ON THIS DAY in 1909,
down East fiddler/leader Don Messer was born at Tweedside, New Brunswick.
In 1929 he started his own radio show on CFBO Saint John. In 1939, he moved to Charlottetown where Don Messer and the Islanders had a show on CFCY. But he’s best known across Canada for his Don Messer’s Jubilee on CBC-TV (1959-69), where fellow performers included Marg Osburne and Charlie Chamberlain. He died in Halifax on March 26, 1973 at age 63.
In 1914, country & western singing star Hank Snow was born Clarence Eugene Snow in Brooklyn Nova Scotia, near Liverpool. His first radio job was with CHNS Halifax in 1933 where he was billed as Clarence Snow and his Guitar. In 1936, he made his first recordings for RCA Victor in Montreal as Hank, The Yodeling Ranger, becoming Canada’s #1 best-selling artist. Hank was also featured on CBC radio where he gained coast-to-coast exposure. In 1944, Hank made his first appearances in the US and made several tries to break into the US market. On January 7, 1950, he made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry, and on March 28, recorded I’m Movin’ On, which became a monster hit. In the career that followed, he placed over 85 singles on the Billboard best seller list and sold nearly 90 million records. He died Dec 20, 1999 at age 85.
Also in 1914, British arranger/orchestra leader Frank Chacksfield was born in East Sussex, England. He is remembered by many music lovers for his numerous albums and appearances on radio and TV following the second world war. His biggest hits were “Ebb Tide” and “Limelight.” During his recording career with Decca alone, (London records in North America) it is estimated that he sold 20 million copies. He died June 9 1995 at age 81.
In 1922, week-old radio station CQCA of the Calgary Daily Herald changed call letters to CHCQ. Three months later the i.d. changed again to CFAC, heritage call letters which have survived over the decades, and are still in use today by Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
In 1924, shapely sultry singer Connie Russell was born in New York City. Her career stalled in films, but she auditioned for Dave Garroway and became a regular on his “Garroway at Large” (1949) TV show. She appeared on a number of variety TV shows for Morey Amsterdam, Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Milton Berle and Eddie Cantor. She died of heart problems Dec 18 1990 at age 66.
In 1937, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy started their own weekly radio show on NBC — less than 5 months after they had debuted the ventriloquist act on Rudy Vallee’s radio program. W.C. Fields, Don Ameche and Dorothy Lamour were a few of the stars that helped Bergen and the little blockhead, McCarthy, jump to the top of radio’s hit parade, where they (& Bergen’s other dummy Mortimer Snerd) remained for more than 19 years.
Also in 1937, singer Dave Prater was born in Ocilla Georgia. He was half of the duo Sam and Dave, (together with Sam Moore) with whom he created a body of sweaty, gritty soul that ranks among the finest and most popular produced in the late ’60s. He died in a car crash enroute to his mother’s house April 9 1988 at age 50.
In 1939, singer Ray Eberle recorded the future #1 single “Stairway to the Stars” with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for Bluebird records.
In 1942, pioneering NBC radio announcer/sportscaster Graham McNamee died at age 53, of a brain embolism suffered after he’d been hospitalized with a streptococcus infection.
In 1946, TV’s 1st hour long entertainment show, NBC’s “Hour Glass” aired for the first time. It ran weekly for 10 months.
In 1953, “The Song from Moulin Rouge” by Canadian-born Percy Faith & his Orchestra hit #1 for 9 weeks on the (US) Cashbox Singles chart.
In 1954, a fire in another part of the building caused extensive water damage to New Westminster radio station CKNW. The studios moved to owner Bill Rea’s Danceland in downtown Vancouver while the building was renovated.
In 1956, Patti Page taped her next Top 10 hit “Allegheny Moon” for Mercury Records.
In 1958, announcer Bill Goodwin, who was a regular for more than 10 years on the Burns & Allen Show (radio & TV) & for over a decade on the Bob Hope radio show, died at age 47 following a heart attack.
Also in 1958, Richard Burton made his first US television appearance, starring in The Dupont Show of the Month presentation of ‘Wuthering Heights’ on CBS-TV.
Still in 1958, New York disc jockey Alan Freed, who created the term ‘rock & roll,’ was indicted for ‘inciting unlawful destruction of property’ after fans in Boston rioted at one of his travelling shows.
