On This Day

Events in Music in 1931

  • Jan 22 Jazz trumpeter Clyde McCoy records "Sugar Blues" for Columbia Records; sells over 14 million copies internationally
  • Feb 7 American opera "Peter Ibbetson" by Deems Taylor premieres at Metropolitan Opera, New York City

Music Premiere

Feb 10 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's musical "America's Sweetheart" premieres on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre, NYC

  • Mar 3 "The Star-Spangled Banner" officially becomes US national anthem by congressional resolution; lyrics by Francis Scott Key in 1814, set to John Stafford Smith's 18th century tune "The Anacreontic Song"
  • Mar 3 Cab Calloway records "Minnie the Moocher" (Jazz's 1st million seller)
  • Mar 25 Hal Kemp & his orchestra record Whistles, with Skinnay Ennis

Music History

Apr 8 Dmitri Shostakovich's ballet "The Arrow" premieres

  • May 1 Singer Kate Smith begins her long-running association with CBS radio, various programs continue until 1945
  • Jun 6 "There Ought To Be A Moonlight Saving Time" by Guy Lombardo hits #1

Musical Finale

Jun 6 George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin's musical "Girl Crazy" starring Ginger Rogers and featuring debut of Ethel Merman, closes at the Alvin Theater, NYC, after 272 performances, and making stars of Rogers and Merman

Radio Premiere

Sep 2 Bing Crosby makes his solo radio debut

  • Sep 17 Operetta "Viktoria & Her Hussar" by Paul Abraham (adapted for English by Harry Graham) premieres in London at Palace Theatre h
  • Oct 13 Musical "Everybody's Welcome" with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey premieres in NYC

Music History

Oct 13 Noël Coward's "Cavalcade" premieres in London

  • Oct 30 Eugene Ormandy makes his debut leading the Philadelphia Orchestra, substituting for an ailing Arturo Toscanini
  • Nov 2 Warren, Dixon and Young's musical "Laugh Parade" premieres in NYC
  • Nov 11 Cornerstones laid for Opera House & Veteran's Building in San Francisco, California

Music History

Nov 12 Jean Sibelius and Ashton's ballet "Lady of Shalott" premieres in London

  • Dec 25 NY's Metropolitan Opera broadcasts an entire opera over radio

Theater Premiere

Dec 26 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical play "Of Thee I Sing" by George and Ira Gershwin premieres on Broadway, New York City