Severn Valley Railway Spring Diesel Gala

The three Day Severn Valley Railway Spring Diesel Gala is taking place from Thursday16 May until Saturday 18 May 2019 with a Mixed Traffic Day occurring on Sunday 19 May. During which There will be a mix of heritage and mainline diesel locomotives in service. Visiting lcomotives this year include Class 25 No. D7535, Class 31 No. 97205, Class 33 No. 33108, Class 37 No. 37688, Class 40 No. 40106 Atlantic Conveyor, Class 44 No. D4 Great Gable, Class 46 No. 46010, Class 47 47749 City Of Truro, Class 55 ‘Deltic’ No. 55019 Royal Highland Fusilier, GBRf Class 60095, GBRf Class 66 and DRS Class 88. Prototype HST Power Car No. 41001 will be on static display during the event. Class 44 No. 44004 Great Gable will no longer be attending either due to low oil pressure issues. Class 14 No. D9551 will not operating at the event either due to mechanical issues. However it was on static display at Bridgnorth

Members of the home fleet in service include Class 42 No. D821 Greyhound, With thanks to the Diesel Traction Group, Class 50s No. 50031 Hood, No. 50035 Ark Royal & No 50044 Exeter With thanks to the Class 50 Alliance and Class 52 No. D1062 Western Courier With thanks to the Western Locomotive Association.

There will be evening running and Kidderminster Diesel Depot will be open for visits on Saturday & Sunday only. On Thursday evening there was Live entertainment and pig roast at the Engine House. Entry to The Engine House will be FREE with a Spring Diesel Festival Thursday rover ticket, real Ale will also be on Sale. (More photos to follow).

 

Ronnie James Dio

American singer, songwriter, and musician Ronald James Dio (Padavona) sadly died May 16, 2010. He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 10 July 1942 to Italian-American parents who had moved to Portsmouth from Cortland, New York, where they had grown up, as part of Dio’s father’s service in the U.S. Army during World War II.The family resided in Portsmouth for only a short time before returning to Cortland. Dio listened to a great deal of opera while growing up, and was influenced vocally by American tenor Mario Lanza.His first and only formal musical training began at age 5 learning to play the trumpet. During high school, Dio played in the school band and was one of the youngest members selected to play in the school’s official Dance Band. It was also during high school that Dio formed his first rock-n-roll group, the Vegas Kings (the name would soon change to Ronnie and the Rumblers, and then Ronnie and the Red Caps). Though Dio began his rock-n-roll career on trumpet, he quickly added bass guitar to his skillset once he assumed singing duties for the group.

Dio graduated from Cortland High School in 1960. Though he claimed in a later interview to have been offered a scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School of Music, he did not pursue it due to his continuing interest in rock-n-roll music Instead, after graduation, he attended the University at Buffalo, majoring in Pharmacology. He only attended from 1960 to 1961 and played trumpet in the university’s concert band, but did not graduate.Despite being known for his powerful singing voice, Dio claimed never to have taken any vocal training. Rather, he attributed his singing ability to the use of correct breathing techniques learned while playing trumpet.

Dio’s musical career began in 1957 when several Cortland, New York musicians formed the band, The Vegas Kings. The group’s lineup consisted of Dio on bass guitar, Billy DeWolfe on lead vocals, Nick Pantas on guitar, Tom Rogers on drums, and Jack Musci on saxophone. In 1958, the band again changed their name from Ronnie & The Rumblers to Ronnie and the Redcaps. Musci left the band in 1960, and a new guitarist, Dick Botoff, joined the lineup. The Redcaps released two singles: “Conquest”/”Lover” and “An Angel Is Missing”/”What’d I Say”. Padavona first used the name Dio on a recording in 1960, when he added it to thr band’s second release on Seneca. Soon after that the band modified their name to Ronnie Dio and the Prophets. The Prophets toured the New York region and played college fraternity parties. They released several singles including “Mr Misery” In late 1967 Ronnie Dio and the Prophets transformed into a new band called The Electric Elves and added a keyboard player. After recovering from a deadly car accident in February 1968 (which killed guitarist Nick Pantas and put Dio and other band members briefly in hospital), the group shortened its name to The Elves and used that name until mid-1972, when it released its first proper album under the name Elf and were a regular opening act for Deep Purple. Elf recorded three albums until disbanding in 1975

