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A Timeline of 150 years of Washington DC's Contributions to the Music Industry. The timeline is a work in progress. Please send us your suggestions.


John Philip Sousa b. Washington, D.C. Educated in D.C. schools, conductor of U.S. Marine Band 1880-92, led Sousa's Band for 39 years. Wrote "The Washington Post March" in Philadelphia in 1889. Buried in Congressional cemetery.    MORE INFO


Len Spencer b. Washington, D.C. His "Arkansas Traveler" later becomes first song to sell a million copies on record. Joins ranks of George Washington Jefferson, b. in Virginia in 1846 as one of the first popular recording artists.    MORE INFO


Composer Will Marion Cook b.Washington, DC, writes "Clorindy, the Origin of the Cakewalk" (with words by poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar), historic as the first all-black cast and first black-written show. Cook goes on to become a very well known composer, conductor and violinist in the U.S. and Europe.


The Colored American Opera Company, Washington's first professional opera troupe, is founded by John Esputa.


Talent scout Fred Gainsberg b. Washington D.C., first to record "Enrico Caruso."


Edison secures patent for cylinder and disc records, founds Edison Speaking Phonograph Company. His original prototype and commercial production focuses on cylinder format.


Emile Berliner, who moved to Washington from Germany in 1870, invents gramophone. Uses flat disc to record instead of Edison cylinder. In 1892, Berliner completes manufacturing plant for duplicating sound recordings, and his trademark, later adopted by RCA, is painting of a dog listening to his master's voice on a gramophone. First known recording by Berliner Gramophone Records is anonymous recording of a clarinet. In 1894, he releases first known catalog of recorded discs for sale, and in 1896, records "Turkey In The Straw" in Washington, D.C. In 1901, he forms Victor Records.

Columbia Phonograph Company (later Columbia Records and now SONY) is formed at 709 G Street, NW, Washington, DC. In 1893, Columbia manufactures cylinders containing pop tunes and releases first dance records.    MORE INFO (Wikipedia)


Al Jolson emigrates to United States with family at age seven. After growing up in Washington, begins legendary show business career.    MORE INFO


Duke Ellington b. Washington, D.C.    MORE INFO


Claude Hopkins b. in Alexandria, Va. Pioneering big band leaders works with Josephine Baker and leads bands at Cotton Club and Savoy.    MORE INFO


Washington born Kate Smith, best known for her recording of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," receives a medal from General Pershing for entertaining troops stationed near Washington. Smith goes on to become "America's Songbird" with her top rated radio and television shows.


Charlie Rouse b. Washington, D.C. Master tenor saxophonist, works with Thelonious Monk from 1959 until Monk's death in 1982.    MORE INFO


Leo Parker b. Washington, D.C. Baritone saxophonist incorporates modern jazz bop to big horn.    MORE INFO


Pianist Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton records with Red Hot Peppers for Victor. This WAMA Hall of Famer, regarded as first great composer in jazz idiom, waits tables in Washington nightclub the Music Box until rediscovered in the 1930's through Alan Lomax' recordings for the Library of Congress.    MORE INFO


Lillian Evanti, Washington born soprano became the first black American opera singer to perform abroad, singing the title role in Delibes's "Lakme" with the Nice Opera.


After stint as Evangelical revival house, Howard Theater is reopened by theater manager Shep Allen with Duke Ellington as first performer. Named for nearby Howard University, venue features Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine, others. The Howard rivals New York's Apollo Theater for level of top name performers.    MORE INFO

Tenor saxophonist Ira Sullivan b. Washington, D.C.


Patsy Cline b. Winchester, Virginia. Iconographic country singer, records Willie Nelson's classic "Crazy."    MORE INFO


Roy Clark b. Meaherrin, Viginia. Raised in Washington from age 11, Clark performs with Wanda Jackson in late 50's, records in 1960's, and later joins Buck Owens as presenter on "Hee-Haw."    MORE INFO


Arthur Godfrey starts as morning deejay on WJSV (later WTOP) Radio. Becomes national radio personality with "Talent Scouts," introducing many performers.


Washington Baritone Todd Duncan becomes the first person to play the part of "Porgy" in the Gershwin Opera "Porgy and Bess." Duncan broke the color barrier in American Opera by insisting on integrated audiences during his performances.

