December 15 – Gone With the Wind, Birdland BeBop, Dre’s ‘The Chronic’

1939


Heroine Scarlett O’Hara

Premiere of four-hour film Gone with the Wind.
#159

Based on a 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell about a love affair set in the Civil War era, it receives ten Academy Awards. The $4M film has grossed over $400M, is ranked #4 in AFI’s list of 100 best American movies. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

The huge soundtrack — 99 separate pieces, over 2-1/2 hours, requiring the services of five orchestrators — is sprinkled with many songs by Pennsylvania songwriter Stephen Foster (who never lived in the South, and who died, aged 37, in 1864). The score is by Austrian-American composer Max Steiner, who scored over 300 films (including the famous 1933 King Kong).

See also: Stephen Foster songs

1949


Late 40s 52nd St.

Morris Levy, founder and owner of Roulette Records, opens jazz club Birdland in NYC.

Located at 1678 Broadway on 52nd St. — about a block from today’s Gershwin Theatre  — it was purchased from ‘Joe the Wop’ Catalano. It’s named for US saxophonist, ‘godfather of bebop‘, and headliner Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker, then at the height of his popularity.

It’s the location of many famous recordings of the era, by artists like Art Blakey (A Night at Birdland Vol. 1, 1954), John Coltrane (Live at Birdland, 1963), Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Stan Getz.

The original closes in 1965; a second venue opens in 1986, then moves in 1997.

 ( Birdland site  Tony Flood’s Birdland

1992

Release of US rapper Andre ‘Dr. Dre’ Young‘s debut hip hop album The Chronic on his own Death Row Records label.

The single Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang makes US#2. With collaboration by Snoop Dogg, the album makes US#3. In 2003 Rolling Stone names it #138 of its top-500 albums.

The DR label tanks after the 1996 murder of Tupac Shakur. Dre founds his Aftermath Entertainment label that year.


Slim Shady

It signs Eminem in 1998; on Feb. 23, 1999 his chart-topping debut album The Slim Shady LP is released. Rolling Stone rank  #203.

Dre’s second, gangsta rap album 2001 (US#2,UK#4), released Nov. 16, 1999, includes several guest artists. It eventually sells 6M copies. Singles include Still D.R.E. (US#93,UK#6, 4M) and Forgot About Dre (US#25,UK#7) which wins a 2001 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. In March, 2006 Hip Hop Connection‘s 100 Best Albums list ranks 2001  #10 .

In the 2000s Dre focuses on producing other artists. In 2003, Aftermath releases debut 50 Cent album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (US#1, international top-5).

 ( Dre site  ( Aftermath site ▷NPR:The Chronic, The LA Riots ▹