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Today in Music History - Sept. 30

The Canadian Press logoThe Canadian Press 2021-09-30

Today in Music History for Sept. 30:


In 1791, Mozart's last opera, "The Magic Flute," was performed for the first time in Vienna.

In 1935, singer Johnny Mathis was born in San Francisco. His smooth ballad singing made him one of the first black millionaires in the U.S., and his "Greatest Hits" LP spent nine-and-a-half years on the bestseller charts, beginning in 1958. Among his late 1950s million-sellers were "Wonderful, Wonderful," "Chances Are" and "It's Not For Me to Say." Mathis continued his popularity through the '60s and '70s by recording albums of middle-of-the-road cover versions of current hits. In 1978, his duet with Deniece Williams, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late," topped both the pop and soul charts.

In 1940, Dewey Martin, drummer with the '60s rock band "Buffalo Springfield," was born in Chesterville, Ont. Martin, along with Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and Bruce Palmer, formed "Buffalo Springfield" in 1966. Their debut album included the hit song "For What It's Worth," a solemn observation of 1960s turmoil. After the band fell apart in 1968, Martin tried to carry on by forming the "New Buffalo Springfield," which led to legal battles. "Buffalo Springfield" was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Martin died on Jan. 31, 2009.

In 1942, Frankie Lymon, the soprano-voiced star of the 1950s R&B group "The Teenagers," was born in New York City. Lymon and "The Teenagers" were a street-corner group in New York. They were discovered by Richard Barrett, who led another group called "The Valentines."  Barrett took "The Teenagers" to Gee Records, where the group recorded "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?," a song that sold a million copies in 1956 and remains one of the most familiar songs of the decade. "Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers" never had another record of this stature. After a year, Lymon split for a solo career. He had one modest pop hit, "Goody Goody," in 1957, then rapidly fell on hard times, partly due to his worsening drug addiction. Lymon died of a heroin overdose in 1968. He was only 26.

In 1947, Marc Bolan, the leader of "T. Rex," was born in London. At its peak, "T. Rex's" popularity in Britain rivalled that of "The Beatles" half a dozen years before, but the group couldn't duplicate the Fab Four's success in North America. "T. Rex," at first called "Tyrannosaurus Rex," had 11 top-10 hits in Britain between 1970-74. Only one, "Bang a Gong," made the charts on this side of the Atlantic. Bolan declared "T. Rex" extinct in 1975. A comeback attempt came to an abrupt halt on Sept. 16, 1977, when Bolan was killed in a car crash near London.

In 1950, the Grand Ole Opry was first televised by Nashville station WSM, which had been broadcasting the Opry on radio since 1925. (Note for trivia buffs: WSM is owned by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company and its call letters stand for "We Shield Millions.")

In 1967, John Lennon and Paul McCartney appeared on "The David Frost Show" to espouse the virtues of transcendental meditation as taught by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

In 1987, British singer Terence Trent D'Arby made his U.S. debut at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles.

In 1993, nine gun-waving police officers looking for drug couriers stopped a limousine carrying singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown at Kennedy International Airport. The married couple was detained even after Houston identified herself. The New York-New Jersey Port Authority police chief later apologized for the incident.

In 1996, the "Smashing Pumpkins," one of the biggest alternative rock acts in North America at the time, played for 300 people at a small club in Calgary. Most of those in the audience were winners of a brewery-sponsored contest.

In 2010, a new book, "The Top 100 Canadian Singles," rated "The Guess Who’s" 1970 smash "American Woman" as the greatest Canadian single of all time. Author Bob Mersereau polled roughly 800 musicians, journalists, label retailers and music fans. Neil Young’s "Heart of Gold" took second spot, followed by "The Weight" by "The Band," Bryan Adams’ "Summer of ’69" and Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah." Notable omissions from the list included songs by Shania Twain, Nelly Furtado, "Nickelback," Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan.

In 2011, Shania Twain's accused stalker, former Ottawa doctor Giovanni (John) Palumbo, abruptly pleaded guilty in a Toronto court to two charges of failure to comply with a court order and criminal harassment by watching and besetting. The plea came after a second day of testimony by the country music superstar via video-link from Europe. He was released on Nov. 15 for time served and sentenced to three years of probation and was not allowed within a half-kilometre of Twain.

In 2012, Raylene Rankin of the internationally acclaimed Nova Scotia musical group "The Rankin Family" died after losing her decade-long fight with cancer. She was 52. She and her four siblings - John Morris, Jimmy, Cookie and Heather - formed the group more than 20 years ago and are credited with taking Cape Breton Celtic music to the mainstream.

In 2014, Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Famer Glen Campbell released his final song, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You." It was written by Campbell and Julian Raymond for the documentary, "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me," which chronicled his struggle with Alzheimer's. (Campbell died on Aug. 8, 2017.)

In 2014, in Minneapolis, Christine McVie returned to the stage after a 16-year hiatus, joining Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to restore Fleetwood Mac to its mid-1970s classic five-person lineup and its most successful group configuration.

In 2016, Winnipeg-born American folk singer-songwriter Oscar Brand died at age 96 of pneumonia. His weekly “Folksong Festival" (1945 to 2016) on WNYC was the longest-running radio show in history with a single host.

In 2019, Jessye Norman, the renowned international opera star whose passionate soprano voice won her four Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honor, died at age 74. A statement released to The Associated Press on Monday said Norman died from septic shock and multi-organ failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she suffered in 2015. Norman was a trailblazing performer, and one of the rare black singers to attain worldwide stardom in the opera world, performing at such revered houses like La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera, and singing title roles in works like "Carmen," ''Aida" and more.

In 2019, Jamaican-born actor and reggae artist Louie Rankin died in a car crash in small-town Ontario at the age of 66. Police said Rankin's vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer near Shelburne. Sidiki Morrison, who identified himself as Rankin's manager and producer, called Rankin a legend in his native Jamaica. Rankin was also known for his role of Ox in the 1998 film "Belly."


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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