www.4DBios.com

MUSICIANS - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION - COMPOSERS & TROUBADOURS

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS MEGALOMANIACAL SELF-CELEBRATOR:
Storyline: The multi-faceted Renaissance musician brings a superb sensibility to any and every discipline he embraces, but the stretch of his eclectic talents robs him of true greatness in any one endeavor, as he settles for being a lion of his times rather than the ages.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) - American composer, performer, teacher and conductor. Outer: Parents were Russian Jews who had emigrated to America. One younger sister. Father was in the barber and beauty-supply business and hoped his son would someday join him. Despite his sire’s opposition, he knew he wanted to be a musician from the moment an upright piano was brought into his house at age 10. Immediately began to improvise, playing by ear. When he used his allowance to pay for lessons, his father stopped doling it out, but then relented when he discovered he was making money in a dance-band. Went to Boston Latin, and graduated from Harvard with honors at 20, before finishing his formal education at the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, after having been turned down by Julliard, while standing out wherever he went. 5’8”, handsome, with a highly expressive face. Moved to NYC with glowing references, but couldn’t find work initially. Studied conducting with Serge Koussevitsky at the Berkshire Music Center, becoming his assistant, then was made assistant to Artur Rodzinski in 1943, and the same year, he made a spectacular conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic, filling in for the ailing maestro with such majesty, despite a fierce hangover, that he was front page news. Later published his first symphony, wrote a successful ballet, and had a hit Broadway show, On The Town. Also proved successful with Candide, Wonderful Town and the classic West Side Story. In the late 1940s, he launched his international career, beginning with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Also conducted in numerous European cities, and in 1953, became the first American to lead a performance at Milan’s prestigious opera house, La Scala. Despite his successes, he was criticized for being choreographic and vulgar, although even his nay-sayers came to see his growth and maturation over his career. Over the next decade he augmented his c.v. with musicals, another ballet, and a film score, before finally getting his own orchestra in the late 1950s as musical director of the New York Philharmonic, the first American-born conductor to head a top symphony orchestra. Stayed 11 years with them, while globetrotting as a guest conductor and continuing his composing. A conductor of such great animation, that occasionally he fell off the podium. Also proved to be a highly effective teacher, using TV, beginning in 1958, to broadcast concerts for children for 15 years, while also giving lectures and writing to share his joy in the aesthetic power of music. Although his composing facilities waned in later years, his showmanship remained with him his entire life. In his early 30s, he married Felicia Montealegre Cohn, a Chilean/American actress, 2 daughters and a son, but the union was occasionally strained through his intermittent homophile relationships, which became public knowledge in the late 1980s, following the publication of a tell-all biography. The two separated after 25 years, and she ultimately died in 1978 after a long illness. Subject of mockery for hosting a Black Panther party at his home, which caused writer Tom Wolfe to invent the phrase “radical chic.” A heavy smoker all his life, with a taste for bourbon as well. Diagnosed with emphysema in his mid-20s, and suffered from the disease his entire adult life, adding pulmonary infections and a pleural tumor later on. Given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985. Five days after announcing he would retire because of health problems, he died at home of a heart attack brought about by lung failure. Inner: Master showman and exhibitionist. Loved to bestow kisses on everyone. Flamboyant, gregarious, charming, totally self-involved, reveled in publicity. Like many people of high achievement, suffered deep dark depressions. Had an inordinate love for music, and generated great love from many whose lives he touched, while also making his share of enemies. Had a lifelong respect for Hebrew and Jewish culture, and later added an equal affinity for Roman Catholicism. Ebullient lifetime of looking for unadulterated public love in all the right places, although his multifaceted talents probably robbed him of being a true and lasting genius for the centuries in any one of his many creative pursuits. Edward MacDowell (1861-1908) - American composer. Outer: Son of a Quaker who had been frustrated in his desire to become a painter, and became a merchant instead. Recognized his son’s musical gifts and encouraged them, as did his mother. Also had considerable talent as an artist. Grew up in cultured surroundings. Given piano lessons from the age of 8, and then at 15, it was decided he should go abroad to study. Handsome, with a highly expressive face. Went to Paris accompanied by his mother, to study at the Paris Conservatoire. Realized it would give him insufficient training, and went to the Stuttgart Conservatory, but also found it lacking. Finally wound up at the Frankfurt Conservatory, where he decided to become a composer, rather than a piano virtuoso, since he disliked performing. Also took on pupils himself, as he began to compose suites and concertos. At 21, he visited Franz Liszt (G. W. Pabst), who greatly encouraged him. Returned to America and in his early 20s, he married Marian Nevins, an American pupil whom he had had in Germany. No children from the union. Went back to Germany again, but after Liszt died, he decided to come home to America permanently. Lived in Boston for 8 years as a composer, teacher and concert pianist, giving tours, and playing his own music, which was in great demand. In 1896, he accepted a position from Columbia Univ. in NYC to take charge of its new music department. Although an enthusiastic teacher for talented pupils, he was not geared to instructing mediocre talent, and soon found the work a drudgery. His individuality was also not suited for being part of a large organization, and he resigned 7 and 1/2 years later, creating a huge public controversy when he labeled his former students as “barbarians,” and vehemently put down the university as materialistic rather than idealistic, as criticisms flew back and forth between the school and former professor. The trustees accepted his resignation with an official reprimand, despite his writing to each one justifying his position. Knocked down by a cab and injured during this brouhaha. Did some private teaching, but by the next year, he began to show signs of nervous exhaustion. Became an insomniac, and his mind began giving away. Eventually sank into a state of total lethargy and catatonia, blankly staring at walls for 2 years until he quietly died. Some mystery remains around his demise and it was ultimately attributed vaguely to a “brain malady.” His wife later established the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, as a retreat for artists, composers, poets and writers. Wrote many piano pieces, suites and songs, as well as orchestral works. Inner: Romantic at heart. Kindly disposition, lively conversationalist, great range of interests, with a highly dynamic personality. Impulsive, yet generous and sensitive. Uncompromising in his artistic standards, yet without a balancing perspective on the less talented of the world. Always operated on the premise of either his way or the highway. Self-absorbed lifetime of eventually being overwhelmed by his megalomania, and ultimately disappearing into his own mind, as the only audience truly appreciative of him. Felix Mendelssohn (Jacob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) (1809-1847) - German composer. Outer: 2nd of 4 children of a Jewish banker and grandson of the famous philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Mother had been the daughter of a Jewish banking family as well. Father was cultured and an adept businessman who took great pleasure in his children, while his mother was musically inclined with artistic and linguistic skills. All of the children had musical talent. Studied music with his older sister Fanny (Alicia Keys) who was in his class as a pianist, as well as being a talented composer. The two were extremely close their whole lives and devoted to one another. The Mendelssohns fled to Berlin in 1811, and in 1816, all the children were baptized, while the family took on the name Bartholdy to escape the anti-Semitism of the time, after his parents converted as well. His sire instituted a rigid and systematic education for his children with different teachers for different skills, all under the close supervision of their parents. 5’6”. Despite the love and devotion of his parents, his progenitor was a martinet, keeping his son in his thrall until his mid-20s. Made his first public appearance at 9, and by the next year he was already a prolific composer. Took several visits to Weimar and became friends with polymath writer Johann Goethe (Thomas Mann), then 72 years old. The family began holding Sunday musicales, where his compositions were played to an audience often filled with distinguished musicians who helped him with their criticism and advice. Became a pupil of Ignaz Moscheles (Leopold Mozart), and had a lifelong friendship with him. Matriculated at the Univ. of Berlin, although he did not graduate. Did however, get a more fully rounded education than any musician of his time. His father decided he should tour as a culmination of his education. Went to London, where he was received with great enthusiasm, and he returned numerous times there to reciprocate his affection for the country, while gaining a complete fluency in the language. After success at a musical festival at Dusseldorf, he spent the next 3 years as a musical director there, which eventually overtaxed him. Elected a member of the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts and then became conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, infusing that city with a new cultural life. Shocked by the death of his father when he was 24, but he became engaged to Cécile Jeanrenaud, the daughter of a French Protestant clergyman and married her the following year. Loving relationship, which produced 5 children, as his reputation as both composer and conductor continued to expand. Despite his hectic musical activities, he accepted the position offered by the Prussian king as director of a proposed department of music of the Academy of Arts, although the Court, the musicians and even the public were subsequently openly hostile to him. Wished to resign, but continued in his duties. The same year, he was deeply bereaved by the loss of his mother. Became involved with a new Conservatory of Music at Leipzig under the patronage of the King of Saxony in 1842. Taught there, in addition to his other duties. Made his tenth and last visit to England and played before Queen Victoria (Mary Renault), but overwork and fatigue were beginning to slow him down, forcing him to resign several of his posts. Went to Frankfurt to rest, but the death of his beloved sister totally overwhelmed him. Fell senseless to the floor from the rupture of a blood-vessel in his head. Returned to Leipzig, but had lost the will to live and after a series of strokes, he died 5 months after his sister. Inner: Sweet, sensitive, intense, picky and precocious. Short and slightly built, but lithe and highly energetic and unusually handsome. Good artist and prodigious letter-writer. Good son lifetime of strong involvement in his family milieu, with emotional connections to those around him central to both his music and persona, in order to open up his emotional character, which heretofore had been hidden behind a worldly arrogance. Henry Purcell (c1659-1695) - English composer. Outer: Son of a gentleman of the Chapel Royal of the same name, who was a composer for the King’s band of violins,.although no record exists of his baptism. Probably the third or fourth of six children. Began composing at a very early age, with his own sense of natural genius, and became a chorister at the Chapel Royal at 6, which was an exceptionally young age for the position, and he received his education there. Discharged his duties with precocity, and at 18 was appointed composer to the King’s violins, and then 2 years later succeeded John Blow (Michael Tilson Thomas) as organist at Westminster Abbey. Legend had it that Blow was so impressed by him, that he resigned in his favor, after giving him lessons. Started his composing career in earnest primarily in the realm of sacred music, and married Frances Peters, the daughter of naturalized Flemish immigrant, though the relationship is ill-recorded. 4 children from the union, with two sons dying young. Appointed organist at the Chapel Royal in 1682, and was a chorister there as well, while continuing his role as royal composer to Charles II (Peter O’Toole) for the length of his reign, which ended in 1685. Became Keeper of the King’s wind instruments for James II (Martin Sheen), although his role at court diminished with the Catholic monarch, and ended with his successor William (Lyndon Johnson). Turned his attention to composing for the theater afterwards, contributing to over 40 theatrical works. The last 10 years of his life were also ill-recorded, save for his compositions, and several more posts he held, including taking on students. Given to drinking and staying out late, and one night he was locked out by his wife, and died of a cold he caught, although the story may be apocryphal. Considered the predominant English composer of his century, and one of the greatest natural geniuses that England has ever produced, with a reputation that has lasted intact to the present day, despite the usual fluctuation in appraisal that all masters have undergone. Wrote one opera, many theatrical works and occasional pieces, church music and instrumentals. Inner: Had a universality to his music, appealing to both lay audiences and musicians alike. Hidden personality, perhaps a lesson learned from his previous existence as a victim of his own contentiousness around property rights. Shrouded lifetime of allowing his sheer musical genius do all the talking for him, while a good deal of the rest of him lies buried in conjecture. William Byrd (1543-1623) - English composer. Outer: Early life unrecorded, but possibly the son of a member of the Chapel Royal and may have spent part of his youth there, when Thomas Tallis (Elton John) was organist. Married in his mid-20s, 4 children from union. Shortly afterwards, he was elected a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. Also held the position of organist at Lincoln until his late 20s. Next shared the post of organist at the Chapel Royal with Tallis. The two received a license from Elizabeth I (Mae West) for printing and selling music, but the monopoly brought them into debt and they ultimately had to petition the queen for an annuity. The monopoly became his sole property on the death of Tallis, with whom he also composed sacred music. Held in the highest esteem by his contemporaries for his sacred compositions, and was known as the “Father of Musick.” Despite his work for the Anglican Church, he remained a Papist his entire life. Teacher of Thomas Morley (Michael Tilson Thomas). After his wife died, he married a 2nd time. Had several lawsuits over property leases, but was either defrauded or defeated in them. When he was 50, he took up residence in Essex, but once again was involved in disputes and litigations. The rest of his life was obscured, save for more lawsuits over his properties, 6 in all. His gift to posterity were the 3 great masses that he wrote, as well as numerous songs, church and secular music and instrumentals. The pre-eminent figure in 16th century English music. Inner: Extremely original and inventive, but with a contentious personality around his own perceived territory. Combative lifetime of being musically well ahead of his time, and materially and psychologically very much a part of it.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS SELF-INVOLVED SELF-CELEBRATOR:
Storyline: The pre-eminent piano man adds the weave of the baton to his impressive list of achievements, while continuing his own exploration into the glories of self, trading in his virtuosity and composing skills for a shot at all-around maestro status.

