ON THIS DAY in 1912
bandleader Les Brown was born in Reinerton Pennsylvania. With his “Band of Renown” he is probably best known for his 50 year association with Bob Hope, on radio, TV & personal appearances. Also was musical director for Dean Martin for 10 years on TV. His record hits include Sentimental Journey, My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time, Leap Frog, & I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm. He died from lung cancer Jan 4, 2001 at age 88.
In 1918, actor Dennis Patrick (right) was born Dennis Patrick Harrison in Philadelphia. He was seen repeatedly in filmed TV series like Laramie, Somerset, Dallas, Rituals, War & Remembrance, etc. He had a feature role in the soap Dark Shadows. He died in a house fire Oct. 13 2002 at age 84.
In 1919, orchestra leader/arranger Luther Henderson Jr. was born in Kansas City. He worked on more than 50 Broadway shows, arranged more than 100 songs for The Canadian Brass, and had a close working relationship with Duke Ellington. In television he arranged for “The Bell Telephone Hour”, “The Ed Sullivan Show”, “The Polly Bergen Show” and variety specials. He lost a long battle with cancer July 29 2003 at age 84.
In 1922, orchestra leader/composer Les Baxter was born in Mexia Texas. Besides his extensive bigscreen resume, he arranged the early Nat King Cole hits, “Mona Lisa” and “Too Young,” and produced his own instrumental hits of the 50’s, “Ruby”, “Unchained Melody” and “The Poor People Of Paris.” In radio he was musical director for The Halls Of Ivy and the Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello shows. Baxter also wrote the “Whistle” theme for the TV show Lassie. He died at age 73 Jan 15 1996 of heart and kidney problems.
In 1923, Pete Parker, on radio station CKCK Regina, is credited with calling the world’s first radio play-by-play of a complete professional hockey game, as Edmonton Eskimos blanked Regina Capitals 1-0. Foster Hewitt’s first broadcast was a few days later, in Toronto.
In 1937, Fred Allen and Jack Benny (pictured, right) met on NBC radio in one of the biggest publicity gags ever. It was called, “The Battle of the Century.” The two comedians locked horns in the ballroom of the Hotel Pierre, exchanging torrid insults that were heard by the second largest audience in the history of radio. The “feud”, incidentally, lasted for the next 12 years…probably the longest-running publicity stunt in history, too!
In 1941, more than ten years before Desi Arnaz made the song ‘Babalu’ popular on the “I Love Lucy” TV show, Xavier Cugat and his orchestra recorded it, with Miguelito Valdes doing the vocal. The song was on Columbia Records, as was the Arnaz version years later.
In 1943, Ernest Tubb made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He would remain a regular on the radio show over four decades.
In 1949, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was the corny/square “Cruising Down the River” by the corny/square Blue Barron Orchestra.
In 1955, in one of the great misjudgements of all time, Arthur Godfrey turned down the chance to sign Elvis Presley for his CBS TV Talent Scouts Show. Instead at the same audition he signed singer Pat Boone. (above)
Also in 1955, on his “Town and Country Time” on WMAL-TV in Washington DC, country entertainer Jimmy Dean interviewed Elvis Presley. The young Presley was reportedly so nervous that he could only answer questions with a “yep” or “nope.”
In 1958, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the first Gold Record. It was Perry Como‘s Catch a Falling Star on the RCA Victor label. The tune became the first to win million-seller certification, though other songs dating as far back as the 1920s may have sold a million records or more. Due to lack of a certification organization like the RIAA, they weren’t awarded the golden platter.
Also in 1958, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “Tequila” by The Champs. Glen Campbell, Jim Seals and Dash Crofts all joined the group after “Tequila” hit No. 1.
In 1959, Elvis Presley‘s seventh album debuted on the pop music charts, but no one would have known by the title of the disk. “For LP Fans Only” was the first album ever released without the name of the artist anywhere on the cover — neither front nor back.
In 1963, Cliff Richard and The Shadows were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Summer Holiday.’