Dio’s vocals caught the ear of Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore who invited Dio along with Gary Driscoll to record two songs in Tampa, Florida. Blackmore stated I left Deep Purple because I’d met up with Ronnie Dio, and he was so easy to work with. Blackmore decided to recruit more of Elf’s musicians and form his own band, initially known as Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. They released the self-titled debut album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in early 1975. After that, Dio recorded two more studio albums (Rising and Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll) and two live albums (Live in Munich 1977 and Live in Germany 1976) with Blackmore. During his tenure with Rainbow, Dio and Blackmore. However Dio and Blackmore split, with Blackmore taking Rainbow in a more commercial direction, with Graham Bonnet on vocals and the album Down to Earth. Dio left Rainbow in 1979 and soon joined Black Sabbath, replacing the fired Ozzy Osbourne after meeting Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi by chance at The Rainbow on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in 1979. Dio arrived at Iommi’s Los Angeles house for a relaxed, getting-to-know-you jam session. On that first day the duo wrote the song, “Children of the Sea”, which would appear on the Heaven and Hell album, the first the band recorded with Dio as vocalist, released in 1980. The follow-up album, Mob Rules, also featured new drummer Vinny Appice. Sadly personality conflict arose within the band during the next album Live Evil which eventually led to Dio and Appice quitting the band. In 1992, Dio briefly returned to Black Sabbath to record the Dehumanizer album anf The single “Time Machine” which was featured in the movie Wayne’s World.

 

 

 

 

Sadly Dio and Appice again left the band, citing an inability to work with Iommi and Butler. So in 1982 Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice left and formed Dio, with Vivian Campbell playing guitar and Jimmy Bain on bass; the latter of whom Dio had known since the old Rainbow days. Their debut album, Holy Diver, included the singles “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Holy Diver”. The band added keyboardist Claude Schnell and recorded two more full-length studio albums, The Last in Line and Sacred Heart. By 1990 Dio was the only original member. Except for a few breaks, Dio, the band, were always touring or recording. They released ten albums, with Master of the Moon being the last one, recorded in 2004. In 2006, Dio joined Black Sabbath members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and former Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice to tour under the moniker Heaven & Hell, the title of the first Dio era Black Sabbath album. They chose the name Heaven & Hell as Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler were still in Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne and felt it was best to use a different moniker for the Dio version of the band. In 2007, the band recorded three new songs under the Black Sabbath name for the compilation album Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. In 2008, the band completed a 98-date world tour. The band released one album under the Heaven & Hell name, The Devil You Know.

In 1974, Dio sang on the Roger Glover conducted and produced concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast. Along with other guest-singers, the album featured Deep Purple members Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. Dio provided vocals for the songs “Homeward”, “Sitting in a Dream”, and the UK single “Love is All”. In 1980, Dio sang the tracks “To Live for the King” and “Mask of the Great Deceiver” on Kerry Livgren’s solo album, Seeds of Change. In 1985, Dio contributed to the metal world’s answer to Band Aid and USA for Africa with the Hear ‘n Aid project. With a heavy metal all-star ensemble which was the brainchild of his fellow Dio band mates Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain. In 1997, Dio also had a cameo on Pat Boone’s In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy, an album of famous heavy metal songs played in big band style. In 1999, he was parodied in the TV show South Park, in the episode Hooked on Monkey Fonics and also participated in the Deep Purple project, Concerto for Group and Orchestra, recording cover versions of Deep Purple songs, and songs from the earlier The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast album. Tenacious D included a tribute song entitled “Dio” that appeared on their self-titled album.