In 1959, 16-year-old singer Wayne Newton, with his girlish voice, began a two-week engagement at the Freemont Hotel in Las Vegas.
Newton proved so popular that he headlined at the venue for more than three years, and later went on to earn $20 million annually.
In 1961, FCC chairman Newton N. Minow delivered his famous speech to the National Association of Broadcasters criticizing TV as a “vast wasteland”
Also in 1961, Ann-Margret was in Nashville to record “I Just Don’t Understand,” which would become her one and only Top 40 hit, peaking at #17.
In 1963, The Rolling Stones signed their first management contract with Impact, Andrew Loog Oldham’s management company.
In 1964, Hello Dolly! became the top pop record in the U.S. The milestone put Louis Armstrong on the Billboard music chart in the top spot for the first time in his 41-year music career. Later, “Satchmo” was cast in the movie version of Hello Dolly!.
Also in 1964, Chuck Berry started his first U.K. tour in London, supported by theAnimals, Carl Perkins and the Nashville Teens.
Still in 1964, the English vocal duo Peter & Gordon released “World Without Love.”
In 1965, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were in the audience at a Bob Dylanconcert at Royal Albert Hall in London.
In 1966, The Doors played at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California, auditioning to serve as the house band there.
In 1968, actress Marion Lorne, who played memorable dithery roles on the TV sitcoms Mr. Peepers and Bewitched, suffered a fatal heart attack at age 84.
In 1970, “American Woman” by the Winnipeg-based Guess Who topped the charts and stayed there for 3 weeks.
Also in 1970, Toronto rocker Neil Young and his group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young saw their song “Woodstock” peak at #11 on the pop singles chart.
In 1971, the 23rd Emmy Awards saw “All in the Family”, Jack Klugman & Jean Stapleton take top honors.
In 1973, the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger topped up with his own $150,000 the $350,000 that had been raised at the Stones’ benefit concert in January in aid of the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua.
In 1974, Bruce Springsteen gave the most important performance of his career to date, opening for Bonnie Raitt at the Boston Arena. Rolling Stone’s Jon Landau was so impressed he wrote “I saw rock and roll’s future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” Landau later became Bruce’s manager and producer.
In 1983, the 18th Academy of Country Music Awards saw Alabama & Willie Nelson win the top prizes.
In 1985, actor Edmond O’Brien, who began on bigtime radio as private investigator Johnny Dollar, and played the title role on the NBC-TV legal drama Sam Benedict, died at age 69 of Alzheimer’s disease.
In 1986, actor Herschel Bernardi, best remembered by TV audiences as Lieutenant Jacoby on TV’s Peter Gunn, and for his lead role in the sitcom Arnie, suffered a fatal heart attack at age 62. His deep baritone tones were also heard in commercials as the voice of Charley the Tuna, and as the “ho-ho-ho” of the Jolly Green Giant.
In 1988, Prince’s 10th album was released entitled “Lovesexy.” Some stores refused to sell it due to the nude portrait of Prince on the cover.
In 1990, former NBC news correspondent Pauline Frederick, the first woman to moderate a Presidential debate (1976), died following a heart attack at age 84.
In 1991, Michael Landon appeared on the “Tonight Show” and talked about his condition with pancreatic cancer. He died less than two months later, July 1.
In 1992, the final episode of “The Golden Girls” aired on NBC.
Also in 1992, Bruce Springsteen made his TV debut on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” with three songs, “Lucky Town,” “Living Proof” and “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On.”
In 1993, Kurt Cobain was treated at a Seattle hospital for a drug overdose. He had in his system a combination of heroin (self-inflicted) and bupreorphine (injected by his wife, Courtney Love).
In 1994, singer Willie Nelson was arrested on a misdemeanor drug charge after police in Hewitt, Texas, found the butt of a joint in the ashtray of his Mercedes-Benz.
In 1998, actress/singer Alice Faye, who starred in 20th Century Fox movie musicals in the 30′s, and co-starred on the very funny Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show on NBC radio in the 40′s & 50′s, lost her battle with stomach cancer, just 4 days after her 83rd birthday.
Also in 1998, Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page were musical guests on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” They performed their collaboration “Come To Me.”
Still in 1998, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson performed his first-ever solo concert, In St. Charles, Illinois.
