He was born John Winston Lennon on October 9, 1940. Like the other three Beatles, Lennon grew up in a working-class family in Liverpool. His parents, Julia and Fred, separated before he was two (Lennon saw his father only twice in the next 20 years), and Lennon went to live with his mother’s sister Mimi Smith; when Lennon was 17 his mother was killed by a bus. He attended Liverpool’s Dovedale Primary School and later the Quarry Bank High School, which supplied the name for his first band, a skiffle group called the Quarrymen, which he started in 1955.
John Lennon didn’t invent rock and roll, nor did he embody it as toweringly as figures like Elvis Presley and Little Richard, but he did more than anyone else to shake it up, move it forward and instill it with a conscience. As the most daring and outspoken of the four Beatles, he helped shape the agenda of the Sixties – socially and politically, no less than musically. As a solo artist, he made music that alternately disturbed and soothed, provoked and sought community. As a human being, he served as an exemplar of honesty in his art and life.
John Lennon’s first Rolling Stone interview~ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/john-lennon-1970-jann-wenner-rolling-stone-interview-w481395
John Lennon’s final interview~ http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/hear-john-lennons-final-interview-taped-on-the-day-of-his-death.html
Purcell wrote only one full opera, a short work supposedly designed for a girls’ school. The tragic story of Dido and Aeneas, with a libretto by Nahum Tate, has a perfection of its own. Dido’s final lament, before she kills herself, follows the model for such compositions established by Monteverdi eighty years before. Other stage works by Purcell are in the hybrid form now known as semi-opera, combining spoken drama and a musical element that in the concert-hall may be performed apart from its wider dramatic context.
BBC artist page for Henry Purcell~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/ddea5540-2c7d-4266-8507-b367c2635d35
Stern’s family moved to the United States and settled in San Francisco when he was one year old. His mother, a professional singer, gave him his first music lessons. He began studying the violin at the San Francisco Conservatory in 1928. In 1932 he became the third immensely talented San Francisco-area boy to train with the San Francisco Symphony concertmaster Louis Persinger (the others were Menuhin and Ruggiero Ricci). However, he considered Naoum Blinder, with whom he studied until the age of 15, his only true teacher. Stern made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony on February 18, 1936, with Pierre Monteux conducting the Third Concerto by Saint-Saëns.
However, Stern was to become as famous internationally for his contribution to public causes as he was for his concert performances and recordings. His social contributions took many forms: his most noted involvement as a cultural activist was his pivotal role in the 1960 salvation of Carnegie Hall, then facing demolition. Elected president of the Carnegie Hall Corporation, he guided the affairs of the edifice he called “our country’s affirmation of the human spirit” (Stern and Potok, p. 141) until the end of his life. He was chairman of the board of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and founder and chairman of the Jerusalem Music Center, and in the United States he campaigned for and became a founding member of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1964. In 1975 he received the first Albert Schweitzer Award for “a life’s work dedicated to music and devoted to humanity” and two years later was made a member of the French Légion d’Honneur.
Obituary, New York Times~ http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/23/nyregion/violinist-isaac-stern-dies-at-81-led-efforts-to-save-carnegie-hall.html
Willie Dixon was born July 1, 1915, in Vicksburg, MS.
Illustration: William Stout / Legends of the Blues
James Cotton was born July 1, 1935, in Tunica, MS.
Illustration: Jack Coughlin / A Brush with the Blues: 26 Portraits
Willie Dixon and James Cotton with Muddy Waters, Sunnyland Slim, Otis Spann, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and Mable Hillery in 1966 at the Canadian CBC Television studio, recording a portion of a CBC “Festival” series: