Music and DC

One goal I have with my entries is to uncover “hidden musical treasures” here in DC.

Let’s face it, it’s large enough that there have to be some around here.

I already knew that Duke Ellington was born and raised here, and I knew about Marian Anderson singing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial because she was banned from Constitution Hall (the year was 1939).

However, I’ve learned a lot since I moved to the area.

One music trivia fact I was surprised to learn was that Marvin Gaye was actually a “homeboy”. Yep…he graduated from Cardoza High School, and there was actually a Marvin Gaye Day here in the District in 1972.

Marvin Gaye is one of my favorite Motown musicians, and David Ritz’ book Divided Soul is definitely worth a read to find about the rise and fall of this one-of-a-kind singer.

I was also surprised to find that Patsy Cline had roots here in the DC area. She was born and raised in Winchester, Virginia. Her first husband was the owner of a construction company in Frederick, Maryland. But most surprisingly, she got her start on the country music scene here in DC in the late 1940’s/early 1950’s and went on from there. Her sidemen included Roy Clark (from “Hee Haw”) and Jimmy Dean (yep, the sausage guy).

What other “hidden musical treasures” can be found? It’s going to be my job to find out. BTW, if you’re reading this and you know of any “hidden musical treasures”, please be sure and let me know. It’s my quest, so to speak.


14 Comments so far

  1. Mike (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

    John Philip Sousa was a DC native:

    Before us nuts chime in with Chuck Brown a gazillion times, who are the unhidden treasures you know about?

  2. Sudiegirl (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

    I know about Chuck Brown…

    I’m thinkin’ here.

    I didn’t know about Sousa. I should have known, though…

    Is Denyce Graves (opera singer) a DC native? For some reason, I thought she was.

    Eva Cassidy…Mary Chapin Carpenter…Al Jolson…Roberta Flack…Tim Buckley…Tori Amos…Nils Lofgren…Cass Elliot and Jim Morrison both went to HS in Arlington, VA…Jelly Roll Morton.

    Is that enough? :-)

  3. WFY (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

    Danny Gatton, redneck jazz guitarist

  4. sudiegirl (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 3:59 pm

    I’m going to have to check him out…is he listed with DC jazz, or does he have his own website?

  5. Anonymous (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 4:29 pm

    The WAMA “DC Music Timeline” is a great resource for this kind of thing:

  6. Andrew (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 4:39 pm

    Denise Graves is a DC native
    Oteil Burbridge…LEGEND at 41
    The afore mentioned Starland Vocal Band

  7. Anon (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 4:52 pm

    Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters (and Nirvana) lived in Alexandria and started out playing drums for DC bands.

  8. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

    Sousa is also buried here, in Congressional Cemetery. His tomb is amazing to behold.

  9. Bob (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 7:51 pm

    Emmy Lou Harris, in the seventies, was the house act at the Cellar Door.

  10. Terry in Silver Spring (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 8:11 pm

    My mother was a student at Wilson Teachers College (a precursor to UDC) right after World War II. She said that they were in an auditorium, waiting to hear something from the administration. Instead of a dry old speaker, Patsy Cline came strolling down the aisle singing and playing her guitar. Mom said that Patsy was amazing to hear in person, even though Mom wasn’t much of a country music fan.

  11. Doug (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 8:43 pm

    Patsy Cline is one of my all-time favorite female singers. I did not know this about her! Thanks for the info.

  12. Poot (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

    Hazel Dickens lives somewhere along Wisconsin Avenue.

  13. DCeiver (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 10:25 pm

    Link Wray, Henry Rollins, Bad Brains, the Seldom Scene, Roy Buchanan…

  14. AA (unregistered) on August 29th, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

    Original DC punk rockers – The Slickee Boys! Root Boy Slim. Shirley Horn, recently departed sublime jazz pianist.

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