George M Cohan is born into a traveling vaudeville family
1886 - Sophie Tucker is born
"The Last of the Red Hot Mammas" was born in Russia, and immigrated to the United States soon after with her family.
1886 - Ma Rainey is born
Blues founder Ma Rainey is born into a family that performed in minstrel shows.
1888 - Irving Berlin born
Berlin (Beilin) family subject to pogroms in Russia
1891 Cole Porter is born
Born June 9th in Peru, Indiana
1893 - Irving Berlin's family settles in New York City
Family fled Czar Nicholas II anti-Jewish campaigns
1894 - Bessie Smith is born
Bessie Smith, protege of Ma Rainey and famous blues icon, is born.
1899 - Duke Ellington born
Born Edward Kennedy Ellington (nicknamed after his elegant manners)
famous big-band jazz player
called jazz "American music"
1899 - Duke Ellington is born
Duke Ellington is born in Washington DC.
Tin Pan Alley
Urban music-publishing business based in New York city. Tin Pan Alley was the cultural music hub in the United States and published thousands of songs from 1890-1945.
Louis Armstrong born
Louis Armstrong is born to a poor New Orleans family.
1904 - Little Johnny Jones is released
George M Cohan released his production 'Little Johnny Jones,' which brought hits such as Yankee Doodle and Give My Regards to Broadway into the mainstream of American music.
1906 - Johnny Hodges is born
John Keith "Johnny" Hodges is born on July 25, 1906 in Cambridge, MA. He was a famous alto saxophonist.
1907 - Cab Calloway Born
12/25/1907 - Cabell "Cab" Calloway III is born in Rochester, New York.
1909 - Sophie Tucker begins to perform out of blackface
One night while performing at the American Music Hall, her makeup kit was stolen, and she insisted on performing her original material. This ragtime and blues-influenced style proved to be a big hit amongst the audience.
1909-Benny Goodman (Born)
1911-Alexander's Ragtime Band
Irving Berlin publishes first big hit
1913- Songwriter Sammy Cahn is born in 1913
ASCAP was created to oversee and protect music composers and song writer's rights. ASCAP fought a long battle over "freedom of the air" and eventually won, making radio stations responsible for giving royalties to music writers.
1914 - ASCAP formed
American Society of Composers and Publishers enforces copyright and collects and distributes royalties
1915 - Birth of Balboa
The Balboa style of swing dances originates in Southern California, and rides a wave of popularity with the Big Band era until the mid 1940's.
1915- Frank Sinatra born
"Ole Blue Eyes" is born in New Jersey
1916 - Harry James is born
Henry Haag "Harry" James is born on March 15, 1916 in Albany, GA. He was a famous jazz trumpeter and band leader.
1917 - 'Over There' becomes a hit
George M Cohan wrote the iconic patriotic anthem 'Over There' for those fighting in WWI, which not only became his biggest hit, but earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1936.
1917 - Ella Fitzgerald is born
Jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald is born on April 25, 1917 in Newport News, VA.
1918- Okeh Records is Created
The independent record company Okeh records is created. They emphasized on musicians that had been overlooked by the more popular record labels at the time. In their particular case, it was African American musicians that made them famous with race records.
1918- Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians was formed
The band was formed in 1918 at Pennsylvania State University by the brothers Fred and Tom Waring, and their friends Freddy Buck and Poley McClintock.
1920's - Birth of Lindy Hop
The Lindy Hop is born in Harlem in the 1920's and it's prominence lasts until the 1930's.
1922 - Louis Armstrong leaves New Orleans for Chicago
A big moment in Armstrong's career where he leaves Chicago, and reaches new audiences.
1923 - Ma Rainey signs with Paramount
Ma Rainey signs with Paramount, who marketed her extensively as the "mother of the blues" and released over 100 songs over the course of five years.
1925 Harold Arlen moves from Buffalo, NY to New York City
Harold Arlen plies his trade in the rising New York City music scene.
1927 - Duke Ellington signs with Irving Mills
Duke Ellington signs with Irving Mills, the largest independent music publisher of the time, after a performance at the Kentucky Club.
1927 - "The Jazz Singer"
Al Jolson stars in the first feature-length film with synchronized dialogue.
Cotton Club Opened
Re-opened by well-known gangster Owney Madden.
Honeysuckle Rose- Fats Waller
"Honeysuckle Rose" is a 1929 song composed by Fats Waller and written by Andy Razaf. This was his second, most popular song after Ain't Misbehaving.
1930- "Little White Lies"
Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians recorded this song written by Walter Donaldson. A quintessential song of the flapper era as well as university parties.
