On This Day

Year 1954 in Music History

Events in Music


Music releaseMusic Recording

Jan 4 Elvis Presley records his 1st demo for Sun Records at a recording studio in Memphis, "It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You" and "I'll Never Stand In Your Way"

Singer & Cultural Icon Elvis Presley
Singer & Cultural Icon
Elvis Presley
  • Jan 8 Jerry Vivino, American rock and R&B saxophonist (Max Weinberg 7; Vivino Brothers), born in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Jan 14 Sandy Wilson's musical "Boyfriend" premieres in London
  • Jan 16 "South Pacific" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 1928 performances

Music concertMusic Concert

Jan 20 Dmitri Shostakovich's "Concertino opus 94" premieres

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 29 Arnold Schoenberg's "De Profundis" premieres in Cologne

Composer and Painter Arnold Schoenberg
Composer and Painter
Arnold Schoenberg
  • Mar 5 "Girl in Pink Tights" opens at Mark Hellinger NYC for 115 performances
  • Mar 12 1st performance of Arnold Schoenberg's "Moses und Aaron"
  • Mar 20 "King & I" closes at St James Theater NYC after 1246 performances
  • Mar 28 8th Tony Awards: Teahouse of the August Moon (Best Play) & Kismet (Best Musical) win
  • Apr 3 "Me & Juliet" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 358 performances
  • Apr 8 "By the Beautiful Sea" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 270 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 12 Bill Haley and the Comets record "Rock Around Clock"

Father of Rock 'n' Roll Bill Haley
Father of Rock 'n' Roll
Bill Haley
  • Apr 20 "Golden Apple" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 125 performances

Music concertMusic Concert

Apr 30 Darius Milhaud's 4th Concert for piano and orchestra premieres in Haifa

Composer Darius Milhaud
Composer
Darius Milhaud
  • May 13 "Pajama Game" opens at St James Theater NYC for 1063 performances

  • Jun 12 "Girl in Pink Tights" closes at Mark Hellinger NYC after 115 performances
  • Jun 12 Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" is originally released
  • Jun 24 "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" closes at Imperial NYC after 229 performances
  • Jul 3 "Wonderful Town" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 559 performances
  • Jul 5 Elvis Presley records his debut single, a cover of Arthur Cruddup's "That's All Right, Mama"
  • Jul 5 Singer Elvis Presley's 1st professional recording session (with guitarist Scotty Moore & bass player Bill Black) takes place at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee. The trio record four songs including their historic cover of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's song "That's All Right (Mama)". [1]
  • Jul 30 Elvis Presley joins the Memphis Federation of Musicians, Local 71
  • Aug 4 The Government of Pakistan approves the National Anthem, written by Hafeez Jullundhry and composed by Ahmed G. Chagla
  • Aug 7 "Golden Apple" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 125 performances
  • Sep 6 WINS NYC begins playing rock n roll with Alan Freed Show

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Sep 14 Benjamin Britten's opera 'Turn of the Screw' premieres in Venice

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 27 "The Tonight Show" 1st premieres on NBC hosted by Steve Allen

TV Personality, Comedian and Composer Steve Allen
TV Personality, Comedian and Composer
Steve Allen
  • Sep 30 "Boy Friend" opens at Royale Theater NYC for 483 performances
  • Oct 11 "On Your Toes" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 64 performances
  • Oct 20 Leigh, Charlap, Styne, Comden and Green's musical "Peter Pan", starring Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard, opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC; runs for 152 performances
  • Nov 4 "Fanny" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 888 performances
  • Nov 27 "By the Beautiful Sea" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 270 performances
  • Dec 2 "Hit the Trail" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 4 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 3 Samuel Barber's "Prayers of Kierkegaard" premieres

Composer Samuel Barber
Composer
Samuel Barber
  • Dec 3 William Walton's opera "Troilus & Cressida" premieres in London
  • Dec 4 "Hit the Trail" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 4 performances
  • Dec 4 "On Your Toes" closes at 46th St Theater NYC after 64 performances
  • Dec 9 Dmitri Shostakovich appointed honored guest of Royal Swedish Academy of Music
  • Dec 27 Gian Carlo Menotti's opera "Saint of Bleecker Street" opens at Broadway Theater in NYC for 92 performances