Michael Tilson Thomas (1944) - American conductor. Outer: Of Russian-Jewish descent. Grandson of Boris (John Turturro) and Bessie (Patricia Arquette) Thomashevsky, stars of the Yiddish stage. George Gershwin, an earlier life of his, immortalized the former in song. Father began in the NY theater, but didn’t want the frenzied public life of his parents, and wound up playing in Roy Rogers serials, as well as writing and serving as a dialogue director. His mother worked in the Roosevelt administration, then established the research dept. at Columbia Pictures before becoming a junior high school English and social studies teacher. Had a modest middle-class upbringing in Los Angeles, while his parents hoped their only child would be a scientist. Began playing the piano by ear at 5 and reading music at 8. Started his formal studies at 10, including the piano, and was conducting a youth orchestra at 19, before graduating summa cum laude from USC, and receiving his masters in music from there as well. 6’1”, 160 lbs. and high-strung. Continued his studies in Bayreuth and at the Berkshire Music Center, after winning the Boston Symphony’s Koussevitsky Prize. Conducted festivals in Ojai California in his mid-20s, and then became assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony, taking over in mid-concert when the conductor fell ill, just as as mentor conductor Leonard Bernstein had done, with whom he has been continually paralleled as a unique Anglo/American artist.. Also became music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where he championed neglected American composers. Refused, however, to specialize or make a unique niche for himself. Made his London debut in his mid-20s, showing a mastery of a wide repertoire, and later was guest conductor with the London Symphony for 7 years, helping resuscitate it both financially and artistically, with his varied programs. Continued his high profile career as principal guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Arrested for marijuana and cocaine possession in his mid-30s at a NY airport, and ultimately plea-bargained for a disorderly conduct charge. The incident cost him several important conducting jobs, although on some level he needed to reassess where he was going. Started a Miami-based training orchestra, the New World Symphony, while questioning his career. Worked on his repertoire, and settled in San Francisco with his longtime homophile partner and production manager. Became musical director of the San Francisco Symphony in his early 50s, finally finding the position to meld his talent, taste and need for recognition. Easily entered the multi-media age, with a five year project entitled “Keeping Score,” in 2006, which entwined PBS TV shows, an interactive web site, and live performance DVDs to spark interest among the younger set in classical music, updated Leonard Bernstein’s earlier effort once again for the 21st century. In 2014, he wed his longtime partner and manager, Joshua Mark Robison, after 38 years together. Inner: Strongly self-involved, self-assured, witty, urbane. Arrogant, brash, high-strung, with an extremely high musical intelligence and a strong work ethic. Eventually matured to more fully realize his talents. No sense of home, save in his music, strong sense of family and roots. Self-celebrating lifetime of expanding his abilities while more fully integrating his ongoing inflated sense of self. George Gershwin (Jacob Gershowitz) (1898-1937) - American composer and pianist. Outer: Son of Russian Jewish immigrantswho owned at different times a Turkish bath, a billiard parlor and several other small businesses, including a goodly number of restaurants. The family moved over 20 times around NYC during his childhood, but also encouraged individuality and their children’s gifts, while giving them a relatively middle-class upbringing compared with their neighbors. His older brother Ira was a lyricist who later worked in tandem with him, and he had 2 younger siblings as well. Dropped his first name of Jacob, and began calling himself by his more alliterative middle name. Became fascinated by a coin-operated player piano in Harlem that played Anton Rubinstein’s (Dmitri Shostakovich) “Melody in F”, which was his introduction to classical music. At the same time, he began listening to jazz outside the doorway of cabarets in Harlem. Started studying the piano at the age of 12, and was encouraged to attend concerts and continue his musical education, proving remarkably adept at classical music. Left high school at 15 to take a job as a staff pianist for a popular music publisher in ‘Tin Pan Alley,’ in order to thoroughly understand American popular music. Became determined to create an American music of classical overtones based on popular idioms and melodies. Worked as a rehearsal pianist for Victor Herbert (Paul McCartney). 5’10 1/2” with dark brown hair. After one of his songs was used in a Broadway show and published, he started receiving a regular salary to compose songs at the age of 18. The following year, Al Jolson (Michael Jackson), sang his composition "Swanee," which was a sensation. Wrote his first complete musical the same year, and thereafter was enormously successful with all his work. Became rich in 1924 with his symphonic jazz piece Rhapsody in Blue. Played his works in concert and elicited the admiration of many classical composers. Wound up constantly playing music and talking about it, while writing songs and keyboard and orchestral works, creating a host of highly memorable pieces, while earning millions for his efforts. A highly sought after guest, he could always be found at the piano at the soirees of the entertainment elite. Best remembered for Porgy and Bess, considered the first American opera, which opened in the mid-1930s, and 7 years later went into revival, proving to be the longest-running musical on Broadway up until that time. Also a gifted amateur painter. Wrote for films, continually chased after women, and was directly involved in the cultural life of NY and Los Angeles. Began getting debilitating headaches and bouts of vertigo, which were misdiagnosed, and he fell into a coma. After undergoing emergency surgery, he died unexpectedly of a brain tumor, symbolic of a longtime withheld anger of the imagination. Inner: Dynamic, highly energetic, and enthusiastic. Seductive, athletic, highly social, and highly self-involved. Shy, somewhat melancholic and emotionally reticent, although loved the company of others, thanks to a constant need for attention. His own best interpreter, and an important bridge figure in welding the popular and the classical. Self-celebrating lifetime of feeling himself on a mission to raise popular American music to a serious level, while enjoying the plaudits and rewards for his unabashed ability to do so. Louis Gottschalk (Louis Moreau Gottschalk) (1829-1869) - American pianist. Outer: From a well-to-do family. Father was a transplanted Englishman, mother was of French descent, and both had aristocratic pretensions. Proved himself a child prodigy, studying violin at 6, and later piano, while receiving a solid education. Taught courtly manners, while his French was always better than his English, despite his American upbringing. Slim, aristocratic and short, as well as delicate in appearance, although he was a good athlete. The family sent him to Paris at 13 to continue his apprenticeship, although he was turned down by the Paris Conservatoire because of its low regard for Americans, and had to use private tutors to advance his musical education in piano and composition. Nevertheless, two of his fellow students were Camille Saint-Saens (Keith Jarrett) and Georges Bizet (Stevie Wonder), giving him ample stimulus and competition. Given a venue to high society through an aristocratic aunt, and proved to be a great favorite. Made his debut at 16, where fellow key-pounder Frederic Chopin (Karlheinz Stockhausen) pronounced him “King of Pianists.” Became a Parisian vogue, thanks to a dreamy melancholy and a virtuoso technique, although indolence, lack of discipline and the pursuit of pleasure ultimately curtailed his potential. Despite all, he would soon become the first American concert pianist of worldclass stature. Began composing pieces based on African-American, Creole and Latin-American melodies, which were a huge hit at the time, making him the first true American composer, although they were later derided as simplistic and sentimental. Toured Europe and Spain, where his career almost ended when a jealous courtier slammed a carriage door on his hand. After a hysterical reception in the latter country, he was asked to leave post-haste by no less than its queen, after becoming involved with her sister. Gave his first concert in America in 1853, and became the rage there as well, despite mediocre notices in Boston, noting brilliant technique but a lack of depth to his playing, a canard that was probably true. Enjoyed many affairs, and continually toured, winding up in Cuba, where he stayed for 5 years, often appearing with diva Adelina Patti (Beverly Sills) and her father. Dropped out of sight in 1860, probably experiencing some sort of breakdown, although recovered when he began running out of cash. During the mid-Civil War, he gave more than 1500 concerts, playing for all kinds of audiences in the North, since he harbored anti-slavery sentiments, despite being a Southerner by birth. He was ill-suited for colder climes, however, which affected his health. Started suffering attacks of neuralgia of the eye, as well as influenza. An affair in San Francisco with a young woman from the Oakland Female Seminary blew up into a scandal, and he barely escaped ahead of vigilantes. Went down to South America, afterwards, and died in Brazil at the age of 40, probably of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix. Inner: Distinguished and modest nature. Sensual, seductive, unable to countenance criticism. Witty, urbane, highly civilized. Pleasure-loving lifetime of sensual delights and remarkable public success, although he never pushed himself beyond thrilling his audiences, rather than edifying and stimulating them, which he would try to redress his next go-round in this series. Jan Dussek (1760-1812) - Bohemian pianist and composer. Outer: Son of the town choirmaster and organist. Began lessons at 5 from his father, and took up the organ at 9, before becoming a choir-boy and then a church organist. Wanted to enter the Church and studied theology in Prague, but his success as a church organist led him to a career as a virtuoso. Gave his first recital at 19 and became a prolific composer as well. Studied with C. P. E. Bach (Pinchas Zukerman) then toured Europe extensively and also visited St. Petersburg. Became the first of the great touring piano virtuosos. Constantly on the move, he was a huge celebrity and a natural showman. Lived in England for 10 years, where he was a great favorite in London. In his early 30s, he married his former pupil, Sophia Corri, a 17 year old singer, pianist and harpist, and entered into the music shop business with her father. Their daughter, Olivia, would also become a harpist. Extravagance and impractically led to debt and he had to flee to London to escape going to debtor’s prison along with his father-in-law. In the process he left both wife and child behind, never to see them again, which was fine by his spouse, who had little interest in maintaining the marriage. Continued his peripatetic existence, in service of several middle-European princes, including Louis Ferdinand (Andrew Lloyd Webber). His last patron was French statesman Charles Talleyrand (Francois Mitterand), with whom he resided in Paris. At the end of his life, he grew fat and lazy and drank far too much. A severe attack of the gout forced him to go into retirement. His most important compositional work was for the piano, although his performing skills far outweighed his ability to create lasting works. Became the first pianist to place his instrument sideways on the stage so that the audience could admire his profile. Able to draw a beautiful singing tone from his instrument with his wondrous dexterity. Inner: Extravagant, egomaniacal, self-indulgent. Self-celebrating lifetime of viewing the world as his stage, and establishing numerous precedents for virtuosi to come, while giving himself over to the unending pleasures of celebrity. John Blow (1649-1708) - English composer and organist. Outer: 2nd of 3 children. Mother was a widow when she married his father, who died when he was 6. Became a member of the Chapel Royal as a youth, proving an apt scholar under several illustrious musicians. His voice broke in 1664, although he continued his musical studies, while also composing several anthems at an early age. Became organist at 20 at Westminster Abbey and 5 years later a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, while holding several other court posts and taking an active role in the society of court musicians. In his mid-20s, he married Elizabeth Braddock, the daughter of a man who had held similar positions to his. His wife died in childbirth a decade later, 5 children from union, although only one ever married, four months before her death. In 1676, he became one of the organists of the Chapel Royal, and the following year he was created a doctor of music. Teacher of Henry Purcell (Leonard Bernstein), who later replaced him as organist, although he resumed his post 16 years later on the death of his famous pupil. Proved a highly effective teacher, with a number of his students gaining good repute. Composed prolifically while attending to his various duties, among which was overseeing the care and training of chapel choristers, and recruiting new members to their ever-changing number. Wrote one stage work which was held in high esteem, although opinions vary on his works, from crude to highly original and daring. A mediocre songwriter for the most part, his best efforts were in the realm of sacred music, although ultimately he would viewed as second-best to his student Purcell. Died at home. Inner: Handsome, grave, benevolent, industrious and prideful. Mixed bag lifetime of serving as mentor to his earlier teacher, as well as allowing some of the latter’s genius to rub off on his own oeuvre. Thomas Morley (1557-1603?) - English composer. Outer: Little is known of his early life, other than he was son of a brewer. Probably sang in the choir of his local cathedral, then studied music and math with William Byrd (Leonard Bernstein), and received a music degree from Oxford, before holding 2 organist posts, the last at St. Paul’s Cathedral. At the same time, he was employed as a political agent. Made gentleman of the Chapel Royal, as well as receiving other appointments. Married, 4 children, 3 dying in infancy. Granted a license in 1598 for 21 years to print song-books and music paper, publishing not only his own works but those of others. His last several years, he suffered from ill health. Wrote both light and serious music for the Church. Also penned a treatise on modal music, giving a picture of the musical life of his times. Inner: Well-loved personality, with an articulate sense of self-expression in both music and writing. Non-flamboyant lifetime of flexing both his musical and literary skills in a highly popular existence primarily celebrating the arts, rather than himself, as he would later on in this series.

*

 

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS SELF-DESTRUCTIVE SONGSMITH:
Storyline: The plain-spoken populist poet finds his heart continually cheats him out of the joy he brings to others through his uncanny ability to limn simple sketches of ordinary life via universal melodies and lyrics, while generously lubricating his imagination with alcohol to the point of self-obliteration, in his ongoing total lack of any sense of himself, which he is once again trying to broach.

Ryan Adams (David Ryan Adams) (1974) - American singer and songwriter. Outer: Father was a contractor, mother was a teacher. Grew up in comfortable circumstances, mother would read Emily Dickinson to him. Developed a strong affinity for Southern writers, and has remained an avid reader. Originally influenced by punk rock, although was always playing his own songs, as a means of learning instrumentation. Named his first band in high school the Patty Duke Syndrome, because of his attraction to her, but soon found that his raw emotions were better suited for country and folk. Dropped out of high school, when he felt he wasn’t getting anything out of it, and moved to Raleigh, N.C. 5’8” with dark brown hair and eyes. In 1994, he formed Whiskeytown, with 4 other members, but the self-destructive elements that had beleaguered in all his lives in this series, saw the band disintegrate after 2 well-received albums, “Faithless Street” and “Strangers Almanac.” Alcohol and drugs were at the root of his band’s problems, and caused him to ultimately go out on his own, after toning down on his hell-raising. Moved to NYC in 1999 and was able to regain some control of his life, and worked with several talented musicians, so that his first solo album, “Heartbreaker,” released in 2000, established him as a major talent. Combining a melancholy tone with an infectious energy, he followed it up with “Gold”, which placed him firmly in the alternate country firmaments. Extremely prolific, with the ability to write a song about virtually anything, while also unconsciously paying tribute to his past self in doing covers of Hank Williams’ songs, including a duet with Willie Nelson on “Move It On Over,” for a Gap commercial. Explored rock with his fourth solo CD, so as to maintain his eclectic tastes, while continuing to pour forth creatively in unconscious celebration of having finally met his demons and turned them into melodies, without self-destructing in the process, after years of feeling profound loneliness and disconnection. Has also had a nonstop roster of high profile girlfriends, public tantrums, battles with his record label and canceled tours, as emblems of his ongoing struggles with himself. After years of snorting heroin, doing speedballs every day for years, and drinking everyone under the table, as well as seeing ghosts and hearing things, he ultimately managed to mellow out in his early thirties, putting his focus totally on his music. With the help of a girlfriend, Jessica Joffe, a British writer, he went cold turkey in 2006, and has stayed relatively clean and sober since, after many a go-round of totally surrendering to his destructive side, in order to allow his creativity to live long after he was gone. Married singer/actress Mandy Moore in 2009. Split from his long-time backing band, the Cardinals at the same time, while seeking out treatment for tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears, brought about his constant touring. Took a break from writing, while coming to grips with a largely untreatable condition, before returning in more mellow musical manner, with “Ashes & Fire,” as a way of celebrating his own resurrection from his self-destructive past. Divorced Mandy Moore in 2015, and two years later his heartbreak album, “Prisoner,” detailed the sense of grief and loss over it, in an extremely honest and telling effort that impressed both critics and fans alike. Has a net worth of $24 million. Inner: Self-deprecating and feisty, as well as extremely knowledgeable musically. Inner: Self-deprecating, extremely knowledgeable musically. Hyperactive, rarely sleeps much, constantly touring. Shy, modest, unpretentious, with an all-abiding love of music. ‘Sad bastard singer’ lifetime of trying to put his melancholy in his music, rather than allow it to totally overwhelm his life as it has in the past, as he continues to battle his invisible demons in his ongoing role as populist poet extraordinaire. Hank Williams, Sr. (Hiram King Williams) (1923-1953) - American singer and songwriter. Outer: Of English descent, with some German and Swiss-German, and more distant Irish and Scottish. Born in a two-room sharecropper’s shack in rural Alabama, with a spinal deformation that left him his entire life with severe back pain. Father was a shellshocked WW I veteran who committed himself to a hospital when his son was 7, and the latter rarely saw him afterwards. His mother both overpowered and supported him and his sister, while playing organ at the local Baptist church, where he sang in the choir. The latter bought him his first guitar for $3.50, a Sears Silvertone. At 11, he moved in with a relative in a railroad camp, and began frequenting Saturday night dances, where he started his drinking. Learned country music, then moved with his family to a larger town and began mastering the blues from an African-American street singer. The family moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where he won an amateur contest and was dubbed the ‘Singing Kid,’ under which name he secured a twice weekly radio, while writing his own songs. Adopted Hank as his nom de guitar, since it was a popular appellation at the time for “hillbilly” singers. 6’1”, 150 lbs. Briefly tried the rodeo, but injured his already-afflicted back when thrown from a horse. Formed the Drifting Cowboys and played the Alabama roadhouse circuit, with his mother as booking agent and driver. In 1944, he married Audrey Mae Sheppard, a divorcee with a child, who was also a terrible singer but wanted to be a star in her own right. Their one son together, Hank Williams, Jr., became a noted country’n’western singer, as did a grandson of the same name later on. Found himself more ad more partial to alcohol, which led to frequent barroom brawls, despite his unprepossessing physicality, so that at 22, he entered a hospital to try to curb his self-destructive tendencies. Signed record contracts, had his first huge hit with “Lovesick Blues,” joined the popular radio show, “Louisiana Hayride,” out of Shreveport in 1949, and became a country star. Played at the Grand Old Opry for the first time the same year and received 6 encores. A sinuous performer, he drew huge crowds wherever he played. Also served as a radio disc jockey, where he used the exit line, of “If the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise,” as his send-off. Continual touring, however, meant continual drinking, and his marriage fell apart, with both acting out cheating hearts on one another. His health deteriorated, as well, particularly after he added painkillers to the mix, which occasionally left him unconscious and unable to perform. Was in and out of sanitariums, got hooked on a sedative to counter his continual pain, chloral hydrate, and was booed off the stage several times towards the end of his career. Divorced, and remarried in 1952. Fired from the Grand Old Opry for his no-shows, and 4 months later, he supposedly died in the back seat of his powder blue Cadillac of a heart attack at the age of 29 on his way to a show, worn out by alcohol, pills and high-living. A report issued years later indicated he actually died in a Knoxville, Tenn. hotel room from acute alcohol and drug consumption, looking twice his age. His last posthumous hit was the prophetic, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.” An out-of-wedlock daughter was born days after his death, and some 20,000 people attended his funeral. Wrote over 125 songs despite being barely literate, and is best remembered for “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” while many consider him the father of modern country music. Given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. Inner: Self-destructive in extremis, constant travel probably gave him a less-than-zero sense of grounding. Back problems usually come from feelings of nonsupport and father issues, a chronic theme of his. Sad sack lifetime of totally self-destructing around a brilliant music-writing gift, an equal genius for performance and a virtually nonexistent sense of self-preservation. Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864) - American songwriter. Outer: 9th child of a businessman and politician active in Pittsburgh, who later suffered bankruptcy. Had a genteel upbringing. Showed early musical talent, although was not encouraged in that pursuit, and wound up mostly self-taught, with a few rudimentary lessons from a local musician. Educated at local private schools, then spent one week at college, before returning home to live with his family for the next 5 years, in the town of Allegheny, where his father was elected mayor several times. The family was much concerned about him and his idle, dreamy ways. An attempt at getting an appointment for him to West Point failed, while he began his career as a songwriter, composing several for minstrel performers who visited Pittsburgh. Among those written were the classic, “Oh! Susannah,” which was pirated by several publishers because he had given away manuscript copies of the song. Went to Cincinnati, where he became a bookkeeper for his brother at a firm of commission merchants. Because of the success of “Oh! Susannah,” particularly among those heading west for the gold rush, he was given royalty contracts and able to leave his brother’s employ and return to his parents’ home to pursue song-writing full time. Bisexual, he married Jane Denny McDowell in his mid-20s, and lived in Allegheny, save for 2 brief stays in the east, while showing a taste for the grape. One daughter from union. Although he received a sufficient income from his work, his expenses were continually in excess of it, and he was forced to sell future rights of his songs, which now included, “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Camptown Races.” Decided to move to New York with his family, but his powers as a songwriter were now waning, and he became even more of an alcoholic, and probably tubercular. Separated from his wife, he lived alone in cheap boarding and lodging houses, writing directly for cash. In a weakened condition, and half-forgotten, he fell upon a wash-basin and cut his neck and died a few days later in Bellevue Hospital. Published 200 songs and instrumental compositions, to become America’s first professional and most extraordinary songwriter. Inner: A beautiful dreamer who was able to express the universal in his music. Little head for business, even less for self-preservation. Through a glass darkly lifetime of evincing an extraordinary talent for the simple and the melodious, only to undo himself with a self-destructive urge that is, unfortunately, the legacy of many artists who are too good for the limits of their own self-view. William Billings (1746-1800) - American musician. Outer: Born with a withered arm, legs of uneven length, and vision in one eye. Apprenticed to a tanner as a boy. His father died when he was 14, ending his formal schooling. Raspy voiced and self-taught as a musician, he decided to pursue music fulltime. Considered the first American composer, all others of his time having employed music as an avocation, while he lived by it. Published his first collection of “fuguing” psalms in his mid-20s, and his second 8 years later. Married Mary Leonard in 1764, and then a decade later, wed Lucy Swan, a singer, with 6 children all told from his unions. Despite renown during his own lifetime, he made little money off of his music, much of which was pirated. Died a pauper, leaving his family destitute. Inner: Negligent in his appearance, made up for lack of formal musical education with imagination and creativity. Self-denying lifetime of suffering for his art, an ongoing theme of his that he would further explore through direct self-destruction in all of the lives in this series, up until, hopefully, his latest one.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS SOPHISTICATED CROWD-PLEASER:
Storyline: The witty bon vivant mixes pleasure with pain and adolescence with maturity in his ongoing desire to give his natural gifts to amuse a deeper and more lasting resonance.

