Events in Music in 1960

Music Concert

Jan 1 Johnny Cash plays first of many free concerts behind bars at San Quentin Prison, California; Merle Haggard among the inmate audience

  • Jan 2 Roger Sessions' 4th Symphony, in honor of the Minnesota Centennial, premieres by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Antal Doráti
  • Feb 4 Lionel Bart's musical comedy "Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be" opens at Garrick Theatre, London; runs for 886 pefromances
  • Feb 10 "Unsinkable Molly Brown" closes at Winter Garden NYC after 532 performances
  • Feb 10 Charles Ives' "Lincoln, the Great Commoner" premieres
  • Feb 13 "Beg, Borrow or Steal" opens at Martin Beck Theater NYC for 5 performances
  • Feb 13 "Saratoga" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 80 performances
  • Feb 25 John Cage's "Music for Amplified Toy Pianos" premieres

Music History

Mar 5 Elvis Presley ends 2-year hitch in US Army

  • Mar 8 "Greenwillow" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 95 performances
  • Mar 18 5th Eurovision Song Contest: Jacqueline Boyer for France wins singing "Tom Pillibi" in London
  • Mar 19 "Redhead" closes at 46th St Theater NYC after 455 performances

Music Premiere

Mar 29 Darius Milhaud's 9th Symphony, premieres

  • Apr 3 Elvis Presley records ‘It's Now Or Never’, ‘Fever’ and ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ at RCA studios in Nashville, Tennessee

Music History

Apr 14 American record company Motown, founded by Berry Gordy Jr., is incorporated as Motown Record Corporation

Music Premiere

Apr 14 Lee Adams and Charles Strouse's musical "Bye Bye Birdie", starring Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera, and Dick Gautier, opens at Martin Beck Theater NYC; runs for 607 performances

  • Apr 15 Guy Carawan sings "We Shall Overcome" to a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Raleigh - popularising the song as a protest anthem
  • Apr 20 "From A to Z" opens at Plymouth Theater NYC for 21 performances
  • Apr 28 Webster and Fain's musical "Christine", based on Hilda Wernher's novel "My Indian Family", opens at 46th St Theater, NYC; runs for 12 performances
  • May 2 Harry Belafonte's 2nd Carnegie Hall performance
  • May 3 Musical "Fantasticks" by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, premieres in NYC (world's longest running musical)
  • May 7 Musical review "From A to Z" closes at Plymouth Theater, NYC, after 21 performances
  • May 7 Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "Flower Drum Song" closes at St James Theater. NYC, after 602 performances and 1 Tony Award
  • May 7 Webster and Fain's musical "Christine", based on Hilda Wernher's novel "My Indian Family", closes at 46th St Theater, NYC, after 12 performances
  • May 8 1st performance of Ferde Grofé's "San Francisco Suite", with Grofé conducting, in San Francisco
  • May 12 Elvis Presley appears on a Frank Sinatra television special; Elvis sings Sinatra's 1957 Cy Coleman hit "Witchcraft", and Frank performs Presley's 1956 classic "Love Me Tender"
  • May 14 "At the Drop of a Hat" closes at John Golden NYC after 216 performances
  • May 14 Virgil Thomson's "Missa Pro Defunctis" premieres in Potsdam, NY

Music History

May 15 Dmitri Shostakovich's 7th String quartet premieres in Leningrad

Music History

May 21 Leontyne Price becomes the first African American to sing the lead at Teatro alla Scala in Milan in "Aida"

  • May 23 "Finian's Rainbow" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 12 performances
  • May 23 "Got A Girl" by The Four Preps hits #24

Musical Finale

May 28 Frank Loesser's musical "Greenwillow", starring Anthony Perkins, closes at Alvin Theater, NYC, after 95 performances

