June 4, 2010

You Have To Love A Bandleader Whose Theme Song Is "Nightmare"

Mike Plaskett and Dale Abraham, co-hosts of Rhythm Sweet & Hot , have a nice primer on the 1930s output of Artie Shaw at the NPR website.

Shaw was a prickly character... he had eight (count'em!) wives, for starters.

Fond of self-sabotage, he disliked performing many of his commercially successful pieces. "I thought that because I was Artie Shaw I could do what I wanted," he once told a reporter, "but all they wanted was 'Begin the Beguine.'"

Well, yes. It was Begin the Beguine. Nothing else has, to date, ever brought the beguine in similar fashion. (Artie Shaw would have HATED that sentence.)

Anyhoo, difficult artist. Go figure. Go read Mike & Dale's article.