Cole Porter (Cole Albert Porter) (1891-1964) - American composer. Outer: Grew up on his father’s 750 acre fruit farm, expecting to inherit a huge estate from his maternal grandfather, a millionaire timber and coal investor. His mother was dominant, while his pharmacist father was recessive, creating a stultifyingly proper homelife. Maintained his Victorian manner his entire life. HIs parents had had a son and daughter before him, but both died in infancy. Began receiving violin and piano lessons as a child at his mother’s behest, and also started riding horses at 6. At 8, he commenced his music studies at Indiana’s Marion Conservatory, and precociously published his first piece at 11. His grandfather did not want to waste money on a musician, so he began preparing for a law career. 5’6”, slender and saucer-eyed. Graduated from Yale with a B.A., where he was active in dramatics and the Yale Glee Club, writing 2 songs still sung there, while composing shows for campus performances replete with double entendres and wicked word play. An inveterate party-goer with a reputation for risqué, witty lyrics. After a year at Harvard law, where he roomed with future Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, he transferred to the School of Music at the dean’s urging, and while there composed his first Broadway score with a fellow student. The show flopped, and extremely disappointed, he settled in Paris the following year. Eventually joined the French Foreign Legion, although was discharged. Lived for the next decade in Europe, along the Paris/Riviera/Venice corridor, amusing himself and his friends, while studying and composing. In his mid-20s, he married Linda Lee Thomas, a wealthy divorcee who was 8 years his senior, and on the rebound from an abusive marriage, with even more money than he had, and continued his opulent lifestyle of exotic travel, grand homes and incessant partying, while maintaining a celibate relationship with his wife. A homophile, he reputedly was once involved with Jacqueline Kennedy’s father, Black Jack Bouvier, while picking up sailors and dressing his tricks as delivery men. Most of his love songs were written with men in mind, and his passions were reserved for fellow male esthetes. His wife tolerated his indiscretions until he started chasing Hollywood hunks in the 1930s. Met entertainer Raymond Hitchcock (George Carlin) aboard a ship and agreed to write songs for one of his shows, which proved successful. Began his long string of memorable Broadway hits, writing more than 20 shows, with highly polished music and sophisticated and literate lyrics, including "Anything Goes," "Kiss Me Kate," and "Silk Stockings." As his fame grew, his songs became more self-referential. Suffered a riding accident in his mid-40s, crushing both his legs and damaging his nervous system. Developed chronic osteomyletis, which necessitated 30 operations in a 30 year period. In his late 60s, his right leg was amputated, and his last years were marked by deep depression, seeing only longtime intimate friends amid continually deteriorating health, while living in his various homes. Eventually died of kidney failure after surgery for the removal of kidney stones. His lyrical abilities remain unsurpassed on the American stage. Inner: Sophisticated (a term he hated), witty, bon vivant. Perpetual adolescent, looking for approval, while reveling in his ability to be nicely naughty. Disastrously delightful lifetime of experiencing both the pleasures of affluence and the pain of a dysfunctional body, in order to continue to deepen his own sense of humanity. Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) - German/French composer and conductor. Outer: Son of a cantor in a Hebrew synagogue, who was also a bookbinder, publisher, translator and composer. Mother was the daughter of a lottery promoter and money changer. Seventh of 10 children, with one brother Julius, becoming a violinist, and a sister Isabella, a talented pianist. They would eventually form a trio as teenagers, to help defray household expenses. Although born in Germany, he resided in France from an early age, ultimately switching both nationality and religion. A gifted cellist, at 14 he attended the Paris Conservatoire for a year, before having to leave because of money problema. Played in the orchestra of the Opera-Comique as a cellist, before becoming a soloist, and performng with a host of luminaries, as a star concert attraction himself. Married Herminie d’Alcain, the daughter of the Spanish ambassador, in 1844, after converting to Roman Catholicism, 4 daughters and a son from the union. At the age of 30, he became conductor at the Theatre Francais, and 4 years later, he began to compose stage pieces, producing over 90 works over the next quarter-century. Two years later, he took over the management of the Theatre Comte, which he renamed the Bouffes Parisiens, and for the next six years, he produced a series of successful operettas there. A dozen years later, he became manager of the Theatre de la Gaiete for 2 years, and then went to America, but could not repeat his success and returned to Paris. Carved a unique niche for himself with a deft entertaining touch, so that he was the most popular composer of light works of the Second Empire. On the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, he moved to Spain, and toured from there, although when he returned to Paris, he found he had lost his popularity, and in 1874, he went bankrupt. Because of his cleverness and sparkling style, his works have outlived him, to be frequently revived in not only France, but Germany as well. His masterwork was Tales of Hoffmann, upon which his subsequent reputation largely rests. Totally isolated himself at life’s end to focus on it, and although he worked on it for many years as a culmination of his skills, he died of rheumatic heart disease before it could be produced. It received its premiere the following year and has become a staple of operatic repertory throughout the world. Inner: Urbane, witty, sophisticated. Offhandedly Bach lifetime of mastering a specific form, and then writing a culminating epitaph for himself in his masterwork, giving indication of a continually expanding talent to come.. Georg Telemann (1681-1767) - German composer. Outer: From a nonmusical, upper middle-class family, although his grandfather had been a cantor. His father died when he was 4, and his mother, whose extended crew was connected to the church, raised the children. Despite showing a precocious interest in music, and composing his first opera at 12, his mother confiscated his instruments, and sent him off to school in the hopes he would come to his commercial senses. The superintendent there, however, recognized his talents, and supported his self-education, allowing him to learn a host of instruments on his own. Traveled as well, exposing himself to other musical influences. Entered the Univ. of Leipzig ostensibly to study law, as well as modern languages but felt far more drawn to music, and began writing for two of the city’s main churches. Also founded the student society, Collegium Musicum, an orchestra to give concerts of his works. Began writing operas for the Leipzig Theater, and in 1704, he became organist at the Neukirche, before becoming kapellmeister to a northern German count, and then 4 years later, konzertmeister at the court of Eisenach, where he became close friends with Johann Sebastian Bach (Isaac Stern) and godfather to his son Carl P.E. Bach (Pinchas Zukerman). Also a lifelong friend of George Handel (Alban Berg) After serving as musical director at Frankfurt-am-Main, he settled permanently in Hamburg, in 1721, where he was a cantor and musikdirector of the five largest churches in the city until his death. In 1738, he went to Paris for a year, and studied with Jean-Baptiste Lully (Werner Herzog), which added French ideas and style to his oeuvre. Married twice, with his first wife, Louise Eberlin, a musician’s daughter and lady-in-waiting to a countess, dying in 1711 in childbirth, and his second, Maria Textor, whom he wed three years later, ultimately leaving him for a Swedish army officer. 8 sons and 2 daughters all told, as well as one grandson of the same name, whom he raised after the death of his son, following in his musical footsteps, while none of his children did. After 1740, he began focusing on musical treatises, and, towards the latter part of his life, his eyesight began to fail, although his pen remained active until the end. Showed himself to be extraordinarily prolific and capable of writing in virtually any style of the time, with a great charm to his work, while winding up as a Guinness Book of Records composer, with more surviving pieces than anyone else in musical his/story. Composed 40 operas, church music, over 600 overtures in the French style, chamber music, cantatas, odes and oratorios, and also wrote for unusual combinations of instruments. Far more prominent in his day than Bach, although he proved to be a man of his time, rather than the centuries, with subsequent interest in his work declining, until a rediscovery in modern times. Inner: Highly social, and equally ambitious, with an endless ability at musical invention. Prolific lifetime of making his will manifest, despite initial lack of parental support, and more than making up for it, by an endless outpouring, allowing him to enjoy a long and highly successful go-round, thanks to his ongoing gift for light, deft works.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS PRIVILEGED CROWD-PLEASER:
Storyline: The composed composer decomposes around issues of competition and intimacy, leaving his shadowed inner life untouched by his outer success, despite being extremely well-rewarded for his ability to produce popular entertainments.

aRichard Rodgers (Richard Christopher Rodgers II(1902-1979) - American composer. Outer: Of Russian descent. Mother liked to sing and play piano, father was a successful physician, who took the family to opera and musicals and liked to sing the scores at home. Able to pick out tunes at 4, and began studying piano when he was 6, although barely needed lessons. Wrote his first song at 12. Met lyricist Lorenz Hart (Adam Guettel), a former Columbia student, a year before he entered the same university, and together the 2 wrote the 1920 Varsity show. 5’8 1/4” with grey eyes. After 2 years at Columbia, he attended the Institute of Musical Art and continued writing songs for a traveling musical comedy team. In the mid-1920s, he and Hart penned songs for their first Broadway success, and continued on with their prolific partnership until Hart’s untimely death in the early 1940s, producing numerous hits, including On Your Toes and Pal Joey. The duo were able to integrate all the elements of their shows, so that the words, music and book were a seemingly seamless effort, thereby redefining the Broadway musical. Also worked with him in Hollywood, beginning in 1930, with their first it two years later with Love Me Tonight, in which both briefly appeared. Returned to the Broadway stage in the mid-1930s, and the team hit their stride, with a series of triumphs, although by the 1940s, he had grown tired of Hart’s growing alcohol problem and his unreliability, and when he was unable to work any longer, he teamed up with Oscar Hammerstein II, with whom he would go on to produce some of his finest work, 9 all told, including Oklahoma and South Pacific, for which he received a Pulitzer Prize in 1950. Also wrote the words and music for State Fair, their one movie musical. Married Dorothy Belle Feiner in his late 20s, 2 daughters from union. His wife became a decorator and writer, and together the two made for a high profile social couple, engaging in the philanthropies, and to-be-seen events of the city, all through their married life. Scored the music for “Victory at Sea,” an early TV series based on the battles of WW II. Operated on for cancer of the jaw in the mid-1950s. After Hammerstein’s death in 1960, he wrote several shows, but they were not up to the same standards as his early collaborative efforts. Enjoyed his successes and lived well his entire life, with no seeming outer conflicts, save to those who knew him best. Got the full gamut of awards from Tony to Emmy to Oscar to Grammy, one of the few show business luminaries to do so. Had a serious heart attack and a laryngectomy which caused to talk with a croak towards life’s end. Died at home and had his ashes scattered at sea. Inner: Urbane, social, but also mean-spirited and ego-maniacal. A sexual predator with a fondness for alcohol, he also had a fastidious fascination with detail. Largely privileged life, although had great difficulty in expressing emotions with those closest to him. The loss of his 2 partners were symptomatic of his need to experience heart-pain to open himself up in an otherwise superficially smooth-flowing go-round. Victory but still-at-sea lifetime of facilely realized outer success, without the motivation to delve deeply within and touch upon his disharmonious interior. aGiacomo Meyerbeer (Jakob Beer) (1791-1864) - German/French composer. Outer: Eldest son of an extremely wealthy Jewish Berlin banker. Mother was also from an uncommonly affluent family. Received a legacy from a rich relative named Meyer and added his name to his own. Brother Michael became a playwright and poet, while another brother, Wilhelm, an amateur astronomer, produced the first maps of Mars. Close to both his mother and Michael. Musically precocious, he was playing publicly from the age of 7, and was considered an accomplished pianist by 9. Studied with Muzio Clementi (Richard Strauss), among others. By his early 20s, his first works were performed, and he became court composer to a grand duke. Enjoyed greater success initially as a virtuoso, but on the advice of Antonio Salieri (Gian Malipiero), he went to Italy to learn more about writing for the human voice. The year after his father died, in 1826, he married his cousin, Minna Mosson, who suffered ill health, 5 children from the union, with 3 daughters surviving. Produced a series of operas in the Italian style, which were well-received in Italy. Went to Berlin, but failed to have a German opera performed there. Returned to facile Italian opera with renewed success, but was convinced by longtime friend Carl Maria von Weber (Ang Lee) to write in the German idiom. Visited Paris, which would become his future home, although personal loss, the death of his father and his 2 children turned him inward, and he did not compose for a period of 7 years. Lived simply with only one servant, and was modest and frugal, despite earning an enormous amount of money from his operas. Maintained his religious practices, and was accused of bribing music critics, thanks to the anti-Semitism of the tim.. Began the second part of his career with a successful French opera, Robert le Diablo, in which he combined German technique, Italian melody and French spirit to great success. Found the perfect librettist in playwright Eugene Scribe (Sinead O’Connor), and continued working with him. His masterwork was Las Huguenots. Appointed General-musikdirector by the King of Prussia, for which he returned to Berlin. Uncomfortable as a general conductor there, he eventually just conducted his own works. Wrote several opera-comiques, carefully calculating public tastes. Continually and fastidiously reworked his scores, and eventually allowed his health to deteriorate through the worry he brought to his projects. Wealthy his entire life, but lived simply, frugally and unpretentiously. Became the first composer to be given a funeral cortege worthy of a state funeral. Wrote for the human voice, although was far more an assimilator than an originator, so his works, while extremely popular and much imitated in his day, have not made posterity’s canon. Inner: Generous, sensitive, sought public adulation, with a great love for glory. Morbidly afraid of being buried alive, insisted beforehand his body lay in state for 4 days with his face visible, which was done. Anxious and vulnerable, he always used his family as support. Self-punishing lifetime of adding some depth to his creative abilities through personal loss and struggle, while symbolically desiring to keep his name eternally alive. aReinhard Keiser (1674-1739) - German composer. Outer: Father was an organist and composer of church music, who abandoned the family when son was young. From the age of 18, he was connected with the court of Brunswick, then two years later, he became principal composer to the Hamburg city opera, where he enjoyed 40 continuous years of success, producing over 100 operas. Took over the management of the opera in his late 20s, and married the daughter of a wealthy Hamburg musician a half dozen years later. Visited Copenhagen several times, and was both cantor and canon at the Hamburg Cathedral. Used popular rather than his/storic themes, and was the first to employ the German language in his librettos. Had a gift of superficial delights rather than going for depth, making him extremely popular and influential in his day. Also wrote sacred music, again using his sense of the pleasingly dramatic to underscore his religious works. Inner: Surface-skimming lifetime of continued success and culturally-derived privilege and power by writing to please, rather than stimulate, his audiences, allowing him not to have to challenge himself.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS SELF-DESTRUCTIVE CREATOR:
Storyline: The drowning swimmer enjoys continual privileged upbringings in order to try to balance his overwhelming desire to be deluged by his own excesses, despite his lyrical grace and distinctive talent in numerous art forms.