Old-Time musician, prophet, storyteller and poet, Ola Belle Reed, moves with her family to a town in northeastern Maryland. Ola Belle becomes a pioneer in her genre by hosting the radio program, "Campbell's Corner," winning a National Heritage Fellowship and receiving an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Maryland. She has recorded four albums and taught graduate students at the famous Peabody School of Music.


Alan Lomax commences oral history recordings for "Archive of American Folksong" at Library of Congress.

Igor Stravinsky's "Concerto for Chamber Orchestra in E-flat," known as "Dumbarton Oaks Concerto," premieres at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown.    MORE INFO


Alan Lomax records Jelly Roll Morton for Library of Congress.

Folk guitarist John Fahey b. Takoma Park, Maryland. Founds Takoma label, becomes one of first folk artists to reach general audience.    MORE INFO

Marvin Gaye b. Washington D.C. Attends Cardozo High, sings with the Moonglows before leaving Washington for Motown.    MORE INFO

Marion Anderson performs an historic concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after being denied the right to perform at Constitution Hall. The free concert attracted 75,000 Washingtonians.


Billy Hart b. Washington, D.C. Jazz drummer works with Shirley Horn, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, and others.

Original Jefferson Airplane member Jorma Kaukonen born Washington, D.C. Later forms Hot Tuna.    MORE INFO


Library of Congress, Washington's third oldest recording outfit, releases first recordings, 78's called "The Friends of Music."


"Appalachian Spring" ballet premieres at Library of Congress. Music by Aaron Copland, performance by Martha Graham company.    MORE INFO

Scott McKenzie b. Arlington, Virginia. Member, early `60's outfit The Journeyman, with John Phillips. As solo artist, records late-`60's hit, "If You Go to San Francisco..."

In `60s Jack Casady b. Washington, D.C. co-founds Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.    MORE INFO

Peter Torkelson b. Washington, D.C. is Peter Tork later as one of TV's original Monkees.


Ahmet Ertegun, son of Turkish ambassador to Washington, cofounds Atlantic Records with Herb Abramson. In 1948, Ertegun and Abramson hear 20 years-old Ruth Brown singing at Crystal Caverns club in Washington. Pivotal R&B label eventually records Brown, Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, Led Zeppelin, many others.

Tim Buckley b. Washington, D.C. Discovered by Frank Zappa's manager and signed to Elektra Records in the '60s, Buckley combined melodic folk and jazz.    MORE INFO


After emerging from Baltimore, WAMA Hall of Famers the Orioles release "Barbara Lee" as their first single; the B-side "It's Too Soon To Know" hits the R&B Top 10.    MORE INFO


The B-side of The Clovers' first single reaches #1 on the R&B charts. These WAMA Hall of Famers, who follow with some 20 hits, including "Love Potion Number 9" and "One Mint Julep," come together at Washington's Armstong High School, to include Harold Lucas, John Buddy Bailey, Matthew McQuater, Harold Winley, and Bill Harris.    MORE INFO


Elizabeth 'Libba' Cotton, who works in Washington as domestic for Mike and Peggy Seeger Family, is persuaded by Mike Seeger to become performer at age 60. Her "Freight Train," authored at age 12, becomes #5 hit in U.K. She developed influential finger-picking style, "cotton picking."


"Bo Diddley" is one of year's major R&B and rock hits, establishes WAMA Hall of Famer Bo Diddley as a major star, introducing one of rock's most famous riffs.    MORE INFO


WAMA Hall of Famer "Guitar Bill" Harris releases "Bill Harris," considered the first solo jazz guitar album, while continuing six-year tenure with The Clovers. Later, Harris runs Pigfoot nightclub and gallery, serves as WAMA board member and professor of music at Howard University.


Patsy Cline wins Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout contest singing "Walking After Midnight." Her recording of the tune crosses over from country to pop, a pattern she repeats many times.

Marvin Gaye joins vocal group the Moonglows, who are best known for doo wop hits "Sincerely" and "Most of All."


Link Wray has hit with Rawhide. His "Rumble," recorded in 1954 and based on a gang fight in a Fredericksburg, Virginia, dance hall where Wray's band played, sold more than a million copies.    MORE INFO

Jimmy McPhail's Bladensburg Road NE, "The Melody Inn" becomes "Gold Room," featuring Redd Foxx, Irene Reed, and many others. Other popular jazz venues of the era include Abart's and Bohemian Caverns.


