Be Big…Be Big or You’ll Be Dead!

Image12/4 Today in Weird Music History: 1927.  Duke Ellington and his band are scheduled to open at the Cotton Club in Harlem but still have another week left under contract in Philadelphia.  The Cotton Club sends a couple of helpful gents named Boo-Boo Hoff and Yankee Schwartz who deliver a message to the club owner in Philly: “Be big. Be big or you’ll be dead.”  The Philly owner got the message. Duke and his band open as scheduled in NYC on this day in 1927.

And You Thought Bürgermeister Meisterbürger Was Nasty

Image11/27 Today in Weird Music History: 1926. The Bürgermeister of Köln calls for the firing of conductor Eugen Szenkar after the premiere of Bela Bartok’s The Miraculous Mandarin. No word on whether he allowed children to play with toys.

More Than Just Symphonic Surprise!

Image11/26 Today in Weird Music History: 1760.  Franz Joseph Haydn is wed to Maria Anna Apollonia Keller.  The marriage is a dismal failure, possibly because Papa Haydn is secretly in love with his wife’s sister. To make matters even more awkward, the sister also happens to be a nun.

Be Careful Who You Support (at least in totalitarian regimes).


11/25 Today in Weird Music History: 1934.  Conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler pens an article urging the Nazis to accept (e.g. not ban) the music of Paul Hindemith.  He is summarily removed from his conducting position in Berlin and placed under house arrest.

Today in WMH: Ohmigod! 14-Year-Old Helps Father Produce His Biggest “Fer sure” Hit.

ImageToday in Weird Music History: 1982.  Frank Zappa will surely be remembered as one of the most creative and adventurous musicians of the late 20th Century.  But for all his influence and innovation, he did not have a major hit until collaborating with his daughter, 14-year-old Moon Unit Zappa.  Like much of Zappa’s music, Valley Girl, poked fun at popular culture, but Moon Unit’s voice-overs done in “Valley Dialect” helped launch the song up the charts  beginning on this date in 1982. It would be Frank Zappa’s only Top 40 Hit.

For more:


Today in WMH: Much More than a Circus Act

ImageToday in Weird Music History: 1850.  P.T. Barnum presents the greatest opera performer in the world to U.S. audiences.  Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale broke box-office records and helped launch an America’s first opera craze.  Her arrival in New York on this day in 1850 was greeted with a mania not unlike that which would greet the Beatles over a century later.  For more information see:


Hey Young Men: Get a Haircut!

ImageToday in Weird Music History: 1964.  Something was causing a problem in the city pools, so Glasgow, Scotland City Council proclaimed that all boys and men with “Beatle” haircuts would have to wear swim caps. Supposedly, hair from the new hairstyle was clogging the pools filters. It was indeed a haircut that changed the world:



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 99 other followers