aAdam Guettel (1964) - American composer. Outer: Maternal grandson of composer Richard Rodgers. Of Jewish descent, although non-religious. Mother, Mary Rodgers Guettel, was also a talented composer. His older brother died at 4, which changed him from morose and quiet to a performer, as an operatic boy soprano. Started smoking at 7, and sang at the Met at 11, although a voice change at 13 turned him towards composing the following year. Raised in privilege in NYC, he began using drugs at 13, and his intake escalated. His house was often silent to allow his mother to compose, while he felt musical theater was passé, and had little initial interest in it. Also felt burdened by expectations because of his musical bloodline, and wished to distinguish himself in a different sphere. Educated at private schools, then graduated Yale, where he studied music while struggling with his compulsions for narcotized escapes. 5’11 3/4” with dark brown hair and eyes. In and out of rehabilitation, and like his grandfather, a compulsive seducer. His first critical success was “Floyd Collins,” in 1996, about a Kentucky man trapped in a cave, which was writ through his own fears of being buried alive in the greater reputation of his grandfather. Composes by going deep within his characters, while aso employing his own inner struggles as metaphorical subject matter. Well-crafted lyricist, looking for simple, telling language, rather than cleverness. “Light in the Piazza,” in 2003 would prove a watershed for him, in integrating his potential with his actualities, in a happy-ending tale, rife with off-base emotions. Won a Tony in 2005 for Best Original Score for it. Enjoys collaboratory efforts, whie still coming to grips with accolades and praise, and the paralytic fears that repeating successes can bring. Inner: Compulsive, charming, handsome and full of neurotic tics and fears. Constantly questioning his own abilities against his heritage. Swing lifetime of coming into the family of his former partner in order to expand beyond his proclivities for self-destruction, through his brilliant lyrical gifts, and perhaps a chance to look at himself anew through relatively clear eyes. aLorenz Hart (1895-1943) - American lyricist. Outer: Both his parents were German immigrants. Descended on his mother’s side from poet Heinrich Heine (Philip Roth). His father was a coarse business promoter, from whom he was thoroughly alienated. Second son, after the first died in infancy. Had a worldly home life, and a privileged upbringing. Appeared as an actor as a youth in the Catskill mountains, at the Weingart Institute. 5’ and mercurial, with a head that seemed far too large for his body. Attended private schools, then spent 2 years at the Columbia School of Journalism, where he met composer Richard Rodgers. After first translating German songs into English, he began collaborating with Rodgers in 1919. The duo felt that the lyrics, music and libretto should be integrated, unlike the static Broadway shows of the time, allowing their range to broaden and deepen the longer the partnership lasted. Wound up being totally revised out of their first show, Poor Little Ritz Girl, and it would take another 5 years before they had their first hit song, “Manhattan.” Brought conversational directness to song-writing, while the duo proved a prolific pair, not only on Broadway, but in filmdom as well, scoring their first hit with Love Me Tonight in 1932, which included the classic, “Isn’t It Romantic?.” The pair even appeared briefly in the film, and he had one line, “No!” as a banker. Both returned to Broadway in the mid-1930s, and hit their stride there with a steady series of extremely well-received shows. Among their hits were Pal Joey and On Your Toes, although his increasing alcoholism and complete unreliability proved far too much of a burden for Rodgers, and he began looking for another partner. A homophile, he had great difficulty in finding lovers, and, as a result, many of his songs would be about unrequited love. After his father’s death, he lived with his widowed mother until she died. A restless world traveler and relentless midtown bar habitué, he would vanish for weeks at a time in an alcoholic haze, in a fantasy-fueled desire to find some sort of satisfaction in his life, despite his overt career success. Disappeared for 2 days after the opening of his final collaboration with Rodgers and he was rushed to a hospital when found, where he died of pneumonia. Inner: Breezy, mordant, self-destructive. Saw himself as a graceless outsider. An inveterate playgoer his entire life, feeling a great need for fantasy to ameliorate his unhappy reality. Alien lifetime of applying his urbane wit to the art of song-writing, while barely keeping himself emotionally afloat, despite continued commercial success.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS CONTROLLING SONGSTER:
Storyline: The long-lived tunesmith plays with wealth and power from a variety of vantage-points, while saving his lyricism for his works, and leaving his life one long sour note of control and misanthropy.

Irving Berlin (Israel Baline) (1888-1989) - American songwriter. Outer: Born in a Russian village, then fled with his parents and seven older siblings to escape the Jewish pogroms there and settled on the Lower East Side of NYC. Father worked in a market to supplement his position as a cantor, and died when his son was 8. Only had two years of formal schooling, before helping support his family. Became a streetsinger then a singing waiter at the Pelham Cafe, where he began to make a name for himself, with parodies of popular hits. Co-wrote his first song at 19, “Marie From Sunny Italy,” and when it was published, he received his official name through a printer’s error. Despite being musically illiterate, and unable to play the piano other than in one key, F-sharp, he had a natural instinct for popular melody. Signed on as a staff lyricist to a Tin Pan Alley publishing company, augmenting his reputation, and wrote his first big hit in 1911, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Because of his limited musical knowledge, question would always remain about who wrote the melodies for his subsequent hits, since he may also have hired ghost composers to do what he could not. In 1912, he married singer Dorothy Goetz but lost his wife to typhoid fever 5 months later, after she contracted it on their honeymoon to Cuba. Penned several love songs to ameliorate the loss, then began writing for Broadway via a vehicle for the dancing Castles, “Watch Your Step,” in 1914. Inducted into the army during WW I, and celebrated his patriotism in a memorable song in an army revue, “Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.” After the war, he formed his own publishing company, and began performing in vaudeville, before co-building a theater, The Music Box in 1921, so as to have absolute control over his prolific output. In 1926, he eloped with Ellin Mackay, the wealthy granddaughter of an Irish Catholic silver-mining magnate, against her parents’ wishes, which made headlines, and caused her father to disown and disinherit her for marrying a Jew. Three daughters and a son from the union, with the latter of the same name dying as an infant on Christmas. The pair were immediately snubbed by society for their apostasy, but wound up largely self-contained anyway, while his wife later wrote bestsellers, and for the movies. Had a fallow period of five years following his marriage, until finding his form again with several revue hits. On Armistice Day, 1938, he introduced “God Bless America,”” which would become a secondary national anthem. Continued his patriotic output during the war, and reached his Broadway peak afterwards, with “Annie Get Your Gun” in 1946, “Call Me Madam) in 1950, and “There’s No Business Like Show Business” in 1954 among others. In addition to his Broadway output, he wrote a host of classic songs among his over 900 tunes, including “Blue Skies” “Easter Parade” and “White Christmas.” Despite his overweening achievement as the most popular and best-known American songwriter of the first half of the 20th century, he grew increasingly reclusive in his later years in NYC, only speaking to the outside world via telephone, while exerting strict control over his works. Ran a scheduled, formal household, a solitary king to whom the world paid great, although purposefully distant, homage. In 1968, he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. His centenary was celebrated at Carnegie Hall, at which point his wife of 62 years passed away. Lived to be 101, in an extremely prolific, well-honored life that was, nevertheless, counterpointed by a less-than-lyrical personality that ultimately could brook no intrusion on his need for absolute sovereignty over his affairs. Died of natural causes. Inner: Highly competitive and controlling, with a powerful ego that knew the might of his gifts. Unable to countenance criticism, totally lacking in humor, and unwilling, as he got older, to deal with anything outside his immediate sphere. Cloistered lifetime of playing with wealth, power and control through modest beginnings, remaking himself into chief abbot of his own secular monastery. Anthony P. Heinrich (Anthony Philip Heinrich) (1781-1861) - Bohemian/American musician. Outer: Born into a Bohemian business family before being adopted by a rich uncle, and then inheriting his successful import-export business. Through his affluent position, he studied the violin and traveled widely. Lost his entire fortune during the Napoleonic Wars, and turned full-time to music to support himself. Came to America in 1810 and married a wealthy Bostonian, one daughter from the union. After the death of his wife in 1814, he gave their infant to some relatives and lost track of her for nearly a quarter of a century. Became director of the Southwark Theater in Philadelphia, and then, after suffering business failures, he moved to Kentucky and began giving violin lessons. He then moved to Bardstown, and lived among the Amerindians while convalescing from a serious illness. Encouraged to compose by friends, he became America’s first national composer, although he was disparaged by contemporary critics, because his compositions were largely misunderstood, thanks to their offbeat nature. Despite a modest talent, he promoted himself endlessly and proved prodigiously prolific. Eventually moved to NYC, where he spent the rest of his life. Most of his works were grandiose orchestral efforts. Helped found the Philharmonic Society of New York, but later felt snubbed by them and refused to have them perform his oeuvre. Forced to tour in Europe, because of a lack of orchestral talent in the U.S. Died in poverty and neglect, just before another promotional tour of his work. Inner: Earthy, practical, eccentric, with a small gift for song. Émigré lifetime of developing his musical gifts from a secure base, only to wind up neglected and impoverished, a situation he would make sure not to repeat in his next go-round in this series, as America’s preeminent songwriter.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS THEATERMEISTER:
Storyline: The urbane craftsman gradually upgrades his skills and his legacy by taking on succeedingly more challenging subject matter, and rendering it in successively more innovative manner, while dealing with his own grand guignol sense of the feminine by rechanneling his prickly emotions into acceptable art.

Stephen Sondheim (Stephen Joshua Sondheim) 1930) - American composer. Outer: Of Jewish descent, although did not identify with the religion until later in life. Mother was a dress designer and interior decorator, father was a dress manufacturer. Parents divorced when he was 10, which greatly affected him. His mother, Janet Fox, who was nicknamed ‘Foxy,’ was often absent from his life, then became all too present in his teens. Thought of himself as without parents, thanks to servants, boarding schools and camps. Precocious, he received an intermittent musical education, studying piano and organ, while showing a proclivity for math and puzzle-solving. Went to NY Military Academy, where he liked the order and school’s huge organ. Two years later, he was taken to a Pennsylvania farm by his mother, who was vain and often drunk, as well as inappropriately seductive with him. His same-sex desires, which were largely closeted, were probably a reaction to her. Their stormy relationship also made him gloomy throughout his adult life and reluctant to let anyone in close to him, leading him to wait until he was 40, before openly declaring his sexual preference. Came under the tutelage of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II via a friendship with his son. Began studying music systematically, at Williams College and then, through a scholarship, directly with Milton Babbitt. Wrote and collaborated on scripts for TV, before writing for the musical theater. His first musical was canceled on the death of its producer. Established himself as the lyricist for “West Side Story” in 1957. After another successful collaboration, he demonstrated his gifts for the edgy and offbeat, with his first music and lyric accreditation coming in 1962 with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Each one of his successive landmark musicals, from “Company” to “Follies” to “Sweeney Todd,” would explore different themes in different cultural locales, allowing him to become a Broadway fixture over the decades, synonymously associated with intelligent, tuneful innovation, despite having difficulties in his later career in getting his shows to the Great White Way, thanks to expensive ‘event’ musicals dominating the NY stage since the early 1980s. Has also written for film and inspired a cult following of Sondheads, as well as won a mantle-full of awards, including a trinity of Tonys. Served as President of the Dramatists Guild from 1973 to 1981. Lived alone until he was 61, then hooked up with a young songwriter, Peter Jones, although eventually opted for solitary living again, while continuing the relationship. Finally lost his long-lived mother in 1992, and deliberately did not attend her funeral. Published “Finishing the Hat” in 2010, a compilation of lyrics, commentary and anecdotes, covering the years 1954 to 1981, in which he analyses his songs and those of others, to give added insight to his creative and self-reflective process. Has a net worth of $20 million. Inner: Urbane, witty, well-grounded in theatrical technique, albeit prickly and snappish, and guarded in his emotions, though not his opinions. Clinically objective, felt he also would have made a theoretical mathematician. A nonreader, preferring the visual and cerebral stimulus of film and avant-garde theater. Often unkind to women in his creations, although capable of friendships with them. Reverse oedipal lifetime of focusing his considerable talent on the Broadway stage and fashioning an oeuvre that will definitely transcend his times, while rechanneling his esthetics and emotionality to deal with the decided indelicacy of having had a monstrous mother. Hugo von Hofmanstahl (1874-1929) - Austrian poet and dramatist. Outer: Descendant of a Spanish/Jewish family who had settled in Vienna. Only child of a bank director. Had a privileged upbringing and evinced considerable talent as a poet as a teen, publishing his first works at 16 under the name, ‘Loris.’ They quickly brought him fame, thanks to their lyric beauty and precocity. Did a compulsory year of military service, then got a Phd in law and romance philology at the Univ. of Vienna, with the thought of pursuing an academic career. Wrote a number of short verse dramas during this period, which were also appreciated for their lyrical beauty. Came to be seen as a leader of the neoromantic or symbolist movement, in reaction against the naturalist school then prevalent. At the turn of the century, he abandoned both short lyrics, and any idea of a professorial career, and instead became a fulltime writer. Married Gertrud Schlesinger, the daughter of a Viennese banker, in 1901, 3 children from the union. The following year, he announced in an essay, “Ein Brief,” that he could not continue in his previous mode, since it was too restrictive for what he wanted to say. Began experimenting with Elizabethan and classical tragic forms, and also started working closely with composer Richard Strauss (Alex Cox), who used many of his liberatti for his operas. The theater would now be his main venue, although he tried one novel, which he was never able to complete. In 1917, he founded the Salzburg Festival along with Strauss and producer Max Reinhardt, and it would become an annual affair, producing drama, including his own, opera, recitals and concerts. Nominated four times for a Nobel Prize in Literature, athough never won one. Following the collapse of the Hapsburg dynasty in WW I’s aftermath, he came to identify more with his Austrian heritage, while addressing what he saw as a general decline of civilization in his comedies, dramas and essays. Always maintained his high lyrical standards, while rooting his morality tales in contemporary Viennese dialect to ground them in an accessible reality, although his sense of loss over European traditions made him a disconnected figure from the rampant change of the 20th century. Died of a heart attack while dressing for the funeral of a son who had committed suicide. Inner: Brooding, sensitive, with a surface amiability. Strong sense of nostalgia for the past, and a deep lyric ability to mourn or recreate it, while fretting over the adequacy of language to truly express the emotional content of his fascination with tragedy and death, which would lead to his expanding his métier his next time around. Melancholic lifetime of lyrically celebrating longheld traditions, while bemoaning their loss in an ever-changing world.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS TEACHER OF NEW WAYS TO HEAR OLD SOUNDS:
Storyline: The inventive avant-gardist never loses sight of the rearguard in his re-integration of music both old and new, to create a highly distinctive body of work no matter the time nor the place his ears continually come into view.

Philip Glass (1937) - American composer. Outer: Parents were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. His father owned a radio repair shop and carried a line of records, which introduced him to an eclectic array of classical music from a young age, from the classical to the modern. One of three children. Began with the violin at 6, then studied flute, beginning at 8 at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, then entered the Univ. of Chicago at the age of 15, on an accelerated program, where he majored in mathematics and philosophy. Supported himself waiting tables and loading airplanes at airports. Moved to NYC at 19, and finished his education at the Juilliard School of Music, where he focused on the keyboard as his instrument of choice, while rejecting the earlier 12 tone scale in favor of American modernism, and winning the prestigious BMI Student Composer Award in 1959. 5’8 1/2”. Went to Paris, where he was a pupil of Nadia Boulanger for two years, gaining a solid grounding in the classics. More impressed with French New Wave filmmaking and the French theater, however, than the music he heard while he was there. Married JoAnne Akalaitis, a theater director, in 1965, son and daughter from union. Became interested in Buddhism and travelled to northern India, leading to a longtime fascination with in Tibetan affairs, while Indian musician Ravi Shankar exerted an extremely strong influence on him, after collaborating with him on a film score in the 1960s. On his return to the U.S., he forswore off his previous efforts, and began composing in the austere additive style he had learned from working with Shankar. When his works met with resistance, he formed his an ensemble group in the late 1960s, and began playing in art galleries, and was quickly adopted by avant-gardists and performance artists, who heard him as the sound of the moment. In order to support himself, he worked as a cab driver, and had a moving company with fellow minimalist composer Steve Reich. Eventually the two differed on both sound and direction, and he formed his own eponymous ensemble, while gradually allowing his music to become more complex and dramatic. In 1970, he cofounded Mabou Mines Theater Company, a theatrical troupe, for whom he would continue to compose. In the mid-70s, he turned to musical theater, beginning with Einstein on the Beach, a five hour landmark creation he composed with Robert Wilson, as he expanded back into orchestral work. Divorced in 1980, he married an internist, and continued composing operas, as well as orchestral pieces, while serially working with highly inventive collaborators, including filmmaker Godfrey Reggio. In 1987, he co-founded the Tibet House, in his ongoing activism for the Dalai Lama, whom he had first met in 1972. The same year he penned his autobiography, Music by Philip Glass. As the 80s progressed into the 90s, his work became more accessible and more rooted as he integrated his knowledge of the past with his musical prestidigitations of the present. Added a second opera triptych in the early 1990s, based on the films of Jean Cocteau (Bryan Singer). Still active after the turn of the century, and continues to collaborate, stretch and explore, in a life dedicated to hearing anew, and teaching others to do the same. Divides his time between NYC and Nova Scotia. Extremely prolific, he has written a score of scores for operas, chamber players, piano, films, and theater, as well as symphonies, ensemble works and concertos. Also works in collaboration with many artists, writers, musicians and directors. Inner: Highly political, and equally eclectic in his interests. Different drummer lifetime of listening to the sounds of the electric modern world, as well as the deep-rooted past and transforming them into songs of his times. Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) - Norwegian composer. Outer: Great grandfather was a Scottish merchant who emigrated to Norway in 1746. His father, like his father before him, was a British consul, as well as an ongoing steward of the family’s mercantile business, and a man of both intelligence and culture. His mother, the daughter of a mayor, passed on her modest abilities as an occasional soloist at local concerts, while sharing with him a mutual love for the music of Frederic Chopin (Karlheinz Stockhausen). The latter would be her son’s original teacher and inspiration. One brother and three sisters. Not very interested in school, he, nevertheless, exhibited enough musical talent to be directed to the Leipzig Conservatory. Focused on the piano there, and proved himself worthy of the school, with only the organ outside his proficiency on instruments, although he didn’t care for the discipline imposed upon him. In 1862, he gave his first hometown concert, then went to Copenhagen in Denmark for three years, where he hung out with a number of composers, and wound up penning a funeral march for one of them. Married his first cousin, Nina Hagerup in 1867, despite her mother, a noted actress, complaining he was a nobody, and the following year they had their only child, a daughter, who died at 13 months, devastating him. Plunged into work to dull the loss, and transmuted it into some of his best work, and his reputation began growing. Founded a musical society in 1871 in Christiana where he had been living, and 5 years later, wrote incidental music for Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen (Arthur Miller), by which he would be best known. The following year he began building a studio in the open country, much preferring rural areas to the city. Won widespread acclaim as a composer, as well as a conductor and performer in a number of European cities. In 1872, he was made a member of the Swedish Academy of Music, and in 1890, added the French Academy of Fine Arts to his honor roll. 6 years later he was made a member of the French Legion d’Honneur. Given all sorts of other homages, which he appreciated, while his 60th birthday was celebrated all over the musical world. Despite his wealth of fame, it didn’t translate into coin, and he wound up dependent on a government pension. Although in poor health the latter part of his life, he was active all the way until the end. Died of heart disease while he slept, and had himself cremated following a funeral that drew thousands. Considered the greatest composer that Scandinavia ever produced, by many. Best remembered for the Peer Gynt Suite and In the Hall of the Mountain King. Also wrote for orchestras, voice, choruses, chamber music and the piano. Inner: Shy, modest and unassuming. Lyrical, romantic and melodic, a true reflection of the sadness and the robust individuality of the north. A Norwegian nationalist at heart, drawing his inspiration from the worlds immediately around him. Icy fingers but warm-hearted lifetime of transmuting the stark inner and outer landscape of the far north into beautiful noise.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS HIGH-SPIRITED ENTERTAINER:
Storyline: The hi-de-ho high-liver uses all the world as his stage in his pursuit of personal pleasure while bringing the same effusive enjoyment to the public-at-large, via his irrepressible personality and gift for outrageous showmanship.