JFK Quintet forms in Washington with Andrew White on alto, Walter Booker on bass.    MORE INFO

After studying in Manhattan and with Andres Segovia in the 1940's, Charlie Byrd moves to Washington, D.C., where he studies with legendary Sophocles Papas and develops notable blend of jazz, classical and latin rhythms. The WAMA Hall of Famer produces more than fifty albums of his own and appears on dozens of others. In 1961, Byrd and Stan Getz record monster bossa nova album "Jazz Samba" in D.C.

Stanley Turrentine records for Blue Note, having toured or recorded with Lowell Fulson, Ray Charles, Max Roach, and Jimmy Smith. The WAMA Hall of Famer is recognized as one of jazz' great tenor saxophonists, combining bebop, funk and blues. nbsp;  MORE INFO

Songwriter Billy Stewart's hits "Sittin' In The Park" and "I do Love You" are in Billboard's top twenty Pop Charts.


Frank Sinatra performs for Kennedy White House during inaugural.

The Kennedys invite Pablo Casals for first White House music concert.

WAMA Hall of Famer Jimmy Dean, who started with Texas Wildcats on Arlington, Virgina radio station WARL, writes and performs "Big Bad John," selling two million copies. He follows with string of hits on CBS and RCA Records and performs on local TV show. nbsp;  MORE INFO

Bo Diddley, then living on Rhode Island Avenue NE in a house where musicians often congregated, discovers vocal group the Jewels and encourages them to record.    MORE INFO

The Hard Travelers, formed by students from the Baltimore suburbs attending the University of Maryland, consisted of the original personnel of Buddy Renfro, Mike Ritter, Ed Windsor and Kenn Roberts.


The Cellar Door opens at 34th and M Streets, NW. WAMA Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Donal Leace headlines with blues singer Carol Hedin opening the show. The club soon becomes known as "The Home of Donal Leace."

Mississippi John Hurt and Son House rediscovered by Washington, D.C. folklorists Dick Spottiswood and Tom 'Fang' Hoskins in mid-60's folk-blues revival. nbsp;  READ ABOUT FOLKWAYS RECORDS


Beatles first U.S. concert held at Washington Colliseum.    MORE INFO

In October, the Folklore Society of Greater Washington is founded. The all-volunteer organization is dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional folk arts in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.


WAMA Hall of Famer John Jackson rediscovered in blues-folk revival. One of finest traditional Peidmont guitarists and best loved blues artists, this National Heritage Award-winner is known for finger-picking blues, rags and dance tunes.


Ralph Rinzler founds first Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife, which becomes summer institution bringing American folk art and culture to the Mall.    MORE INFO

Time-Life Music opens headquarters in Alexandria, Va. becomes a leading company marketing music through mail and phone order.

Ramsey Lewis records the live version of his hit album "The In Crowd," at the Bohemian Caverns.

Ambassador Theatre, at 18th and Columbia Road, NW, opens its doors to the 'Summer of Love.' Week-long stints and $2 tickets for Jimi Hendrix, Vanilla Fudge, the Hollies, the Youngbloods, John Lee Hooker, and others.


Jake Einstein takes WHFS, founded in 1961, to rock format, with sons David as Program Director and Damian as DJ. Station in early years features psychedelic rock and acoustic music, later new wave, and more recently college rock. Purchased by Duchoissis Communications in 1988.    MORE INFO

Adelphi Records releases first LP. Originally a folk label, begins signing rock and blues in the '70s, including Nighthawks, Bill Holland and Rents Due, John Guernsey, Catfish Hodge, and Rosslyn Mountain Boys.


Roberta Flack signed by Atlantic Records, performing at home base Mr. Henry's on Capitol Hill.    MORE INFO

Emergency Club formed by teenagers in Georgetown. Non-alcoholic venue on M Street is one of cadre of Georgetown rock clubs in late `60s including The Keg, Silver Dollar, Round Table, Crazy Horse and Corral. Across town on 14th Street, live music plays in Bennie's, the Rocket Room and Hayloft.    MORE INFO

Walter Egan forms Sageworth and Drums with Georgetown University friends.    MORE INFO

Rock acts signed in this era include Fallen Angels, Hangmen, Cherry People, and Fat City's Bill and Taffy Danoff (who write John Denver's Country Roads and Rocky Mountain High ).

Woodwind founded, Washington first free arts newspaper, published by Richard Harrington and Michael Schreibman. Harrington later edits Unicorn Times and becomes music critic for Washington Post.


Elvis Presley visits Nixon White House.

