Freethought Almanac

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January 28, 2015
Sarah MacLachlan (1968)

It was on this date, January 28, 1968, that Canadian musician Sarah McLachlan was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She started singing at age four. Not only does her voice attract fans, with songs like "Adia," "Angel," "Hold On," and "Sweet Surrender" — yielding three Grammy Awards — but McLachlan has also distinguished herself as […]

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September 27, 2014
September 27: Stephan Jenkins

Stephan Jenkins (1964) It was on this date, September 27, 1964, that Stephan Jenkins, the front man for the pop music group Third Eye Blind, was born Stephan Douglas Jenkins in Oakland, California. After overcoming childhood dyslexia, and earning a degree in literature in 1987 from the University of California, Berkeley, Stephan Jenkins co-founded Third […]

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August 22, 2014
August 22: Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy (1862) It was on this date, August 22, 1862, that French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy was born Achille-Claude Debussy, the eldest of five children, in St. Germain-en-Laye. A prodigy, he entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 10 and by 1902 his Prélude à L’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of […]

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May 22, 2014
May 22: Richard Wagner (1813)

Having “little taste for the otherworldly speculations of dogmatic theology,” Wagner wrote his most powerful music in his “Ring” years, when he was an Atheist.

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May 9, 2014
May 9: Billy Joel (1949)

It was on this date, May 9, 1949, that American singer/songwriter and pianist Billy Joel was born William Martin Joel in the Bronx, New York City, but reared in Hicksville. His father was born in Germany and was a classical pianist, his mother was born in England. His parents, both non-observant Jews, divorced when Joel […]

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May 7, 2014
May 7: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

“I have found some astonishing answers to my questionings as to God and religion in [Flaubert’s] book,” wrote Tchaikovsky. Flaubert was an Atheist.

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May 7, 2014
May 7: Johannes Brahms

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts, as the one dieth, so dieth the other; … so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,” quoted Brahms.

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March 25, 2014
March 25: Béla Bartók (1881)

It was on this date, March 25, 1881, that Hungarian composer and pianist Béla Bartók was born Béla Viktor János Bartók in the small Banatian town of Nagyszentmiklós in the Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary (since 1920 Sânnicolau Mare, or “Great St. Nicholas,” Romania). He got his first piano lessons from his mother, but from the […]

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June 17, 2013
June 17: Barry Manilow (1943)

It was on this date, June 17, 1943, that American singer-songwriter and producer Barry Manilow was born. Best known for such recordings as “Mandy,” “Can't Smile Without You,” “Could It Be Magic” (which samples Frédéric Chopin's Prelude in C Minor), “I Write the Songs” (which he didn’t write) and “Copacabana,” Manilow has sold more than […]

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October 27, 2011
October 27: Niccolò Paganini

Niccolò Paganini (1782) It was on this date, October 27, 1782, that Italian virtuoso violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini was born in Genoa. Like Mozart, who was born 26 years earlier, Paganini was a child prodigy, composing a sonata at age eight and performing onstage from the age of eleven. He learned much from his […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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