Cab Calloway (Cabel Calloway III) (1907-1994) - American entertainer. Outer: Of African/American descent. 2nd of 6 children of an attorney who hoped he would follow in his footsteps. His older sister became a bandleader and singer in Chicago, and after graduating high-school, he followed her out there. 5’10”. Briefly enrolled as a pre-law student at Crane College. Taught himself drums, and landed a job at a cafe where his flamboyant style soon brought him from back of the stage to the front, and he was soon leading his first group, Cab Calloway and His Alabamians. Dissolved the band after an unsuccessful run in New York, but stayed there as a member of an all-black revue. Learned to play the saxophone and formed an orchestra that featured many stellar jazz artists. Had a daughter with a girlfriend in 1927, then married Betty Conacher the following year, one adopted daughter from the union, who turned out to be mentally handicapped. His first wife didn’t give him a divorce until 1949, so two of his next 3 daughters were illegitimate. Remarried a sociologist, Nuffie MacNeal, and among their progeny was actress/singer Chris Calloway. Eventually became associated with the Cotton Club, a Harlem nightspot founded by boxer Jack Johnson (Magic Johnson) and popular with white audiences. The club became a curious replay of the ante-bellum south with the bandstand a replica of a Confederate plantation home, while the waiters dressed like butlers from ante-bellum times. Often gambled away box office receipts, and was noted for his outrageous suits. High-liver who gloried in the fast life and sharp threads, with no inhibition about thoroughly enjoying himself in everything he did. Added numerous notable phases to the language, and became known for his signature, “Hi-de-ho.” Enjoyed equal success in films, often reprising his nightclub act, and became a millionaire, living well. Moved back and forth between nightclub and legitimate theater later on in his long career as a fixture and show business legend. Divorced in 1949, and married again the same year, although slowed down considerably following his 2nd union. Irrepressible until a series of strokes finally ended his life. Wrote his autobiography in 1976, “Of Minnie the Moocher and Me.” Inner: Ebullient, flamboyant and highly entertaining. Dualistic, very much a homebody with his family, despite his extroverted character on stage. Living well as the best revenge lifetime of thoroughly enjoying himself and spreading his effusive sense of self to one and all. Dan Emmett (Daniel Decatur Emmett) (1815-1904) - American minstrel performer. Known as “Old Dan Emmet.” Outer: Mother was musically inclined and taught him many songs as a child. One of 4 children, and eldest son of a blacksmith. With little formal schooling, he became a blacksmith’s apprentice and learned to read and write on his own. Switched professions to printer’s apprentice and worked on several periodicals before joining the army as a fifer at 17. Studied music at various posts, and after his discharge in 1835, for being underage, he traveled with a circus troupe, and mastered several instruments, including banjo, flute and violin. Organized the Virginia Minstrels in 1843, with three other and designed their outlandish costumes, which would inaugurate minstrel shows, a form that borrowed heavily from African-American culture. Provided the material for them, some original and some adaptations. Achieved overwhelming success in New York and toured Britain but the novelty stirred little interest there. Joined other minstrel troupes and continued composing African-American melodies. Wrote the immensely popular Dixie or as it was known, Dixie’s Land, in 1859, upon request, which was adopted as an anthem of the South after playing it in New Orleans during the Civil War. Traveled with his own company for 13 years, and eventually retired to a small farm. Married, widowed and married a second time. Made one last tour in 1895, then lived out his life on a pension. Inner: Natural showman working in the minstrel idiom, using childhood material as a base for many of his popular songs. Light-footed lifetime of much travel and interaction with highly receptive audiences to augment his abilities as entertainer supreme, before raising his private life to the same level as his public one in his next go-round in this series.

*

PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS RENAISSANCE MAN:
Storyline: The multi-faceted musician lights up the nighttime mass audience landscape with his broad-humored antics, while giving daytime play to his more serious artistic side, in a dual highly expressive go-round geared towards maximizing the scope of his considerable creative gifts.

Steve Allen (1921-2000) - Steve Allen (Steven Valentine Patrick William Allen) (1921-2000) - American comedian, musician and writer. Outer: Parents were a vaudeville team, Allen and Montrose, with his father, who died when his son was 18 months, playing straight man. Grew up with his mother’s lively family in Chicago. 6’3”, 190 lbs, and bespectacled. Taught himself piano although never learned how to read music, preferring to play by ear. Briefly attended Drake Univ. on a journalism scholarship, then Arizona State Teachers College, before dropping out to do a radio show in 1942. Married Dorothy Goodman in 1943 and later divorced, 3 sons from the union. Drafted into the army during WW II, but was released after 5 months because of asthma. Began working in radio, first in Phoenix, then Los Angeles, where his chatter soon superseded the music he was playing. Won a $50 bet with singer Frankie Laine that he could write 50 songs a day for a week, and won it, while sitting in the window of a Hollywood music store. Given his own half-hour TV show in 1950 for 2 years on CBS, then moved to NBC in 1953, where he was host of the “Tonight” show, which went national 15 months later. Proved to be the godfather of late night television, inventing many of the formats that would still be in use decades later, including audience-wading, man-in-the-street interviews, and wacky stunts. Used his platform to introduce mainstream America to performers he deemed noteworthy, while also attacking issues he felt important. Married actress Jayne Meadows in 1954, one son from close union, in which his wife was extremely supportive of and inspirational to his career, performing with him on several occasions. In 1956, he switched to a Sunday night comedy hour which ran for 4 years, using a stable of improvisational comedians, although it could never unseat the king of Sunday night at the time, Ed Sullivan. Began writing short stories in the 1950s, and expanded into polemics, once again going for quantity, with some 50 tomes to his name, evincing a humanitarian liberalism to his relatively simplistic view of politics, while remaining both an activist and performer his entire life. Appeared in several films, most notably the starring role in 1955 in The Benny Goodman Story, and hosted a number of TV shows, including the Emmy award-winning, “Meeting of the Minds,” beginning in 1977, in which he oversaw imaginary roundtable discussions of various his/storical figures. Worked right up to the end of his life, completing a manuscript the day before he died of a heart attack at his son’s home, although his death was later discovered to be the result of a ruptured blood vessel from an auto accident. The following day a fullpage newspaper ad in his name appeared condemning the vulgarian decline of popular entertainment. Wrote his autobiography in 1960, “Mark It and Strike,” and is credited with over 7000 songs. Inner: Extremely prolific, good-humored, alternately silly and serious and constantly writing and composing. Multitasked lifetime of feeling the continual compulsion to entertain, educate and express himself in a variety of forms in order to stretch his creative licks and make a difference in a self-perceived somnambulant world. David Braham (1838-1905) - English/American composer and musician. Outer: Brother Josef was also a musician. Emigrated to the United States in his late teens, and began playing in various theater orchestras around NYC. Married, several daughters, including Annie Braham (Jayne Meadows), who would become the wife of comedian Edward Harrigan (Jackie Gleason), as well as 2 sons who became musicians. Became music director and conductor at Tony Pastor’s (Frank Sinatra) theater, and turned to composing around the time he met Harrigan. Served as the chief composer for the comedy team of Harrigan and Tony Hart (Art Carney), introducing elements of English music hall stylistics to the American stage, employing simple rhythms and harmonies. Reached his popular peak during the 1870s and 1880s, signing his works as ‘Dave.’ Also collaborated with other lyricists, although his best work was done with the tandem of Harrigan and Hart. Continued working with the former after the latter left the team in 1885, although their efforts were far less successful outside of NYC. Inner: Collaborative lifetime of blending the musical traditions of two countries, while concentrating solely on composing and conducting as his primary creative outlet.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS GENRE TERM COINER:
Storyline: The discordant disc jockey shows himself to be a consistent candidate for pop culture’s Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame.

Alan Freed (Albert James Freed) (1922-1965) - American disc jockey. Outer: Of Jewish descent. Father was a clothing-store clerk. Grew up in Salem, Ohio, where he played trombone in high school, and was frontman for the Sultans of Swing, a jazz combo. Drafted into the army, where he developed an ear infection, which caused a partial hearing loss. After earning a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State, he began a radio career, eventually becoming a disc jockey. Moved to Cleveland in 1950, renamed himself ‘Moondog’ the following year, and began playing rhythm and blues records from independent labels, introducing black music to a white audience. Called himself ‘the father of Rock and Roll, although was not the first to use the term. Began promoting integrated concerts with his Moondog Balls in Cleveland, beginning in 1952, giving multiple level birth to both a genre and the idea of the superstar disc jockey. Always partial to alcohol, he parlayed his success to a NY radio contract with WINS in 1954, establishing a top 40 hits format, and began putting on live r’n’r shows at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, as well as transmitting shows to western Europe on Radio Luxembourg. Beginning with Don’t Knock the Rock in 1956, he appeared in several motion pictures with r’n’r acts, and also received a few writing credits on some early r’n’r classics, although they may have been a trade-off for promotional airtime. Won the enmity of many as not only an integrator, but a purveyor of the ‘devil’s’ music. Married three times, the first two unions produced two kids and a divorce each. In 1957, his TV show was canceled when a black singer was seen dancing with a white teenager. The following year, he was arrested for anarchy and incitement to riot when one of his Boston shows broke out in a fight. Continued as an influential NYC disc jockey, working both nationally and locally, until allegations began to rise around ‘payola,’ the practice of record companies paying disc jockeys to auditorially display their product as much as they could over the air. Refused on principle to sign an affidavit stating he had been guilty of saidsame, and was summarily fired from WABC in 1959. Descended into drink and depression, and when he was brought to trial in 1962, he pleaded guilty to two counts of commercial bribery and was given a small fine and a suspended sentence. Moved to Palm Springs, California, where he continued his self-destructive drinking, and in 1964, was charged with tax evasion. Before he could be brought to trial, he was hospitalized with uremia and cirrhosis of the liver, and died of it. Elected into both the Rock’n’Roll and Radio Hall of Fame in 1986 and 1988. Part of the first group of inductees to the former, which was built in Cleveland, in honor of his inaugural career there. Inner: Brash, aggressive, and innovative, with a genuine in-your-face love of raucous music. Warped record lifetime of serving as pioneer and innovator of a brand new high energy domain, only to succumb to his own clarion call for corruption and disintegration as antidote to his creativity. Monroe H. Rosenfeld (1861-1918) - American songwriter. Outer: Of Jewish descent. Older brother Sydney was also an occasional composer and librettist. Moved to Cincinnati and began writing songs, when a music publisher invited him to NYC. Became known as a musical kleptomaniac, stealing tunes to fit his songs. Specialized in weepie ballads, which were popular at the time, and began cranking out popular songs in the mid-1880s, while writing under several names. Ultimately penned about 1000 of them, with many done under pseudonyms. His outsized personality soon made him a legendary figure in NY popular music circles, thanks to his predatory ways with women and his compulsive gambling. Despite other addictions, he was a teetotaler. Once jumped out a window to escape police for check fraud, but permanently injured a leg in doing so, forcing him to wear bell bottoms to cover the injury. In addition to his songs and music, he also wrote articles and columns for both magazines and newspapers. Recognized the genius of Scott Joplin (Bud Powell) early on, and when the era for his type of composing was over, he focused on his writing, winding up an editor of a Boston-based music magazine. Credited by some with the invention of the name ‘Tin Pan’ for the commercial fare produced by the subsequently-dubbed mythic Alley of that name. Inner: Extremely persuasive talker, high energy, and very tuned into the pop mode of his times, at least for a while. High-riding lifetime of measuring the tastes of his times, before returning as an living exemplar of a far more strident genre, and succumbing to the deceptive sirens of fortune and fame that accompanied it.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS ROLLER-COASTER RIDER:
Storyline: The The scofflaw songsmith takes his licks from life, while giving as good as he gets, in a seminal guitar-strumming go-round as grandfather of rock’n’roll, after earlier self-destructing around the same excessive dynamic.

Chuck Berry (Charles Edward Anderson Berry) (1926-2017) - American guitarist, singer and songwriter. Outer: Descendant of slaves, as well as Chihuahua Amerindian and a European mix. Musical and sexual from a very early age, absorbing all sorts of influences, including country, blues and gospel. Father was a carpenter and church deacon, mother was a schoolteacher. His parents moved to the St. Louis area from California when he was young, and were active members of the Baptist Church. Grew up in middle-class comfort in a segregated enclave. Another brother and sister were also musical. Learned to play the guitar in high school, then at 17, went on a robbery spree with some friends and got caught. Spent 3 years in reform school for auto theft, where he organized a quartet and band, and was released on his 21st birthday. Earned a cosmetology and tonsorial degree from a beauty college, as 2 of his sisters had. Began playing clubs around St. Louis, supplementing his income by working on a janitor at a General Motors plant. 6’1 1/2”, lean and mischievous-looking. Married Themetta ‘Toddy’ Suggs in his early 20s, 3 daughters and a son from the extremely close union, which was occasionally negatively tempered by his periodic obsessive compulsion towards scalawag behavior. Continued performing and was invited to Chicago to meet the head of Chess Records, and recorded “Maybelline,” in the mid-1950s, which began his national career. Appeared in several rock’n’roll films, making his two-string guitar lick and duck-walk a trademark. Despite his successes, his songs were often better known through white cover versions. Always demanded to be paid in cash for his shows, toting it around in paper bags. In 1959, he was convicted of the Mann Act for transporting a 14 year old across state lines and then abandoning her. Spent 2 years in prison in Indiana, where he completed his high school education, while his wife left him over incident, but later returned. Regained his status through his popularity in England with the rising wave of rock’n’roll stars there who looked to him as the authentic voice of American music, while he was deliberately insulting to them. His songs bespoke adolescent fantasies of defying parents and authority, while celebrating the joy and power of youth. His career took off again, and he built an amusement park, Berry Park, where he would subsequently live, while endlessly touring in rock’n’roll revivals, as one of its elder statesmen. Stopped making new records by the 1970s, preferring to earn his money through touring. Became infamous for checking his watch in mid-song, to make sure he didn’t perform any longer than contracted for. Spent another 4 months in prison at the end of the 1970s for tax evasion, despite a White House invitation that year. In 1984, he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1990 he videotaped women in the bathroom of his Berry Park restaurant, and wound up paying a settlement of more than a million dollars. The same year, he was also arrested for marijuana possession and homemade pornographic videos. Wrote an evasive autobiography, and continues to serve as a rock icon for the generations that followed his lead. In 2016, he released his first album in 38 years, “Chuck” in celebration of his 90th birthday. Found in his home by police, after dying of natural causes. Had a net worth $19 million. Inner: Control freak, and rock’n’roll satyr, with an impish sense of his own place in the his/story of popular American music, thanks to his infectious rhythms and storytelling lyrics. Highly competitive, untrusting and angry, far more complex than his good-timey stage presence. Eternal teenager lifetime of enjoying his fame, talent and relative good fortune, after an earlier go-round of self-destructing with the same gifts. James A. Bland (1854-1911) - American musician. Outer: Father was a lawyer and the first African-American to be appointed examiner in the U.S. Patent Office. The family moved to Washington, where he had a middle-class upbringing, and was very musical as a child. Enrolled at Howard Univ., where he was popular, albeit a mediocre student. Learned the banjo and composed his own songs, influenced by ex-slaves. Performed at various social gatherings in Washington, both black and white. Dropped out of college, much to his father’s dismay, to pursue a career as an entertainer, and joined a traveling all-black minstrel show, going on to tour Europe with them. His most popular song was “Carry Me Back To Old Virginny.” Remained when they returned, and had a successful career in English music halls, as well as in Germany, where he was looked on as one of the 3 American greats, along with Stephen Foster (Hank Williams) and John Philip Sousa (John Lennon). Did not use blackface in his European performances. Returned to Washington after the turn of the century, but his later work did not match his earlier output, and since he spent his money as fast as he earned it over a 2 decade period, he died penniless, suffering unrelieved poverty at the end, and was buried in an unmarked grave. Inner: Segmented lifetime of rising from comfortable surroundings, enjoying a successful plateau, and then plunging into poverty at the end, so as to experience a variety of extremes in order to better sort them out the next time around.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS MULTI-TALENTED TEACHER:
Storyline: The upbeat activist continues to take African-rooted culture into the mainstream, by emphasizing its uniqueness and universality, in his ongoing need to uplift and expand the larger but far more narrow worlds in which he finds himself.