1930 - On the Sunny Side of the Street
On the Sunny Side of the Street is written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields as part of the International Revue.
1930 -Cab Calloway Orchestra Forms
Cab Calloway takes over "The Missourians" and renames the group "Cab Calloway and his Orchestra" taking over at the Cotton Club for Duke Ellington's Orchestra.
1931-"Wrap Your Trouble in Dreams"
Written by Harry Barris with lyrics by Ted Koehler and Billy Moll. Also recorded by Bing Crosby that same year. Bing performs the song in his film debut in One More Chance, a short film by Mack Sennett.
1932 - "I've Got the World on a String"
Composition by Harold Arlen, Lyrics by Ted Koehler. Composed for Cab Calloway orchestra at the 1932 Cotton Club Parade
1932 "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues"
Published for Broadway show entitled Earl Carroll's Vanities
1935 Ella Fitzgerald began peforming with Chick Webb's Band
1936 - "It's De-Lovely" is released
Written by Cole Porter, this song was in the Broadway show Red, Hot, and Blue!, sung by Bob Hope and Ethel Merman. Eddy Duchin and his Orchestra also did a recording of this song that year.
1936- Cotton Club Closes
Due to poor rates and gaining Latin influences, the Cotton Club shuts down.
1936 Ella Fitzgerald produces first recording: “Love and Kisses"
Until the Real Thing Comes Along
ASCAP recognizes Mann Holiner, Alberta Nichols and L.E Freeman, Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin as creators of "Until the Real Thing Comes Along".
First Recorded by Fats Waller in August.
1936 - "Pennies From Heaven" is penned
Arthur Johnston (music) and Johnny Bruke (lyrics) write the song "Pennies From Heaven" for the upcoming film.
1936 - "Pennies From Heaven" is released
November 25, 1936
The film "Pennies From Heaven" is released. Bing Crosby's version of the title song is #1 for 15 weeks.
1937 - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
George and Ira Gershwin wrote this song in 1937 for the film "Shall We Dance" starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
1938 "God Bless America" -- Irving Berlin
Written for the Armistice Day Celebration in 1938. The melody was pulled from Berlin's earlier musical "Yip, Yip, Yaphank" and written with new lyrics. He donated the entire royalties to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
1938 Ella Fitzgerald's first song to become a #1 hit: “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”
1938-Benny Goodman, Carnegie Hall Performance
1938 - "Prelude to a Kiss" is released
"Prelude to a Kiss" by Duke Ellington is released as an instrumental, and a second version is released soon after with lyrics added.
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker meet
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker play together in the Earl Hines band. A historic moment, but with no documentation because of the strike of the American Federation of Musicians.
"White Christmas" -- Irving Berlin
"White Christmas" first appeared in Holiday Inn starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby in 1942. That same year Berlin won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It is one of the best selling singles of all time across any genre. In 1954 the movie White Christmas was made due to the songs popularity.
US military creates the Armed Forces Radio Network
"I'm Beginning to See the Light" was published in 1944, with music by Harry James, Duke Ellington, and Johnny Hodges, and lyrics by Don George. It was first recorded in 1945.
1947- "Time After Time" released
Song is released in the movie "It All Happened In Brooklyn"
1947 - "Midnight Sun"
Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke compose "Midnight Sun" as an instrumental.
1953 - "I've Got the World on a String" Peaks on Charts
Recording done by Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle's Orchestra hit's #14 on the Billboard charts. The highest this song would ever reach.
1954 - "Midnight Sun" gets lyrics
Johnny Mercer hears "Midnight Sun" on his car radio, pens lyrics and gives the song a whole new life.
Charlie Parker dies
March 12, 1955
Charlie Parker dies from an ulcer at the age of 34. Coroner that examined his body estimated that he was 50-60.
1956 Ella Fitzgerald drops Decca label to join Granz’s new Verve label
Ella Fitzgerald begins working on Songbook Series
1970 - Johnny Hodges dies
Johnny Hodges dies on May 11, 1970 at age 63.
Ella Fitzgerald performs “C Jam Blues” at Santa Monica Civic concert
1983 - Harry James dies
Harry James dies on July 5, 1983 in Las Vegas, NV at the age of 67.
1986-Benny Goodman (Death)
1989 - Irving Berlin dies
Berlin lives to be 101
1994 - Cab Calloway Dies
11/18/1994 - Cab Calloway dies in Hockessin, Delaware at the age of 86.
1996 - Ella Fitzgerald dies
Ella Fitzgerald dies on June 15, 1996 in Beverly Hills, CA. She lives to be 79 years old.
