December 13 – Gershwin ‘American in Paris’, Autry’s Rudolph, Bruce Hornsby

1928

New York-born composer George Gershwin‘s symphonic tone-poemAn American in Paris‘ is given its premiere by the New York Philharmonic. 1929 recording 

MGM recast the work as a musical comedy film in 1951. Featuring Gene Kelly, directed by Vincente Minnelli, it wins the 1951 Best Picture Oscar … and 5 more!

1950

Children’s TV star Gene Autry tops the charts with Christmas tune Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Rudolph — who saved Christmas! — was created by Montgomery Ward employee Robert May in 1939; Wards gave away over 2 million Xmas coloring books that year. In 1998 Rudolf gets his whole story told in a movie.

Autry all decked out

Singing cowboy Autry had the Midas touch. Star of 94 films, multi-millionaire, 36-year baseball-team owner, member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, record-label owner. He put out several very successful Xmas records; he wrote his first hit, 1947’s US#9 Here Comes Santa Claus. Frosty the Snowman was a US#4 in 1950. He’s a lot easier to listen to over-and-over than The Chipmunks!

1986


Hornsby

Singer/songwriter, keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and The Range tops the US charts (CA,NL#1) with The Way It Is, a song about the US Civil Rights movement.

Well they passed a law in ’64
To give those who ain’t got a little more
But it only goes so far
Because the law don’t change another’s mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the color barThat’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
But don’t you believe them

In 1987 the song, along with the album (US#3), wins the group the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. After 3 more albums Hornsby goes solo, works with dozens of major artists, and releases dozens of live albums. And that‘s the way it is.
 ( Website ▷Full lyrics at Leo’s ▹

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