Oscar Brown, Jr. (1926-2005) - American musician, songwriter, poet, playwright, actor and activist. Outer: Of African/American descent. Had a middle-class upbringing. Father was a lawyer and one time head of the local NAACP, who eventually sold real estate, and wanted his son to do the same. Appeared on Studs Terkel’s children’s radio series, “Secret City,” although he did not entertain entertainment as a possible career at the time. At 15, he became a newscaster for “Negro Newsfront,” Briefly went to several colleges, while also working in a variety of jobs, including copywriter, real estate agent and publicist. Ran for the Illinois General Assembly on the Progress ticket in 1948, but lost, and was host of one of Chicago’s first TV shows aimed specifically at a black audience. In 1952, he ran for Congress and lost in the primaries, ending his elective ambitions. After two years in the army, he turned to song-writing as his most effective political tool, and penned “Brown Baby.” Married costume designer Jean Pace, who would work with him during much of his performing career, both singing and designing. 4 daughters from union, including Maggie, who also performed with him. Got a recording contract through playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s husband, and his first album, “Sin & Soul...And Then Some,” became a big hit in 1960. Throughout the decade he did innovative theater work in Chicago, at one point incorporating the notorious Blackstone Rangers, a local gang, into a revue, while serving as a community activist. Wrote a musical drama, “Slave Song,” in iambic pentameter and rhymed quatrains, which had a short Washington run. Worked as a TV actor, and won two Emmys for “Oscar Brown Is Back In Town.” But his recording career was halted in the mid-1970s, when he was deemed not commercial enough to be acceptable by the mainstream, as well as far too political for the tastes of the industry. Moved to San Francisco, and vented his frustrations in Big Time Buck White, which had a short Broadway run with boxer Muhammed Ali in it. Continued to fume about injustice, and never received his due, although he went on performing, nevertheless, and in the 1990s, a cover of his “Dat Dere,” sparked larger interest in him, and he recorded his first album in 20 years. Died of respiratory failure and complications from a blood infection. Wrote more than 500 songs, while, sadly, living in poverty and largely unrecognized for his last several decades. Inner: Wry, high energy, very politically aware, but also angry and embittered, transforming his rage into exquisitely conceived song. Populist lifetime of digging ever deeper into his own culture, and being deeply appreciated by a small audience, while still being stopped at the toll bridge that crosses over into mass acclaim. Bob Cole (1863-1911) - American musician, songwriter and playwright. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was prominent in the South during the Reconstruction period, and both parents were quite devout. Graduated Atlanta Univ., then came to NYC, where he studied drama and became the resident playwright and manager of the All-Star Company, the first black stock company. In 1898, he produced the first black full-length musical, “A Trip to Coontown, Ca.,” and 3 years later he formed a partnership with the brothers James Weldon Johnson (Saul Williams) and James Rosamund Johnson (Mos Def), after appearing with the latter as a vaudeville team. Played to stereotypes of the time, billing himself as “Nigger Bob with chillun’-lovin’ eyes.” The trio wrote musical comedy scores for all-black musicals, taking them out of their minstrel traditions and into the 20th century. Also wrote for the popular white entertainers of the day. After James Weldon Johnson was appointed U.S. consul to Venezuela, he continued working with his brother, writing successful shows but then having difficulties in booking theaters. In 1910, he was found wandering the streets singing and dancing. At first it was thought he was in the final stages of syphilis, but his odd behavior was eventually seen as a nervous breakdown. The following year, he committed suicide by drowning in a creek, after taking a walk with his mother. Inner: Extremely frustrating, and ultimately self-destructive lifetime of serving as an upgrader of black culture, only to have his obvious talent met with economic resistance by the mainstream, an ongoing theme of his in this series.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS SOULFUL MARVEL:
Storyline: The archetypal soul man trades his sight for acute hearing, and transforms himself into the very apotheosis of the aural black tradition, serving as a bridge between diverse musical worlds and audiences, while fighting longterm tendencies towards self-obliteration.

Ray Charles (Ray Charles Robinson) (1930-2004) - American singer and performer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Mother was a sickly, orphaned teenager. Taken to Florida by her and his father’s first wife when he was a few months old. His sire was a roaming rail-worker he never knew, and died when his son was 10. Grew up in extreme poverty. Fascinated by the piano from age 3. Began losing his sight at 4 from glaucoma and trauma, after failing to save his brother from drowning in a washtub. Became blind at the age of 7. Placed as a charity case in the segregated St. Augustine School for the Blind, where he learned to compose and play a host of instruments as well as read braille, and also had his festering right eye removed. Despite self-pity, his mother refused to coddle him, building a sense of self-reliance in him. Kicked out of the school at 15 when his mother died, he began composing and working as a musician, traveling throughout the south. 5’9”. Refused to use a seeing-eye dog, or be dependent on anyone to make up for his disability, employing his extraordinary sense of hearing as his eyes. At 16, he moved to Seattle, where he formed a trio, copying the style of Nat ‘King’ Cole. Dropped his last name so as not to be confused with the well-known fighter, Sugar Ray Robinson. Began using heroin, and had an illegitimate daughter at 18. Later married and divorced Eileen Williams, a beautician in the early 1950s. After touring, making records and being in other people’s bands, he began recording for Atlantic Records, and eventually found his own gritty secular/gospel voice. Married a gospel singer, Della Howard, and became a big draw by the mid-1950s, giving the first integrated concert in a public auditorium in Memphis, Tennessee. Combined rhythm and blues and gospel music, creating a unique sound that became very popular. Controlled the business aspect of his career as much as he possibly could. His first million-selling album was in the country/western mode. Had another illegitimate child by one of his back-up singers. Eventually left Atlantic for a lucrative contract at ABC-Paramount. Busted for heroin and marijuana possession, and after treatment, he was given a year’s probation, later formed his own label the same year, called Tangerine Records. Continued to struggle with heroin abuse, eventually overcoming his addiction, and its symbolic pull towards death. Had a fellow African-American, Joe Adams, as his adviser-manager, unlike others of his generation who were managed, and often ripped-off by, white members of the music industry. Blandified his appeal during the 1960s, showing an expertise in any genre he tried, while producing an endless string of hits, both singles, such as “What’d I Say,” and “Hit the Road, Jack,” and albums. His 20 year marriage broke up in the 1970s, after losing 2 ugly paternity suits. Acknowledged 9 out of wedlock children, as well as 3 from his marriage, and vowed never to marry again. Continued as a pop culture icon, a seminal entertainer of his time, touring half the year in his 60s, with a seemingly insatiable appetite for performance. His music was rooted in the world of jazz, although he was able to integrate his talents with virtually every popular form. Not above exploiting his presence in TV advertising. Co-wrote his autobiography, Brother Ray in 1978, and went on to win a dozen Grammys, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. The previous year he was one of the original inductees into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. Was still touring and recording in his 70s, while running the Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders. Died of complications of liver disease. His life-story was later told in the film Ray, with Jamie Foxx brilliantly assaying his unique character. Inner: Addictive personality, with soulful charm, a highly voluble charisma and an extreme seductiveness. Felt his eyes were his handicap but his ears were his compensatory opportunity. Avid chess player, and once actually flew a plane. His ability to project ecstasy from despair was the key to many of his songs. What’d-I-say lifetime of living in the darkened world of sound and serving as a bridge figure of black music to white audiences. James Reese Europe (1881-1919) - American bandleader and composer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Mother was a teacher and her son’s future music instructor. Father was an ex-slave, who became a Baptist minister. 4th of 5 children, the last 3 of whom all became musicians. Grew up in Alabama and was brought to Washington at 9. His sire’s sudden death in 1899 plunged the family into chaos, and he was forced to leave school and became a piano player, ultimately rising to assistant director of the U.S. Marine band. Fathered a son with entertainer Bessie Simms. Eventually went to NYC and joined an experimental all African-American band, the Nashville Students. The band worked in theaters rather than in dance-halls and on stage rather than in the orchestra pit, playing a pre-jazz syncopation, while the conductor danced the beat. Left the band to direct 2 all-black Broadway musicals. Formed an organization called the Clef Club which served as a booking agency, and then formed an orchestra around it, which played Carnegie Hall in 1912. Eventually left it and formed the Tempo Club Orchestra, in which he bridged string-based ragtime and jazz. In 1913, he married a widow, and joined with the popular dance team Vernon (Gower Champion) and Irene Castle. In 1916, he hooked up with a segregated infantry regiment and formed a military band which was particularly popular with the French, during WW I, where he was disabled by a poison gas attack. Also suffered from hyperthyroidism. Kept the band together after the war, and took it, some 65 strong, on a world tour. During that tour, he was stabbed in the neck by his drummer, who had felt unduly criticised by him. It was only a small wound, but it severed his jugular and he died from loss of blood. Violent throat area demises often indicate a desire to open up communication skills. Inner: Helped give black musicians status and respectability, while also serving as an integrating figure of contemporary musicality. Integrative martyr lifetime of being undone by an intimate, in his ongoing unconscious desire to open himself up through his wounds to his higher, more ethereally musical, self.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS INNOVATIVE HELLRAISER:
Storyline: The manic piano man continually sets his own balls on fire with frantic antics of such degree that he burns everyone he touches, while proving to be a showman so extraordinaire, that even a keyboard or fret can barely contain his unique incandescence.

Jerry Lee Lewis (1936) American musician. Outer: Of British descent, with some Swiss-German, Scots-Irish, Northern Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry. Parents were farmers. Grew up in poverty in a religious Assembly of God household that saw dance music as the Devil’s tool. Cousin of fallen TV evangelist Jimmy Lee Swaggart, and country singer Mickey Gilley. His older brother was hit by a drunken driver and died when he was two. Particularly influenced by Jimmie Rodgers (Buddy Holly), as well as gospel music, and because of his beliefs, could never reconcile his Christian sensibilities with his devilish ways. His parents supported his talents, and mortgaged the farm to buy him an upright piano when he was 8, and from then on, he was always practicing on it with his cousins. Made his debut at 14, with a country-western band in a Ford dealership parking lot. At 15, he was sent to a fundamentalist Bible school in Texas, but was soon given the boot. Called ‘Killer’ in high school for his tough cool, as well as his bawdy piano playing, with his legs occasionally up on the keyboards, while his fingers tore up and down the keys. In 1952, he married Dorothy Barton, a preacher’s daughter, but soon grew bored with her, then was forced into a shotgun marriage with Jane Mitchum, which also culminated in divorce. One son from second the union. Went to a Texas Bible college with the intent of becoming a preacher, but found honky-tonkying a far greater calling. Synthesized a wide swath of southern music, from gospels to blues to country, creating a unique sound all his own. 6’ with dark brown eyes. When he was 21, with his father’s backing, he went to Memphis, and was directed towards rock and roll as his true forte, rather than country, signing with legendary Sun records. Within a year, he had a breakout multi-million hit, with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” thanks to a TV appearance, and his next record, “Great Balls of Fire,” cemented him as a seminal 50s rocker, able to bridge the country, pop and R&B charts simultaneously. Just to show he hadn’t gotten a swelled head from his success, he married his 13 year old year third cousin, Myra Gale Brown, at the end of 1957, and a month later the duo had a son, which did not sit well with the American public, who have never taken kindly to underage incestuous shenanigans. Despite an ultimate 13 year marriage, by far the longest of all his disastrous matrimonial links, he became persona non grata to the larger public for the next decade. Nevertheless, he toured incessantly and immodestly as “the greatest show on earth,” all the while turning more and more to alcohol to salve his hunger to get back to cultural centerstage. In 1962, one of his sons drowned, and in 1968, the other, who had been playing drums in his band, was killed in an auto accident. The same year, he returned to his country root for the first of a slew of hits, although the old demon, excess, was never far away. Married yet again in 1971, to Jaren Pate, only to divorce two years later. In 1976, he accidentally shot his bassist in the chest, and in 1982, his estranged wife drowned in a pool, just before their divorce settlement. 77 days after his fifth marriage, his next wife, Shawn Stevens, was found dead, and though he had blood on himself, he was exonerated in her mysterious demise. His sixth and final marriage to Kerrie McCarver, would produce his one surviving son, although it, too would eventually end in divorce. Continued with his recording and touring, amidst serious health problems and battles with the IRS, as well as an addiction to painkillers. Nevertheless, he took full advantage of his legendary status on the international circuit. Among the first ten inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and the subject of a 1989 biopic, Great Balls of Fire, with Dennis Quaid portraying him, while he recorded many of the tracks for the film. In 2005, as a career coda, he was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Despite alcoholism and bouts of depression, still touring in his 70s, as the last active fireballer of his generation. In 2012, he married for a seventh time, to Judith Brown, the ex-wife of his cousin Rusty, who was the brother of his first child-bride, in an incestuous circle of sorts finally made complete. Inner: Flamboyant, continually given to excess, with a death’s head curse on many who were close to him. Larger-than-life lifetime of showing himself to be both a world class entertainer and a world class screwup, without the ability to really see the difference twixt the two. Charlie Poole (Charles Cleveland Poole) (1892-1931) - American musician. Outer: Father was a migrant laborer, who did millwork. Grew up following the millwork circuit with his family, which fed into his own rambling ways. Had 8 brothers and one sister. Made a banjo out of a gourd when he was 8, and was taught to play by a skilled second cousin. Later refined his technique by listening to records. Began work early, skipping schooling, so he did not learn to read or write until his 20s. Did some bootlegging, and long had a reputation as a hard-drinking hellion. Lost a bet that he could catch a hard-thrown baseball bare-handed, and wound up with three arched fingers from the debacle, although he turned it to his advantage through his quick-tempoed tri-fingered banjo picking, that ultimately gave birth to bluegrass. Married briefly, then at 26, followed his sister north to the textile factories of Spray, N.C., where both music and musicians abounded to such extent that the mill owners hired European music teachers for their workers’ children. Teamed up with clubfooted fiddler Posey Rorer as a fellow hellraiser, and in 1920, he married his sister, Lou Emma. Formed a trio with Wilson and a guitarist, which was called the North Carolina Ramblers, and became a fast favorite of the workingmen who initially comprised their audience. Continued the drudgery of millwork, but eventually put together an act that combined vaudeville corn with bawdy songs, while evincing an extreme athleticism in his leaping and dancing, as well as a tight musicianship, that took them as far north as Canada and as far west as Montana. Became one of country music’s first recording artists, after a trip to NYC in 1925 to Columbia Records. Although he wrote no songs, he personalized everything he played. His “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down Blues,” sold 100,000 copies at a time when there were only 600,000 houses with record players in all of the South. Had several storytelling hits, including “You Ain’t Talkin’ To Me,” which all combined elements of the blues with pure country, making him an integrator and innovator of traditions. Had a falling out with Rorer over his drinking away their royalties, and the duo never spoke again. His wife, however, continually forgave him his excesses and always welcomed him home after his wanderings. Continued recording with new personnel, but his drinking and the Depression kept him barely afloat. Eventually proved so successful that everyone was copying him on the banjo, so that by the winter of 1931, he was once again back in the North Carolina mills. Hollywood came knocking with the promise of a score for a western, but he went on such a long celebratory binge afterwards, that he was finally carried to his sister’s where he died, without realizing any of his larger dreams. His death certificate characterized him as a “millworker.” Inner: Rowdy, self-destructive in extremis, but with a biting wit. Legacy-laden lifetime of proving to be one of the 20th century’s short-lived foundering father’s of country music, only to quickly flame out before returning in even more excessive fashion.