The song explains how he has to “pass the torch” for a new generation. Reportedly, Dio approved of it, and had Tenacious D appear in his video “Push” from Killing the Dragon in 2002. Dio also appeared in the film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. In 2005, Dio was revealed to be the voice behind Dr. X in Operation: Mindcrime II, the sequel to Queensrÿche’s seminal concept album Operation: Mindcrime. In 2007, he was inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame at Guitar Center on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. Dio assisted in the 2011 film Atlas Shrugged: Part I,

Jim Henson (The Muppets)

Best known as the creator of The Muppets, The late great Jim Henson sadly passed away 16 May 1990. He was born on 24th September 1936 in Greenville, Mississippi. Raised in Maryland he was educated atUniversity of Maryland, College Park, where he created Sam and Friends. He spent his early childhood in Leland, Mississipi moving with his family to Hyattsville, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., in the late 1940s. He later remembered the arrival of the family’s first television as “the biggest event of his adolescence,”having been heavily influenced by radio ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and the early television puppets of Burr Tillstrom and Bil and Cora Baird. In 1954 while attending Northwestern High School, he began working for WTOP-TV, creating puppets for a Saturday morning children’s show called The Junior Morning Show.

After graduating from high school, Henson enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park, as a studio arts major. A puppetry class offered in the applied arts department introduced him to the craft and textiles courses in the College of Home Economics, and he graduated in 1960 with a B.S. in home economics. As a freshman, he was asked to create Sam and Friends, a 5-minute puppet show for WRC-TV. The characters on Sam and Friends were forerunners of the Muppets, and the show included a prototype of Henson’s most famous character: Kermit the Frog. Henson remained at WRC for seven years from 1954 to 1961. He began experimenting with techniques which improved puppetry, such as using the frame defined by the camera shot to allow the puppeteer to work from off-screen.

To give his puppets “life and sensitivity,” Henson began making characters from flexible, fabric-covered foam rubber, making them more expressive. Henson also used rods instead of string to move his Muppets’ arms, allowing greater control of expression and to enable his muppet characters to “speak” more creatively than was possible for previous puppets, Henson used precise mouth movements to match the dialogue. Henson asked fellow University of Maryland sophomore Jane Nebel (whom he later married) to assist him on Sam and Friends Which became a financial success, After Graduating from college Henson visited Europe where he was inspired by European puppeteers who look on their work as an art form. Henson also contributed to Saturday Night Live, but eventually found success when In 1969, Joan Ganz Cooney and the team at the Children’s Television Workshop asked him to work on Sesame Street, Which featured a series of funny, colourful puppet characters living on the titular street, including Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster and Big Bird. Henson performed the characters of Ernie, game-show host Guy Smile, and Kermit the Frog, the roving television news reporter.At first, Henson’s Muppets appeared separately from the realistic segments on the Street, but the two were gradually integrated and The success of Sesame Street allowed Henson to stop producing commercials.

In addition to creating and performing Muppet characters, Henson was involved in producing various shows and animation inserts using a variety of methods including (“Dollhouse”, “Number Three Ball Film”), stop-motion (“King of Eight”, “Queen of Six”), cut-out animation (“Eleven Cheer”), computer animation (“Nobody Counts To 10″) and the original C is For Cookie. Henson also directed Tales from Muppetland, a short series of TV movie specials—in the form of comedic tellings of classic fairy tales—aimed at a young audience and hosted by Kermit the Frog. The series included Hey, Cinderella!, The Frog Prince, and The Muppet Musicians of Bremen. Henson, Frank Oz, and his team also created a series of adult orientated sketches on the first season of the comedy series Saturday Night Live(SNL). Eleven “Dregs and Vestiges” sketches, set mostly in the Land of Gorch, Around the time of Henson’s characters’ final appearances on SNL, he began developing two projects featuring the Muppets: a Broadway show and a weekly television series, which was rejected by American Networks.

however Henson convinced British impresario Lew Grade to finance the Muppet show which featured Kermit the Frog as host, and a variety of other memorable characters, notably Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great, Scooter, Animal, the Swedish Chef, Bunsen Honeydew and Fozzie Bear. The creative team moved to England and began working on the Muppets. Jim Henson was himself the performer for several well known characters, including Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, the Swedish Chef,Waldorf, Link Hogthrob, and Guy Smiley. In 1977, Henson produced a one-hour television adaptation of the Russell Hoban story Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas and Three years after the start of The Muppet Show, the Muppets appeared in their first theatrical feature film The Muppet Movie, which was a critical and financial success; and A song from the movie, “The Rainbow Connection”, sung by Henson as Kermit, hit number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for an Academy Award. A sequel, The Great Muppet Caper, followed in 1981 and Henson decided to end the still-popular Muppet Show to concentrate on making films, however the Muppet characters occasionally appeared in made-for-TV-movies and television specials. Recently The Muppets appeared in a Walt Disney Movie in 2012 alongside Amy Adams and remain popular.

In 1979, he was asked by the producers of the Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back to aid make-up artist Stuart Freeborn in the creation and articulation of enigmatic Jedi Master Yoda. Henson suggested to George Lucas that he use Frank Oz as the puppeteer and voice of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back and each of the four subsequent Star Wars films. Lucas even lobbied unsuccessfully to have Oz nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. In 1982, Henson founded the Jim Henson Foundation to promote and develop the art of puppetry in the United States. He also began creating darker and more realistic fantasy films that did not feature the Muppets such as 1982’s The Dark Crystal, which he co-directed with Frank Oz from conceptual artwork created by Brian Froud. In 1983 The Muppets Take Manhattan (directed by Frank Oz) was released, then In 1986 the film Labyrinth, was released, a Dark Crystal-like fantasy featuring Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie as The Goblin King.

During production of his later projects, Henson began to experience flu like symptoms. On May 4, 1990, Henson made one of his last television appearances on The Arsenio Hall Show, Feeling tired and having a sore throat, Henson traveled to Ahoskie, North Carolina, for a family visit And consulted a physician in North Carolina before returning to to New York. At 2 am on May 15, Henson started having trouble breathing and began coughing up blood. But delayed visiting the hospital for two hours until he finally agreed to go to New York Hospital, By which time he could not breathe on his own anymore due to abscesses in his lungs and was placed on a mechanical ventilator to help him breathe, but his condition deteriorated rapidly into septic shock, until sadly On the morning of May 16, 1990, Henson died at the age of 53 at New York Hospital. Henson’s death was covered as a significant news story, occurring on the same day as the death of Sammy Davis Jr.

The official cause of death was first reported as a Bacterial Infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, Henson’s actual cause of death, however, was organ failure resulting from Streptococcus pyogenes, a severe Group A streptococcal infection. A public memorial service was conducted in New York City On May 21, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Another one was conducted on July 2 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. As per Henson’s wishes, no one in attendance wore black, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band finished the service by performing “When the Saints Go Marching In”. Harry Belafonte also sang “Turn the World Around,” a song he had debuted on The Muppet Show, Big Bird, performed by Caroll Spinney, also sang Kermit the Frog’s signature song, “Bein’ Green”. six of the core Muppet performers—Dave Goelz, Frank Oz, Kevin Clash, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson and Richard Hunt—also sang, in their characters’ voices, a medley of Jim Henson’s favorite songs, eventually ending with a growing number of performers singing “Just One Person” which was recreated for the 1990 television special The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson and inspired screenwriter Richard Curtis, who attended the London service, to write the growing-orchestra wedding scene in the 2003 film Love Actually.

Henson was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery and his ashes were scattered at his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Henson’s companies, which are now run by his children, continue to produce films and television shows. The Jim Henson Company and the Jim Henson Foundation continued after his death, producing new series and specials. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, founded by Henson, also continues to build creatures for a large number of other films and series, such as Farscape, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the movie MirrorMask). Henson remains one of the most advanced and well respected creators of film creatures and In 2004, The Muppets were sold to The Walt Disney Company. One of Henson’s last projects is a show attraction in Walt Disney World and Disneyland featuring the Muppets, called Muppet*Vision 3D, which opened in 1991, shortly after his death. To date The Jim Henson Company retains the Creature Shop, as well as the rest of its film and television library including Fraggle Rock, Farscape, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.

