Today in 1929 Walt Disney Productions released the first of 75 short films from its “Silly Symphony” series. Titled, “Skeleton Dance,” this first short black and white animated film begins with two cats fighting on top of a gravestone. Soon skeletons emerge from the graves and start to dance around. On today's "A Day in the Life" we meet the man responsible for the music, Carl Stalling.
Today in 1812--as part of the War of 1812--an American ship named the USS Constitution defeated the British HMS Guerriere, some 175 leagues due east of Boston in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore music inspired by this naval battle and other tunes inspired by armed conflict in 1812.
Today is the birthday of former President Bill Clinton. When did he first become interested in music and when did he first pick up the saxophone? And how might that saxophone have swayed his 1992 presidential victory? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1572, Queen Margaret of Valois and Henry of Navarre got married in Paris. The interdenominational marriage — Marguerite was Catholic, and Henry was a Huguenot — should have helped bridge the gap between Protestants and Catholics in France. It did not. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre and the opera it inspired Giacomo Meyerbeer to write.
Today in 1997 Patrick Swayze received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on the anniversary of Dirty Dancing. Learn about the film's music and Swayze's own contributions to the soundtrack on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today, in 1883, “Himno Nacional”, the national anthem of the Dominican Republic, made its debut. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the origins of the anthem and its content, which champions the non-colonial indigenous tradition of the island and rebukes the occupation of foreign powers.
The first commercial compact disc was made on this day in 1982. Who was featured on this first recording and what was next for this new technology? Find out on this episode of "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1328, the Gonzagas took over the duchy of Mantua in Northern Italy, inaugurating a nearly 400-year period of dominance there for the Gonzaga family that featured some of the most important figures in music. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the musical output of Mantua from Marchetto Cara to Claudio Monteverdi.
It was on this day in 1974 that the Ramones took the stage for the first time at CBGB in Manhattan's East Village. On today's "A Day in the Life", find out what Paul McCartney had to do with the naming of the band.
Today in 1939, the film musical The Wizard of Oz had its Hollywood premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. This classic American story about Dorothy and Toto’s journey from Kansas to Oz and back, and all the characters they encounter along the way, has its origins in the books authored by L. Frank Baum.
It was on this day in 1969 that a music festival opened up on the grounds of Max Yasgur's dairy farm in the town of Bethel, just outside of White Lake, New York. On today's "A Day in the Life" learn how Woodstock came to be and its connection to Bob Dylan and The Band.
Today in 2012, the games of the 30th Olympiad, better known as the London Summer Olympics, came to a triumphant AND musical close. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the musical tributes to The Beatles, Edward Elgar, and more.
English poet William Blake passed away on this day in 1827. What was he working on at the time of his death? And what was his influence on the music of Monty Python and U2? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1942, the actress Hedy Lamarr and the composer George Antheil were granted a patent for a frequency hopping torpedo. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", find out more about this seemingly improbable reality.
Today in 1973, DJ Kool Herc threw the first ever hip-hop party. The venue was his sister's high-rise apartment in the Bronx. What was the price of admission, what music did he play, and what innovative techniques did he introduce? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life.
Today in 1793, The Louvre Museum opened in Paris. The structure itself was built some 250 years earlier for King Francis the First, who was an avid art collector. Following the relocation of the royal family to Versailles during the enlightenment period, a movement got underway to place the courtly collections on public display. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the music of the Louvre.
Isaac Hayes passed away today in 2008. On today's "A Day in the Life", we look at the wide-reaching impact of his career as a songwriter, performer, producer, and voice-actor. From "Shaft" to "Soul Man" to Public Enemy and South Park, Hayes was one bad mother--shut your mouth!
Today in 1854, author Henry David Thoreau published Walden. This famous transcendentalist text emerged from his time living on Walden Pond, in a cabin in the woods near Concord, Massachusetts. He was there for two years, two months, and two days. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" learn how Walden inspired the work of composer Charles Ives.
Today in 1995, founding member of the Grateful Dead--Jerry Garcia--passed away at the age of 53. He stood at the helm of this eclectic American rock band for three decades, serving as lead guitar player and one of the primary vocalists for more than 2300 tour dates. On today's "A Day in the Life", find out what emergent jam band paid tribute to Garcia on the night of his death.
On this day in 1885, the funeral procession of Ulysses S. Grant took place New York City. The New York Times reported a million and a half people in the streets before 8 a.m. to remember the president and Civil War general who had died about two weeks before. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", find out what the 18th president really thought about music.
It was on this day in 1986 that She’s Gotta Have it The first film by Spike Lee was released in theaters. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore Lee's ascendancy in pop culture as a result of the film and the character he played, Mars Blackmon.
Today in 1962, American actress and model Marilyn Monroe passed away from a barbiturate overdose in Los Angeles, California. Although she was only thirty-six years old at the time of her passing, she had achieved the status of a Hollywood icon due in large part to her highly provocative persona on screen. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the music of one of her most iconic films, The Seven Year Itch.
Today in 1957, American Bandstand had its national broadcast debut. Find out how Dick Clark's dance-oriented program spawned the phrase: "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it" on today's "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1730, at age 18 Frederick the crown prince of Prussia and later to be known as Frederick the Great — took a chance at escape to England from Prussia and from the high-handed, tyrannical behavior of his father Frederick William I. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the musical legacy of the King of Prussia.
Today in 1944, the Gestapo discovered the family of Otto Frank in Amsterdam, including his daughter Anne. Find out how The Diary of Anne Frank connects to the band Neutral Milk Hotel and the comedian Stephen Colbert on today's "A Day in the Life."