Country rock group Claude Jones, releases 5-song EP "Sykesville." Billboard Magazine hails this mini LP as the future of the industry. Ten year later, EPs become the darling of the independents.

On November 5, 6, and 7, the First D.C. Blues Festival was held at Crampton Auditorium at Howard University featuring B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Howlin' Wolf and various others.    MORE INFO


Premiere blues guitar player and WAMA Hall of Famer Roy Buchanan secures first solo recording contract after playing in local groups such as the British Walkers and developing career as sideman for Dale Hawkins, Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks, Freddy Cannon and many others.

Seventeen-year old Nils Lofgren invites himself backstage at Neil Young concert at the Cellar Door to play for Young, who invites Lofgren to appear on Crazy Horse album "After the Gold Rush." Lofgren's band Grin secures Epic record deal. This WAMA Hall of Famer later plays in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and Ringo Starr's All-Star Band.    MORE INFO


Roy Buchanan's debut LP, "Buch & The Snake Stretchers," recorded at Crossroads Restaurant in Bladensburg, Md.

Harpist Mark Wenner and guitarist Jimmy Thackery form The Nighthawks, pursuing more than two decades of touring and recording with John Hammond, Greg Allman, Muddy Waters, others. These WAMA Hall of Famers include bassist Jan Zukowski, drummer Pete Ragusa, and guitarists Danny Morris and Pete Kanaras. Thackery leaves in 1986 later recording for Blind Pig with his band The Drivers.

After touring and recording with Noel Paul Stookey, Alex Taylor, and Doctor John, Jimmy Nalls is a founding member of D.C. Dog. Dog includes some of the city's best players - Gary St. Clair on keyboards and vocals, Mike Zack on drums, and Elliot Jagoda on bass. In 1976 Nalls co-founds Sea Level with Chuck Leavell. Later Nalls tours with the Nighthawks.

Emmylou Harris begins regular gigs at Childe Harold in Dupont Circle and other Washington clubs. Later joins Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Dylan on their albums, and moves to Los Angeles, then Nashville for solo career.

Little Feat records Feats Don't Fail Me Now in Hunt Valley MD and on an Inner Harbor barge -- sadly lost, along with masters, to the deep -- and the band's near residency at Four Corners on the Jarrestville Pike during that period.


Veteran Washington producer and artist Van McCoy releases "The Hustle," one of the first hits of the disco era and a national dance craze.

Blackbyrds release eponymous debut on Fantasy, score a hit with "Walking in Rhythm."

Western High School opens its doors as The Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

Promoter Mike Schreibman, whose New Era Follies brings to Washington acts diverse as Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt and the Clash, Linda Ronstadt and Joe Jackson, receives WHFS/Psyche Delly Home Grown Music Award in 1976.


Rockville, Md.'s Joan Jett forms the Runaways. After nine albums, world tours, and reputation as "toughest, grittiest" woman in rock, she forms the Blackhearts in 1981 and releases the multi-platinum "I Love Rock and Roll."    MORE INFO

Bill and Taffy Danoff of Fat City join with Jon Carroll and Margot Chapman to form the Starland Vocal Band. The 1976 release of the first album includes the number one hit, 'Afternoon Delight.' The group is nominated for five Grammys and wins two.


Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band first appear at the Psychedelly, record demo tape including songs “Boogie ‘til you Puke,”, “I Want it Now,” “Too Sick to Reggae” and “Xmas at K-Mart” at Track Recorders in Silver Spring that becomes “most requested album of the year” on WHFS. Steely Dan’s Donald Fagan and producer Gary Katz land him a contract with Warner Bros. Records.

Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go, writes "Busting Loose," his first national hit. The WAMA Hall of Famer originates go-go beat, and his band's alumni form Experience Unlimited and other go-go groups. Other R&B acts signed in era include Young Senators and Black Heat.    MORE INFO

Formed this year, The Slickee Boys release first EP "Hot and Cool," documented as third punk/new wave record ever released. Influence of their distinctive garage rock continues when video for cult hit "When I Go To The Beach" appears on MTV. The WAMA Hall of Famers release 15 more records, touring Europe and selling worldwide.    MORE INFO


Appearing at The Bayou, Foreigner play their first club date, after making their first public appearance with an afternoon show at American University.

Little Feat records set of dates at Washington's Lisner Auditorium resulting in double-record set, "Waiting for Columbus," that takes band beyond Baltimore/Washington cult status.


