Today in Music History for Feb. 18:
In 1882, violinist Alfred De Seve, a native of Montreal, appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Mendelssohn's "Concerto in E Minor."
In 1918, Herbert A. Fricker made his first appearance as conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski.
In 1929, Walter Grealis, longtime supporter of the Canadian music industry, founder of the trade publication "R.P.M." and one of the inspirations behind the Juno Awards, was born in Toronto. He entered the recording industry in 1960 and soon became the Ontario promotion manager for London Records before establishing "RPM" magazine. The publication promoted Canadian singers and musicians for 37 years before folding in November, 2000. In 1964, "RPM" initiated the Gold Leaf Awards, which evolved into the Junos. In 1975, it also established the Big Country Awards along with the Canadian Academy for Country Music Advancement. Grealis received a people's award at the 1976 Junos and had a Juno for industry figures named after him. In 1993, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. He died of cancer on Jan. 20, 2004.
In 1933, Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, was born in Tokyo. A conceptual artist, she first met Lennon at one of her art exhibitions in New York. Lennon and Ono were married in March 1969 and for their honeymoon, they staged their first "Bed-In for Peace" in the presidential suite of the Amsterdam Hilton. Ono and Lennon released a series of albums with "The Plastic Ono Band." One of them, "Live Peace 1969," was recorded at a Toronto rock festival. The couple separated for 18 months -- from October 1973 to March 1975. By that time, they had virtually retired from music. Lennon and Ono made a comeback in 1980 with the "Double Fantasy" album, which went to No. 1 and won a Grammy Award. On Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon was gunned down outside his apartment building by a 25-year-old "Beatles" fan, Mark David Chapman. Three months after Lennon's death, Yoko Ono released a tribute to her husband, "Season of Glass," which is the best known of her solo LPs.
In 1953, Robbie Bachman, drummer for "Bachman-Turner Overdrive," was born in Winnipeg. The Canadian rock band, which also included Robbie's brothers Randy and Tim on guitars, was internationally popular in the 1970s with such hits as "Blue Collar," "Let It Ride," "Takin' Care of Business" and "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," a 1974 million-seller. At its peak, "BTO" won many polls and honours in the U.S., as well as seven Juno Awards.
In 1968, David Gilmour replaced Syd Barrett as lead guitarist in "Pink Floyd." Barrett's departure was preceded by increasingly erratic behaviour, said to have been caused by excessive use of LSD.
In 1969, Maurice Gibb of the "Bee Gees" married singer Lulu in England. Three-thousand fans showed up.
In 1972, Neil Young got a gold record in the U.S. for his album, "Harvest," which includes the No. 1 single, "Heart of Gold."
In 1973, the syndicated radio show "The King Biscuit Flower Hour" debuted with "Blood, Sweat and Tears" and a then-unknown Bruce Springsteen.
In 1974, the theatrical rock group "KISS" released its first LP. It only made it to No. 87 on Billboard's album chart, but it stayed on the chart for 23 weeks. The band's heavy-metal thumping and garish costumes and makeup were scorned by the critics but lapped up by the public.
In 1981, Mick Fleetwood of "Fleetwood Mac" began a visit to Ghana during which he recorded a solo LP, "The Visitor," with African musicians.
In 1985, Chuck Berry played the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles in a benefit for Ethiopian relief.
In 1986, folksinger Pete Seeger sang in East Germany for the first time in 19 years.
In 1986, Don Everly of "The Everly Brothers" was sued by his mother in an effort to have him sign over title to the house in Nashville where she had lived since 1958.
In 1987, composer Vangelis was cleared in a London court of plagiarising his Oscar-winning "Chariots of Fire" theme from a song written by another composer (Stavros Logarides) for a 1976 Greek television show.
In 1988, Michael Jackson gave a free sneak preview of his national tour to 420 third-graders of a school in Pensacola, Fla. The kids were bused to the Pensacola Civic Centre where Jackson was rehearsing after they had sent the superstar a rap video in his honour.
In 1992, French culture minister Jack Lang called Lou Reed "a great poet of our anguish and perhaps our hopes" as he made him a knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters.
In 1992, Vince Neil quit as lead singer for "Motley Crue," after 11 years with the group. He said he wanted to spend more time on his race car driving. He later returned to the band.
In 1995, Bob Stinson, a founding member of "The Replacements," died in Minneapolis of complications from drug and alcohol abuse. He was 35.
In 1995, jazz trumpeter Yank Lawson, died at age 83 in Indianapolis, Ind.
In 1995, record producer Denny Cordell, who produced the debut albums of "The Moody Blues," "The Move" and "Procul Harum" in the 1960s, died in Dublin of cancer at age 51.
In 1997, a U.S. Christian TV network cancelled Pat Boone's weekly gospel music show after he appeared in black leather and fake tattoos on the American Music Awards show.
In 2004, the man who started what's believed to be the first radio station to program country music exclusively in the U.S. died in Colorado Springs. David Pinkston, known on the air as "Pappy Dave Stone," was 90. Stone and friend Leroy Elmore launched KDAV in Lubbock, Texas, in 1953 as a full-time country music station. He also opened a country music club in Lubbock, the home town of Buddy Holly. Stone is credited with helping the careers of Holly, Loretta Lynn and Waylon Jennings, who was a disc jockey on KDAV early in his career.
In 2009, the estate of rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix won a trademark infringement lawsuit against a company that promoted "Hendrix Electric" vodka. The federal court judgment ordered the vodka company to pay Hendrix's estate $3.2 million and ordered the vodka pulled from the market. The lawsuit pitted siblings against each other. The head of Experience Hendrix is Janie Hendrix, Jimi's stepsister. One of the owners of vodka marketer Electric Hendrix is Leon Hendrix, Jimi's younger half-brother.
In 2010, a false rumour about the death of Gordon Lightfoot spread like wildfire online, prompting the bemused folk legend to address his fans on a live TV news channel to dispute the reports.
In 2012, movie and music stars mourned pop diva Whitney Houston at her funeral in the Newark, N.J., church where she first wowed her congregation.
In 2013, Otis "Damon" Harris, who sang with "The Tempations" from 1971-75, died after a 14-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 62. Harris sang on hits like "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" and "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)."
(The Canadian Press)