On This Day

Year 1940 in Music History

Events in Music

  • Jan 23 Pianist Ignaz Paderewski becomes premier of Polish government in exile

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 30 Benjamin Britten's "Lesson Illuminations" premieres in London

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 2 Frank Sinatra's singing debut in Indianapolis (Tommy Dorsey Orchestra)

Singer and Actor Frank Sinatra
Singer and Actor
Frank Sinatra
Jazz Trombonist and Big Band Leader Tommy Dorsey
Jazz Trombonist and Big Band Leader
Tommy Dorsey

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 5 Glenn Miller and his Orchestra record "Tuxedo Junction"

Big Band Leader and Jazz Composer Glenn Miller
Big Band Leader and Jazz Composer
Glenn Miller
  • Feb 8 Lewis & Hamilton's musical "Two for the Show" premieres in NYC
  • Feb 10 "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller hits #1
  • Feb 20 Larry Clinton & his Orchestra record "Limehouse Blues"
  • Mar 3 American bandleader Artie Shaw records "Frenesi" on RCA Victor label
  • Mar 10 1st US opera telecast, W2XBS, NYC, I Pagliacci

Film release premierFilm Premier

Mar 14 "The Road to Singapore" directed by Victor Schertzinger starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, first of seven such films premieres

Entertainer and TV Personality Bob Hope
Entertainer and TV Personality
Bob Hope
Singer and Actor Bing Crosby
Singer and Actor
Bing Crosby

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Apr 4 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's musical "Higher & Higher" premieres in NYC

Composer Richard Rodgers
Composer
Richard Rodgers
  • Apr 16 Heitor Villa-Lobos' opera "Izaht" premieres in Rio de Janeiro
  • Apr 23 Dance hall fires kills 198 in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Apr 28 Glenn Miller records "Pennsylvania 6-5000"

Music releaseMusic Premiere

May 28 Irving Berlin's musical "Louisiana Purchase" premieres in NYC

Composer and Lyricist Irving Berlin
Composer and Lyricist
Irving Berlin

Music release#1 in the Charts

Jul 20 Billboard publishes its 1st singles record chart (#1 is "I'll Never Smile Again" by Tommy Dorsey)

Jazz Trombonist and Big Band Leader Tommy Dorsey
Jazz Trombonist and Big Band Leader
Tommy Dorsey
  • Jul 27 Billboard magazine starts publishing bestseller charts
  • Oct 25 Duke, Latouche & Felter's musical premieres in NYC

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Oct 30 Cole Porter's musical "Panama Hattie" opens at 46th Street Theatre, NYC; runs 501 performances

