THE FOLLOWING EVENTS TOOK PLACE ON JANUARY 26
1880 - General Douglas MacArthur is born.
1908 - Jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli is born in Paris. He learned the violin and enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire, but dropped out when he heard a recording of American jazz and realized that his passion was for improvisation. He began hanging out with street musicians, listening to every jazz recording he could get his hands on, and playing with Parisian dance bands. He started out playing piano, but during an engagement in the south of France was persuaded to pick up the violin on a set of tunes. He went on to achieve legendary status as a jazz violinist. In the 1930's, he joined guitarist Django Reinhardt in the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, which sparked a revolution in jazz. He said: "We played jazz music with instruments that were absolutely contrary to the actual jazz at the time, which was all trumpets, saxophones, and all that. We played jazz music like chamber music."
1925 - Actor Paul Newman is born.
1933 - Political activist Angela Davis is born.
1932 - Aboard a Connecticut-bound train with editor Max Perkins, Thomas Wolfe suddenly decides that he doesn't want to make the trip, and jumps from the moving car onto the Grand Central Station platform.
1934 - The Apollo Theatre opens in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem, New York City.
1938 - Benny Goodman ushers in the Swing Era with the start of his band's Paramount Theatre engagement in New York City.
1956 - Buddy Holly's first recording session at Bradley's Barn Studio in Nashville, for Decca Records. He cuts Blue Days, Black Nights, Don't Come Back Knockin', Love Me, and Midnight Shift.
1961 - Victor Fleming, director of both The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, dies.
1962 - Bishop Burke of the Catholic diocese of Buffalo declares Chubby Checker's Twist impure and banned it from all Catholic schools.
1966 - The Animals' Eric Burdon sings lead vocals for Manfred Mann at a London concert.
1967 In the Village Voice today, you can read Jack Newfield's article "Brecht of the Jukebox, Poet of the Electric Guitar" about Bob Dylan.
1970 - John Lennon and Phil Spector write and record Instant Karma which is released early next month.
1977 - Fleetwood Mac's first lead guitar player, Peter Green, is committed to a mental hospital in England after firing a pistol at a delivery boy who was attempting to deliver a Fleetwood Mac royalty check. Green had quit the band in May 1970 to live a life of religious seclusion.
1998 - Blues drummer S.P. Leary dies at the age of 67 of complications from cancer. During his half-century-long career, the Texas-born musician supported such performers as T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, Magic Sam, Lowell Fulson, Otis Spann, and James Cotton.
For more day-by-day history go to HistoryUnlimited.net