1961 in Music

Events in Music

  • Jan 12 "Show Girl" opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC for 100 performances
  • Jan 16 "Conquering Hero" opens at ANTA Theater NYC for 8 performances
  • Jan 21 "Conquering Hero" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 8 performances

Music release#1 in the Charts

Jan 26 "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" by Elvis Presley hits #1

Singer & Cultural Icon Elvis Presley
Singer & Cultural Icon
Elvis Presley

Music releaseMusic Single

Jan 30 "I Fall to Pieces" single released by Patsy Cline (Billboard Song of the Year 1961)

Country Music Singer Patsy Cline
Country Music Singer
Patsy Cline
  • Feb 10 Walter Piston's 7th Symphony premieres

Music releaseMusic Recording

Feb 13 Frank Sinatra launches Reprise label under Warner Bros Records

Singer and Actor Frank Sinatra
Singer and Actor
Frank Sinatra
  • Mar 1 Cellist Jacqueline du Prés debut in Wigmore Hall
  • Mar 2 "13 Daughters" opens at 54th St Theater NYC for 28 performances
  • Mar 9 Supremes release "I Want A Guy" & "Never Again"
  • Mar 18 6th Eurovision Song Contest: Jean-Claude Pascal for Luxembourg wins "Nous les amoureux" in Cannes
  • Mar 21 The Beatles' first appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool
  • Mar 25 "13 Daughters" closes at 54th St Theater NYC after 28 performances
  • Mar 25 "Gypsy" closes at Broadway Theater NYC after 702 performances
  • Mar 25 Elvis Presley performs live on the USS Arizona
  • Apr 3 "Happiest Girl in the World" opens at Martin Beck NYC for 97 performances

Appears on tv showTV Show Appearance

Apr 5 Barbra Streisand appears on "Jack Paar Show"

Singer-songwriter & Actress Barbra Streisand
Singer-songwriter & Actress
Barbra Streisand
  • Apr 8 "Show Girl" closes at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC after 100 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 11 Bob Dylan makes his 1st appearance at Folk City, Greenwich Village

Singer-Songwriter Bob Dylan
Singer-Songwriter
Bob Dylan

Music awardsMusic Awards

Apr 12 3rd Grammy Awards: Theme From a Summer Place, Ray Charles wins 4

Musician Ray Charles
Musician
Ray Charles
  • Apr 13 "Carnival!" opens at Imperial Theater NYC for 719 performances
  • Apr 15 "Music Man" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 1375 performances
  • Apr 23 "Tenderloin" closes at 46th St Theater NYC after 216 performances
  • Apr 25 "Young Abe Lincoln" opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC for 27 performances
  • May 7 "Young Abe Lincoln" closes at Eugene O'Neill NYC after 27 performances
  • May 15 "Bonanza" by Al Caiola Orchestra hits #19
  • May 18 "Donnybrook!" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 68 performances
  • May 20 Henzes opera "Elegy for Young Lovers," premieres in Schwetzingen
  • May 22 "Mother-In-Law" by Ernie K-Doe hits #1
  • May 22 "Touchables In Brooklyn" by Dickie Goodman hits #42
  • Jun 3 "Wildcat" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 172 performances
  • Jun 13 "Billy Barnes People" opens at Royale Theater NYC for 8 performances
  • Jun 16 Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defects to West at Le Bourget Airport in Paris
  • Jun 17 "Billy Barnes People" closes at Royale Theater NYC after 8 performances
  • Jun 22 Beatles record Aint She Sweet, Cry for a Shadow, When the Saints Go Marching In, Why, Nobody's Child & My Bonnie, in Hamburg
  • Jun 24 "Happiest Girl in the World" closes at Martin Beck NYC after 97 performances
  • Jun 24 Beatles record "If You Love Me Baby"
  • Jul 15 "Donnybrook!" closes at 46th St Theater NYC after 68 performances
  • Jul 23 Bricusse & Newley's musical "Stop the world I want to ..." premieres

Music concertMusic Concert

Jul 23 American opera singer Grace Bumbry becomes the first black singer to perform at the Bayreuth Festival, Germany, she earns 42 curtain calls