In 2000, the Backstreet Boys and Christina Aguilera each took home two trophies at the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. Backstreet Boys snag favorite pop group and favorite CD honors for “Millennium,” while Aguilera wins favorite new female artist and favorite single for “Genie In A Bottle.”
Also in 2000, a U.S. federal appeals court upheld a $5.4 million jury decision that Michael Bolton had plagiarized parts of the song “Love is a Wonderful Thing.” The original song, of the same name, was released in 1966 by the Isley Brothers.
In 2004, comedian & Friar’s Club roaster Alan King (below), who made 33 standup appearances in just over a decade on TV’s Ed Sullivan Show, succumbed to lung cancer at age 76.
Also in 2004, a pastor at Calgary’s New Hope Christian Reformed Church played “Metallica” music and “The Unforgiven” video during his sermon. “Metallica are a lot like the Old Testament prophets who would rail against the crap that`s going on in the world,” said Pastor John Van Sloten. Prior services had included tunes by Evanescence and U2.
In 2005, country singer Kenny Chesney married actress Renee Zellweger in the Caribbean.
Also in 2005, Gwen Stefani held the Billboard No.1 singles spot with ‘Hollaback Girl.’
In 2006, OK Radio Group sold Victoria’s CKKQ-FM and CJZN-FM to Jim Pattison for $15.75 million.
In 2007, Rush‘s “Snakes & Arrows” landed at #3 (behind Ne-Yo and Michael Buble) on the Billboard 200 selling 93,000 units in its debut week. It was the Canadian band’s first album in five years.
In 2008, Foxy Brown avoided a further spell in prison after pleading guilty in a New York court to menacing her neighbour with a BlackBerry phone.
The 28-year-old rapper admitted hitting Arlene Raymond during an argument over the volume of her car stereo last July. The incident landed the star in prison for violating the terms of her probation on a separate assault charge.
In 2009, Rick Ross went to No.1 on the Billboard album chart with ‘Deeper Than Rap,’ the rappers third studio album.
In 2010, singer/actress Lena Horne, a trailblazer for black female performers in the 1940′s, whose signature song was Stormy Weather, died of heart failure at age 92.
In 2011, a week-long tribute to the late Bob Marley began on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It marked the 30th anniversary of the Reggae star’s death from melanoma in ’81. During the week there were performances from Marley’s son Ziggy, Chris Cornell, Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) and Lenny Kravitz.
In 2012, Boston radio sportscaster Carl Beane, for the previous nine years the public address announcer for the Red Sox at Fenway Park, was killed in a single vehicle car crash at age 59.
In 2014, the trial of 84-year old entertainer Rolf Harris began in London on charges of indecent assault on four girls aged 8 to 19 between 1968 and 1986. Harris would be found guilty and in July was sentenced to almost six years in prison.
In 2015, Elizabeth Wilson, a Tony Award-winning actress whose career on stage, in film and on TV spanned nearly 70 years, died at age 94. Her small screen credits include such early anthology series as Kraft Television Theatre, The United States Steel Hour, and Armstrong Circle Theatre. She was a regular on CBS-TV’s East Side/West Side (’63-’64) and the sitcom Doc (’75) and also appeared in Dark Shadows, Another World, All in the Family, Murder She Wrote, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
In 2016, Motorhead‘s late frontman Lemmy was featured in a TV public service announcement to raise awareness of human trafficking. He and Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) stated that “one million children a year in the U.S. are kidnapped and forced into a life of sex slavery.”
In 2017, character actor Michael Parks, who was featured in more than 100 films and TV shows, who had the title role in the 1969 NBC action series Then Came Bronson, died at age 77 of undisclosed causes.
Also in 2017, MTV personality Christopher Boykin, beloved as ‘Big Black’ on the Rob & Big show, and later on MTV’s Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, suffered a fatal heart attack at age 45.
In 2019, UK comedian Freddie Starr, who rose to prominence in the early 1970s after appearing on the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks, was found dead at his home in Spain at age 76. He starred in several other UK TV programs in the 90s, and famously featured in the Sun’s “Freddie Starr ate my hamster” headline in 1986.
UK actor-writer Alan Bennett (Beyond the Fringe) is 86.
Former British Labour MP/former actress Glenda Jackson (The Patricia Neal Story, Elizabeth R) is 84.
Guitarist/songwriter Sonny Curtis of Buddy Holly and The Crickets is 83.
