Song: Begin the Beguine
Artist: Artie Shaw
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Artie Shaw was an American clarinetist, composer, and bandleader, born on May 23, 1910, in New York City. He began his music career as a teenager, playing with various bands before forming his own group in the 1930s.
Widely regarded as “one of jazz’s finest clarinetists”, Shaw led one of the United States’ most popular big bands in the late 1930s through the early 1940s. Shaw’s band became one of the most popular of the swing era, known for hits like “Begin the Beguine” and “Stardust.” He was also an accomplished composer, arranger, and conductor, and he recorded numerous albums throughout his career.
First written by Cole Porter, Artie Shaw’s version of Begin the Beguine gained little popularity, perhaps because of its length and unconventional form. This resulted in it being released on the “B” side of the record “Indian Love Call”. However, it became a best-selling record in 1938, peaking at no. 3, skyrocketing Shaw and his band to fame and popularity. The recording became one of the most famous and popular of the entire Swing Era.