Krist Novoselic (Nirvana)

Best known for being the bassist and co-founder of the grunge band Nirvana, American rock musician Krist Anthony Novoselic was born May 16, 1965. Novoselic was interested in bands such as Led Zeppelin, Devo, Black Sabbath, Van Halen and Aerosmith. He also enjoyed rock bands like Zabranjeno Pusenje, Prljavo Kazaliste and Azra. While in Yugoslavia, he picked up an interest in punk rock, and discovered bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. He has cited Paul McCartney, Geezer Butler, John Entwistle, and Gene Simmons as the fundamental influences of his bass playing. Sometime later, Novoselic’s brother Robert introduced him to his friend Kurt Cobain, who had noticed loud music coming from upstairs. Robert told Cobain that it was his older brother, who listened to punk rock. Cobain eventually befriended the elder Novoselic, as the pair ended up sharing similar musical tastes, including a fondness for local band The Melvins.

The two had several mutual friends and began hanging out shortly thereafter. At one point, Cobain gave Novoselic a demo tape of his former band Fecal Matter, and asked him to form a band together. After several months, Novoselic finally listened to the tape, liked it, and agreed to start a band with Cobain.ometime later, Novoselic’s brother Robert introduced him to his friend Kurt Cobain, who had noticed loud music coming from upstairs. Robert told Cobain that it was his older brother, who listened to punk rock. Cobain eventually befriended the elder Novoselic, as the pair ended up sharing similar musical tastes, including a fondness for local band The Melvins. The two had several mutual friends and began hanging out shortly thereafter. At one point, Cobain gave Novoselic a demo tape of his former band Fecal Matter, and asked him to form a band together. After several months, Novoselic finally listened to the tape, liked it, and agreed to start a band with Cobain.

Cobain and Novoselic’s first band lasted barely a few weeks before it disbanded, leaving the pair to move on. However, the duo eventually discovered that the Melvins could pull $80 a night for one show. Inspired, Cobain and Novoselic started a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover band, in which Cobain played drums and Novoselic sang and played guitar. That band was short-lived as well. Some months later, Cobain and Novoselic met drummer Aaron Burckhard. While the new band never used the name, it was the first incarnation of Nirvana.Burckhard lasted only a few months and Melvins drummer Dale Crover filled in until Novoselic and Cobain met Chad Channing. The trio recorded their debut album Bleach, released in 1989. Channing left the band in 1990 and was briefly replaced by Crover and Mudhoney drummer Dan Peters.Later in 1990, Melvins singer-guitarist Buzz Osborne encouraged Novoselic and Cobain to check out a punk band called Scream. The pair were impressed by their drummer, Dave Grohl. A few weeks later, Scream disbanded, and Grohl placed a call to Osborne for advice. Osborne gave him Novoselic’s phone number, and Novoselic invited Grohl up to Seattle (from San Francisco, where Scream broke up). Grohl passed the audition and joined Nirvana. A few months later, in the spring of 1991, the band recorded their major label debut, Nevermind, which launched the band as a worldwide phenomenon with their hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.Nirvana ended abruptly in April 1994 following Cobain’s death. For most of the rest of that year, Novoselic retreated from the spotlight. Novoselic and Cobain had been virtually inseparable for almost a decade, and the loss of his close friend was especially hard on him. One of few public appearances came that September at the MTV Video Music Awards, where the video for Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” was awarded for Best Alternative Video. Novoselic took the opportunity to pay tribute to his bandmate and best friend.

