It’s the 99th anniversary of the birth of the person we know as Billie Holliday.
April 7th ought to be a national holiday.
… was born 99 years ago today. We know him as Muddy Waters.
And how important was Muddy Waters to early Rock?
You’ve heard of The Rolling Stones, and “Like a Rolling Stone,” and Rolling Stone magazine. All named for Waters’ early hit, “Rollin’ Stone.”
Muddy Waters transformed the soul of the rural South into the sound of the city, electrifying the blues at a pivotal point in the early postwar period. His recorded legacy, particularly the wealth of sides he cut in the Fifties, is one of the great musical treasures of this century. Aside from Robert Johnson, no single figure is more important in the history and development of the blues than Waters. The real question as regards his lasting impact on popular music isn’t “Who did he influence?” but – as Goldmine magazine asked in 2001 – “Who didn’t he influence?”
I’ll call it a national holiday.
Because it is Aretha Franklin’s birthday.
Aretha Franklin is the “Queen of Soul” and the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She is a singer of great passion and control whose finest recordings define the term soul music in all its deep, expressive glory.
A few weeks ago I read Robert Hilburn’s biography of Johnny Cash, an interesting if somewhat longish and discouraging look at the Man in Black.
Today at Open Culture there was a link to the first episode of Cash’s music-variety show. The program from June 7, 1969, included guests Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Doug Kershaw. And the Carters, of course. Not a bad way to visit 45-year-old music history.
Miles Davis began recording “Kind of Blue” on this date in 1959.
It’s anniversary of the birth of Lou Reed (1942).
Author Tom Wolfe is 83 today.
Author John Irving is 72 today.
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was born 110 years ago today (1904).
The Writer’s Almanac had good background in 2010.
When Geisel/Seuss was awarded an honorary degree from Princeton in 1985, the entire graduating class stood and recited Green Eggs and Ham. At one time Green Eggs and Ham was the third largest selling book in the English language — ever.
George Gershwin’s phenomenal blending of jazz and classical music, premiered at Aeolian Hall, in New York City, on February 12, 1924, 90 years ago tonight. Gershwin wrote the piece in three weeks, reportedly improvising some of the piano parts during the premiere.
Rhapsody in Blue was one of NPR’s 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. You can listen to the NPR report from NPR Music.
This video (audio with photographs actually) is an acoustic recording made in June 1924 with Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra with Ross Gorman playing the clarinet opening as he did during the premier, and the composer at the piano.