It was on this day in 1983 that Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" reached the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100. On today's "A Day in the Life" find out who songwriter Jim Steinman originally wrote the song for.
Today in 1863 composer Georges Bizet's opera The Pearl Fishers had its debut at the Lyric Theatre in Paris. This precursor to Carmen shows off Bizet's early ability to author memorable music and to depict exotic subjects. How did this opera secure its position in the canon of classical music? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
For several countries around the world, today is National Coffee Day--a day to celebrate the consumption and culture of this caffeinated beverage. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we trace the history of Coffee and its influence on such luminaries as Bach and Strauss.
Today in 1980, rapper Kurtis Blow released his self-titled debut album on the Mercury label--the first rapper to sign a major-label record deal. Today we breakdown his early career, his rise to stardom, and the impact of his music on the trajectory of hip-hip history.
Today in 1829, composer Fanny Mendelssohn wrote her first piece for organ, a prelude in F-major to be played at her wedding just six days later. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we learn about the surprisingly prolific "other Mendelssohn".
Today in 1964 Arthur "Harpo" Marx passed away at the age of 75. Today's "A Day in the Life" explores how this otherwise silent Marx Brother communicated through music, particularly the harp--an instrument that he played completely by ear.
On this day in 1982, only two days after he turned 50, the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould suffered a stroke. It turned out to be fatal; the musician died the following week. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we learn why Gould preferred the recording studio to the concert hall.
Today in 1994 Under the Table and Dreaming, the first studio album released by The Dave Matthews Band had its debut. On today's "A Day in the Life", we dive into the album and learn what John Popper of Blues Traveler lent to one track while Dave Matthews took a bathroom break.
Today in 1957, the musical West Side Story had its Broadway premiere running for 732 performances--an impressive run, but one that does not crack the list of top 100-longest running Broadway shows. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the cultural context into which the play emerged.
Today in 1949, Bruce Springsteen was "Born in the U.S.A." Today's "A Day in the Life" explores the youthful musical encounters of the soon-to-be "boss," including the first song he ever learned.
Tonight in 1962 The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts opened. That first concert featured music by Copland and Mahler--but this was just the start. Learn about the long-history of artistic creativity and innovation on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 2004 the television series Lost made its debut. Composer Michael Giacchino created more than thirty minutes of original music for each weekly episode over the course of the show's six-year run, sustained by a series of musical themes. Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1968, African-American mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett made her Metropolitan Opera Company debut performing the title role in Bizet’s Carmen. This episode of "A Classical Day in the Life" explores her long career and the turbulent paths navigated by black artists such as Verrett during the twentieth century.
Earth, Wind, and Fire released the song "September" in 1978, which begins with the following question: "Do you remember, the 21st of September?" What are the origins of this song and why did they choose that date in particular? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1957, Finnish composer Jean Sibelius passed away at the age of 91. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the life and career of Finland's greatest composer.
Today in 1985 the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) Senate hearings began, ultimately implementing the addition of "explicit content" warning labels to the covers of albums and singles. In what ways did the music of Prince, Twisted Sister, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper inspire this? And how did Frank Zappa, Dee Snider, and John Denver join forces to rally against such actions? Find out on today "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1908, Gustav Mahler's Seventh Symphony had its world premiere in Prague. Through its five movements, the Seventh is one of Mahler's most colorful and evocative works. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the movements of the 7th and discover why it satisfies Christopher Walken's hankering for a certain percussive instrument.
Today in 1970, CBS premiered the Mary Tyler Moore Show. What were the exceptions the show had to meet, both dramatically and musically? And how did the theme song "Love is All Around" change from the first season to the next? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1972 Billboard magazine ran a cover story about a "new sound" emerging from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The "Muscle Shoals" sound--largely the result of a rhythm section later known as "The Swampers"--would have an incredible influence on the sound of popular music from that moment forward. Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1965, Duke Ellington first Concert of Sacred Music took place at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Today's "A Classical Day in the Life" looks back on this event--its music, is musicians, and its legacy.
Today in 1963 a horrific bombing prompted Nina Simone's recording "Mississippi Goddamn." The song was one of the first to directly address the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, that Simone called a show tune for a "show that hasn't been written for it yet." Find out more on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."
Today in 1987, Tiffany released her self-titled debut album featuring her hit cover of "I Think We're Alone Now." How do malls, intergenerational listening, and Billy Idol fit into the story? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1814, during the war of 1812, Francis Scott Key authored the words for what would eventually become the national anthem for the United States of America. Today's "A Day in the Life" considers the various musical interpretations of the song from Marvin Gaye to Whitney Houston to Roseanne Barr.
Today in 1973, Nasir Jones--better known as Nas--was born in Brooklyn, New York. Learn about his early career and dynamic collaborations with his father and others that bridge the intergenerational gaps.
Today in 1985 the video game Super Mario Brothers was released. Who composed the music and how has it made its way into the classical concert hall--as well as your own cel phone? Find out on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."