Today in Music History for Oct. 7:
In 1832, Charles Converse, American lawyer and sacred composer, was born. He penned the hymn tune for "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."
In 1870, Uncle Dave Macon, the first star to emerge from the Grand Ole Opry, was born in Smart Station, Tenn. Macon, a banjoist and singer, performed mainly old time ballads and folk tunes, becoming the most popular country music artist in the U.S. He died in 1952 at the age of 82.
In 1927, singer Al Martino was born in Philaldelphia. Starting in 1952, he was known for hit songs including "Here in My Heart," "Spanish Eyes," "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Volare." He also played the role of Johnny Fontane in "The Godfather." He died Oct. 13, 2009.
In 1951, rock singer John Mellencamp was born in Seymour, Ind. He became one of the biggest stars of 1982 when his album "American Fool" sold more than three million copies. From it came two hit singles, "Hurt So Good" and "Jack and Diane," which topped the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1954, Marion Anderson became the first black singer hired by New York's Metropolitan Opera Company.
In 1959, tenor Mario Lanza died in Rome at the age of 38. His death was due to a heart attack brought on by alternate binges of eating and dieting. His most famous song was "Be My Love," a 1950 million-seller from the film "Toast of New Orleans."
In 1966, R&B singer Smiley Lewis died of stomach cancer at the age of 46. He was a major R&B performer in New Orleans in the 1950s. He did the original version of "I Hear You Knocking," which Gale Storm immediately covered for the pop market and turned into a 1955 million-seller.
In 1966, British rocker Johnny Kidd died in a car crash in Lancashire, England. He was 26. He wrote "Shakin' All Over," which became "The Guess Who's" first hit in 1965.
In 1968, singer Jose Feliciano caused a storm of controversy with his soulful, bluesy rendition of '"The Star-Spangled Banner" before Game 5 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers. Many fans booed, and some threw shoes onto the field. RCA released a single of Feliciano's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," which reached No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 1969, the National Arts Centre Orchestra made its debut in Ottawa. Among the works performed was "Diversion For Orchestra'" by Canadian composer Murray Adaskin.
In 1975, John Lennon won his battle with the U.S. Immigration Department when the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the order to deport him. Officials had wanted to kick Lennon out of the country because of a drug arrest in Britain.
In 1982, Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Cats" opened at New York's Winter Garden Theatre. The show had already been a hit in London since May 1981. On June 19, 1997, "Cats" became Broadway's longest-running theatre show, at the time, with 6,138 performances. (It played at total of 7,485 performances). By the end of that year, the musical's worldwide gross had topped $2.2 billion.
In 1988, pop singer Billy Daniels died in Los Angeles of stomach cancer at the age of 73. He is best known for his 1948 recording of "That Old Black Magic," which is estimated to have sold 12 million copies.
In 1991, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Bruce Cockburn were the headliners at a New York concert to protest the building of the James Bay Two hydroelectric project in northern Quebec.
In 1993, during his "Dangerous" world tour, Michael Jackson met Argentine President Carlos Menem and his two children at government house in Buenos Aires.
In 1995, Canadian singer Alanis Morrisette's "Jagged Little Pill" topped the Billboard album chart. The album was the year's hottest pop debut and would win her several Grammy and Juno awards.
In 1997, Jimmy Ferguson, a member of "The Irish Rovers," was found dead in a hotel room in Worcester, Mass., where the popular Canadian group was on tour. Ferguson, who was 57, had suffered from heart problems.
In 1997, country singer Johnny Darrell died at the age of 57 in Kennesaw, Ga., following a lengthy battle with diabetes. His recordings of "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" and "With Pen In Hand" both made the country top-10.
In 1997, the Barbra Streisand-Celine Dion single "Tell Him" was released to radio stations via a satellite broadcast. The song was available on both Streisand's album "Higher Ground" and Dion's "Let's Talk About Love."
In 1998, "Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida," a Disney musical extravaganza set in ancient Egypt, opened in Atlanta. The music was by Elton John and Tim Rice.
In 2009, Barbra Streisand became the first artist in Billboard history to have a No. 1 album in five consecutive decades, when "Love is the Answer" debuted atop its 200 Albums chart. (She extended it to a sixth decade when "Partners" debuted at No. 1 in 2014.)
In 2009, country singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert's "Revolution" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart, making her one of three country artists in SoundScan history whose first three albums debuted at the No. 1 spot.
In 2009, "KISS" delivered on its promised show in Oshawa, Ont. While the 5,400-seat GM Centre was significantly smaller than the arenas they typically visit, the band showed no signs of having downscaled their show. Earlier in the year, the face-painted classic rockers asked fans to go to their website and vote for their hometown to be included in the band’s "KISS Alive 35" tour. Oshawa finished first among all cities but was excluded from the first list of dates. After an outcry, "KISS" rectified the mistake and added Oshawa to the schedule.
In 2009, "Down" by Jay Sean wrestled the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart away from "The Black Eyed Peas," who held the No. 1 spot for a record 26 consecutive weeks with "Boom Boom Pow" for 12 weeks and then "I Gotta Feeling" for another 14 weeks.
In 2009, Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" finally dropped off of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It had been on for a record 76 weeks, surpassing LeAnn Rimes's run of 69 weeks with "How Do I Live." ("Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons currently holds the record with 87 weeks while "Sail" by AWOLNATION sits second with 79 weeks.)
In 2011, Australian rockers "Men at Work" lost their final court bid to prove they did not steal the distinctive flute riff of their 1980s hit "Down Under" from the children's campfire song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree." In February 2010, a judge ordered the band and their record label EMI to pay five per cent of royalties earned from the song since 2002 and from its future earnings.
In 2011, music magazine "Rolling Stone" reported an online poll overwhelmingly voted "We Built This City" by "Starship" the worst song of the 1980s. A distant second was "The Final Countdown" by "Europe."
In 2012, Kim Williams, who wrote the Garth Brooks hit "Ain't Goin' Down Till The Sun Comes Up" and Randy Travis' "Three Wooden Crosses," was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was joined by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tony Arata ("The Dance") and Larry Henley ("The Wind Beneath My Wings"). Taylor Swift won the Songwriter/Artist of the Year award for the fifth time in six years.
(The Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press