matter With You Baby" and "Once Upon a Time" - became hits. Wells later said that Motown was using her name to bolster Gaye's standing with the pop audience.
  • In 1969, the Monkees' special, "33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee," aired on NBC. The plot featured rock musicians Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll as mad scientists looking for something to rot the minds of young people.
  • In 1970, Stephen Stills broke his wrist in a car accident, resulting in the cancellation of an American tour by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Stills drove into a parked vehicle while watching a police patrol car in his rear-view mirror.
  • In 1980, Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" was named the official state song of New Jersey.
  • Also on this date in 1980, the first rock videocassette, a concert by Gary Numan, was released.
  • In 1983, Pete Farndon of the rock group, the Pretenders, died.
  • In 1984, Michael Jackson made a six-figure contribution to establish a 19-bed cancer research unit at a New York hospital.
  • In 1989, Nova Scotia singer Rita MacNeil made her US concert debut in Boston. The show, at the 1,200-seat Berklee Performance Centre, was a near sell-out, with the audience giving her three standing ovations.
  • Also on this date in 1989, the second World Music Video Awards were telecast live via satellite from Toronto, New York, London, Munich, Moscow, Hong Kong and Australia. The show reached an estimated 750 million viewers in more than 50 countries. For the first time, the broadcast was seen throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries.
  • In 1990, rhythm-and-blues singer Thurston Harris died of a heart attack in Pomona, California at age 58. His only major hit, and still a favorite oldie, was "Little Bitty Pretty One," which made number six in 1957.
  • In 1993, Joan Baez performed for 700 people in the war-torn Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Many in the crowd wept as Baez sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and John Lennon's anti-war song, "Imagine." The applause helped drown out the gunfire and sporadic shelling that continued throughout the concert.
  • In 1994, drummer Paul Hester abruptly quit Crowded House following a concert by the Australian group in Atlanta. Hester cited the grind of touring and said he felt himself drifting away from fellow band members Neil Finn and Nick Seymour. He also complained that his song "Skin Feeling" was only begrudgingly included on Crowded House's album "Together Alone."
  • In 1995, Burl Ives, whom poet Carl Sandburg once called "the mightiest ballad singer of this or any other century," died at his home in Anacortes, Washington. He was 85. Ives's folk hits in the 1950's and '60s included "The Blue Tail Fly," "Little Bitty Tear," "Funny Way of Laughin'" and "Holly, Jolly Christmas." He also gained fame as an actor, winning an Oscar in 1958 for his supporting role in "The Big Country." But he was best known for his stage and screen portrayal of "Big Daddy" in Tennessee Williams's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

     Born on this date:
  • In 1933, singer Buddy Knox was born in Happy, Texas. He was one of a number of southern country singers who broke into rock 'n' roll in the 1950's. "Party Doll" and "Hula Love" were his two big hits, both in 1957. Knox now makes his home in Dominion City, Manitoba, and still tours extensively. Like many rockabilly performers, he has a substantial following in Europe.
  • In 1919, Canadian vibraphonist and bandleader Jimmy Namaro, in La Rosita, Mexico.
  • In 1928, Canadian jazz pianist Norm Amadio.
  • In 1935, country singer Loretta Lynn.
  • In 1945, Ritchie Blackmore, lead guitarist with Deep Purple.
  • In 1946, Patrick Fairley, bass player with the '70s British rock group, Marmalade.

  • Neil Finn (r) and Nick Seymour upon hearing that Paul Hestor was leaving Crowded House.

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