The following year, Novoselic continued to dabble in musical endeavors. He was offered the position of playing bass in a new band, the Foo Fighters, with friend and former bandmate Dave Grohl but both decided against it, because they believed people would think of Foo Fighters as a new incarnation of Nirvana. Novoselic instead formed the band Sweet 75 in 1995, releasing a single self-titled album in 1997. In 2002 he performed uncredited background vocals on The Foo Fighters song “Walking a Line”, written as a tribute to Cobain, during the One by One album sessions. The track is included on the One by One bonus DVD, as well as being a bonus track to the album.In 1998, Novoselic directed his first movie, L7: The Beauty Process, a pseudo-documentary that utilizes concert footage taped in 1997 in three American cities. In 1999, he joined Jello Biafraand former Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil in the No WTO Combo.

He then joined former Meat Puppets front man Curt Kirkwood and former Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh to form Eyes Adrift, which disbanded in 2003. This band was significant as it was the first official release in his career where he sang lead vocals. He also took a highly active role in the song writing process, co-writing several songs with Kirkwood.Following the end of Eyes Adrift, Novoselic announced, that he was quitting the music business, noting that he disliked the process of building up publicity for new records. However, in recent years, Novoselic has occasionally worked on music for a possible solo album, and in November 2006, it was announced, that Novoselic would join Flipper, replacing Bruno DeSmartas on bass, for a tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. He was a full-time member of the band and had been working on their new album. In September 22, 2008, Novoselic announced his departure from the band citing responsibilities at home, And the band canceled the remainder of the tour. Rachel Thoele then replaced Novoselic.

In 2009, he played a newspaper vendor in the movie World’s Greatest Dad starring Robin Williams. In October 2010, Dave Grohl, former Nirvana band mate of Novoselic, announced live on BBC radio, that Novoselic will be joining the Foo Fighters on their next album as a bassist and accordionist which was released in 2011: Wasting Light. Novoselic also played bass on children’s music artist Caspar Babypants’ (a.k.a. Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America’s) 2010 album This Is Fun!, for a cover of the Nirvana song “Sliver”.

Novoselic’s first experience with the Foo Fighters was participating in the encore of their show on August 29, 1997 at Memorial Stadiumas part of the Bumbershoot festival, where he played bass for the band’s covers of “Purple Rain” and “Communication Breakdown”. In January 2002 he performed backing vocals for a non-album track titled “Walking a Line”, later released on a special edition of the band’s album One by One. Later, during the encore of the Foo Fighters’ secret show at Paladino’s in Tarzana, California on December 22, 2010, the band, with Grohl on drums was joined onstage by Novoselic and the band’s live guitarist Pat Smear for a version of Nirvana’s “Marigold” a 1992 Grohl original, which was also a B-side on Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box”, the first single from In Utero.Novoselic also recorded bass and accordion on the song “I Should Have Known”, appearing on the Foo Fighters’ 7th studio album called Wasting Light, released on April 12, 2011

Liberace

Best Known for his extravagant stage shows and flamboyant costumes, The late, great American Pianist Liberace was born 16th May in 1919. In a career that spanned four decades of concerts, recordings, motion pictures, television and endorsements, Liberace became world-renowned. During the 1950s–1970s he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world and embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off the stage. Liberace was born in West Allis, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb, his father was a musician who played the French horn in bands and movie theaters and encouraged music in the family. Liberace began playing the piano at four and his father took his children to concerts to further expose them to music, Liberace’s prodigious talent was soon spotted. He memorized difficult pieces by age seven and studied the technique of the famous Polish pianist and later family friend Ignacy Paderewski who he met backstage at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.

He dreamed of following in Ignacy’s footstep, which inspired him to practice with even greater fervor.Liberace focused fiercely on his piano playing and blossomed under the instruction of music teacher Florence Kelly who guided his musical development for ten years. He gained experience playing popular music in theaters, on local radio, for dancing classes, for clubs, and for weddings. He played jazz with a school group called the “Mixers” in 1934. Liberace also performed in cabarets and strip clubs, and even though his parents did not approve, he was earning a tidy living during hard times. For a while he adopted the stage name “Walter Busterkeys” and also showed an interest in draftsmanship, design, and painting, and he became a fastidious dresser and follower of fashion and was showing a knack of turning his eccentricities into attention-getting virtues. In a formal classical music competition in 1937, Liberace was praised for his “flair and showmanship”.