Producer-director James L. Brooks (Simpsons, Taxi, Mary Tyler Moore) is 80.
Singer Tommy Roe is 78.
Singer-guitarist Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield, Poco) is 76.
Singer Clint Holmes is 74.
Actress Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown, Boston Legal) is 74.
Singer Billy Joel is 71.
Bassist Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick is 70.
Actress Alley Mills (The Wonder Years) is 69.
Actress Amy Hill (Magnum PI 2018, Just Add Magic, Strip Mall, General Hospital) is 67.
Actress Jeanna Michaels (Dallas, Santa Barbara, General Hospital) is 64.
Hamilton-born actress Wendy Crewson (The Detail, Revenge, Saving Hope, ReGenesis, Crimes of Passion) is 64.
Actor John Corbett (United States of Tara, Sex & The City, Northern Exposure) is 59.
Singer David Gahan of Depeche Mode is 58.
Actress Sonja Sohn (The Chi, Body of Proof, The Wire) is 56.
Actress Caia Coley (A Valentine’s Date, A Mother Betrayed) is 52.
Actress Hudson Leick (Xena: Warrior Princess, Melrose Place) is 51.
Rapper Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan is 50.
Guitarist Mike Myerson of Heartland is 49.
Fox News TV personality Dana Perino (The Five) is 48.
Actress Anna-Louise Plowman (Black Sails) is 48.
Toronto-born actor/voicist Chris Diamantopoulos (Episodes, 24, Arrested Development, Starter Wife, American Dad) is 45.
Singer Tamia Hill is 45.
Trombonist Dan Regan of Reel Big Fish is 43.
South African actor Karl Thaning (Black Sails) is 43.
Actor Daniel Franzese (Electric City) is 42.
Actress Rosario Dawson (Daredevil, Gemini Division, Five) is 41.
Singer Pierre Bouvier of Simple Plan is 41.
Musician Andrew W.K. is 41.
Actor Sean Nelson (The Money, The Corner) is 40.
Actress Rachel Boston (Witches of East End, In Plain Sight, American Dreams) is 38.
Actor Michael Roark (Sleepy Hollow) is 37.
Actress Tinsley Grimes (That 80’s Show, Smart Guy, Promised Land) is 36.
Actor Chris Zylka (The Leftovers, The Secret Circle) is 35.
TV personality/actress Audrina Patridge (The Hills, Dancing With the Stars) is 35.
Actress Grace Gummer (Mr. Robot, Extant, American Horror Story, The Newsroom, Gigantic) is 34.
Oliver BC-born actor/voicist Travis Turner (Littlest Pet Shop: A World of Our Own, Some Assembly Required) is 33.
Actor Laurie Calvert (Episodes) is 30.
Actress Leah Bateman (Aquarius) is 25.
Actress Mary Mouser (Body of Proof, NCIS, Life is Wild) is 24.
Actor Noah Centineo (The Fosters) is 24.
Actor Zane Huett (Desperate Housewives) is 23.
Chart Toppers – May 9th
Oh, What It Seemed to Be – The Frankie Carle Orchestra (vocal: Marjorie Hughes)
Shoo Fly Pie – The Stan Kenton Orchestra (vocal: June Christy)
One-zy, Two-zy – Phil Harris
Guitar Polka – Al Dexter
Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White – Perez Prado
Unchained Melody – Les Baxter
Honey-Babe – Art Mooney
In the Jailhouse Now – Webb Pierce
Hello Dolly! – Louis Armstrong
Do You Want to Know a Secret – The Beatles
My Guy – Mary Wells
My Heart Skips a Beat – Buck Owens
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree – Dawn featuring Tony Orlando
The Cisco Kid – War
Little Willy – The Sweet
Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich
Chariots of Fire – Titles – Vangelis
Ebony and Ivory – Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder
Don’t Talk to Strangers – Rick Springfield
Always on My Mind – Willie Nelson
Baby Baby – Amy Grant
Joyride – Roxette
I Like the Way (The Kissing Game) – Hi-Five
Rockin’ Years – Dolly Parton with Ricky Van Shelton
Say My Name- Destiny’s Child
Bye Bye Bye – ’N Sync
I Try – Macy Gray
The Best Day – George Strait
Poker Face – Lady Gaga
Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
Kiss Me Thru the Phone – Soulja Boy
It’s America – Rodney Atkins