Art rockers the Urban Verbs signed to Warner Bros. Records. Drummer Danny Frankel goes on to become a session drummer in LA, plays with Lou Reed (on tonight show and Letterman), Fiona Apple and Jewel among others.


Originally founded in 1960, Georgetown University's radio station (WGTB), broadcasting on 90.1 FM, is shut down. Its broadcasting license and all of its equipment is sold to the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) for $1.

Hardcore punk band Bad Brains form in Washington, D.C. and become one of the most popular bands in the genre, inspiring a generation of punk bands.


Nightclub 9:30 opened by Dodie Bowers, later purchased by I.M.P.'s Seth Hurwitz and Richard Heinecke to break bands. In early years, 9:30 Club features new wave and punk acts that become rock staples, including Talking Heads and B52s.

Dischord Records formed by Woodrow Wilson High graduates Jeff Nelson and Ian MacKaye. With release of Minor Threat, Fugazi, Teen Idles and Rites of Spring, label becomes known nationwide for harDCore.

Irish band U2's first gig in U.S. at The Bayou. Legend differs as to whether U2 opens for Slickee Boys, or the other way around.

Gary Himmelfarb forms Real Authentic Sound (RAS) Records to distribute reggae music.


WAMA Hall of Famer Keter Betts begins conducting for Wolf Trap's Headstart program and Washington Performing Arts Society's school programs. Resident here since 1953, Betts is world-renowed bassist who toured 25 years with Ella Fitzgerald.    MORE INFO

Henry Rollins moves to L.A. to join the influential punk band Black Flag. Rollins was invited by Dez Cadena and Greg Ginn after they saw his band S.O.A. He later formed the Rollins band in 1987.

Ellen Amos graduates Richard Montgomery High as homecoming queen. A decade later, Tori Amos releases Little Earthquakes.

Rare Essence' first hit single, "Body Moves." With string of hits, group ascends as one of Washington's top Go-Go bands. Founder and drummer Quentin "Footz" Davidson, a WAMA Hall of Famer, developed group from southwest Washington neighborhood to draw crowds to festivals at USAir Arena and other national and local venues.    MORE INFO

Birchmere moves to Alexandria, as home for bluegrass and acoustic music. With groups like Seldom Scene and Johnson Mountain Boys, Washington becomes known as "Bluegrass Capitol of the World."    MORE INFO

Jon Carroll's song 'Get Closer' is recorded by Linda Ronstadt and hits number 30 on the pop charts. The song is later used in a hit commercial for Close-up Toothpaste.


Saturday, October 9 declared by Marion Barry to be "Buck Hill Day."


MTV airs Slickee Boys video, first D.C. band and first indie band aired on station.

Wax Museum in SW D.C. opens as largest rock club in area.

Marvin Gaye received his one and only Grammy for his comeback hit "Sexual Healing."

Washington Area Lawyers For the Arts (WALA) is formed.


Nils Lofgren joins Springsteen's E Street Band for three world tours and several albums.    MORE INFO


Washington Area Music Association formed.

Go Go impressario Maxx Kidd strikes deal with Island Record's Chris Blackwell, for film and soundtrack Good to Go, including cuts by Trouble Funk and Rare Essence.

Starpoint producing records. Member Ernesto Phillips later is introduced to Toni Braxton by Bill Pettaway and produces tracks on her mega-hit debut.

RIAA opens Washington office.


Tommy Keene releases Songs From the Film on Geffen Records.

Brian McGuire, W. Van Hall and Eric Brace starts Top Records to record Washington's pop bands, including Frontier Theory, B-Time, and Not Even.

Mark Gretschel creates Twist & Shout, a weekend-only club in Bethesda American Legion Hall for national and local roots, rockabilly and blues. Known nationwide from Mary Chapin Carpenter hit song.


Mstislav Rostropovich named Musical America's Musician of the Year. The renowned conductor and WAMA Hall of Famer leads the National Symphony Orchestra for 17 seasons. He is honored with a Grammy, Grand Prix du Disque, 30 honorary degrees and 90 awards worldwide, 1992 Kennedy Center Honors, and Wammies.

Washington attorney Howell Begle negotiates with Atlantic Records on behalf of Ruth Brown, the Clovers and other R&B stars for alleged underpaid royalties. Dispute settles, resulting in establishment of Washington's Rhythm and Blues Foundation, with founding donation from Atlantic and other pivotal R&B labels.

