Today in Music History - Jan. 27

Today in Music History for Jan. 27:


In 1731, Italian harpsichord manufacturer Bartolomeo Cristofori died. He is generally credited with inventing the piano.

In 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose works mark one of the great peaks in music history, was born in Salzburg, Austria. He was a child prodigy, whose father taught him to play the harpsichord, violin and organ. Mozart is said to have begun composing before he was five years old. By the age of 13, he had written concertos, sonatas, symphonies and an operetta. In 1781, Mozart moved to Vienna, where he met Franz-Joseph Haydn, and the two composers began a life-long friendship. Mozart became the court composer to the Austrian emperor in 1787, but the pay was poor and he struggled financially for the rest of his life. In 1791, he was commissioned by a wealthy nobleman to compose a requiem mass. But Mozart was unable to complete the work before he died at the age of 35. Interest in the works of Mozart received a boost in 1984 with the release of the widely-acclaimed movie "Amadeus."

In 1901, Italian composer Guiseppi Verdi died at age 87.

In 1908, Oscar Straus' operetta "A Waltz Dream" opened at New York's Broadway Theatre, and ran for 14 weeks.

In 1913, the Calgary Symphony Orchestra made its debut at the Sherman Grand Theatre before more than 700 people.

In 1918, Elmore James, one of the most influential urban blues guitarists, was born in Holmes County, Miss. His slide-guitar technique was copied by many rock musicians, including Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and Brian Jones. His best-known recording is "Dust My Broom." He died of a heart attack on May 24, 1963.

In 1920, Quebec country singer Willie Lamothe was born in St-Hyacinthe, Que. His hits included "Je suis un cowboy canadien (I'm a Canadian Cowboy)," "Je chante a cheval (I Sing on Horseback)" and "Allo! Allo! Petit Michel." He once performed in French at the Grand Ole Opry. He died on Oct. 19, 1992. He had been ill since he collapsed on stage in 1978.

In 1931, Rudy Maugeri, baritone singer and arranger for "The Crew Cuts," was born in Toronto. All four members of the group were students at St. Michael's Cathedral Choir School in Toronto. They were discovered in 1954 by Mercury Records while they were singing in Cleveland under the name of "The Canadaires." They became "The Crew Cuts" after the popular hair style of the time. One of the first white groups to record rock 'n' roll versions of black R&B hits, "The Crew Cuts" are best known for their 1954 million-seller "Sh-Boom." He died on May 7, 2004.

In 1958, singer Little Richard enrolled in a college run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Huntsville, Ala. He was inspired after his plane caught fire while flying over the Philippines.

In 1968, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding was released, six weeks after he was killed in a plane crash.

In 1970, John Lennon recorded "Instant Karma."

In 1972, Mahalia Jackson -- dubbed the Queen of Gospel Singers -- died of heart failure at the age of 60.

In 1979, the album "Spirits Having Flown" by the "Bee Gees" was released in North America.

In 1979, Rod Stewart's album "Blondes Have More Fun" became No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Sales of the album were spurred by the single "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?," and the success represented a comeback for Stewart.

In 1984, singer Michael Jackson suffered burns to his scalp when a special effects explosion during the filming of a Pepsi commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, accidentally set his hair on fire. The ad was assembled from alternate takes, and was soon on the air.

In 1991, the much-ballyhooed "Rock in Rio 2" festival ended in a washout at a Rio de Janiero stadium. George Michael's first concert appearance in more than two years attracted only a fraction of the stadium's 120,000 capacity. In fact, only one act, "Guns 'N' Roses," managed to sell out during the nine-day event.

In 1991, Whitney Houston performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl game -- sort of. What the crowd heard was a pre-recorded version while Houston and an orchestra performed on the field. A blend of Houston's live vocals and the pre-recorded version, released as a single, became a hit because of patriotism sparked by the Persian Gulf War.

In 1992, "C&C Music Factory" dominated the 19th annual American Music Awards, winning five trophies.

In 1993, some Alberta government backbenchers refused to approve a motion to have the provincial legislature congratulate k.d. lang for winning an American Music Award. The MLAs were upset with the Alberta native's "Meat Stinks" anti-beef commercial done three years earlier. Five days later, the House of Commons made up for the slight, honouring lang for being named the best new adult contemporary artist.

In 1993, Warner Brothers announced it was releasing Ice-T from his recording contract. The company cited "creative differences" for the decision, which followed the previous year's controversy over Ice-T's "Cop Killer." Police and others said the track advocated the killing of police.

In 1993, "Billboards," a ballet with music by Prince and dancing by the Joffrey Ballet, premiered in Iowa City, Iowa.

In 1997, Gerald Marks, a Tin Pan Alley composer best known for the standard "All of Me," died in New York at age 96. Marks wrote the song with Seymour Simons in 1931, and the following year, Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman had No. 1 records with it.

In 1997, Ottawa native Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" was named favourite album at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Presenter Paula Abdul accepted the award for Morissette, who was on vacation in India. Morissette was also picked as favourite female artist. Shania Twain, a native of Timmins, Ont., captured the trophy for best female country artist.

In 2000, Elektra Records announced that rock band "Third Eye Blind" had fired guitarist Kevin Cadogan and replaced him with former band member Tony Fredianelli. No reason for the split was given. "Third Eye Blind" had a huge hit in 1997 with "Semi-Charmed Life."

In 2000, Friedrich Gulda, an Austrian pianist known as much for his outrageous antics as for his music, died in Vienna of an apparent heart attack at age 69.

In 2010, the "Hope For Haiti Now" benefit album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The 20-track album sold close to 170,000 downloads. It was the first digital-only album to top the Billboard 200 in the chart's history. The set was comprised of performances from the "Hope For Haiti Now" telethon on Jan. 22.

In 2013, singer-actor Kris Kristofferson awarded Willie Nelson with the first Kris Kristofferson Award, the Nashville Songwriters Association International's new lifetime achievement award.

In 2013, a band's pyrotechnics show ignited a fire that raced through a crowded windowless nightclub in the college town of Santa Maria, Brazil, killing 237 people as panicked partygoers stampeded toward the single exit.

In 2014, folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger, who's influence carried from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen, died at the age of 94. He helped make "We Shall Overcome" the anthem of the civil rights movement when he published it in 1948. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

In 2015, a Los Angeles jury awarded 71-year-old funk legend Sly Stone $5 million in a breach-of-contract suit that claimed his business partners and his own company cheated him out of royalties.

In 2018, a U.S. federal copyright board raised the music streaming royalties for songwriters and music publishers from 10.5 per cent to 15.1 per cent to narrow the financial divide separating them from recording labels.


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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