December 31, 2004

R.I.P. Artie Shaw

I'm listening to Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra perform "Stardust" as I write. Shaw, who lived to the ripe old age of 94 before dying yesterday, didn't write this song, though it was one of his signature tunes.

Shaw was a compulsive perfectionist: he quit playing clarinet in the 1950s because he just wasn't good enough to satisfy himself. Nor, apparently, did his first seven wives - who included gorgeous Ava Gardner and the lovely and talented Lana Turner - before he found true love with Evelyn Keyes for nearly 50 years.

Darn good music though.