In 1964, for the first time in British music history, all Top Ten UK singles were by home grown talent. Heading the list was Cilla Black’s “Anyone Who Had A Heart,” followed by “Bits and Pieces” with the Dave Clark Five, “Little Children” by Billy J Kramer and “Diane” by The Bachelors.
In 1965, after more than 15 years as a British actress/singer Petula Clark made her North American TV debut on CBS’ “Ed Sullivan Show” singing her two biggest hits to date, “Downtown” and “I Know a Place.” It was Ed’s St Patrick’s Day show, so he had The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem performing “Wild Colonial Boy.”
In 1968, after two seasons ABC-TV showed the final episode of Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
In 1970, singer Mary Ann Ganser of the Shangri-Las (Leader of the Pack) died at the age of 22. The cause of death has been variously reported as encephalitis, a seizure disorder, or a barbiturates overdose.
In 1971, Barbra Streisand appeared on “The Burt Bacharach Special” on CBS TV, singing an incredible duet with herself on “One Less Bell to Answer/A House is Not a Home.”
Also in 1971, the Rolling Stones left England for France to escape taxes.
In 1972, Carole King won what’s known as the “Triple Crown” of the Grammys: album of the year for “Tapestry,” record of the year for “It’s Too Late” and song of the year for “You’ve Got A Friend.” She also won a fourth Grammy that year, for female pop vocal performance for “Tapestry.” Carly Simon (below) won as Best New Artist.
In 1973, Elton John was at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Crocodile Rock’,
In 1975, movie star Susan Hayward, who appeared in the TV movies “Heat of Anger” & “Say Goodbye Maggie Cole” at the end of her extensive bigscreen career, succumbed to brain cancer at age 57.
In 1979, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. The song was released as the B-side to the single “Substitute.”
In 1980, music producer Quincy Jones celebrated his 47th birthday by helping to unveil his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (w/Bebe & Cece Wayans, right).
In 1981, Eric Clapton had a brush with death as a severe bleeding ulcer sent him to an emergency room in Minnesota. He was forced to cancel the remaining 47 dates on his tour.
In 1983, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Alec John Such formed Bon Jovi.
In 1985, Bill Cosby captured four People’s Choice Awards for The Cosby Show. The awards were earned from results of a nationwide Gallup Poll. Bob Hope won the award as All-Time Entertainer beating Clint Eastwood and Frank Sinatra for the honor.
Also in 1985, the former Miss America, Phyllis George, joined Bill Kurtis as host of “The CBS Morning News.”
Still on this day in 1985, Whitney Houston released her self-titled debut album.
In 1986, Chicago-born actress Edith Atwater lost her battle with cancer at age 74. She had recurring roles in the TV series Peyton Place, Kaz & The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.
In 1987, the song “Jacob’s Ladder” by Huey Lewis & the News topped the charts and stayed there for a week.
Also in 1987, Boy George scored his first UK No.1 single as a solo artist with the David Gates song ‘Everything I Own.’
In 1989, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “Lost in Your Eyes” by Debbie Gibson.
in 1990, Michael Jackson was voted artist of the decade at the annual ‘Soul Train Awards.’
In 1991, US songwriter Doc Pomus succumbed to lung cancer at age 65. With Mort Shuman he wrote many early 60’s hits including, ‘A Teenager in Love’, ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’, ‘Can’t Get Used to Losing You’, ‘Little Sister’, ‘Suspicion’, ‘Surrender’ and ‘Viva Las Vegas’.
In 1992, some 40,000 people attended Willie Nelson’s “Farm Aid V,” with performances by Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Joe Walsh, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lorrie Morgan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ricky Van Shelton, The Kentucky HeadHunters, Hal Ketchum and Paul Simon.
In 1995, NBC announcer Frank Blair, who began in radio in the 1930’s and was the newscaster on NBC-TV’s “Today” show for more than 20 years, died at age 79.
Also in 1995, Prince released the single “Purple Medley.”
In 1998, the song “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” by Will Smith topped the charts and stayed there for 3 weeks.
