1939 in Music

Events in Music

  • Feb 24 Roy Harris' 3rd Symphony premieres in Boston

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 9 Marian Anderson sings before 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

  • Jun 3 Beer Barrel Polka hits #1 on the pop singles chart by Will Glahe

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 13 Frank Sinatra makes his recording debut

Singer and Actor Frank Sinatra
Singer and Actor
Frank Sinatra

Film release premierFilm Premier

Aug 15 "The Wizard of Oz", American musical fantasy film directed by Victor Fleming and King Vidor, premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, starring Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Man), Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion), Frank Morgan (Wizard), Billie Burke (Glinda), and Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch)

  • Aug 17 "The Wizard of Oz" opens at Loews Capitol Theatre in NY
  • Aug 28 Sammy Fain and Jack Yellen's musical "George White's Scandals" premieres

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 16 George Kaufman and Moss Hart's "The Man Who Came to Dinner" premieres in NYC, running until 1941 for 739 performances

Playwright Moss Hart
Moss Hart
  • Oct 18 Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Harts musical "Too Many Girls" premieres in NYC
  • Oct 24 Benny Goodman records "Let's Dance"

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Nov 11 Kate Smith first sings Irving Berlin's "God Bless America"

Composer and Lyricist Irving Berlin
Composer and Lyricist
Irving Berlin
  • Dec 3 Dmitri Shostakovich's 6th Symphony premieres
  • Dec 6 Cole Porter's musical "Du Barry was a Lady" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 7 William Walton's violinist concert premieres in Cleveland

Birthdays in Music

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 187

  • Jan 4 Jon Appleton, composer
  • Jan 7 David Buchan, ethno-musicologist
  • Jan 10 Scott McKenzie, American singer ('San Francisco;), (d. 2012)
  • Jan 15 Charles Christopher Steel, composer
  • Jan 23 Ray Elliott, Irish rock pianist/saxophonist (Them), born in Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Jan 24 Ray Stevens, Clarksdale Ga, singer (Ahab the Arab, Streak)
  • Jan 26 Marshall Lieb, rocker (Teddy Bears)
  • Jan 27 Tigran Yegiayi Mansuryan, composer
  • Jan 31 Claude Gauthier, Canadian singer and songwriter
  • Feb 1 Del McCoury, bluegrass singer/musician
  • Feb 1 Claude François, French singer (d. 1978)
  • Feb 5 Derek Wadsworth, British jazz composer and arranger, born in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire (d. 2008)
  • Feb 9 Barry Mann, R&B singer (Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp Bomp Bomp)
  • Feb 10 Barbara Kolb, composer (Trobar Jus), born in Hartford, Connecticut
  • Feb 10 Roberta Flack, Black Mountain North Carolina, US vocalist (If Ever I Saw Your Face)
  • Feb 11 Gerry Goffin, American rock lyricist (married Carole King), born in Queens NY, (d. 2014)
  • Feb 12 Ray Manzarek, American keyboardist (Doors-Light My Fire, Unknown Soldier)
  • Feb 14 Chris Pyne, trombonist
  • Feb 17 John Leyton, British singer
  • Feb 18 Marlos Nobre, composer
  • Feb 18 Marek Janowski, Polish-born conductor
  • Feb 20 Barbara Ellis, Olympia Wa, rocker (Fleetwoods)
  • Feb 20 Roy George Elroy Josephs, jazz dance teacher
  • Feb 21 Richard Beymer, Avoca IA, actor (West Side Story, Diary of Anne Frank)
  • Feb 21 Ron Nagle, rock producer (Riding with the King)
  • Feb 28 John Fahey, singer (Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death)
  • Feb 28 Tommy Tune, dancer/choreographer (Boyfriend), born in Wichita Falls, Texas
  • Mar 1 Leo Brouwer, Cuban composer, conductor and musician, born in Havana
  • Mar 1 Warren Davis, rocker (Monotones)
  • Mar 2 Gerard van Tongeren, Dutch singer (Buffoons)
  • Mar 6 Jerry Naylor, Stephenville Tx, rock vocalist (Crickets)
  • Mar 7 Marion Marlowe, singer (Arthur Godfrey & Friends), born in St Louis, Missouri
  • Mar 8 Robert Tear, tenor (Welsh National Opera 1970), born in Barry, Wales
  • Mar 8 Yannis Vlachopoulos, composer
  • Mar 11 Flaco Jiménez, American musician
  • Mar 13 Neil Sedaka, American singer/songwriter (Breaking Up is Hard to Do), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Mar 14 Stavros Xarhakos, Greek composer
  • Mar 18 Travis Pritchett, rocker (Travis & Bob)
  • Mar 18 Giannis Markopoulos, Greek composer
  • Mar 23 Boris Ivanovich Tischenko, composer
  • Mar 23 Pepe Lienhard, Swiss band leader and entertainer
  • Apr 1 Rudolph Isley, rocker (Isley Brothers-Shout), born in Cincinnati, Ohio

