Welcome to ON THIS DAY! Each day, we'll look at a few moments from history and popular culture. We'll show you where you can rediscover classic movies and music, or read more about great moments in history. We'll point you to e-books, downloadable and streamable music and film, and e-audio; and of course, we haven't forgotten about physical books or DVDs.
|On this day in 1924, Chet Atkins was born. Atkins was a guitarist and record producer, one of the key figures in the "Nashville sound," which broadened the appeal of country music to pop audiences in the late 1950s. As a producer and record company executive, he helped to develop the early careers of (among others) Dolly Parton, Jerry Reed, Waylon Jennings, and Charlie Pride; the latter was a particularly bold move, as it was unclear whether country audiences would respond to an African-American singer at the height of the civil rights movement. As a guitarist, Atkins was mostly known for country music, but his albums usually included one or two pieces in other styles -- ragtime, flamenco, even classical. Several of Atkins' albums are available for streaming or download at Freegal.|
|On this day in 1941, Stephen Frears was born. In his 30-year directing career, Frears has worked in a wide range of styles and genres -- gay romance (My Beautiful Laundrette), biographies both serious (Philomena) and comic (Florence Foster Jenkins), period piece Western (The Hi-Lo Country). He has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, for The Grifters and The Queen. Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeiffer star in Frears' Dangerous Liaisons, based on a novel about romantic intrigue in 18th-century Paris; it's available for streaming at Hoopla.|
|And on this day in 1946, Andre Watts was born. Watts is a pianist who was introduced to a national audience at the age of 17, performing on one of Leonard Bernstein's televised Young People's Concerts; two weeks later, Bernstein asked him to substitute for an ill soloist at a concert with the New York Philharmonic. For the last decade, Watts has been a professor at Indiana University, but he still records and performs occasionally. A variety of Watts' recordings is available for streaming at Hoopla.|