Opera Singer Grace Bumbry
Opera Singer
Grace Bumbry
  • Jul 29 Bob Dylan injured in car accident
  • Aug 2 Beatles 1st gig as house band of Liverpool's Cavern Club
  • Sep 26 "From the Second City" opens at Royale Theater NYC for 87 performances
  • Sep 28 "Purlie Victorious", a farce by Ossie Davis, opens on Broadway
  • Sep 29 Bob Dylan's 1st recording session-backup harmonica for Caroline Hester
  • Oct 1 Premiere of Dmitri Shostakovitsch's 12nd Symphony
  • Oct 3 "Sail Away" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 167 performances
  • Oct 7 "Bye Bye Birdie" closes at Martin Beck Theater NYC after 607 performances
  • Oct 10 "Milk & Honey" opens at Martin Beck Theater NYC for 543 performances
  • Oct 12 "Let It Ride" opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC for 68 performances
  • Oct 14 "How to Succeed in Business" opens at 46th St NYC for 1415 performances
  • Oct 18 "West Side Story", directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, the film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical, starring Natalie Wood, is released (Academy Awards Best Picture 1962)
  • Oct 21 Barbra Streisand opens in "Another Evening with Harry Stones"
  • Oct 23 "Kwamina" opens at 54th St Theater NYC for 32 performances
  • Oct 24 "Evening with Yves Montand" opens at John Golden Theatre, NYC for 55 performances
  • Oct 28 "Fiorello!" closes at Broadhurst Theater NYC after 796 performances
  • Nov 2 "Kean" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 92 performances
  • Nov 18 "Gay Life" opens at Shubert Theater NYC for 113 performances
  • Nov 18 "Kwamina" closes at 54th St Theater NYC after 32 performances
  • Dec 3 The Beatles meet future manager Brian Epstein
  • Dec 9 "From the Second City" closes at Royale Theater NYC after 87 performances
  • Dec 9 "Let It Ride" closes at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC after 68 performances
  • Dec 11 Elvis Presley's "Blue Hawaii" album goes #1 & stays #1 for 20 wks
  • Dec 13 The Beatles sign a formal agreement to be managed by Brian Epstein
  • Dec 13 Jimmy Dean's Big Bad John album is country music 1st million $ seller

Film release premierFilm Premier

Dec 13 "The Young Ones" directed by Sidney J. Furie, starring Cliff Richard, Robert Morley and Carole Gray premieres in London

  • Dec 16 "Evening with Yves Montand" closes at John Golden Theatre, NYC after 55 performances
  • Dec 18 Britain's EMI Records originally rejects the Beatles
  • Dec 21 Beatles record "Sweet Georgia Brown" & "Ready Teddy"
  • Dec 27 Styne, Comden and Green's musical "Subways are for Sleeping" premieres at St James Theater NYC for 205 performances
  • Dec 30 Moscow: premier of Dmitri Sjostakovitch' 4th Symphony (out 1936)
  • Dec 31 "lrma La Douce" closes at Plymouth Theater NYC after 527 performances