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Apr 2 Marvin Gaye (Jr), singer (Sexual Healing), born in Washington, D.C.

Singer Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye
  • Apr 3 François de Roubaix, French film score composer (d. 1975)
  • Apr 4 Hugh Masekela, Wilbank South Africa, trumpeter (I Am Not Afraid)
  • Apr 4 Major Lance, American singer (d. 1994)
  • Apr 5 David Winters, American actor, dancer, choreographer and director (Steve Allen Comedy Hour), born in London, England
  • Apr 5 Lonnie White, vocalist (Smokey Robinson & Miracles-Shop Around)
  • Apr 5 Crispian St. Peters, British singer
  • Apr 14 Jennifer Fowler, composer
  • Apr 15 Marty Wilde, English singer-songwriter and father of rocker Kim Wilde, born in London, England
  • Apr 16 Dusty Springfield, [Mary O'Brien], vocalist (Growing Pains), born in London, England
  • Apr 16 John DeLaFose, zydeco Musician
  • Apr 18 Glen Hardin, American rock n roll and country musician (Crickets), born in Wellington, Texas
  • Apr 21 John McCabe, British composer and pianist, born in Liverpool, Merseyside
  • Apr 23 Ray Peterson, singer (Tell Laura I Love Her), born in Denton, Texas
  • Apr 27 Jerry Mercer, rock drummer (April Wine), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Apr 30 Ellen Taafe Zwilich, (1st woman composer Pulitzer 1982), born in Miami, Florida
  • May 1 Judy Collins, singer (Send in the Clowns, Clouds), born in Seattle, Washington
  • May 3 Jonathan David Harvey, English composer (Bhakti, Music of Stockhausen)
  • May 6 Herbie Cox, rocker (Cleftones)
  • May 7 Johnny Maestro, NY rock vocalist (Crests-16 Candles, Brooklyn Bridge)
  • May 9 Bruce Mather, composer
  • May 11 Carlos Lyra, Brazilian musician
  • May 18 Gary S. Paxton, Musician and songwriter (Monster Mash), born in Coffeyville, Kansas (d. 2016)
  • May 19 Richard Lowe Teitelbaum, composer
  • May 19 Tomasz Sikorski, composer
  • May 21 Heinz Holliger, composer, oboist, & conductor
  • May 23 Michel Colombier, French composer and songwriter (d. 2004)
  • May 27 Donald "Don" Williams, American country singer (I Believe in You), born in Floydada Texas (d. 2017)
  • May 27 Jerry Mercer, rock drummer (April Wine Montreal Montreal)
  • May 31 Charles Drain, American soul singer, born in Eupora, Mississippi (d. 1995)
  • Jun 2 Charles Miller, rock flutist/saxophonist (War)
  • Jun 3 David Frederick Stock, composer
  • Jun 3 Ian Hunter, English rock musician (Mott the Hoople), born in Oswestry, England
  • Jun 6 Gary "US" Bonds, [Anderson], Fla, singer/songwriter (New Orleans)
  • Jun 6 Louis Andriessen, Dutch composer (Reconstruction)
  • Jun 9 Ileana Cotrubaş, Romanian soprano
  • Jun 11 Wilma Burgess, country-pop singer
  • Jun 11 Bernard Purdie, American session drummer
  • Jun 16 Billy "Crash" Craddock, American country singer (Boom Boom Baby, Rub It In), born in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Jun 17 Dickey Do, [Gerry Granahan], rocker (Dickey Doo & The Dont's)
  • Jun 19 Al Wilson, American singer (d. 2008)
  • Jun 21 Charles Boone, composer
  • Jun 22 Bobby Harrison, England, rock drummer (Procol Harum-Conquistador)
  • Jun 25 Harold Melvin, American singer (Blue Notes), born in Philadelphia (d. 1997)
  • Jun 27 Rahul Dev Burman, Indian composer and actor (d. 1994)
  • Jun 30 Lindembergue Cardoso, composer
  • Jul 1 Delaney Bramlett, Oklahoma, rocker (Shindogs, Delaney & Bonnie)
  • Jul 2 Paul Williams, American musician (The Temptations-My Girl)
  • Jul 6 Jet Harris [Terence Harris], English rock bassist (Drifters), born in London, England (d. 2011)
  • Jul 10 Mavis Staples, American gospel singer (The Staple Sisters), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jul 14 Karel Gott, Czech singer
  • Jul 15 William David Hellerman, composer
  • Jul 16 William Bell, [Yarborough], US singer (Tryin' to Love Two)
  • Jul 17 Spencer Davis, Wales, vocalist (Spencer Davis Group-Gimme Some Lovin)
  • Jul 18 Brian Auger, fusion keyboardist (Befour, Genesis), born in London, England
  • Jul 18 Dion DiMucci, rocker (Dion & Belmonts-Teenager in Love), born in The Bronx, New York
  • Jul 25 Richard Akre Trythall, composer
  • Jul 28 Clem Cattini, rock drummer (Tornados London)