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Dec 30 Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's musical "House of Flowers" premieres at Alvin Theater in NYC


Birthdays in Music

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 209

  • Jan 1 Fr David, rocker, born in Paris, France
  • Jan 2 Dawn Silva, American singer (The Brides of Funkenstein, P-Funk)
  • Jan 3 Ross The Boss [Ross Friedman], American guitarist (The Dictators), born in the Bronx, New York
  • Jan 4 Eugene Chadbourne, American composer and musician
  • Jan 5 Bryan Hitt, American rock drummer (REO Speedwagon-Keep on Loving You), born in Center, Texas
  • Jan 9 Lance Hoppens, American rock bassist (Orleans - "Still the One"; "Dance With Me"), born in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York
  • Jan 19 Katey Sagal, American actress & singer-songwriter (Peggy Bundy-Married With Children), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jan 23 Edward Ka-spel, English singer-songwriter (Legendary Pink Dots), born in London, United Kingdom
  • Jan 23 Franco De Vita, Venezuelan spanish singer (Extranjero), born in Caracas, Venezuela
  • Jan 23 Richard Finch, American disco and rock bassist, songwriter and producer (KC and the Sunshine Band - "Shake Your Booty"; "i'm Your Boogie Man"), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jan 28 Shawn Murray, American rock drummer (Mink Deville)
  • Jan 29 Dick Manitoba, vocalist (Dictators)
  • Jan 30 Alides Hidding, Dutch singer & songwriter (Time Bandits), born in Schoonoord, Netherlands
  • Jan 31 Adrian Vandenberg, Dutch rock guitarist (Whitesnake), born in the Hague, Netherlands
  • Feb 1 Chuck Dukowski, American musician (Black Flag), born in Long Beach, California
  • Feb 2 Hansi Hinterseer, Austrian singer, actor, former skier
  • Feb 5 Cliff Martinez, American musician, born in the Bronx, New York
  • Feb 6 Scott Kempner, American rhythm guitarist (Del-Lords), born in the Bronx, New York
  • Feb 7 Dieter Bohlen, German pop singer-songwriter, record producer, and television personality, born in Berne, West Germany
  • Feb 11 Noriyuki Asakura, Japanese composer, born in Tokyo, Japan
  • Feb 12 Tzimis Panousis, Greek musician and stand-up comedian

Person of interestJohn Travolta

Feb 18 John Travolta, American actor (Welcome Back, Kotter; Saturday Night Fever; Pulp Fiction), and singer (Grease - "You're The One That I Want"), born in Englewood, New Jersey