*

PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS SYNTHESIZER OF POPULAR TASTES:
Storyline: The pop pioneer lays the groundwork for different musical disciplines, then does a fast fade over and over again in order to return in time to catch the next wave of music’s ever-changing tides and swells.

Jay Reatard (Jimmy Lee Lindsey, Jr.) (1980-2010) - American singer and songwriter. Outer: Grew up in a working-class environment with three sisters. Moved with his family to Memphis when he was 8. Always unsatisfied and a loner, as well as shy and remote, he started recording songs in his bedroom as a teen, which forced his family to move on several occasions because of his noisemaking . Began playing Memphis clubs at 15, while at the same time releasing recordings with a variety of bands, including his own Reatards, as well as the Lost Sounds, among others. Dropped out of school at the same time, reducing his life from the 3 R’s, to the 2, Rock’n’Roll, to which he dedicated the rest of his abbreviated existence. By his mid-20s, he had established himself in the Memphis underground rock scene for both his volatile performances and his do-it-yourself approach to recording, often getting into fights on stage, or stalking off it before his set was finished. No stranger to stimulants, he felt it necessary to feed his nose and throat with whatever was handy, which also liberated him from his naturally retiring personality. Used minimal equipment, counterpointing the sweet with the corrosive along with the economical in his songwriting and instrumentation, while usually working alone in rendering them for posterityon his Flying V guitar. Preferred short, loud, low-fi frenetic pieces, and released his first solo album, “Blood Visions,” in 2006, which gained him a wider audience. Signed a solo deal with Matador Records, and afterwards, his band went their separate ways, as his style mutated to power pop from synth-punk. His last album was prophetically titled, “Watch Me Fall.” Found dead in his bed by a roommate, with suspicions of homicide. In his short life, he issued 22 albums, and over 100 records, in an explosion of creativity probably marked by a subconscious sense of ars longa, vita brevis. His autopsy would reveal that he died of cocaine toxicity, with alcohol a contributing factor. Inner: Stated everything he did was motivated by a fear of running out of time. Angry, erratic, unique and highly independent. Stayed a permanent teen, keeping his sweet side hidden. Peter pan lifetime of once again flaming out early, while embodying the culture of his times, as an ongoing mirror of the creative blaze of youth, and its continual anthem of live fast, die young, and make memorable anthems. Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley) (1936-1959) - American singer/songwriter. Outer: Of British descent, with a touch of Cherokee and distant Irish and Scottish ancestry.Grew up in a conservative Baptist farm family, although his parents encouraged music in their children. Studied fiddle and piano at 4, and guitar at 7, while winning an amateur contest at 5. Started singing in country groups in high school, with an initial interest in bluegrass. 5’11 1/2” with black hair and dark brown eyes. Gained a reputation as a country artist, and began playing clubs, as well as singing on radio, with 2 friends, calling themselves the Western and Bop Band. Signed with Decca, who misspelled his name on the contract, dropping the ‘e,’ but the initial record failed to sell. After opening for Elvis Presley (Kesha), he decided to switch from country to rock’n’roll. Ultimately named his band, the Crickets, after considering calling them “the Beetles.” Later, the Beatles said their name was a tribute to him. Hooked up with producer Norman Petty in 1957, and returned to a subsidiary of Decca with a big hit, “That’ll Be the Day,” which spawned the group’s first national tour, showing him to be a distinctive guitarist and an enthusiastic, impassioned performer, with a bespectacled look. Several promoters were subsequently surprised that the group was white. Toured England in 1958 and was a big hit there, as well. Separated from the Crickets and Petty, and acted as his own producer afterwards. Wrote his own material, and employed double-tracking in his recordings, while helping to create the basic r’n’r ensemble of two guitars, lead and bass, with a drum rhythm section. Made NYC his home base, and, the same year, married a Puerto Rican woman, Maria Elena Santiago, who worked in his publisher’s office, after proposing on their first date. Continually on the road, he did a bus tour of the United States, but in the middle of it, he decided to take a plane, in part to get his laundry done, and took off in a blinding snowstorm, only to have the plane crash soon afterwards. Singers Richie Valens (Selena) and The Big Bopper (Darren Robinson) also died in the tragic accident, while another crash that day in NYC, which killed 65, dominated the news. His gun would later be found in the field, creating an added aura of mystery as to the true cause of the accident, although further investigation proved it had never been fired. Only 22 at the time, he left an enduring medley of infectious songs, which would fill a bunch of posthumous collections. Often plane crashes are directly symbolic of crashing through a whole other plane of the self, and in his unlaundered case, a hurried cleansing of sorts. One of the original inductees into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Almost 5 decades after his death, the original Peggy Sue, who had inspired a song of the same name and married his drummer, penned a tome claiming he was preparing to divorce his wife and marry her, much to his wife’s shock and dismay. Inner: Innovative, exuberant, driven, strait-laced, highly responsible. Pioneering lifetime of exemplifying the best of his generation of r’n’r musicians, in a continual pattern of rising to prominence and then self-destructing to go on to master the next generation’s musical tastes. Jimmie Rodgers (James Charles Rodgers) (1897-1933) - American singer. Outer: Father was a section foreman on the railroad, mother had tuberculosis, which she passed on to her son, then died when he was 4, so that his sire raised him alone. Left school at the age of 14, and became a water carrier on the Mississippi & Ohio Railroad, eventually becoming a brakeman. Learned to play the guitar and banjo on the job, picking up songs from the African-American workers, and developing his own style from an amalgam of country, blues and cowboy songs. Married, two daughters from union, one dying at 6 months. His tubercular condition made working on the railroad impossible, and he began to perform in his late 20s, picking up the sobriquet of the ‘Singing Brakeman.’ Had a nasal voice with a Mississippi twang. Moved to North Carolina for his health, worked as a city detective, and only turned to singing in desperation. Discovered by the RCA Victor recording company in Tennessee and soon gained wide acceptance. Continually touring, mostly in the South, he eventually settled in a fancy house in Texas, which he was unable to support. Often collaborated with a sister-in-law, who polished his tunes. Became America’s best-known commercial country entertainer. Worked tent shows and vaudeville circuits, but never toured in the north. Died of TB in NYC, after recording there. Sold more than 5 million 78’s. Had a powerful influence on the direction of country music, inspiring many singers in the wake of his short life. Inner: Exuberant, innovative, infectious performer. Happy-go-lucky, good-humored. Prematurely plucked lifetime of synthesizing the traditions of country music with a limited amount of time in which to do it.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS HOPELESS HEALER:
Storyline: The sexual shaman cannot heal his own deep wounds, and, instead, picks at them until they overwhelm him, before being biblically sacrificed by his own father, without any intervening angelic force of self-realization to save him.

Marvin Gaye (1939-1984) - American musician and performer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was an Apostolic preacher. Son was very devoted to his mother, and his progenitor always jealous of their close connection. Started singing in church at the age of 2, and was soon playing the organ. His father would bring women home from his congregation and have his mother serve them in the bedroom. He would also dress in women’s clothes and impose harsh punishment on his son, creating a total love/hate ambivalence in him, in his desire for affection and approval. During his teens, he preferred sophisticated white saloon singers, as a way of rejecting his heritage. 6’1 1/2”. Served in the Air Force, then began singing in groups before forming his own, the Marquees, developing a 3 octave range to his voice. The group became popular, and he was signed to a Motown contract by Berry Gordy. In his early 20s, he married Gordy’s sister, Anna, but the duo later acrimoniously divorced after 14 years, amidst lawsuits and a huge alimony payment, one child from union. Served as a session drummer before finally getting his first single hit on his 4th try, “Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” in 1962. Teamed up with Tammy Terrell (Lisa Lopes), who represented an idealized form of love for him, and was shattered by her death in 1968, abandoning his recording career for a year, and refusing to perform in public for a longer stretch, while never taking on another partner. Over the next decade, he had a string of hits, although he eventually left the label because of Gordy’s parental authority. Wanted to be a crooner, and felt he was just a performer at Motown. A sexual shaman through his music, combining his earthiness with his innate spirituality, although he remained a deeply unhappy individual. Married again, after living with his 2nd wife, Janis Hunter, for 4 years, 2 children from the union which also ended in divorce. Despite being a big star, from his late 30s onward, he danced to an increasingly deafening tune of self-defeat, while his music and themes became darker and more violent. Increased his use of cocaine, mis-mangaged his income and an IRS default all fed into his downfall. While living out of a trailer in Hawaii, he arranged to have his son kidnapped, which resulted in criminal charges. Became more schizoid, giving sloppy performances, and sometimes not showing up at all. Battled with drugs, paranoia, and suicidal feelings in his last months. Feared for his life, and pointed his gun at his head in front of friends. Shot 3 weeks later with his own gun by his father, in the presence of his mother, in a petty argument. Posthumously inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. Inner: Genuine shaman, although without the insight or desire to heal himself. Harbored a lifelong conflict between spirituality and sensuality, authority and freedom, love and hate. Reverse Oedipal lifetime of doing continual battle with all his dualities, only to be undone by his own innate lack of personal integration. Leroy Carr (1905-1935) - American musician. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was a porter for Vanderbilt Univ. His parents separated when he was young and his mother took him and his sister to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1912. His early life was largely unrecorded. Taught himself piano, then joined the circus as an entertainer, before signing up with the U.S. military. Thin, medium build. Following his discharge, he married, worked for a meatpacking plant and became a bootlegger, in a lifelong fascination with alcohol, which would ultimately be his undoing. Eventually began to spend fulltime playing the piano and entertaining at dances and parties. Indianapolis, or Nap Town, was a respected jazz breeding/ground, so that his reputation soon spread to neighboring states in the midwest. Had a gentle, expressive voice, and was an understated pianist, with a flair for natty suits. Teamed up with fellow bootlegger and guitarist Francis “Scrapper” Blackwell as his accompanist, and began recording with him in 1928, scoring with their very first blues song, “How Long How Long Blues,” which turned out to be their biggest hit. The duo went onto a very successful career as juke joint notables throughout the midwest, although homemade whiskey would prove an addiction he could not overcome. Despite his well-received playing and superior bluesmanship, he died of complication from acute alcoholism, at the relatively tender age of 30. His last recorded song would be “Six Cold Feet in the Ground.” Probably the most influential bluesman of his generation, taking that genre out of the realm of the shouters and into an expression of big city life. Inner: Poetic and humorous, initially viewed as too smooth to be authentic, although his recordings, which would be his legacy, had enormous influence on those who followed him. Carr-wreck lifetime of an accident waiting to happen, in his ongoing ineluctable draw towards six cold feet in the ground.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS OUTRAGEOUS IMPRESARIO:
Storyline: The paranoid producer continuously produces nothing but trouble for himself, despite a distinct genius for tapping into the musical tastes of his time.

Phil Spector (Harvey Phillip Spector) (1940) - American musical producer. Outer: Of Jewish descent. Both his parents were first cousins. His father was an ironworker who committed suicide through carbon monoxide poisoning when he was 9, devastating him. One unhinged older sister, while his mother smothered him, in compensation for the loss. The latter moved the family to Los Angeles when he was 12, and supported the 3 of them by working as a seamstress and then as a bookkeeper for a record distribution company. At 13, he was given a guitar for his bar mitzvah, and within 3 years he was playing in local jazz combos. Also learned the piano. 5’5” and thin. Painfully insecure about his unprepossessing looks, and so bitter about his treatment by fellow high schoolers, that when he returned for 10th year reunion, he had two bodyguards keep everyone away from him in recompense. Began writing songs with a fellow high schooler the following year, and in 1958 formed the Teddy Bears, a trio with a female singer. Lifted his father’s gravestone sentiment, “To Know Him Is To Love Him,” and had his first hit. The trio broke up the following year, and he briefly attended UCLA, then toiled as a court stenographer, before finally re-entering the record business, after trying to work at the U.N. as a French interpreter. After forming another failed group, he hit his stride as a producer, both penning hits and putting out records. In 1961, he formed Phillies Records with a partner, whom he soon bought out, and was a millionaire by the following year, thanks to an innovation of his, called the ‘Wall of Sound,’ with an overdubbing melodrama to his music that he felt was Wagnerian. Focused on girl groups, marrying Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Bennett, of the Ronettes, in 1968. The duo had a pair of twins, one of whom died at 9, and adopted another set of male twins, as well as a daughter, although he proved an abusive husband, to the point of building a glass-topped coffin and keeping it in the basement as a reminder of her fate should she prove unfaithful. She finally left him, feeling she was going to die in his mansion, and they were officially divorced in 1974. Despite his many successes, his off-center personality earned him much enmity in the business, and in 1966, after one of his songs failed to strike a chord in America, he went into seclusion in his 23 room Hollywood mansion, where tales of his bizarre behavior filtered out. Did a cameo appearance in Easy Rider, although did not start producing again until the end of the decade. The 70s saw him less and less, as he survived two near fatal car crashes, eventually became a recluse again, making occasional headlines with his penchant for waving guns in the faces of women who were otherwise not interested in him. Inducted into the R’n’R Hall of Fame in 1989. Bought a thirty room chateau, and in 2003, he was apprehended there for the murder of Lana Clarkson, a 42 year-old actress, who was found dead of a gunshot wound in his home, while he claimed she had killed herself, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, including his having to be subdued by a police stun-gun. In 2005, he went on trial for murder, showing up initially, with a huge puffed-up afro wig, although the trial would later be postponed to 2007, while he was freed on bail. During that time, he married aspiring singer and actress Rachelle Short, who was some 40 years his junior. Ultimately able to wangle a hung jury and a mistrial, with two nonguilty hold-outs, thanks to his high-priced legal team, in yet another exhibition of America’s double-tiered justice system, although in 2009, he was brought to trial again, found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to 19 years to life, the same week he had surgery for precancerous polyps in his throat. In 2013, he lost the ability to speak, and was transferred to a facility for sick inmates, as his health continued to deteriorate. Filed for divorce in 2016, claiming his wife was spending far too much of his money. Inner: Dual character: paranoid, antisocial, misogynistic and extremely controlling. Also charming and sweet on occasion, although his dark side would ultimately predominate. Mortified he was losing his hair, he became a recluse. Reportedly had a penchant for running around his estate in a Batman costume. Bragged that no one had ever taken a gun away from him, while brandishing it at an all-star roster of celebrities, as well as a host of women, before one final fatal time. Off-kilter lifetime of showing his ongoing flair for gauging public tastes, as well as his completely unintegrated and ultimately murderous habit of gouging any and all people who did not bend to his will. Louis Antoine Jullien (1812-1860) - French/American conductor and composer. Outer: Father was a bandmaster. Grew up in the French Alps. Studied at the Paris Conservatory, but his nonclassical tastes forced him to leave. Began band conducting in his early 20s, and also founded a musical paper at the same time. Became insolvent shortly afterwards and was forced to flee to London, where for the next two decades, he conducted his own orchestra, enjoying a popular following for his promenade concerts. Introduced the polka around 1844, which proved a huge English craze. A highly flamboyant showman, he was noted for his spectacular, “Monster Concerts for the Masses,” which he also took on an extended tour of the United States in his early 40s, as well as Scotland and Ireland. Noted equally for his showmanship and musicianship, helped popularize large-scale concerts wherever he went. Spared no expense in putting together the best instrumentalists and vocalists he could find. Wore waistcoats over his portly form, used a foot-long baton, flashed white gloves and kept a plush chair on the podium into which he would sink at the end of his concerts. On returning to London, he lost most of his manuscripts in a fire at the Covent Garden Theater in London and his money in an unsuccessful opera investment in 1852, thanks to the grandiosity of the production. Returned to Paris in his late 40s, where he was arrested for debt, and then paroled. Wound up shortly afterwards in a lunatic asylum where he died insane. Inner: Flamboyant, but also thoughtful, gauging himself to the popular tastes of his times. Megalomaniacal lifetime of thinking big, taking chances, and enjoying huge success, only to lose everything at the end: money, power and ultimately his mind, as a prelude for a repeat performance the following century.

*

PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SELF-DESTRUCTIVE POPULIST:
Storyline: The good-timey guru gratefully accepts death as the only logical alternative to a compulsive desire to render his normal state permanently altered, while bringing his special brand of narcotic-fueled fun’n’frolic to the deadheaded masses.