Birthdays in Music

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 176

  • Jan 3 Erwin Blom, Dutch singer/guitarist (Eton Crop)
  • Jan 6 Dirk de Vries, Dutch pop bassist (Kong-Slauerhoff)
  • Jan 10 Nadja Salerni-Sonnenberg, concert violinist, born in Rome, Italy
  • Jan 13 Suggs [Graham McPherson], English singer-songwriter (Madness), born in Hastings, England
  • Jan 14 Mike Tramp [Trempenau], Danish heavy metal rocker (White Lion-Mane Attraction), born in Copenhagen Denmark
  • Jan 15 Iris DeMent, American country singer (Our Town), born in Paragould, Ar
  • Jan 16 Paul Raven, English musician (Killing Joke) (d. 2007)
  • Jan 16 Jill Sobule, American singer-songwriter
  • Jan 22 Daniel Johnston, American musician and artist ("Hi, How Are You"), born in Sacramento, California
  • Jan 27 Gillian Gilbert, rocker (New Order-Round & Round), born in Manchester, England
  • Jan 27 Margo Timmins, singer (Cowboy Junkies)
  • Jan 27 Martin Degville, rocker (Sigue Sigue Sputnik-Love Missile F-111)
  • Jan 27 Rudi Mauger, rocker (Crew Cuts)
  • Jan 31 Lloyd Cole, English rocker (Lloyd Cole and the Commotions), born in Buxton, Derbyshire
  • Feb 3 Linda Eder, American singer
  • Feb 8 Sammy Llanas, rocker (Bodeans)
  • Feb 8 Vince Neil, American singer (Mötley Crüe)
  • Feb 9 Jussi Lampi, Finnish musician and actor
  • Feb 11 Becky LeBeau, vocalist (Mischief), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Feb 13 Henry Rollins [Henry Lawrence Garfield], US musician and actor (Big Ugly Mouth, Talking From the Box), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Feb 13 Les Warner, British musician and producer (The Cult-Fire Woman), born in Fulham, United Kingdom
  • Feb 14 Latifa, Tunisian singer
  • Feb 16 Andy Taylor, England, rock guitarist (Duran Duran-Hungry Like the Wolf)
  • Feb 22 Don Van Spall, guitarist (Sleeze Beez)
  • Feb 22 Akira Takasaki, Japanese guitarist
  • Feb 24 Persijn "Dakota" Joling, Dutch rock guitarist/singer (Pilgrims-Red)
  • Mar 1 Davis Daniel, country singer, born in Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • Mar 2 Simone Young, Australian conductor
  • Mar 5 Dan Stuart, US singer/songwriter (Green on Red)
  • Mar 11 Bruce Watson, Ontario Canada, rock guitarist (Big Country-Wonderland)
  • Mar 11 Mike Percy, rocker (Dead or Alive-Spin Me Round)
  • Mar 21 Slim Jim Phantom, [Jim McDonnell], American rock drummer (Stray Cats), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Mar 21 Shawn Lane, American guitar virtuoso (d. 2003)
  • Mar 27 Clark Datchler, English vocalist (Johnny Hates Jazz-Don't Say it's Love), born in Sutton, Surrey, England
  • Mar 27 Tak Matsumoto, Japanese Grammy Award-winning guitarist (B'z), born in Toyonaka, Osaka
  • Apr 1 Mark White, rock guitarist (ABC-All of My Heart)
  • Apr 2 Keren Jane Woodward, English rock vocalist (Bananarama-Venus), born in Bristol, England
  • Apr 9 Mark Kelly, keyboardist (Marillion-Real to Reel), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • Apr 11 Doug Hopkins, American musician and songwriter (Gin Blossoms), born in Seattle, Washington (d. 1993)
  • Apr 12 D. D. Verni, American heavy metal rocker (Overkill - Hello From the Gutter), born in New Jersey
  • Apr 13 Tammy Stephens, singer (Girls Next Door-Don't Be Cruel), born in Arlington, Texas
  • Apr 16 Doris Dragović, Croatian singer
  • Apr 18 Kelly Hansen, heavy metal rocker (Hurricane-I'm on to You)
  • May 2 Doctor Robert, [Bruce R Howard], rocker (Blow Monkeys-Wicked Ways)
  • May 4 Jay Aston, English singer (Bucks Fizz), born in Purley, Surrey
  • May 4 Jay Aston, rocker (Gene Loves Jezebel), born in Porthcawl, South Wales
  • May 7 Phil "Wizzö" Campbell, Welsh rock musician (Motörhead), born in Pontypridd, Wales
  • May 11 Cecile Licad, pianist (Leventritt Award-1981), born in Manila, Philippines
  • May 12 Billy Duffy, rocker (Cult-Hell's Kitchen)
  • May 15 Melle Mel, American musician

Person of interestEnya

May 17 Enya [Eithne Ní Bhraonáin], Irish singer and songwriter (A Day Without Rain), born in Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland

Singer-Songwriter Enya
Singer-Songwriter
Enya
  • May 20 Kit Clarke, rocker (Danny Wilson-Mary's Prayer)
  • May 20 Nick Heyward, guitar/vocals (Haircut 100-Favourite Shirts)
  • May 21 Tim Lever, keyboard/sax (Dead or Alive-You Spin Me Round)
  • May 22 Dana Williams, singer (Diamond Rio-Meet in the Middle), born in Dayton, Ohio
  • May 28 Roland Gift, UK, rocker (Fine Young Cannibals-She Drives Me Crazy)
  • May 29 David Palmer, heavy metal drummer (ABC, AC/DC)
  • May 29 Melissa Etheridge, US singer/songwriter/guitarist (Never Enough)
  • May 30 Trey Parker, rapper/actor (Newsies, Hull High)
  • Jun 2 John Cameroon, guitarist (Claw Boys Claw)
  • Jun 2 Dez Cadena, American musician (Black Flag)
  • Jun 4 El Debarge, rocker (Debarge-All this Love), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • Jun 6 Dee C. Lee [Diane Catherine Sealy], British rock musician (Wham!, Style Council), born in London, England
  • Jun 6 Tom Araya, Chilean American musician (bass guitarist and lead singer of American thrash metal band Slayer), born in Viña del Mar, Chile
  • Jun 6 Nir Brand, Israeli conductor and musician, born in Beersheba, Israel
  • Jun 7 Dave Catching, American musician
  • Jun 10 Maxi Priest, [Max Elliott], Jamaican/English singer (Wild World)
  • Jun 10 Kim Deal, American musician (Pixies), (The Breeders)
  • Jun 10 Kelley Deal, American musician (The Breeders)
  • Jun 14 Boy George [O'Dowd], British singer-songwriter (Culture Club), born in Bexley, Kent, England
  • Jun 15 Kai Eckhardt, German musician (Garaj Mahal)
  • Jun 15 Yoshimi Iwasaki, Japanese singer/actress
  • Jun 18 [Genevieve] Alison Moyet, Essex England, rock vocalist (Yaz, Alf)
  • Jun 21 Kip Winger, rocker (Winger-17)
  • Jun 21 Manu Chao, Spanish musician
  • Jun 21 Sascha Konietzko, German musician
  • Jun 22 Bobby Gillespie, rocker (Primal Scream)
  • Jun 22 Jimmy Somerville, rocker (Bronski Beat, Communards), born in Glasgow, Soctland
  • Jun 23 Mark Drillich, Dutch pop bassist (Kong-Slauerhoff)
  • Jun 24 Curt Smith, Bath England, rock bassist/vocalist (Tears For Fears)
  • Jun 26 Terri Nunn, American singer (Berlin-Take My Breath Away), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jun 29 Greg Hetson, American punk-rock guitarist
  • Jul 3 Vince Clarke, Basildon Essex, rock keyboardist (Erasure)
  • Jul 3 Pedro Romeiras, Portuguese dancer
  • Jul 3 Tim Smith, English musician (Cardiacs)
  • Jul 5 Isabelle Poulenard, French soprano
  • Jul 8 Andy Fletcher, rocker (Depeche Mode-Just Can't Get Enough)
  • Jul 8 Graham Jones, rock guitarist (Haircut 100)
  • Jul 8 Toby Keith, American country singer and actor (Boomtown, Blue Moon), born in Clinton, Oklahoma
  • Jul 10 Jacky Cheung, Hong Kong singer and actor
  • Jul 13 Lawrence Donegan, rock bassist
  • Jul 21 Jim Martin, rock guitarist (Faith No More-Real Thing), born in Oakland, California
  • Jul 21 Amar Singh Chamkila, Punjabi folk singer
  • Jul 22 Keith Sweat, American singer
  • Jul 23 Martin Gore, rocker (Depeche Mode-Just Can't Get Enough)
  • Jul 26 Andy Connell, English musician and composer (Swing Out Sister), born in Manchester, England
  • Jul 26 Gary Cherone, American heavy metal vocalist (Extreme, Van Halen), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Jul 26 Keiko Matsui, Japanese musician and composer, born in Tokyo
  • Jul 28 David Huff, rocker (Giant)
  • Aug 2 Pete de Freitas, rock drummer (Echo & the Bunnyman), born in Port of Spain, Trinidad (d. 1989)