  • Feb 19 Frances Bucholz, rocker (Scorpions-Wind of Change)
  • Feb 19 Michael Gira, American rock singer-songwriter, and musician (Swans; Angels of Light.0, born in Los Angeles, California
  • Feb 20 Jon Brant, American rock bassist (Cheap Trick, 1981-87), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Feb 24 Plastic Bertrand [Roger François Jouret], Belgian singer (Ça plane pour moi), born in Brussels, Belgium
  • Feb 25 John Doe, American musician
  • Feb 27 Neal Schon, American rock guitarist (Journey-Open Arms, Bad English), born in Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
  • Feb 27 JoAnn Falletta, American conductor (Virginia Symphony, 1991-2020; Buffalo Philharmonic, 1999-present), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Mar 1 Janis Gill, American country singer (Sweethearts of Rodeo - "Midnight Girl"), born in Torrance, California
  • Mar 2 Hunt Sales, American rock drummer (Todd Rundgren; Iggy Pop; Tin Machine), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Mar 3 Chris Hughes, English record producer and rock drummer (Adam & The Ants), born in London, England
  • Mar 3 John Lilley, American singer, songwriter and musician (The Hooters), born in West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • Mar 7 Matt Frenette, Canadian rock drummer (Loverboy)
  • Mar 8 Cheryl Baker, British rock vocalist (Bucks Fizz - "My Camera Never Lies"), and TV presenter, born in Bethnal Green, London, ENgland
  • Mar 9 Charmain Elaine Sylvers, American rocker (The Sylvers), born in Watts, Los Angeles
  • Mar 10 Tina Charles [Hoskins], British disco singer ("I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)"), born in Whitechapel, London, England
  • Mar 10 Scott Litt, American sound engineer and record producer (Flaming Lips; R.E.M.), born in New York
  • Mar 14 Jann Browne, country singer (Mexican Wind)
  • Mar 16 Jimmy Nail, singer/actor (Evita, Spender, Howling II)
  • Mar 16 Nancy Wilson, rock guitarist (Heart - "Baracuda"; "What About Love"), born in San Francisco, California
  • Mar 17 Lesley-Anne Down, British actress and singer (A Little Night Music; Moonraker), born in London, England
  • Mar 17 Rena Jones, rock vocalist
  • Mar 20 Jim Seales, American country singer (Shenandoah - "Sunday in the South"), born in Hamilton, Alabama
  • Mar 24 Hank Roberts, American electric and acoustic jazz cellist (Bill Frissell Quartet; Arcado String Trio), born in Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Mar 31 Tony Brock, England, rock drummer (Isn't It Time, Every Time I Think of You)
  • Apr 1 Jeff Porcaro, American drummer/percussionist (Toto - "Roxanna"; "Africa"), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Apr 1 Susumu Hirasawa, Japanese electropop musician, born in Nakagawa, Adachi, Tokyo
  • Apr 3 Elisabetta Brusa, Italian-British composer (Simply Largo), and educator, born in Milan, Italy
  • Apr 4 Michel Camilo, Dominican pianist (Rendezvous), born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Apr 5 Stan Ridgway, American singer-songwriter (Wall Of Voodoo), born in Barstow, California
  • Apr 8 George Mesterhazy, Hungarian-American jazz pianist, and arranger, born in Hungary (d. 2012)
  • Apr 10 Lenny Pickett, American saxophonist and musical director (Saturday Night Live band, 1985-; Tower of Power, 1973-81), born in Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Apr 12 Pat Travers, Canadian rock guitarist (Puttin' it Straight), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Apr 13 Jimmy Destri, American rock keyboardist, and songwriter (Blondie - "Heart of Glass"; "Rapture"), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Apr 13 Niels Olsen, Danish singer and songwriter, born in Odense, Denmark
  • Apr 14 Jon Herington, American session and touring jazz and rock guitarist (Steely Dan), born in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Apr 17 Michael Sembello, American Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, composer and producer ("Maniac"; "Flashdance"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Apr 21 Ebiet G. Ade, Indonesian singer