At the end of a traditional classical concert in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1939, Liberace played his first requested encore, “Three Little Fishes”, in the style of several different classical composers. The 20-year-old played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra , performing Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, for which he received strong reviews. He also toured in the Midwest. Between 1942 and 1944, Liberace moved away from straight classical performance and reinvented his act and started featuring “pop with a bit of classics” or as he also called it “classical music with the boring parts left out.”by the mid- and late 1940s, he was performing in night clubs in major cities around the United States, largely abandoning the classical concertgoer. He changed from classical pianist to showman, unpredictably and whimsically mixing serious with light fare.In 1944, he made his first appearances in Las Vegas, which later became his principal performance venue. He was playing at the best clubs, finally appearing at the celebrated Persian Room in 1945. During this time, Liberace worked tirelessly to refine his act. He added the candelabrum as a signature prop and adopted “Liberace” as his stage name.

He dressed in white tie and tails to be better seen in large halls. Besides clubs and occasional work as an accompanist and rehearsal pianist, Liberace also played for private parties. By 1947, he was billing himself as “Liberace—the most amazing piano virtuoso of the present day.” he also bought a rare, over-sized, gold-leafed Blüthner Grand, which he hyped up in his press kit as a “priceless piano”. He also performed with an array of other extravagant, custom-decorated pianos, some encrusted with sequins and mirrors.Liberace also created a very successful publicity machine which helped rocket him to stardom.Despite his success in the supper-club circuit, his ambition was to reach larger audiences as a headliner and a television, movie, and recording star. Liberace began to expand his act and made it more extravagant, with more costumes and a larger supporting cast. His large-scale Las Vegas act became his hallmark, expanding his fan base dramatically, and he became very wealthy in the process.

Liberace moved onto television and had guest appearances on The Kate Smith Show & Cavalcade of Stars, However he soon wanted his own show, and His first show on local television in Los Angeles was a smash hit, earning the highest ratings of any local show. The fifteen-minute network television program, The Liberace Show, began on July 1, 1952. Liberace learned early on to add “schmaltz” to his television show and to cater to the tastes of the mass audience by joking and chatting to the camera, as if performing in the viewer’s own living room. He also used dramatic lighting, split images, costume changes, and exaggerated hand movements to create visual interest. His television performances also featured enthusiasm and humor and his musical selections were broad, including classics, show tunes, film melodies, Latin rhythms, ethnic songs, and boogie-woogie.In 1956, Liberace had his first international engagement, in Havana. which He followed up with a European tour later that year. In 1960, Liberace performed at the London Palladium with Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr at the Royal Variety Show. In 1964 Liberace returned to Las Vegas, and, upping the glamour and glitz, he took on the sobriquet “Mr. Showmanship”.

The costumes became more exotic (ostrich feathers, mink, capes and huge rings), entrances and exits more elaborate (chauffeured onstage in a Rolls-Royce or dropped in on a wire like Peter Pan), choreography more complex (involving chorus girls, cars, and animals), and novelty acts.Liberace’s energy and commercial ambitions took him in many directions. He owned an antiques store in Beverly Hills, California and a restaurant in Las Vegas for many years and even published cookbooks, In addition, he had a line of men’s clothing, a motel chain (Liberace Chateau Inns), a shopping mall, and other enterprises. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Liberace’s live shows were major box office attractions in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton and Lake Tahoe. He maintained homes in both places. Always kind to animals and children, Liberace incorporated them into his shows and helped talented youth through his Liberace Foundation, whose works still continue.Liberace’s final stage performance was at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on November 2, 1986. His final television appearance was on Christmas Day that same year. He died at the age of 67 on February 4, 1987 , from “Cytomegalic Virus having been in ill health since 1985 with emphysema from his daily smoking off-stage, as well as heart and liver troubles. Liberace’s body is entombed in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.