Weddings in Music

  • Apr 1 American televangelist Jim Bakker (21) marries Christian singer Tammy Faye (19)

Deaths in Music

  • Jan 11 Elena Gerhardt, German mezzo-soprano singer (b. 1883)
  • Jan 14 Henry Geehl, English composer, dies at 79
  • Jan 15 Francesco Maria Saraceni, composer, dies at 49
  • Jan 16 Janos Viski, Hungarian composer, dies at 54
  • Jan 21 John Joseph Becker, composer, dies a day before 75th birthday
  • Feb 2 Adolf Vogl, composer, dies at 87
  • Feb 6 Archibald T Davison, American musicologist and composer, dies at 77
  • Feb 15 Jack Whiting, American actor and singer (Marge & Gower Champion Show), dies at 59
  • Feb 20 Percy Aldridge Grainger, Australian/US composer/pianist, dies at 78
  • Feb 22 Nick LaRocca, American jazz coronetist and composer (Tiger Rag), dies at 71
  • Feb 28 Joris Vriamont, Flemish writer/music publisher, dies at 64
  • Mar 3 Paul Wittgenstein, Austrian-born left-handed pianist, dies at 72
  • Mar 6 George Formby, British singer/comedian, dies at 56
  • Mar 8 Thomas Beecham, English conductor (Last Night of the Prom), dies at 81
  • Mar 19 Edric Cundell, composer, dies at 68
  • Mar 27 Jack Kane, orchestra leader (Steve & Eydie, Andy Williams Show), dies at 37
  • Apr 2 Wallingford Riegger, US composer (Bacchangle), dies at 75
  • Apr 7 Jesus Guridi, composer, dies at 74
  • Apr 7 Yusef Greiss, composer, dies at 61
  • Apr 11 Francis de Bourguignon, composer, dies at 70
  • Apr 12 Nils-Eric Fougstedt, composer, dies at 50
  • Apr 21 James Melton, opera tenor (Ford Festival), dies at 57
  • Apr 29 Cisco Houston, American folk singer (b. 1918)
  • May 17 Henri Gagnon, composer, dies at 74
  • May 19 Joe Howard, singer (Gay Nineties Revue), dies at 94
  • May 29 Uuno Kalervo Klami, composer, dies at 60
  • Jul 6 Scott LaFaro, American jazz musician, dies at 25
  • Jul 8 Julian Bautista, composer, dies at 60
  • Jul 27 Theodore Chanler, composer, dies at 59
  • Aug 8 Méi Lánfāng, Chinese opera performer (b. 1894)
  • Aug 14 Guido Alberto Fano, Italian composer and pianist, dies at 86
  • Aug 17 Carlos Leon Salzedo, composer, dies at 76
  • Sep 2 Greet Koeman, Dutch singer, dies at 54
  • Sep 21 Maurice Delage, French composer, dies at 81
  • Sep 23 Elmer R Diktonius, Finnish musicologist/author (Stenkol), dies at 65
  • Oct 19 John Axel Fernstrom, composer, dies at 63
  • Oct 21 Nils J E Ferlin, Swedish songwriter (Goggles), dies
  • Nov 1 Joan McCracken, American actress, dancer and comedian (Claudie Story of a Marriage), dies of a heart attack at 43
  • Nov 26 Alexander Borisovich Goldenweiser, composer, dies at 86
  • Nov 30 Stanislaw Kazuro, Polish composer, dies at 80
  • Dec 3 Jēkabs Graubiņš, Latvian composer, dies at 75
  • Dec 8 William Beatton Moonie, composer, dies at 78
  • Dec 16 Boris Semyonovich Shekhter, composer, dies at 61
  • Dec 16 Cato Engelen-Sewing, Dutch soprano singer, prima donna, dies at 93
  • Dec 24 Guy de Lioncourt, composer, dies at 76