“Big Band” leader and clarinet player Artie Shaw (front and center) and his 14-piece band recorded the top-selling song of 1938, “Begin the Beguine” (a “Beguine” is a slow, Caribbean, foxtrot-like dance), in a July 1938 recording session at the old RCA recording studios [map] in Midtown Manhattan. [Audio from archive.org.]
Artie Shaw (May 1910–Dec. 2004), who was known as the “King of Swing” in the Swing era, was married to actresses Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, and Evelyn Keyes; was an accomplished marksman and fly fisherman; appeared on numerous radio and television shows, and onscreen; and wrote songs, books, and short stories.
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