November 22 – Bolero, Grand Canyon, Tom & Jerry, Beatles, Miracles

1928


Ravel

Premiere at the Paris Opera of Maurice Ravel‘s one-movement orchestral piece Bolero. Dudamel, Vienna

15 minutes long, it’s originally composed as a ballet called ‘Fandango’. It consists entirely of a single theme in two 18-bar sections, repeatedly played with different orchestration, over an unchanging ostinato rhythm.

It has become a standard. Social critic Allan Bloom complained in 1987 that its rhythm is the same as that of sexual intercourse. Noone is surprised that Allan thought he discovered this.

Bolero, while tonal, is extremely repetitive, yet never boring. Proving that ‘minimalism’ does not have to mean ‘sounds like it was written by a sewing machine.’

1931

Premiere of US composer, pianist Ferde Grofe‘s most popular work, Grand Canyon Suite. Bernstein (32m) 

It’s introduced by Paul Whiteman (for whom Grofe arranged for 12 years) and his orchestra in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building. Grofe had been awed by the Park when he camped there in 1916. The five-part work paints a delicate picture of the majesty and mystery of the National Park.

It (3 parts of it anyway) first appears in film on Dec. 17, 1958 in Disney’s Grand Canyon; the 29-minute short wins an Oscar.

▷Songwriter’s Hall-Grofe ▹

1957

Tom and Jerry (named after the cartoon characters?) appear on TV’s American Bandstand show.

They’re pleased to score a US#49 record with their first professional recording, ‘Hey, Schoolgirl’. Later they’re better known as Simon and Garfunkel.

1963

Release of The Beatles second UK album With the Beatles.

Most of its tracks … long on covers … are released in the US as Meet the Beatles (with the same photo) on Jan. 24, 1964 … the first album seen by most Americans. Postman Marvelettes version

1968
Five years later, the now internally contentious Fabs release their White Album, a 2-LP set (originally to be called ‘A Doll’s House’) …


Site of the damage

their 9th official UK album and 15th US album.

It’s the result of nearly forty unprecedently diverse songs written during the band’s stay in Rishikesh, India. Its birth is so difficult, a frustrated Ringo had taken two weeks off in August, threatening to quit. Me and My Monkey

Its svelte, white, no-text no-graphics cover will later be adopted by Fabs freak Steve Jobs for several of his computer designs.

1963

Motown releases Smokey Robinson song You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, a US#8, USR&B#1 hit for ‘soul supergroup’ The Miracles.

It is performed by The Beatles for their second, 1963 album. The song wins a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. The group spends 19 years on US charts with 50 hits, 26 R&B top-10s; in 2011 Rolling Stone again names them #32 of the 100 greatest artists.

Original  Shindig (1964)  Funk Bros backing ‘Hold on Me’ 

See also: The Definitive Performances (DVD)

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