D.C. Blues Society founded. First annual blues festival held in Anacostia Park in 1989, later moved to Landgon Park and Carter Barron Ampitheatre.    MORE INFO


Spike Lee includes E.U.'s "Da Butt" in "School Daze" soundtrack and starts a new dance craze.


Rolling Stone magazine names Danny Gatton that year's "Hot Guitarist." With a Fender-customized Signature Guitar modeled after his '53 Telecaster, this WAMA Hall of Famer becomes revered worldwide for dazzling virtuosity of his playing and diversity of styles.

DC-based Sweet Honey In The Rock, founded in 1973 by Bernice Johnson Reagon, wins a Grammy in the Best Traditional Rock category.


After playing five years with D.C. band Scream, drummer David Grohl joins Seattle grunge band Nirvana for 1991's "Nevermind." After suicide of Kurt Cobain, Grohl forms Foo Fighters and is co-owner in D.C.'s Black Cat Nightclub.

Already recognized in Washington as vocalist, pianist and bandleader, WAMA Hall of Famer Shirley Horn breaks through to larger audience with "You Won't Forget Me" album with Miles Davis and Wynton and Branford Marsalis.

Motown releases "Johnny Gill." Washington native Gill is alumni of New Edition.


Beloved bar D.C. Space closes after ten years as coffee house, biker bar, punk rock club and playhouse.

Cleve Francis puts thriving medical practice on hold to become a country singer on the Capital Records/Nashville label.

Crystal Waters, then a student at Howard University, hooked up with Baltimore production team the Basement Boys and cut the mesmerizing house hit, "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)." Its famous "la-da-dee, la-da-da" hook was inspired by a Washington City Paper story about a homeless woman who'd hum that very ditty outside the posh Mayflower Hotel.

Dave Matthews Band forms in Charlottesville, Virginia and makes frequent stops in Washington, D.C. early in their career, playing clubs such as the Bayou and winning multiple Wammie awards. The five-piece eventually signed with RCA records, after steady touring and the success of their self-released debut "Remember Two Things."


Mary Chapin Carpenter receives one of her many Grammies for a song about Twist and Shout Club.

Alternative group Basehead becomes a part of the Lollapalooza tour.

Hungry for Music (HFM) is founded as an annual benefit concert to help the homeless, and becomes a non-profit organization in 1994, focused on theme-based, music compilation CDs.


Severn, MD's Toni Braxton's eponymous debut album released. Within three years, will sell 9.5 million copies worldwide with Braxton winning three Grammy awards.

Fifth Column Records' first release, Chemlab's "Ten Ton Pressure."

Me'Shell Ndgeocello splits Howard University jazz scene to sign with Madonna's label Maverick, debuts with "Plantation Lullabies."

Clutch, a band from Germantown, Maryland, signs with East West/Atlantic Records and in 1997 signs with Columbia Records. Clutch has gone on to sell more than 1,000,000 CDs around the world.


On March 15, IOTA opens on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, Virginia.


Cellar Door Productions recognized by Pollstar as top grossing concert promoter in U.S.

Seth Hurwitz and Richard Heinecke's I.M.P. named promoter of the year by Pollstar subscribers.

Arlington, Va.'s Teenbeat Records amasses 115 releases, including "Unrest" and "Johnny Cohen," while Simple Machines distributes "Tsunami," "Ida," and "Pitchblende" records.

Mary Chapin Carpenter picks up three Grammies for "He Thinks He'll Keep Her," inspired by energy-suppliment ad, and country album "Come On Come On."

Ted Nicely, former Yesterday & Today Records employee and Tommy Keene bassist, carves career as producer for Girls Against Boys and Fugazi.

After 15 years, Nightclub 9:30 closes doors at 930 F St, N.W., and re-opens next day at 815 V St, N.W, formerly WUST Music Hall.

Linwood Taylor named one of top 40 young blues players by Living Blues magazine.

Emmet Swimming signed to Epic, with first CD "Arlington to Boston" soon to follow.

WAMA's Eddie Stubbs moves to Nashville, picked for "voice of the Grand Ol Opry."

Bassist Jeff Sarli tapped for Keith Richard's next solo record.

The North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance, which exists to foster and promote traditional, contemporary, and multicultural folk music and dance, and related performing arts in North America moves to the DC area.


Sixteen years after it began, Dischord releases its 100th record.

Washington music community performs tribute for singer Eva Cassidy.    MORE INFO

Tenor great Placido Domingo debuts as Artistic Director of the Washington Opera, performing in "Gomes' Il Guarany."