Also in 1998, Ray Charles made his first solo performance in 53 years on the television shopping network QVC to promote the first product from his merchandising and marketing company RCR Productions, a book-and-CD set called “Ray Charles – My Early Years 1930-1960.”
Again in 1998, her mother, sister and brother were all on hand in Nashville to see Massachusetts native Jo Dee Messina make her debut on the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1999, TLC started a four week run at No.1 on the Billboard album chart with ‘Fanmail.’
In 2001, Peter Blake, who designed The Beatles’ classic Sgt. Pepper album cover, sued the group’s record company for more money. In 1967 Blake was paid the equivalent of $340 for the famous figures, but was now “cheesed off” that EMI had never offered to pay more money.
In 2003, actor Robert Blake (Baretta, Hell Town) was finally released on $1.5 million bail, having spent a year behind bars following his arrest for the murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley. However he was ordered to await trial under house arrest, monitored by an electronic device around his ankle.
In 2004, French chanteuse Geneviève, whose mangled English was a running gag over five years on Jack Paar’s “The Tonight Show,” died of complications from a stroke at age 83.
Also in 2004, thieves in Las Vegas stole $325,000 worth of Elvis Presley‘s jewelry and kitsch from the Elvis-A-Rama Museum. Among the stolen inventory: a gold-plated handgun, a custom scarf, a bracelet and Presley’s Humes High School ring from 1953. However, the crooks left Elvis’ blue suede shoes.
In 2005, Michael Jackson was blasted by British Army veterans for wearing military badges while on trial for child abuse.
In 2006, U2 topped Rolling Stone magazine’s annual list of the year’s biggest money earners from 2005 with $154.2 million. The Rolling Stones were listed second with $92.5 million and The Eagles third with $63.2 million.
In 2008, former NBC announcer Mel Brandt died at age 88. From 1962 to 1975 his voice was heard speaking the words “The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC” with the NBC peacock filling the screen.
In 2010, actor/TV narrator Peter Graves (Mission: Impossible, Biography) collapsed and died following a heart attack, just 4 days short of his 84th birthday.
Also in 2010, singer Cherie DeCastro, the last surviving member of the DeCastro Sisters, succumbed to pneumonia at age 87. In 1947 the De Castros made TV history as the first-ever performers on pioneering station KTLA in Los Angeles, and sold more than 5 million copies of their 1954 smash, “Teach Me Tonight.”
In 2011, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Dr.John, Tom Waits (above, right), Alice Cooper (centre), Darlene Love, Leon Russell and Neil Diamond (left) as its latest members.
Also in 2011, the former lead singer with the 1970’s group Atlanta Rhythm Section, Ronnie Hammond died in his doctor’s office in Forsythe, Georgia after suffering heart failure. He was 60.
In 2012, Bruce Springsteen‘s “Wrecking Ball” made its debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, after posting first week sales of 196,000 units.
In 2013, legendary Grand Ole Opry singer Jack Greene, the ‘Jolly Greene Giant,’ whose most memorable hit was 1967’s “There Goes My Everything,” died in his sleep due to Alzheimer’s disease at age 83.
In 2015, Rush received the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the Juno Awards. The honour recognizes outstanding Canadian artists whose contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada.
In 2017, David Bowie was honoured with a full set of 10 postage stamps from the Royal Mail (U.K.). The stamps commemorated six Bowie album covers as well as four of his tours.
Singer Phil Phillips (Sea of Love) is 93.
Actor Michael Caine (Mandela & De Klerk, Inside Actor’s Studio) is 86.
Composer-conductor Quincy Jones is 86.
Former Seattle/Portland/LA/Chicago deejay Tom Murphy is 79.
Country singer Michael Martin Murphey is 74.
Sax player Walt Parazaider of Chicago is 74.
Actor Steve Kanaly (Dallas, All My Children) is 73.
Actor Tim Rossovich (When the Whistle Blows) is 73.
