March 1 – Chopin, Carlos S.O.B., Willie Nelson, The Cranberries

1810

Birthday of composer, pianist Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin.

Imagine Mikolaj and Tekla’s surprise when this 6-year-old started piano lessons. In 4 years they had to move to Warsaw!

As anyone who’s taken piano lessons, or known someone who has knows (?!), we’re talkin Poland‘s answer to Liberace here. How about that Nocturne #9 ? 6 million views on Youtube is what. Or that Polonaise ? Brings the pollen count down right now!

If you’ve listened to music, you know a Chopin tune. Wistful? what’s lovelier than the Tristesse ? What’s scarier than the sheet music for the stormy Revolutionary Etude ?

This man is so mad about music he becomes friends with famed cat Felix Mendelssohn and famed weirdo Hector Berlioz! And then he falls under the spell of pipe smoker George Sand — oh my. He dies aged only 39.

Still popular? This man’s music has made it into over 40 movies or TV shows in just the past five years.

1969

Composer Walter Carlos‘ 1968 album

Switched -On Bach

gets the rare distinction of being an all-instrumental album that climbs into the Billboard Top 40.

The letters are big because this album is the electronic music atom bomb. It changes everything.

There is no MIDI at the time, no computers, no sequencers. To create the recording, Carlos painstakingly programs and plays onto tape each note on the monophonic Moog synthesizer. (Her console Moog has no timbre or ‘patch’ storage; each ‘voice’ has to be individually hand-created.)

The record is so successful that it spawns literally hundreds of copycats. And it sells a lot of Moogs, making the name synonymous with electronic music until the 80s. Carlos releases a new version in 2000.
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1975

US national treasure, singer, songwriter Willie Nelson scores the first of a gabillion Grammy awards for his vocals on Fred Rose song Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain (US#21,USC&W#1,CAC&W#2).

First recorded in 1945 by ‘King of Country’ Roy Acuff, Willie’s version is from his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger; its arrangements are so sparse they scare the record company, but its a blockbuster. It had been 13 years since the man who wrote Crazy had a top-10 hit.

The album inspires 1986 film by the same name; it’s not a blockbuster.

1993


Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan

Limerick, Ireland rock band The Cranberries release debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (UK#1,NZ,IE#9).

It produces no hit singles, although a re-release of 1993 single Linger gets some attention (CA#4,IE#3,USMod#4). But Sep. 1994 followup album No Need to Argue makes up for that by becoming an international smash (top-5) hit — including their still-most popular single, Zombie.

On Feb. 27, 2012 they release their first album after 11 years, Roses. The lead single is Tomorrow.

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