January 18 – Ted Mack and Bernstein on TV, 2 Unlimited, Erasure


The Dumont Television Network debuts Ted Mack‘s half-hour-long Original Amateur Hour … the American Idol of the 50s.

The show revives ‘Major Bowes’ popular radio show (Bowes died in 1946). Guest artists over the years include Gladys Knight, Ann-Margret, Joey Dee and the Starliters, Diana Ross. The show, which regularly travels to other cities across the US, lasts for 22 years; Dumont didn’t … but it was part of the Golden Age of Television.

Talent’s order of appearance was determined by spinning a wheel, accompanied by the words ‘Round and round she goes, and where she stops nobody knows.’

Most (all but 300) of Dumont’s kinescopes are lost … trashed after 1956 (the year Dumont died). Dumb.


US composer, conductor Leonard Bernstein does his first Young People’s Concert (with the New York Philharmonic) on CBS TV, titled ‘What does music mean?’

To think that for a while there … all over America, families gathered in their living rooms in front of their big, bulky black & white TV sets, and watched Leonard Bernstein tell them all about classical music…. Bernstein’s great gift was his ability to convey his own excitement about music. Watching him explain sonata form or the difference between a tonic and a dominant, you had the sense that he was letting you in on a wonderful secret…. Without a doubt, his best trick was singing the pop songs of the day to illustrate his points about the music of long ago. Oh, how the girls in the audience squealed with embarrassment and delight when he’d sing ‘And I Love Her’ or ‘My Baby Does the Hanky Panky!’ — Jamie Bernstein (son)

The sporadic series continued through 1972, for a total of 53 concerts.
Tchaikovsky Sym#4  What is American music? (1 of 4)  ▷Bernstein timeline▹  ~ Classical music pronunciation guide  


Dutch Eurodance/ Hi-NRG duo 2 Unlimited — rapper Ray Slijngaard and singer Anita Doth — releases trans-Europe smash hit No Limit.

No no limits, we’ll reach for the sky!
No valley too deep, no mountain too high
No no limits, won’t give up the fight!
We do what we want and we do it with pride

The single spends 5 weeks at UK#1; it’s from their second album No Limits, which makes them the first eurodance act to have a UK#1. The act, created by two Belgian producers, ends in 1996 after charting 16 times in 5 years.  ( Website The Real Thing  (1994)


Forward-looking English synthpop duo Erasure releases the single Breathe (from the album Nightbird).
It reaches UK#4, and is notably released with software which allows the user to remix the song. Hopefully the wave of the future.