Phil McCormack from McLean, VA, former lead singer of the Road Ducks and Holy Moly, replaces Danny Joe Brown to become the lead singer of Molly Hatchet.

Thievery Corporation recognized for their electronic LP, "Sounds From the Thievery Hi-Fi." They go on to sell over 100,000 records including subsequent recordings. Their music serves as the backdrop for everything from Dockers commercials to HBO's "The Sopranos" and movies like "Vanilla Sky."

Congress passes the Telecommunications Act, eliminating restrictions on the number of radio stations individuals or a single corporation can own.

DC-based a cappella group Davinci's Notebook wins the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes, landing them appearances on The Today's Show and later as Artists in Residence at The Kennedy Center.

Washington-born George Walker became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for music.

Alternative metal and hard rock band SEV forms in the Washington, D.C. area and, after releasing an independent album in 2000, is signed to Universal in 2001 and releases All These Dreams in 2002.

Tom Paxton and his wife Midge moved to the Washington, DC area.    MORE INFO


Maryland's Jimmie's Chicken Shack signed to Elton John's Rocket Records for the release of 1997's "Pushing the Salmanella Envelope."

Former punk-hangout Dante¹s reopens as Metro Café on Halloween, as an all-ages club.

MCI Center opens its doors, providing Washington with a downtown, 20,000 plus seat arena for sports and concerts.


Recognizing the importance of music and musicians in Washington, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), sponsor of the Grammy awards, opens a DC chapter, which quickly becomes the fastest growing chapter in history.

Washington D.C.'s Shrine Records, the rarest of obscure Soul labels is rediscovered by British label, Ace Records.

On December 31, The Bayou closes its doors.

The two-day Tibet Freedom Concert takes place at RFK Stadium, featuring popular acts such as Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Beastie Boys, REM and the Dave Matthews Band.

Fighting Gravity, a Richmond, Va.-based rock, world beat and pop-ska group signs with Mercury Records. Multiple CDs by the group each go on to sell over 100,000 copies.

Mya Harrison of Bowie Maryland releases her self titled debut album "Mya" which featured the single "Ghetto Superstar." "Mya" sells more than 2 million copies.


Washington Pipe Band wins the Pipe Band World Championships.

Jazz diva Shirley Horn wins her first Grammy for her album I Remember Miles.


The Washington Chorus wins a Grammy for best choral performance for its recording of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," the only American recording nominated that year.

Good Charlotte, a hard rock band from Waldorf, Maryland, sign with Epic Records.

Virginia-based Pat McGee Band sells out 7,000 person capacity Wolf Trap, along with Eddie From Ohio. Pat McGee Band later signs record deal with Warner Brothers.

Washington, D.C. based industrial rock band Godhead releases "2000 Years of Human Error," as the first band signed to Marilyn Manson's Post Human Records.

The Future of Music Coalition is founded in Washington, D.C. as a not-for-profit collaboration between members of the music, technology, public policy and intellectual property law communities, seeking to educate the media, policymakers, and the public about music and technology issues. January 2000.

John Eaton records live in Steinway Hall, New York City, one of the great musical temples of the world, and a place that many of the greatest pianists of all time have been associated.


Appalachian singer/songwriter Hazel Dickens and Byzantine Chant specialist, Harilaos Papapostolou, were awarded a $10,000 fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.    MORE INFO

In response to the September 11 attacks, DC-based non-profit organization Proof Through The Night is founded and raises over $10,000 for local charities, in a series of concerts featuring local musicians.

Northern Virginia band Virginia Coalition (VACO) plays the 9:30 Club and goes on to sell out the club on several occasions. The band's 2003 independent release Rock and Roll Party appeared on's top Internet album chart.

Sound Exchange, an organization created to track royalties on the Internet, is established in the DC area.


Richmond-based band Carbon Leaf, who frequently appeared at Arlington's Whitlow's On Wilson, wins the Coca-Cola New Music Award at the American Music Awards, beating out 800 other bands and performs live on the broadcast on ABC.

Derryberry & Alagia produce Dave Matthews first album. Doug Derryberry joins Bruce Hornsby's tour while John Alagia produces John Mayer's Room for Squares which sells triple-platinum and earns a Grammy. Early musical collaborators, they now pursue diverse projects in recording, producing and playing.
Copyright © 2000 by Washington Area Music Association.
Washington Area Music Association