On This Day

On This Day in Music for April 20

Events in Music

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1759 George Frideric Handel is buried in Westminster Abbey, London

  • 1865 Crosby Opera House opens in Chicago, Illinois; destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871

Film release premierFilm Premier

1896 1st public film showing in US John Philip Sousa's "El Capitan" premieres in NYC

  • 1954 "Golden Apple" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 125 performances
  • 1955 "Saint of Bleecker St" closes at Broadway Theater NYC after 92 performances
  • 1960 "From A to Z" opens at Plymouth Theater NYC for 21 performances
  • 1963 "Sophie" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 8 performances

Music releaseMusic Recording

1971 Barbra Streisand records "We've Only Just Begun"

Singer-Songwriter and Actress Barbra Streisand
Singer-Songwriter and Actress
Barbra Streisand

Music releaseMusic Premiere

1972 Virgil Thomson's final opera, "Lord Byron", with libretto by Jack Larson, first performance at Lincoln Center, New York City

Romantic Poet Lord Byron
Romantic Poet
Lord Byron

Music releaseMusic Single

1974 Paul McCartney & Wings release single "Band on the Run" in the US

Musician and Beatle Paul McCartney
Musician and Beatle
Paul McCartney

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1976 George Harrison sings "The Lumberjack Song" with Monty Python in NYC

Singer-Songwriter George Harrison
George Harrison
Comedian and Actor Michael Palin
Comedian and Actor
Michael Palin
Actor, Comedian John Cleese
Actor, Comedian
John Cleese
  • 1981 Rocker Papa John Phillips arrested for drug possession
  • 1981 "Fire and Smoke" single released by Earl Thomas Conley (Billboard Song of the Year 1981)
  • 1986 "Jerry's Girls" closes at St James Theater NYC after 139 performances
  • 1991 "Les Miserables" opens at Odense Teater, Odense

Music concertMusic Concert

1992 All-star concert in memory of Freddie Mercury held at Wembley Stadium, London

Singer-Songwriter Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1992 Madonna signs $60-million deal with Time Warner

Pop Star Madonna
Pop Star
  • 1997 "Gin Game" opens at Lyceum Theater NYC for 144 performances
  • 1997 "Present Laughter" closes at Walter Kerr Theater NYC

Birthdays in Music

  • 1594 Matthäus Appelt, German composer, born in Neustadt, Silesia (d. 1648)
  • 1705 Balthasar Schmid, German composer and printer, born in Nuremberg, Bavaria (d. 1749)
  • 1725 Johann Friedrich Klöffler, German composer, born in Kassel, Germany (d. 1790)
  • 1748 Georg Michael Telemann, German composer, born in Plön, Germany (d. 1831)
  • 1748 Guillaume Albert Teniers, Flemish composer, born in Leuven, Belgium (d. 1820)
  • 1761 Johann Gottlieb Karl Spazier, German composer, born in Berlin, Germany (d. 1805)
  • 1858 Auguste Chapuis, French composer, born in Dampierre-sur-Salon, France (d. 1933)
  • 1866 Victor Hollaender, German composer, born in Leobschutz, Silesia (d. 1940)
  • 1870 Simeon Roncal, Bolivian composer, born in Sucre, Bolivia (d. 1953)
  • 1881 Nikolai Myaskovsky, Russian composer (Kirov is With Us), born in Modlin Fortress, Poland (d. 1950)
  • 1881 Sem Dresden, Dutch composer and conductor, born in Amsterdam, Netherlands (d. 1957)
  • 1895 Emile Christian, American jazz trombonist, born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1973)
  • 1900 Fred Raymond, Austrian composer, born in Vienna, Austria (d. 1954)
  • 1902 Veselin Stoyanov, Bulgarian composer, born in Shumen, Bulgaria (d. 1969)
  • 1907 William Dollar, American ballet dancer and choreographer, born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1986)
  • 1908 Lionel Hampton, American jazz vibraphone player, pianist, drummer, and actor, born in Louisville, Kentucky (d. 2002)
  • 1923 Tito Puente, American mambo and Latin jazz bandleader ("Oye Como Va"), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 2000)
  • 1924 Gerhard Samuel, American conductor and composer, born in Bonn, Germany (d. 2008)
  • 1925 Richard Hoffmann, Austrian composer, born in Vienna
  • 1932 Gerry Granahan, American rocker (Dickey Doo & The Dont's), born in Pittston, Pennsylvania
  • 1938 Johnny Tillotson, American singer-songwriter ("It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'"; "Poetry In Motion"), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • 1940 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)
  • 1940 Ronald Mundy, American doo-wop tenor vocalist (The Marcels - "Blue Moon"), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2017)
  • 1943 John Eliot Gardiner, English conductor, born in Fontmell Magna, Dorset
  • 1945 Jimmy Winston [Langwith], British rock organist (Small Faces, 1965), and actor (Doctor Who - Day of the Daleks), born in London, England
  • 1947 Björn Skifs, Swedish singer (Blue Swede), born in Vansbro, Dalarna, Sweden
  • 1947 Ken Scott, British record producer and engineer (The Beatles, Elton John, Pink Floyd), born in London, England
  • 1948 Craig Frost, American keyboardist (Grand Funk Railroad - "Some Kind of Wonderful"; Bob Seger), born in Flint, Michigan
  • 1948 Rob Stoner [Rothstein], American session and touring bassist (Bob Dylan), and singer-songwriter, born in New York City
  • 1951 Luther Vandross, American soul singer, songwriter ("Endless Love"; "Dance With My Father"), and vocal arranger (David Bowie - Young Americans), born in NYC, New York (d. 2005)
  • 1951 Steve Nathan, American rock and country session pianist, Hammond organ, and keyboard player (Muscle Shoals' FAME studio; Nashville's A-Team), born in Buffalo, New York
  • 1953 Ollie Brown, American session and touring drummer and percussionist (Billy Preston; Ray Parker, Jr.), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1953 James Chance [Siegfried], American punk-jazz saxophonist, keyboard player,(The Contortions), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1957 Richenel [Hubertus Richenel Baars], Dutch singer and performer ("Turn My Page"), born in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1963 Brett Garsed, Australian rock guitarist (Nelson; Garsed/Helmerich), born in Victoria, Australia
  • 1963 Kal Swan, Scottish heavy metal singer-songwriter (Bad Moon Rising), born in Raleigh, Glasgow, Scotland
  • 1967 Mike Portnoy, American drummer (Dream Theater), born in Long Beach, New York
  • 1971 Tina Cousins, English singer (Mysterious Times), born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England
  • 1971 Mikey Welsh, American bass player (Weezer, 1998-2001 - "Island In The Sun"), born in Syracuse, New York (d. 2011)
  • 1972 Stephen Marley, Jamaican-American reggae musician, son of Bob Marley, born in Wilmington, Delaware
  • 1980 Blümchen [Jasmin Wagner], German singer (Boomerang), born in Hamburg, Germany