Comedian Billy Crystal (The Comedians, Soap, Sat. Night Live) is 71.
Veteran L.A. DJ Rick Dees is 68.
Actress Season Hubley (Elvis TV Movie) is 68.
Actor Adrian Zmed (T.J. Hooker, Goodtime Girls) is 65.
Country singer Jann Browne is 65.
Actress Tamara Tunie (Law and Order: SVU) is 60.
Actress Laila Robins (Murder in the First, Homeland, Gabriel’s Fire) is 60.
Actress Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle, 24, Larry Sanders Show) is 58.
Writer/producer Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, The Following, Dawson’s Creek) is 54.
Actor Gary Anthony Williams (The Boondocks, Mad, Boston Legal) is 53.
Actress Elise Neal (All of Us, The Hughleys, Seaquest 2032) is 53.
Actress Melissa Reeves (Days of Our Lives, Santa Barbara) is 52.
Toronto-born actress Megan Follows (Reign, Anne of Green Gables) is 51.
Actor James Frain (Gotham, Intruders, Grimm, The Cape) is 51.
Actress Priscilla Garita (Sunset Beach, Passions, General Hospital) is 51.
Drummer Michael Bland of Soul Asylum is 50.
Actress Meredith Salenger (Hollywood Heights) is 49.
Actress Sabrina Culver (Feel the Dead) is 49.
Country singer Kristian Bush of Sugarland is 49.
Rock musician Derrick Dorsey (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) is 47.
Actress Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad, Life in Pieces, The Michael J. Fox Show) is 46.
Vancouver-raised actress Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0, The Border, Battlestar Galactica) is 45.
Actor Corey Stoll (The Strain, House of Cards, Law & Order: LA) is 43.
Winnipeg-born actor Daniel Gillies (Saving Hope, The Originals, Vampire Diaries) is 43.
Actor Jake Fogelnest (Squirt TV) is 40.
Actor Chris Klein (Wilfred) is 40.
Actor James Jordan (Veronica Mars) is 40.
Vancouver-born actress Mercedes McNab (Angel, Buffy The Vampire Slayer) is 39.
Actor Ryan Cartwright (Alphas, Bones) is 38.
Actor Johnny Flynn (Genius) is 36.
Singer-keyboardist Taylor Hanson of Hanson is 36.
Musician Este Haim (bassist/guitarist for Haim) is 33.
Actor Jamie Bell (TURN: Washington’s Spies) is 33.
Actress Sasha Grey (Entourage, Creepy Text Theatre Animated) is 31.
Calgary-born actress Rhiannon Fish (The 100, Home & Away) is 28.
Actress Greta Onieogou (Heartland) is 28.
Toronto-born actor Demetrius Joyette (Degrassi High:The Next Generation, Wingin’ It, The Latest Buzz) is 26.
Chart Toppers – March 14
Far Away Places – Margaret Whiting
Powder Your Face with Sunshine – Evelyn Knight
Cruising Down the River – The Russ Morgan Orchestra (vocal: The Skyliners)
Don’t Rob Another Man’s Castle – Eddy Arnold
Don’t/I Beg of You – Elvis Presley
Sweet Little Sixteen – Chuck Berry
Dinner with Drac (Part 1) – John Zacherle
Ballad of a Teenage Queen – Johnny Cash
Love is Here and Now You’re Gone – The Supremes
Penny Lane – The Beatles
Happy Together – The Turtles
The Fugitive – Merle Haggard
December 1963 (Oh, What a Night) – The Four Seasons
Take It to the Limit – Eagles
Dream Weaver – Gary Wright
The Roots of My Raising – Merle Haggard
Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon
The Heat is On – Glenn Frey
Material Girl – Madonna
My Only Love – The Statler Brothers
The Sign – Ace Of Base
So Much in Love – All-4-One
Bump N’ Grind – R. Kelly
Tryin’ to Get Over You – Vince Gill
All I Have – Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J
Picture – Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow
Mesmerize – Ja Rule featuring Ashanti
Man to Man – Gary Allan