June 8 – Larry Adler’s harmonica, Carmina Burana, Da Doo Ron Ron

1934

Release of George Burns, Gracie Allen comedy film Many Happy Returns. Among all the hams is 20-year-old, Baltimore-born harmonica player, composer Larry Adler.

When he got his start in vaudeville as a ‘ragged urchin’, he was already an accomplished player; eventually he’s one of the world’s most skilled. In 1940 he teams up with dancer Paul Draper. His popularity rises in the UK where a fanclub gathers 300,000 fans; persecuted in the US, he breaks up with Draper and emigrates to the UK in 1949.

Playing Clair de Lune, 1944 

Many well-known modern composers (among them Ralph Vaughan Williams, Darius Milhaud, Malcolm Arnold) will write major works for his ‘mouth organ’. His work on the soundtrack for 1953 British comedy Genevieve (BAFTA’s 1954 Best Film) wins him a 1955 Oscar nomination for Best Music. 1994 80th-birthday tribute album The Glory of Gershwin rises to UK#2.

Playing Rhapsody in Blue 

1937

Cover of score

Premiere of German composer Carl Orff‘s best-known work — the cantata Carmina Burana.
O Fortuna (5m) Complete (Ozawa, 63m)

The name Carmina Burana refers to a collection of 254 ‘irreverant’ poems and texts, written by clergy and students in the 11th or 12th century. Orff chose 24 of them for this work, which is staged along with sets and costumes at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. Parts (usually of ominous O Fortuna) have been heard in many films.

( Orff site ) ▷NPR:Carmina Burana ▹ ▷Carmina Burana Explorer ▹

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1963

The Crystals

Phil Spector, along with Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry, teases another top-10 hit (US#3) out of The Crystals titled Da Do Ron Ron.

The song — which Rolling Stone ranks #114 in its top-500 songs — is way better than the name. In 1977 a cover by teen idol Shaun Cassidy tops the charts (US#1,CA#1). Live After a decade or so of acting, Cassidy becomes a TV executive producer.

( Crystals site )