2004 - De-Lovely released
The movie De-Lovely illustrates the life of Cole Porter and his relationship with his wife. Robbie Williams is featured singing the song "It's De-Lovely" at their wedding in the movie.
1877-Thomas Edison events the phonograph
Thomas Edison events the first machine capable of producing sound.
Emergence of Ragtime
Ragtime emerged in the mid-1890's, with it's heartland being Missouri. The first time it was really presented to the public was at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Scott Joplin performed ragtime there.
1894 - New Orleans Racial Segregation Law
New Orleans, one of the most diverse and racially diverse cities, becomes segregated for the first time in the city's history.
The area in New Orleans which put legal prostitution into one neighborhood.
1899 "Maple Leaf Rag" published
Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" was published by John Stark and became a huge hit.
Fats Waller Dies at age 39
05/21/1904 - 12/15/1943
His reckless lifestyle would eventually catch up him on a train traveling back to New York where he died of pneumonia in December 15, 1943 at the age of 39.
1905 - Harold Arlen is born
1914 -- World War I begins in Europe
Billie Holiday is born
April 7 1915
Billie Holiday, named Elenora Fagan, was born in Philadelphia.
1916 - U.S. enters WW1
Irving Berlin Music Corporation
1920 - Prohibition begins
Alcoholic beverages banned in America
1920 - Women get right to vote
1921 Music Box Theater
In 1921 Irving Berlin built the Music Box Theater with Sam H. Harris. He then started present the show “The Music Box Revue” to showcase top talent singing his songs.
Fats Waller's First Record
After making his first record at age 18 as a soloist for Okeh records in 1922, "Birmingham Blues" and “Muscle Shoals Blues", he backed various blues singers and worked as a house pianist and organist at rent parties in movie theaters and clubs. He began to attract attention as a composer during the mid-20’s, forming his most successful alliance with lyricist Andy Razaf.
1930 - Hays Code
Motion Picture Production Code - guidelines governing production of most films (prohibiting nudity, drug use, swears, etc)
*Helped and aimed at rehabilitating Hollywood's image.
FDR's program focusing on Relief for the unemployed/poor, Recovery of the economy to normal levels, and Reform of the financial system to prevent future depressions
-Supported the arts and entertainment industry
1933 - Hitler comes to power in Germany
1933 - Prohibition repealed
Bottoms up, America.
1935 - Gold Diggers of 1935
Musical by Busby Berkeley
- famous for kaleidoscopic images, geometric-patterned choreography, large/extravagant numbers
- Lullaby of Broadway : song won an Academy Award
1937- 'They Can't Take that Away from Me"
George and Ira Gershwin write the song for the film "Shall We Dance."
1937 - Hindenburg Disaster
May 6 1937
The German airship bursts into flames on the way to New Jersey.
Count Basie and Artie Shaw
Holiday is fired by Count Basie for being "tempremental and unreliable" and is hired by Artie Shaw a month later.
1938 - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
1938 - Great Depression Ends in US
Strange Fruit Released
Strange Fruit, one of Holiday's most famous songs was recording. The song speaks to the racism and discrimination that Holiday and the black population faced at the time.
1939 - WWII begins in Europe
1937 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
December 21 1939
Walt Disney's first feature-length animated cartoon with sound and has tremendous success.
1941 - U.S. Enters WWII
After Japanese bomb US Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S, declares war on Axis powers Germany, Japan, Italy.
1945 - WWII ends
World War II formally ends on September 2, 1945 when Japan signs the surrender documents.
"Rock Around the Clock"
May 20, 1954
"Rock Around the Clock," recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets, would soon become an anthem for rock and roll. Not the most successful of the songs from the new genre, but it brought rock and roll to the mainstream.
"Blackboard Jungle" released
March 19, 1955
"Blackboard Jungle" is released in theatres, marking the take over of rock and roll.
1959 Joseph Lamb made his first ragtime recording
Joseph Lamb had always had ragtime in his personal life. When the revival started to come up for ragtime, Joseph Lamb was asked about it and decided to make his first recording. This was just before the revival of ragtime.
1967 - Billy Strayhorn dies
Billy Strayhorn (close friend and companion with Duke Ellington) died from cancer
lyricist, pianist, exceptional musician
1986 - Harold Arlen Dies
1999 - Duke Ellington wins Pulitizer Prize
Duke Ellington won prize (after being denied it in 1965)
Won it post-mortem
"I Got a Right to Sing the Blues"
Writting for a Broadway show called Earl Carroll's Vanities
1932 " I Got a Right to Sing the Blues"
Writting for a Broadway show called Earl Carroll's Vanities