Deaths in Music

  • 1643 Christoph Demantius, German composer, dies at 75
  • 1695 Georg Caspar Weckler, German Baroque organist and composer, dies at 63
  • 1707 Johann Christoph Denner, German musician and inventor (clarinet), dies at 51
  • 1839 Giuseppe Rossini, father of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, dies
  • 1869 Carl Loewe, German composer, dies at 72
  • 1869 Piotr Studzinski, Polish conductor and composer, dies at 42
  • 1921 Tony Jackson, American ragtime pianist and singer-songwriter ("Pretty Baby"), dies of cirrhosis of the liver at 38
  • 1956 Jaap Vranken, Dutch organist and composer (Stabat mater), dies at 59
  • 1956 Lieven Duvosel, Flemish music composer (Levensschets), dies at 78
  • 1962 Artúr Harmat, Hungarian composer, dies at 76
  • 1968 Marion Weeks, American silent film actress, and Ziegfield Follies singer and dancer, dies of stroke at 81
  • 1969 William "Benny" Benjamin, American session drummer (Motown's Funk Brothers), dies of a stroke at 43 [1]
  • 1970 Shakeel Badayuni, Indian poet and lyricist, dies at 53
  • 1973 Elisabeth Hauptmann, German writer (co-author of The Threepenny Opera), dies at 75
  • 1984 Mabel Mercer, British jazz and cabaret singer whose style and phrasing influenced Frank Sinatra ("Fly Me to the Moon"), dies at 84
  • 1987 Antony Tudor, English dancer and choreographer (American Ballet Theater) dies at 78
  • 1991 Steve Marriott, English guitarist (Small Faces), dies in a house fire at 44
  • 1992 Johnny Shines, American delta blues singer and guitarist, dies at 76
  • 2001 Maria Karnilova, American dancer and actress (Fiddler on the Roof, Ivan the Terrible), dies at 80
  • 2001 Giuseppe Sinopoli, Italian conductor and composer (Sunnyata; Lou Salomé), dies while conducting Verdi's "Aida" of a heart attack at 54
  • 2002 Alan Dale, American singer (Alan Dale Show), dies at 76
  • 2007 Andrew Hill, American jazz pianist, composer and educator, dies at 75
  • 2008 VL Mike [Michael Allen], American rapper, shot to death by unknown assailant at 32
  • 2012 Bert Weedon, British jazz, pop, and blues guitar player ("Guitar Boogie Shuffle"), dies at 91
  • 2017 Cuba Gooding, Sr., American pop and soul singer (The Main Ingredient - "Everybody Plays the Fool"), dies at 72

Person of interestAvicii

2018 Avicii [Tim Bergling], Swedish musician, DJ, remixer and record producer ("Levels"; "Wake Me Up"; "Sunshine"), commits suicide at 28

DJ and Record Producer Avicii
DJ and Record Producer
  • 2021 Leslie McKeown, Scottish pop vocalist (Bay City Rollers - "Saturday Night"), dies at 65