With humble apologies to Mr. Arthur Jacob Arshawsky, whom because of my great affection for him, I call Artie Shaw, I'm offering slightly belated 100th birthday wishes. Artie's big day was actually the 23rd.
He swung onstage and he swung offstage, racking up an impressive 8 wives. He said of himself that he was 'a very difficult man', but when your matrimonial role call includes, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Evelyn Keyes, you've obviously got something goin' on!
I can't imagine any of those dames would've gotten him too mad at them considering that (amongst his other accomplishments) in 1962 he was the 4th ranked marksman in the United States.
I'm about to have to offer another apology here in a minute. In a 1994 New York Times interview, he summed up his anguished musical frustrations from so many years before: "I thought that because I was Artie Shaw I could do what I wanted, but all they wanted was 'Begin the Beguine.' "
Well Artie, for your birthday, that's all I want too. You wanna know why, I'll tell you. Because you took, musically speaking, one of the best damn popular songs ever written, stripped off it's inane, substandard lyrics, and let your clarinet do the singing. You turned it into something so special that swings, but also has notes of melancholy and is certainly an anthem of the big band era.