Weddings in Music

HeartWedding of Interest

Feb 4 Singer Frank Sinatra (23) marries 1st wife Nancy Barbato

Singer and Actor Frank Sinatra
Singer and Actor
Frank Sinatra

Deaths in Music

  • Jan 9 Johann Strauss, Austrian conductor/Royal ball director, dies at 72
  • Jan 10 Julius Bittner, Austria composer (Missa Austriaca), dies at 64
  • Feb 11 Franz Schmidt, Austrian composer, dies at 64
  • Feb 17 Willy Hess, German violinist, dies at 79
  • Feb 18 Ludwig Bonvin, composer, dies at 89
  • Mar 7 Amadeo Roldan, composer, dies at 38
  • Mar 21 Evald Aav, Estonian composer, dies at 39
  • Apr 9 Emilio Serrano y Ruiz, composer, dies at 89
  • Apr 21 Herman Finck, composer, dies at 66
  • Apr 24 John Foulds, English composer, dies at 58
  • Jun 4 Tommy Ladnier, American musician (b. 1900)
  • Jun 16 Chick Webb, American jazz drummer and big band leader (b. 1905)
  • Jun 18 Frans "Sas" van Aerschot, Flemish operetta actor (Paljas), dies at 73
  • Jul 18 Witold Maliszewski, composer, dies at 65
  • Aug 3 Eugust Enna, composer, dies at 80
  • Sep 28 Felicjan Szopski, composer, dies at 74
  • Oct 10 Eleanor Rigby, a real person whose name may have suggested the title to The Beatles song (b. 1895)
  • Oct 16 Carl Henrik Ludolf Nielsen, composer, dies at 63
  • Nov 4 Charles Arnold Tournemire, composer, dies at 69
  • Nov 20 Marie Joseph Leon Desire Paque, composer, dies at 72
  • Dec 1 Max Fiedler, German composer, dies at 79
  • Dec 8 Ernest Schelling, American composer and conductor (Victory Ball), dies at 63
  • Dec 10 Wilhelm Grosz, composer, dies at 45
  • Dec 19 Eric Fogg, English composer, dies under a train at 36
  • Dec 22 Ma Rainey, "Mother of the Blues", US blues singer/composer, dies at 53