Composer and Lyricist Cole Porter
Composer and Lyricist
Cole Porter

Birthdays in Music

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 214

  • Jan 1 Laszlo Sary, Hungarian composer, born in Győrasszonyfa
  • Jan 1 Richard Henry Orton, composer
  • Jan 5 Athol Guy, Australian singer (The Seekers), born in Colac, Australia
  • Jan 6 Van McCoy, American musician and songwriter (The Hustle), born in Englewood, New Jersey (d. 1979)
  • Jan 6 Laudir de Oliveira, Brazilian percussionist (Chicago), born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (d. 2017)
  • Jan 8 Cristy Lane, American country music & gospel singer, born in Peoria, Illinois
  • Jan 9 Barbara Buczek, Polish composer, born in Kraków, Poland (d. 1993)
  • Jan 9 Jimmy Boyd, American singer ("I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"), and actor (Bachelor Father - "Howard"), born in Jayess, Mississippi (d. 2009)
  • Jan 9 Al Downing, American rockabilly piano player and singer (Big Al & The Chartbusters), born in Centralia, Oklahoma (d. 2005)
  • Jan 11 Mark DeVoto, American composer (Hodayot; Pavane and Zortzico), and musicologist (Schubert), born in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Jan 12 Ronald Shannon Jackson, American avant-garde jazz and funk drummer, and composer (Cecil Taylor; Last Exit; Decoding Society), born in Fort Worth, Texas (d. 2013)
  • Jan 20 Jorge Peixinho, Portuguese pianist, composer, and conductor, born in Montijo, Portugal (d. 1995)
  • Jan 22 Addie "Micki" Harris, American pop singer (Shirelles - "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"; "Soldier Boy"), born in Passaic, New Jersey (d. 1982)
  • Jan 22 Tilo Medek, German composer, born in Jena, Germany
  • Jan 23 Johnny Russell, American country singer, born in Moorhead, Mississippi (d. 2001)
  • Jan 30 David Johnson, American composer, born in Batavia, New York
  • Feb 2 Alan Caddy, English musician (The Tornados), born in Chelsea, London (d. 2000)
  • Feb 8 Talib Rasul Hakim, composer
  • Feb 9 Brian Bennett, British rock drummer (Shadows), born in Palmers Green, North London, England
  • Feb 10 Hamish Imlach, Scottish folk-comic singer-songwriter ("Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice"), born in Calcutta, British India (d. 1996)
  • Feb 10 Jimmy Merchant, American rock vocalist (Frankie Lymon & Teenagers - "Why Do Fools Fall In Love"), born in NYC, New York
  • Feb 10 Kenny Rankin, American singer-songwriter ("Peaceful"), born in Washington Heights, New York City (d. 2009)
  • Feb 15 Trygve Madsen, Norwegian pianist and composer (The Dream of the Rhinoceros; Aurora), born in Fredrikstad, Norway
  • Feb 18 Fabrizio de André, Italian singer-songwriter (Storia di un impiegato), born in Genoa, Italy (d. 1999)
  • Feb 19 (William) "Smokey" Robinson, American soul singer-songwriter (The Miracles - "You Really Got A Hold On Me"; "Tears Of A Clown"; "My Girl"), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Feb 19 Bobby Rogers, American soul tenor vocalist (The Miracles - "You Really Got A Hold On Me"; "Tears Of A Clown"), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2013)
  • Feb 20 Barbara Ellis, American rocker (Fleetwoods), born in Olympia, Washington
  • Feb 20 Christoph Eschenbach, German pianist and conductor (Houston Symphony, 1988-99; Philadelphia Orchestra, 2003-08: National Symphony 2010-17), born in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland)
  • Feb 28 Joe South, American singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Games People Play"; "Walk A Mile In My Shoes"), born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 2012)
  • Feb 29 Gretchen Christopher, American singer (The Fleetwoods), born in Olympia, Washington
  • Mar 1 Ralph Towner, rocker (Oregon)
  • Mar 2 Tony Croatto, Italian-born composer (d. 2005)
  • Mar 10 Dean Torrence, American surf music singer (Jan & Dean - "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena"), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Mar 10 Francis Schwartz, composer
  • Mar 11 Alberto Cortez, Argentinian singer
  • Mar 11 Jon Gibson, American flute and saxophone player (Philip Glass Ensemble, 1968-2019), and composer (The Voyage of The Beagle), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2020)
  • Mar 12 Al Jarreau, American jazz singer ("Breaking Away"; "We're In This Love Together"; "Moonlighting"), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 2017)
  • Mar 12 M.A. Numminen, Finnish singer and writer
  • Mar 13 Candi [Canzetta Maria] Staton, American gospel singer ("Young Hearts Run Free"), born in Hanceville, Alabama
  • Mar 15 Phil Lesh [Chapman], American rock bassist (Grateful Dead), born in Berkeley, California
  • Mar 16 Keith Rowe, English guitarist (AMM) and painter
  • Mar 20 Vito Picone, rocker (Elegants) and actor, born in Staten Island, New York
  • Mar 20 Glenn Schwartz, American rock guitarist (Pacific Gas & Electric -"Are You Ready?"), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 2018)
  • Mar 21 Solomon Burke [McDonald], American soul singer ("Cry To Me"; Diamond In Your Mind"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2010)
  • Mar 21 Chip Taylor [James Voight], American songwriter ("Angel of the Morning"; "Wild Thing"), singer, and producer, born in Yonkers, New York
  • Mar 23 Luis Gasca, American trumpeter, born in Houston, Texas
  • Mar 25 Anita Bryant, American singer (George Gobel Show) and anti-homosexuality campaigner, born in Barnsdall, Oklahoma
  • Mar 26 Rod Lauren, American rocker (If I Had a Girl), born in Fresno, California (d. 2007)
  • Mar 27 Janis Martin, American rockabilly and country singer, born in Sutherlin, Virginia (d. 2007)
  • Mar 29 Raymond Davis, American rock vocalist (Funkadelic - "Knee Deep"), born in Sumter, South Carolina (d. 2005)
  • Mar 29 Astrud Gilberto, Brazilian samba singer ("The Girl From Ipanema"), born in Salvador, Brazil
  • Mar 29 Eden Kane [Richard Graham Sarstedt], British pop singer ("Well I Ask You"), born in New Delhi, British India
  • Apr 4 Sharon Sheeley, American songwriter (Somethin' Else), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2002)
  • Apr 5 Aliza Kashi, Israeli actress and singer (Merv Griffin regular), born in Israel
  • Apr 6 Donald Myrick, American saxophonist ("If Leaving Me Is Easy"; "One More Night"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1993)
  • Apr 7 Jan Wilhelm Morthenson, Swedish composer, born in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden

Person of interestHerbie Hancock

Apr 12 Herbie Hancock, American jazz and funk pianist, and composer ("I Thought it Was You"; "Rockit"; "Watermelon Man"), born in Chicago, Illinois

Musician and Composer Herbie Hancock
Musician and Composer
Herbie Hancock
  • Apr 13 Lester Chambers, American rock and soul singer (The Chambers Brothers - "Time Has Come Today"), born in Mississippi
  • Apr 13 Vladimir Cosma, Romanian-French violinist, conductor, and classical and film score composer, born in Bucharest, Romania
  • Apr 15 Clarence Satchell, American funk saxophonist (Ohio Players - "Fire"; "Love Rollercoaster"), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1995)
  • Apr 17 Billy Fury [Ronald Wycherley], English singer ("When Will You Say I Love You"; "Halfway To Paradise"), and actor (That'll Be The Day), born in Liverpool, England (d. 1983)
  • Apr 17 Anja Silja, German soprano, born in Berlin, Germany
  • Apr 18 Mike Vickers, British rock guitarist (Manfred Mann, 1962-65 - "Doo Wah Diddy"), born in Southampton, Hampshire
  • Apr 19 Genya Ravan, American vocalist (Goldie & the Gingerbreads, Ten Wheel Drive), born in Łódź, Poland
  • Apr 20 Tim Drummond, American session and touring bass player and songwriter (Ry Cooder; Neil Young; Graham Nash: J.J. Cale; Bob Dylan), born in Canton, Illinois (d. 2015)
  • Apr 20 Ronald Mundy, American doo-wop tenor vocalist (The Marcels - "Blue Moon"), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2017)
  • Apr 25 O. B. McClinton, American country singer ("Keep Your Arms Around Me"), born in Senatobia, Mississippi (d. 1987)
  • Apr 26 Giorgio Moroder, Italian record producer, and film score composer (Cat People; Top Gun), born in Ortisei, Italy
  • May 3 Conny Plank, German record producer and musician, born in Hütschenhausen, Germany (d. 1987)
  • May 6 Murray Sidlin, American conductor (National Symphony, 1973-77), and arranger (Defiant Requiem), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • May 7 Armando Krieger, Argentine composer, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Person of interestRicky Nelson

May 8 (Eric) "Ricky" Nelson, American pop-Rock Star ("Hello Mary Lou"; "It's Late"; "Garden Party") and actor (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), born in Teaneck, New Jersey (d.1985)