  • Apr 24 Captain Sensible [Ray Burns], English rock bassist (Women & Captains 1st), born in Balham, London
  • Apr 24 Jack Blades, American rock bassist (Damn Yankees-Coming of Age, Night Ranger), born in Palm Desert, California
  • Apr 25 Rob Crosby, American country singer (She's a Natural), born in Sumter, South Carolina
  • Apr 29 Shane Fontayne [Michael Barakan], British session and touring rock guitarist, and songwriter, born in London
  • Apr 29 Deborah Iyall, rocker (Romeo Void)
  • May 1 Ray Parker Jr, rock guitarist/vocalist (Ghostbusters), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • May 3 Gary Young, American drummer (Pavement), born in Mamaroneck, New York
  • May 4 Julie Budd, American singer (Child of Plenty), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • May 4 Marilyn Martin, American singer-songwriter (Separate Lives), born in Tennessee
  • May 4 Pia Zadora, American actress and singer, born in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • May 5 Angelo Kimball, American rock guitarist (Face To Face), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • May 11 Edgar Riley Jr, rocker (Axe K)
  • May 11 Judith Weir, English composer, Master of the Queen's Music, born in Cambridge
  • May 13 Johnny Logan, Irish singer and songwriter
  • May 18 Wreckless Eric, rocker (Waxworks, Be Stiff)
  • May 18 Reinhold Heil, German composer
  • May 19 Phil Rudd, Australian rock drummer (AC/DC-Rock 'n Roll Damnation), born in Melbourne, Victoria
  • May 20 James Henderson, country singer (Black Oak Arkansas)
  • May 20 Guy Hoffman, American musician (Violent Femmes)
  • May 21 Marc Ribot, American guitarist (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, John Zorn), born in Newark, New Jersey
  • May 22 Jerry Dammers, British keyboardist (The Specials), born in Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu, India
  • May 22 Aaron Rapoport, American photographer (music album covers), born in San Mateo County, California
  • May 28 Youri Egorov, Soviet classical pianist (d. 1988)
  • May 31 Vicki Sue Robinson, American singer (d. 2000)
  • May 31 Anders Hilborg, Swedish contemporary classical composer (Eleven Gates; Cold Heat) born in Sollentuna, Sweden
  • Jun 2 Michael Steele, rocker (Bangles-Eternal Flame, Walk Like an Egyptian)
  • Jun 3 Daniel "Dan" Hill, Canadian pop singer and songwriter (Sometimes When We Touch, Can't We Try), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Jun 5 Peter Erskine, jazz drummer (Weather Report)
  • Jun 5 Michael "Nicko" McBrain, English heavy metal drummer (Iron Maiden-Powerslave), born in London, England
  • Jun 9 Pete Byrne Bath, English rocker (Naked Eyes), born in Bath, Somerset
  • Jun 10 Richard "Rich" Hall, American comedian, writer, and musician (Saturday Night Live, Fridays, Not Necessarily the News), born in Alexandria, Virginia
  • Jun 11 Johnny Neel, American musician, singer and songwriter (The Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule, Dickey Betts), born in Wilmington, Delaware
  • Jun 13 Bo [Robert] Donaldson, American rock vocalist (Billy Don't Be a Hero), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Jun 13 Jorge Santana, Mexican rock guitarist (Malo), born in Autlán de Navarro
  • Jun 13 Rita Cadillac, Brazilian dancer and singer, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Jun 15 Terri Gibbs, blind singer (Somebody's Knockin'), born in Augusta, Georgia
  • Jun 16 Gary Roberts, rocker (Boomtown Rats)
  • Jun 16 Doane Perry, American musician, composer, and author (Jethro Tull), born in Mt. Kisco, Westchester County, New York
  • Jun 18 William Beard, rock drummer (Face To Face)
  • Jun 20 Michael Anthony [Sobolewski], American rock bassist/singer (Van Halen-Pretty Woman), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jun 22 Bobby Valentino, rocker (Fabulous Poodles)

