January 31 – Schubert, Tape recording, Horse with No Name


Schubert at 16, by good friend Kupelwieser

Birthday of phenomenal Austrian composer Franz Schubert. In a short life of 31 years, he creates a great number of masterpieces, including 600 songs, 9 symphonies, masses, operas, many piano and chamber works.

By the mid-1820s, while much of his work remains unpublished, Schubert is not as ‘tragically unrecognized’ as many bios make him out to be. He is considered one of the best melodists the world has ever seen; Franz Liszt calls him “the most poetic musician who ever lived.”

After his death in 1828, it will be 10 years before the manuscript of his last symphony is found, 40 years before a group ventures to Vienna to save his work from oblivion. ▷Schubert symphonies ▹

Schubert’s body lies in Vienna‘s Zentralfriedhof along with Beethoven, Brahms and Johann Strauss II.
▷Circle of Friends ▹


Pfleumer & tape machine, 1931

German engineer Fritz Pfleumer gets a patent (DRP#500,900) for inventing a way to coat paper tape with iron particles and record sound on it.

In 1932 Pfleumer grants a license to AEG, which partners with BASF to create the pioneering Magnetophon or ‘Maggie’ reel-to-reel tape recorder. (*) A recording (not the original) survives of a 1936 Mozart Symphony (#39) conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham.

The technology is ‘acquired’ after WW2 by an American, and it fuels the success of US company Ampex, which quickly wins singer Bing Crosby‘s interest. In 1948 The Bing Crosby Show becomes the first ever to be distributed on tape.


US band America releases hit (US,CA#1,UK#3) single A Horse with No Name.

It’s included in the 2nd release of the group’s debut album (also US#1 for 5 weeks). I Need You  In 2011 the band releases its 16th studio album, Back Pages.

The producer of the debut album is Brit songwriter & onetime DJ Ian Samwell. Samwell’s career began when he wrote (and played guitar on) Cliff Richard‘s first, 1958 hit Move It.
 ( America site ▷GM Samwell bio▹