Rock Star and Actor Ricky Nelson
Rock Star and Actor
Ricky Nelson
  • May 8 (Cathryn) "Toni" Tennille, American singer-songwriter, keyboardist (Captain & Tennille - "Love Will Keep Us Together") and female Beach Boy, born in Montgomery, Alabama
  • May 9 Dick Morrissey, British jazz saxophonist, born in Horley, Surrey, England (d. 2000)
  • May 10 Arthur Alexander, American singer-songwriter ("Lonely Just Like Me"), whose songs were covered by The Beatles ("Anna"), The Rolling Stones ("You Better Move On"), and Bob Dylan ("Sally Sue Brown"), born in Sheffield, Alabama (d. 1993) [1] [2]
  • May 11 Ron Pellegrino, American electronic music composer, born in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • May 12 Norman Whitfield, American songwriter and producer for Motown ("I Heard It Through the Grapevine"; "Just My Imagination"; "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone"), born in New York City (d. 2008)
  • May 13 Richard Brooks, American soul singer (Impressions, 1958-62 - "Gypsy Woman"), born in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • May 19 Mickey Newbury, rocker
  • May 20 (Frederick) "Shorty" Long, American soul singer, and pianist ( "Devil with the Blue Dress On"; "Here Comes The Judge"), born in Birmingham, Alabama (d. 1969)

Person of interestTony Sheridan

May 21 Tony Sheridan, British singer-songwriter and guitarist who collaborated with The Beatles ("My Bonnie"), born in Norwich, England (d. 2013)

Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist Tony Sheridan
Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist
Tony Sheridan
  • May 26 Levon Helm, American drummer and singer (The Band - "Up On Cripple Creek"; "The Weight"), and actor (Coal Miner's Daughter; The Right Stuff), born in Elaine, Arkansas (d. 2012)
  • May 27 Rene Koering, composer
  • May 28 Hans Dulfer, Dutch funk and jazz-fusion tenor saxophonist, born in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • May 31 August "Augie" Meyers, American singer-songwriter, producer, and record label owner (Sir Douglas Quintet, Texas Tornados), born in San Antonio, Texas
  • Jun 4 Dorothy Rudd Moore, African-American composer (Songs from the Dark Tower; Dirge and Deliverance), born in New Castle, Delaware
  • Jun 5 Moira Anderson, Scottish singer ("Loch Lomond"), born in Kirkintilloch, Scotland
  • Jun 6 Phillip Rhodes, American composer, born in Forest City, North Carolina

Person of interestTom Jones

Jun 7 Tom Jones [Woodward], Welsh pop singer ("What's New, Pussycat?"; "Delilah"), and TV personality (The Voice UK), born in Pontypridd, Wales

Singer Tom Jones
Singer
Tom Jones
  • Jun 8 Nancy Sinatra, American singer ("These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"; "Something Stupid"), and daughter of Frank Sinatra, born in Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Jun 8 Sherman Garnes, American rock vocalist (Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers), born in NYC, New York (d. 1977)
  • Jun 10 John William Stevens, jazz drummer
  • Jun 11 Joey Dee [DiNicola] American singer (The Starliters - "Peppermint Twist"), born in Passaic, New Jersey
  • Jun 13 Bobby Freeman, American rock, soul and R&B singer ("Do You Want to Dance"), born in Northern California (d. 2017)
  • Jun 14 Dary John Mizelle, American composer, born in Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • Jun 15 Willem Frederik Bon, Dutch composer and pedagogue (Les Prédictions), born in Amersfoort, Utrecht, the Netherlands (d. 1983)
  • Jun 17 Chuck Rainey, American jazz and session bassist (Steely Dan, Quincy Jones; Aretha Franklin; Mose Allison), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Jun 17 Alton Kelley, American graphic artist, known for concert posters and album cover art (Grateful Dead -"Workingman's Dead"; Steve Miller Band - "Book of Dreams" ), born in Houlton, Maine (d. 2008)
  • Jun 23 Diana Trask, Australia, singer (Sing Along With Mitch)
  • Jun 23 Stuart Sutcliffe, Scottish rocker who was the original bassist for the Beatles, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1962)