Weddings in Music


LoveWedding of Interest

Jul 31 "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" guest host Steve Allen (32) weds actress Jayne Meadows (33)

TV Personality, Comedian and Composer Steve Allen
TV Personality, Comedian and Composer
Steve Allen

LoveWedding of Interest

Aug 7 Musician Johnny Cash (22) marries 1st wife Vivian Liberto (20)

Country Singer Johnny Cash
Country Singer
Johnny Cash

Deaths in Music

  • Jan 10 Fred Raymond, Austrian composer, dies at 53
  • Jan 11 Oscar Straus, Austrian composer (Brave Soldier), dies at 83
  • Jan 13 Roland Diggle, English-born American composer and organist, dies at 69
  • Jan 27 Paul-Marie Masson, French musicologist (L’Opéra de Rameau), and composer, dies at 71
  • Feb 2 Theodor Rogalski, Romanian composer, dies at 52
  • Feb 4 Vaclav Vackar, composer, dies at 72
  • Feb 5 Vittorio Gnecchi, composer, dies at 77
  • Feb 7 Jan Adam Maklakiewicz, composer, dies at 54
  • Mar 4 Georg Göhler, German composer (Rückert), dies at 79
  • Mar 4 Noel Gay [Reginald Moxon Armitage], British composer (Who's been polishing the Sun), dies at 55
  • Mar 6 Louis Zimmermann, Dutch violinist and 1st concert master of Concert building, dies at 80
  • Mar 14 Ludomir Michał Rogowski, Polish composer, dies at 72
  • Mar 15 Arthur Fickenscher, American composer, dies at 82
  • Mar 19 Walter Braunfels, German composer (Die Vögel -The Birds), dies at 71
  • Mar 21 Harry Lawrence Freeman, African-American composer, dies at 84
  • Apr 5 Claude Delvincourt, composer, dies at 66
  • Apr 9 Philip Greeley Clapp, American composer and educator (University of Iowa, 1919-54), dies at 65
  • Apr 14 Lillian "Lil" Green, American blues singer and songwriter ("Romance In The Dark"), dies at 39 [or 57, or 48 - year of birth disputed]
  • Apr 15 Juan Vicente Lecuna, Venezuelan diplomat & composer, dies at 54
  • Apr 27 Torsten Ralf, Swedish operatic tenor (Daphne - "Apollo"), dies at 53
  • May 2 Pauline de Cock-Manifarges, singer, dies at 82
  • May 16 Clemens Krauss, Austrian conductor (Vienna State Opera), dies at 61
  • May 19 Charles Ives, American composer (Unanswered Question), dies at 79
  • May 21 János Hammerschlag, Hungarian composer, dies at 68
  • May 28 Achille Longo, Italian composer, dies at 54
  • Jun 10 Will Rossiter, composer, dies at 87
  • Jun 13 Nikolai Obukhov, Russian composer, dies at 62
  • Jun 27 Francis L Casadesus, French violinist, composer and conductor, dies at 83
  • Jul 9 Henri Dillon, French composer (Arlequin), dies in combat in Indo-China at 41
  • Jul 19 Jean Roger-Ducasse, French composer, dies at 81
  • Aug 2 Rene Amengual, Chilean pianist, composer and educator, dies at 42
  • Aug 8 Gino Tagliapietra, Italian pianist and composer (Antologia di musica antica e moderna per pianoforte), dies at 67
  • Aug 13 Hermann W S Waltershausen, German musicologist/composer, dies at 71
  • Aug 17 Billy Murray, American singer (Denver Nightengale), dies at 77
  • Sep 9 Alfred Gradstein, Polish composer, dies at 49
  • Sep 10 Peter Anders, German opera singer, dies at 46
  • Sep 11 Licinio Refice, Italian priest and composer (Cecilia), dies at 69
  • Sep 19 Tibor Harsányi, Hungarian composer, dies at 56
  • Oct 5 Flor Alpaerts, Flemish composer (Tyl Uilenspiegel, Pallieter), dies at 78
  • Oct 6 Hakon Børresen, Danish composer, dies at 78
  • Oct 23 Henri Zagwijn, Dutch composer and musicologist, dies at 76 [1]
  • Oct 27 Franco Alfano, Italian opera composer (Puccini's Turandot), dies at 78
  • Nov 11 J. Rosamund Johnson, American composer ("Lift Every Voice And Sing"), dies at 81
  • Nov 21 Karol Rathaus, German-Austrian composer, dies at 59
  • Nov 29 George Robey, English musical theatre actor and comedian, dies at 85
  • Nov 29 Dink Johnson, American musician, dies at 62
  • Nov 30 Wilhelm Furtwängler, German conductor (b. 1886)
  • Dec 1 Fred Rose, American songwriter and music publishing executive (Nashville's Acuff-Rose Music), dies of a heart attack at 57
  • Dec 3 Enrique Soro, Chilean composer, dies at 70
  • Dec 4 Nina Vasar, wife of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, dies
  • Dec 20 Emilis Melngailis, composer, dies at 80
  • Dec 25 Johnny Ace, American rhythm and blues singer, accidentally shoots himself in the head at 25
  • Dec 25 Rosario Scalero, composer, dies at 84
  • Dec 31 Peter Van Anrooy, Dutch conductor and composer (Piet Hein Rhapsodie), dies at 75