December 1940 in Music History

Events in Music

Music Premiere

Dec 25 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's musical "Pal Joey", starring Gene Kelly and Vivienne Segal, opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (later transferring to Shubert, and then the St. James), NYC; runs for 374 performances

Birthdays in Music

  • Dec 3 Kishin Shinoyama, Japanese photographer, including album cover art (Saori Minami; John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Double Fantasy), born in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Dec 4 Freddy Cannon [Picariello], American rocker ("Palisades Park"), born in Revere, Massachusetts [some sources give year as 1936]
  • Dec 6 Jay Leonhart, American session and touring jazz and pop double bassist and songwriter (The Bass Lesson), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Dec 9 Sammy Strain, American pop and R&B singer (Little Anthony & The Imperials, 1958–72; 1992–2005 - "Hurt So Bad"; The O'Jays, 1975–1992 - "Use Ta Be My Girl"), born in Brooklyn, New York

Dionne WarwickDionne Warwick (82 years old)

Dec 12 American singer ("I Say a Little Prayer"; "Do You Know The Way to San Jose; "That's What Friends Are For"), born in East Orange, New Jersey

  • Dec 16 Dimitri van Toren, Dutch singer-songwriter, born in Breda, Netherlands (d. 2015)
  • Dec 19 Phil Ochs, American anti-war folk singer (Joe Hill; The War is Over; I Ain't Marchin' Anymore), born in El Paso, Texas (d. 1976)
  • Dec 20 Larry Willis, American jazz pianist and composer, born in NYC, New York (d. 2019)

Frank ZappaFrank Zappa (1940-1993)

Dec 21 American rock guitarist, composer, (Mothers of Invention - "Peaches en Regalia"; "Baby Snakes"), activist, and filmmaker (200 Motels), born in Baltimore, Maryland

  • Dec 21 Paul [Ray Hildebrand], American singer (Paul & Paula), born in Joshua, Texas
  • Dec 21 Tony Rivers [Thompson], British pop singer and vocal arranger (Harmony Grass; Cliff Richard), born in Shildon, England
  • Dec 23 Eugene Record, American musician (Chi Lites - "Give It Away"; "Have You Seen Her"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2005)
  • Dec 23 Jorma Kaukonen, American rock guitarist (Jefferson Airplane; Hot Tuna), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Dec 25 Pete Brown, British musician and lyricist (Cream - "I Feel Free"; "White Room"; "Sunshine of Your Love"), born in Ashtead, Surrey, England (d. 2023) [1]
  • Dec 28 Alvin Singleton, American composer ("After Fallen Crumbs"; "Shadows"), born in Brooklyn, New York City
  • Dec 28 Lonnie Liston Smith, American jazz piano and keyboard player (Cosmic Echoes; Magic Lady), born in Richmond, Virginia,
  • Dec 28 Neon Park [Martin Muller], American illustrator of album covers (Little Feat; Frank Zappa), born in Berkeley, California (d. 1993)
  • Dec 29 Peter Koelewijn, Dutch rock musician and songwriter ("Get Off That Roof"), born in Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Dec 30 Jerry Granelli, American-Canadian jazz drummer (Vince Guaraldi Trio; Mose Allison), born in San Francisco, California (d. 2021)
  • Dec 31 Bobby Notkoff, American rock and blues violinist (Crazy Horse; The Rockets), born in New York City (d. 2018) [1]
  • Dec 31 Mani Neumeier, German musician (Guru Guru), born in Munich, Germany

Weddings in Music

Albert Camus

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

Deaths in Music

  • 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 24 Rudolf Piskáček, Czech composer, dies at 56