Weddings in Music


LoveWedding of Interest

Feb 13 Actress Lana Turner (19) marries bandleader Artie Shaw (29)

Actress Lana Turner
Actress
Lana Turner

LoveWedding of Interest

Nov 23 RAF pilot Guy Gibson (22) weds show dancer and actress Eve Moore in Penarth’s Anglican Church

RAF Pilot Guy Gibson
RAF Pilot
Guy Gibson

LoveWedding of Interest

Nov 30 "I Love Lucy" actress Lucille Ball (28) weds Cuban actor and singer Desi Arnaz (23) in Greenwich, Connecticut

Actress and Comedian Lucille Ball
Actress and Comedian
Lucille Ball
Actor Desi Arnaz
Actor
Desi Arnaz

LoveWedding of Interest

Dec 3 Nobel Prize winning author Albert Camus (27) weds pianist and mathematician Francine Faure (25) in Lyon, France

Author Albert Camus
Author
Albert Camus

Deaths in Music

  • Jan 24 Emile van Bosch, revue/operetta-artist, dies at 52
  • Feb 28 Arnold Dolmetsch, French-Bohemian England-based musician, instrument builder, and promoter of early music, dies at 82
  • Mar 25 Ion Nonna Otescu, Romanian composer, dies at 51
  • Apr 6 Andrés Isasi, Spanish Basque composer, dies at 49
  • Apr 18 Florrie Forde [Flannagan], Australian singer and British music hall performer, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at 64
  • May 28 Theodor Streicher, Austrian composer, dies at 65
  • Jun 8 Frederick Converse, American composer (The Pipe of Desire), dies at 69
  • Jun 16 Vitezslava Kapralova, composer, dies at 25
  • Jun 19 Maurice Jaubert, French composer and soldier, dies a few hours after being fatally wounded in action at 40
  • Jun 20 Jehan Alain, French organist/composer, dies in battle at 29
  • Jul 2 Bertram Shapleigh, composer, dies at 69
  • Jul 10 Donald Francis Tovey, English musicologist/composer, dies at 64
  • Jul 28 Richard Ohlsson, Swedish composer, dies at 66
  • Aug 8 Johnny Dodds, American early jazz clarinetist, dies at 48
  • Aug 11 Alfred Zamara Austrian harpist, composer, and teacher, dies at 77
  • Aug 21 Paul Juon, Russian-Swiss violinist and composer, dies at 68
  • Aug 29 Arthur De Greef, Belgian composer, dies at 77
  • Aug 31 Johanna "Annie" Bakker, revue-artists/singer/actress, dies at 58
  • Sep 30 Walter Kollo, composer, dies at 62
  • Oct 5 Silvestre Revueltas, Mexican composer: Cuauhnahuac/Planos, dies at 40
  • Oct 6 Ferdinando Liuzzi, Italian composer and musicologist, dies at 55
  • Oct 24 Victor Hollaender, German composer, dies at 74
  • Oct 27 Fini Valdemar Henriques, composer, dies at 72
  • Oct 28 Andrea d' Angeli, Italian composer, dies at 71
  • Nov 12 Alejandro Garcia Caturla, composer, dies at 34
  • Nov 23 Catharina van Rennes, Dutch composer, dies at 82
  • Nov 30 Fritz Volbach, German musicologist/conductor/composer, dies at 78
  • Dec 5 Jan Kubelik, Czech composer, dies at 60
  • Dec 16 William Wallace, Scottish composer, dies at 80
  • Dec 21 Hal Kemp American jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger and sweet jazz bandleader, dies as a result of a car accident at 36
  • Dec 30 Fritz Volbach, composer, dies at 79