#1 in the Charts

May 29 Everly Brothers single "Cathy's Clown" hits #1

  • Jun 1 "Finian's Rainbow" closes at 46th St Theater NYC after 12 performances

Television Finale

Jun 6 "Steve Allen Show" last airs on NBC-TV

  • Jun 9 Roy Orbison releases single "Only the Lonely"; it becomes his 1st major hit - peaking at #2 in the US and topping the UK charts
  • Jun 13 "Alley-Oop" by Dyna-Sores peaks at #59
  • Jun 18 "Destry Rides Again" closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 472 performances

Music Recording

Jun 19 Loretta Lynn records "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl"

Theatrical Finale

Jun 25 Lorraine Hansberry's stage drama "A Raisin in the Sun", 1st Broadway play by a black woman, starring Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier, closes at the Belasco Theatre, NYC, after 530 performances

Music History

Jul 1 Benjamin Britten's cantata "Carmen Baseliense" premieres in Basel, Switzerland

  • Jul 2 "Once Upon a Mattress" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 460 performances

Music Recording

Aug 1 Aretha Franklin's 1st recording session for Columbia Records in NYC

Music History

Aug 6 Chubby Checker performs his version of Hank Ballard's "The Twist" on "The Dick Clark Show", starting a worldwide dance craze

  • Aug 8 "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" hits #1
  • Aug 18 The Beatles give their 1st public performance at the Indra Club in Hamburg
  • Sep 2 William Walton's 2nd Symphony, premieres
  • Sep 12 "Vintage '60" opens at Brooks Atkinson Theatre NYC for 8 performances
  • Sep 14 Dmitri Shostakovich becomes member of Communist Party of USSR
  • Sep 17 Musical revue "Vintage '60" closes at Brooks Atkinson Theatre, NYC, after 8 performances

#1 in the Charts

Sep 19 Chubby Checker's "The Twist" hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100

  • Sep 28 "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own" by Connie Francis hits #1
  • Sep 29 "lrma La Douce" opens at Plymouth Theater NYC for 527 performances
  • Sep 29 "Tell Laura I Love Her" by Ricky Valance peaks at #1 in UK
  • Oct 10 "Laughs & Other Events" opens at Barrymore Theater NYC for 8 performances
  • Oct 15 "Laughs & Other Events" closes at Barrymore Theater, NYC, after 8 performances
  • Oct 17 "Tenderloin" opens at 46th St Theater, NYC; runs for 216 performances
  • Oct 27 American pop and soul singer Ben E. King records "Spanish Harlem" & "Stand By Me"
  • Nov 2 Dmitri Shostakovich's 8th String quartet premieres in Leningrad
  • Nov 3 Meredith Willson's musical "The Unsinkable Molly Brown", starring Tammy Grimes, opens at Winter Garden, NYC; runs for 532 performances, and wins a Tony Award

#1 in the Charts

Nov 14 Ray Charles' single "Georgia On My Mind" reaches #1

Music History

Dec 1 British rocker Paul McCartney and drummer Pete Best arrested and then deported from Hamburg, Germany accused of attempted arson

Music Premiere

Dec 3 Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's musical "Camelot", starring Richard Burton and Julie Andrews, and introducing Robert Goulet, opens at Majestic Theater, NYC; runs for 873 performances, wins 4 Tony Awards

Music History

Dec 8 Musical "Peter Pan", starring Mary Martin broadcast, for a 3rd time, on NBC as a special event, videotaped in color for future rebroadcasts

Music Premiere

Dec 11 Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's musical "Wildcat" with Lucille Ball premieres in New York City

  • Dec 16 "Wildcat" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 172 performances
  • Dec 17 "La Plume de Ma Tante" closes at Royale Theater, NYC after 835 performances
  • Dec 17 "Take Me Along" closes at Shubert Theater NYC after 448 performances
  • Dec 17 Pablo Casals' oratorio "El Pesebrio" premieres

Music Recording

Dec 19 Frank Sinatra's 1st session with Reprise Records ("Ring-A-Ding-Ding")

Music Recording

Dec 21 Ornette Coleman records his influential album "Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation", establishes the name for the Free Jazz sound

Music Premiere

Dec 26 Musical "Do re mi" with Phil Silvers premieres St James Theater in NYC