July 29th

“Professor” Irwin Corey, The World’s Foremost Authority, is 100 today.

Ken Burns is 61.

William Powell was born on this date in 1892. He was nominated for three best actor Academy Awards — The Thin Man (1934), My Man Godfrey (1936) and Life with Father (1947). Powell was Nick Charles and Myrna Loy was Nora Charles in the six Thin Man films.

250px Clara Bow 1927

The “It Girl” Clara Bow was born on this date in 1905. A huge star when movies didn’t talk, her career wound down quickly and unhappily after sound. As with many other silent film stars, it was a new medium that necessitated less physical acting, the reason they had become big stars to begin with. The clip is from It (1927).

Charlie Christian was born on this date in 1916. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 (the fifth group).

Charlie Christian elevated the guitar as a lead instrument on par with the saxophone and trumpet in jazz and popular music. His single-string technique established a solo style that was carried on by such contemporaries as T-Bone Walker and emulated by later disciples like B. B. King and Chuck Berry. Born in Bonham, Texas, on July 29th, 1919, and raised in Oklahoma City, Christian was influenced by country music and jazz, an odd hybrid of influences that can be heard in his recorded works, such as “Seven Come Eleven,” with the Benny Goodman Sextet. Unfortunately, his recording career lasted less than two years, as he was brought down in his prime by tuberculosis, dying on March 2, 1942, in New York. Though his life was short, his hornlike, single-note style, which capitalized on innovations in amplification technology, revolutionized and redefined the role of the electric guitar in popular music. The reverberations from Christian’s pioneering efforts have echoed down the decades, through Western swing, rockabilly and rock and roll to the present day.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer were married 33 years ago today.

1 thought on “July 29th”

  1. Charlie Christian’s name doesn’t come up often these days, even among guitar players. I’ve been playing for over 40 years, and steal licks from anyone I can… but I don’t owe him a single thing, except my lasting admiration.

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