Jerry Garcia (Jerome John Garcia) (1942-1995) - American musician. Outer: Father had immigrated from Spain in 1919, and became a big band musician, who named his son after composer Jerome Kern (Mark Shaiman). Mother was a registered nurse. Younger of two brothers. Suffered from asthma, and spent long periods of time in bed, during which time he began to draw, and it became a lifetime avocation. Also took piano lessons as a child, but lost most of the 3rd finger on his right hand in a childhood wood-cutting accident. courtesy of his brother. Took up electric guitar at 15, then dropped out of school to get away from his family and joined the Army, only to be dishonorably discharged after 8 AWOLs and 2 courts-martial in only 8 months service. Began playing banjo in bluegrass bands afterwards, while studying at the San Francisco Art Institute. 5’10”, and increasingly heavier. Married Sarah Ruppenthal in 1963, divorced 4 years later, one daughter from the union. In his early 20s, he formed the blues-based Warlocks, with fellow members of a jug band he was in, and played as a bar band 6 nights a week, then for the public acid parties run by writer Ken Kesey. The band was renamed the Grateful Dead, for a type of British folk ballad, discovered after randomly flipping through a dictionary. The group lived communally in San Francisco, playing free concerts and working their way up into the city’s more prestigious rock venues. Gradually built up a huge following called Deadheads, and by the early 1970s, they had become America’s premier touring band, continually on the road for at least 6 months of the year, while rarely playing their good-timey music to an empty seat. Their fans were as equally drug-besotted as the band, with many spending their time following the crew around the country, in nonstop party mode. Clever marketing, along with striking Dead logos, created an ongoing entertainment empire around them, based on ‘feeling good.’ Maintained his celebratory music for 3 decades, while also pursuing other projects, as a musician and producer outside the band. In 1981, he married Carolyn ‘Mountain Girl’ Adams, writer Ken Kesey’s former inamorata, 2 daughters from the union. During the marriage, he also had another out-of-wedlock daughter, while living apart from his wife. Had a lifelong affinity for drugs and food, with a longtime heroin habit, and increasingly portly figure, so that for his final 2 decades, getting high took precedent over everything else. His idea of improving his health habits was switching from non-filtered to filtered cigarettes. The band weathered the deaths of several members, as well as personnel changes, while totally losing its earlier edge, so that it eventually became a bland money-making machine. Busted for cocaine and heroin in his mid-40s, while continually feeding his deteriorating health with many a poisonous reason to discontinue. A diabetic with heart disease, he ballooned up to 300 pounds, while following the band’s dictum, ‘plug in, freak out, fall apart.’ Inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, along with his band-mates, and also married filmmaker Deborah Koons. Died the following year, in a drug rehab center of a heart attack, brought on by sleep apnea. Inner: Avuncular, with a thin shaky voice, and the capacity for unusual instrumentation. Fun-loving, enormously self-destructive, with a genuine love for music and performing, although little sense of responsibility about anything else in his life. In excess lifetime of continually overdoing it on a very public stage, bringing joy and good times to the multitudes, while obliterating himself in the process, before gratefully and deadly calling it a life. Paul Dresser (Johann Paul Dreiser, Jr.) (1857-1906) - American songwriter, performer and publisher. Outer: Oldest child of a Catholic German immigrant weaver, who eventually became supervisor of a woolen mill. Father suffered a fire at the mill and a serious head injury, and became a religious fanatic and an embittered, ineffectual cripple afterwards. Raised in poverty, with his mother supporting family by taking in boarders and doing laundry. Family name was Dreiser, and younger brother Theodore (Paul Schrader) ultimately became a famous novelist. Taught himself piano and guitar. Trained for the priesthood, but ran away from home at 16 to join a medicine show, then lived with the madam of a successful bordello for a while. Toured in vaudeville as a singer in blackface and monologist and wrote a humor column for a newspaper, as well as his own sketches. Self-educated in music, he became master of the sentimental ballad, delivering them often with tears in his eyes. Ballooned to over 300 lbs on his 6’+ frame. Enjoyed popular success, and went into partnership in a publishing company, during which time he wrote his best known song, “On the Banks of the Wabash Far Away.” Extremely generous, he was constantly giving money away, allowing a half million dollars to slip through his fingers. Unhappily married a burlesque queen but she left him, and his music company went bankrupt after 4 years. His talents also deserted him and he tried to form his own publishing company, but eventually went to live with a sister in Brooklyn, where he died of a heart ailment. Inner: Large, gregarious, sentimental and generous, before eventually becoming solitary and asocial. Couldn’t deal with adversity. Believed in the songs he composed. Self-inhaling lifetime of recreating himself without the ability to inwardly reflect the popular love he so easily seems to be able to manifest.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS SHORT-LIVED INSTRUMENTALIST:
Storyline: The fleeting player learns his licks on a variety of instruments, and then moves on, preferring the ongoing opportunity to play in the full bloom of youth in his various disciplines, without the desire to bring them to full maturity.

Duane Allman (1946-1971) - American guitarist. Outer: Father was an army sergeant who was murdered one day after Christmas by a vet he had just met, when his son was 3. Moved to Nashville with his mother took him and his younger brother, Gregg, and then Daytona Beach, Florida in 1857. In 1959, he caught a B.B. King performance, and it convinced him his future was in music. Got a motorcycle the following year, wrecked it and traded the parts for a guitar. Started playing in local groups, and soon quit school to pursue music fulltime. Along with Gregg he formed the Escorts, which eventually became the Allman Joys in 1965, a pun on a popular candy bar. Went to Los Angeles two years later, and signed with Liberty Records as the Hourglass, cutting 2 albums under that name, before returning to Florida, and remaining there in other bands, while Gregg came back to Los Angeles. Learned slide guitar, and invented a technique employing an empty glass Coricidin medicine bottle that he wore over his ring finger, which would be used by other guitarists as well. Became a primary session man for Fame Records in Florida, impressing one and all with his technique, and then signed with Atlantic, which asked him to put together yet another band, and the Allman Brothers were born, with the band moving to Macon, Georgia. Their initial album, “The Allman Brothers Band,” did well in the South, as a blend of blues, R & B, country and gospel, but nowhere else. Continued to play on sessions, while the Allman Bros.’ reputation grew as a live band, which was confirmed by a live session at NYC’s Fillmore East, which resulted in a legendary recording. Less than 3 months later, however, he was killed in a motorcycle accident, when he swerved to avoid hitting a truck, and a year later one of his band members, Berry Oakley, died the same way in virtually the same place. Left a daughter by his common law wife, Donna Roosman. Inner: Avid reader, with a hippie attitude towards his existence. Brief strum of a lifetime of establishing himself in the genre of Southern Rock’n’Roll, before once again exiting early, in, what is presumed, an ongoing education in a variety of modes, without the desire to bring them to full maturity. Jimmy Blanton (1918-1942) - American string bass player. Outer: Of African-American descent. Mother was a pianist. Began his career by playing locally in bands led by her, and briefly attended Tenn. State College, before moving to St. Louis in the late 1930s. Focused on one instrument, the string bass, and transformed it and played it as if it were a horn, proving to be its first true master. Discovered by Duke Ellington, who immediately hired him, and he, in turn, gave more of a swing rhythm to his band. Took part in the sessions at Minton’s in NYC that would give genesis to the bop movement. From 1941, his playing became more erratic because of tuberculosis, and he eventually went to a sanitarium his last year and died of that disease. Left a large legacy of recordings with various groups. Inner: Revolutionized jazz bass playing. Had great dexterity and a roundness of tone. One string lifetime of mastering an instrument, before giving in to his propensity for making fast exits after showing an early gift for exquisite musicianship.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS DEMON-POSSESSED PERFORMER:
Storyline: The hellbent hellraiser makes memorable music, only to continually come to his own crossroads of excess, and pass beyond any sense of personal redemption.

Rick James (James Johnson) (1952-2004) - American musician. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was a disco technician, mother had been a prostitute. 3rd of 8 children. Nephew of Melvin Franklin, the bass singer of the Temptations. Expelled from 5 schools before joining the U.S. Naval Reserves at 15. Went AWOL soon afterwards, and wound up in Toronto, where he formed and fronted a band called the Mynah Birds, attracting several future big name musicians, including Neil Young. Despite being signed by Motown and recording for them, nothing came of the effort. Gave himself up to the FBI when the manager of the Mynahs told the them he was AWOL and spent a year in the Brooklyn Brig. Moved to Los Angeles in 1969, and worked throughout the 1970s as a bass-playing sideman for several groups, before re-signing with Motown as a songwriter and producer in 1977. His first album, “Come and Get It,” sold 2 million copies, and he suddenly found himself a major player on the music scene, in a genre he called ‘punk funk.’ Affected corn-rows and beaded hair, as well as elaborate costumes, while also getting into heavy drug and alcohol use, in a nonstop show of excess, whether he was on stage or off. Adopted the name ‘Super Freak,’ for himself, after a 1981 hit song of his. Continued churning out hits, but, along with a girlfriend, kidnapped a young woman for several days and sexually abused her. Brought to trial in 1993, and was given a five year prison sentence for assault and furnishing drugs. Released after 2 years, he was frank about his drug abuse, particularly after suffering a mild stroke in 1997 in Denver on a concert tour, which effectively ended his public music life. Married Tanya Hijazi the same year, one child from the union, which ended in divorce. Appeared in the Eddie Murphy vehicle, Life, as a prisoner, and then suffered a debilitating stroke in 2002, which caused him to finally wean himself from drugs, although his longtime bad habits finally did him in, and he died of a stroke 2 years later. Inner: Great desire for both fame and notoriety. Born showman but given to excess in all that he did. Super freak lifetime of finally giving the devil his due, with his own descent into the netherworld of crime, drugs, and incarceration, in order to offer himself considerable pause on his chosen uninhibited pathway. Robert Johnson (1911?-1938) - American blues musician. Outer: Of African/American descent. Mother’s husband, a prosperous cabinetmaker, had been chased out of town by a lynch mob. Real father was an itinerant sharecropper, who never saw his son. Raised and worked on a farm with his mother and her second spouse, pestering bluesmen to learn their techniques, while very reluctantly laboring in the fields. Slender and handsome, with a magnificent singing voice, capable of absorbing all the influences with which he came in contact, gospel, blues and popular sounds. Had unusually long fingers and a bad left eye, which may have been the result of a cataract. Married Virginia Travis, a 16 year old who later died in childbirth, as did their offspring, then took to the road afterwards, where his real education began. Also had one illegitimate son during this period. Began to play the guitar publicly, although was a mediocre musician, then disappeared up north as part of a gospel quartet in Canada and singing on the streets in NYC. Returned a ferocious player, somehow getting in touch with the brilliant virtuoso that lay within him, so that his technique matched his many-registered voice. Also had the ability to play any song he ever heard, even if only once. Legend had it that he made a pact with the devil, meeting him at a crossroads, and selling his soul for 8 blistering years as a bluesman, which he would later commemorate in “Crossroads Blues.” Had a tremendous desire to reach as wide an audience as possible. Remarried, but deserted his wife, who suffered a nervous collapse. Compulsively seductive, with a singular interest in fame through music, as well as hell-raising. Did his only recordings in Texas, in two separate sessions, leaving a legacy of only 29 tracks. There are numerous versions of his premature death: stabbed by a jealous husband, stabbed by a woman or poisoned at a party with tainted rye, after flirting with his host’s wife. Also may have died from pneumonia or syphilis. A researcher who uncovered his death certificate years later, found it only said that lack of medical attention fed into his death, adding to the mystery. His music was later resurrected through the efforts of others, and he has since then, attained and maintained deservedly legendary status. Given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Inner: Demonic in his music and his pursuits of pleasure at all costs. Curious capacity to always look together, even after sleeping a drunk off in a ditch. Mama’s boy at heart, and usually a loner. Arguably a minor figure raised to cult status by subsequent fans more intrigued by his legend than his music. Crossroads lifetime of literally living the blues, while diving deep into himself to become a musician of legendary proportion, only to flame out at the height of his powers, after making a pact with his own inner demons. Louis Chauvin (1881?-1908) - American musician. Outer: Mother was African/American, father was Mexican/Native American, although his roots are unclear, since his parents may also have been mulattos. Several other musicians were also said to be in his family. Taught himself the piano as a child, evincing an excellent ear for harmony and improvisation. Although he could neither read nor write music, he had a gift for composition, constantly improvising everything he heard. At 13, he dropped out of school with childhood friend, Sam Patterson, and joined the Alabama Jubilee Singers, then touring, with St. Louis as their base. 5’5” and slim, with fine features and long tapering fingers. Along with Patterson, he did black-face minstrel comedy, as well as sang and danced, in addition to his piano-playing. By his early 20s, he was recognized as a noted ragtime pianist, tickling the ivories at Tom Turpin’s Rosebud Cafe, where he proved a tremendous draw. Also a member of a unique ragtime piano quartet, along with Turpin, Patterson, and Joe Jordan, which entertained for a while at social events. Frequented lowlife places, as well, including opium dens and brothels where he probably became infected with syphilis. Along with Patterson, he wrote and produced a vaudeville musical play called “Dandy Coon.” Sang and played the piano in it, while also doing the high-stepping cakewalk, sometimes in drag. An extremely talented singer and dancer, to go along with his instrumental skills, he exhibited an extraordinary facility for anything to do with music and performing. Drank to excess, and constantly surrounded himself with women, treating them poorly as adjuncts for his own needs rather than theirs, since his true love was for the piano. Moved to Chicago around 1906, but by that time, both his mind and body were ravaged by syphilis. Continued performing until he finally had to be admitted to a hospital, where he spent his last 23 days, eventually falling into a coma. His cause of death was listed as multiple sclerosis, although that affliction would have affected his playing much earlier. May also have been the victim of sickle cell anemia. Buried back in St. Louis. Left only three compositions, since he exited before he could ever record anything, so that his reputation as the best ragtime pianist of his time, is one based on reputation rather than indisputable evidence. Best remembered for “Heliotrope Bouquet,” which he co-wrote with Scott Joplin (Bud Powell). One of a large host of talented musicians who died in their 27th year, which he would do again the next time around, as well. Inner: Pleasure-loving and promiscuous, with music as the singular grounding element in his life. Able to play anything he heard, and immediately begin improvising on it. Hard-partying lifetime of living fast and dying young, which would be his modus operandi in all his subsequent lives in this series, as well.

*

PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS FEY QUINTESSENTIAL NEW YORKER:
Storyline: The flamboyant footlighter turns the political into the personal, by personifying America’s current prime Other, while employing his longheld skills as an entertainer to give gravelly voice to his ongoing love of being stage-center, and affecting the cultural life of his times.

Harvey Fierstein (1954) - American performer and writer. Outer: Parents were Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Father was a handkerchief manufacturer, mother was a junior high school librarian, close family. Realized he was a homophile at a young age, came out at 13 and subsequently made a career out of proudly asserting his sexual identity, turning his earlier political go-round into the intensely personal. Addicted to matinees as a youth, and overweight as a teenager, he made his movie debut as a 250 pound drag queen in an Andy Warhol film, and his acting debut at La Mama in Andy Warhol’s only play, “Pork’s.” 6’1”. Also enjoyed painting, and studied at Pratt Institute to please his parents, gaining a B.F.A degree in 1973, but the lure of the theater proved too strong. Began writing his own works at 19, after considerable off-off Broadway experience as a drag queen. Gravelly-voiced, flamboyant, and perfectly at home on stage. Began with outrageously campy theater pieces, then wrote the autobiographical Torch Song Trilogy, on the advice of a psycho-therapist after a failed 2 year love affair. The show became a Broadway hit in 1982 after its off-Broadway beginnings, and later a movie, with his alter ego Arnie Beckoff, serving as a stand-in for himself. Won two Tonys for the effort for acting and writing. Save for writing the book to “Le Cage aux Folles,” for which he won another Tony in 1984 for best libretto, his next two outings were ill-received, and by the late 1980s, he had burnt out on the theater, feeling overly sensitive to the criticism heaped upon him, and deeply disturbed by the AIDS crisis. Disappeared into drink and depression, while continuing to work sporadically in other people’s film vehicles, before drying out in the mid-1990s, and finally returning to Broadway as a musical actor in “Hairspray,” winning yet another Tony, after coming to peace with himself as a bridge-builder between straight and fey worlds. Continues to look both inward, and outward, for his sense of completion, as a self-appointed voice for a deeply politicized and oft-rejected segment of the populace, while remaining active in a whole variety of media. Inner: Flamboyant, good-humored, a natural performer, with the learned ability to see himself beyond rose-colored drinking glasses. Healing lifetime of coming to grips with his complex emotional life by writing directly about it, so as to serve as a high-spirited exemplar for self-acceptance, via a rise’n’fall’n’rise again rhythm, with which he was already partially familiar. Jimmy Walker Jimmy Walker (James J. Walker) (1881-1946) - American politician and songwriter. Outer: Father was an Irish immigrant, who worked as a carpenter and lumberyard owner, and was also a local leader in Tammany Hall, a longtime NYC Democratic organization. Never particularly interested in school, he dropped out of both college and business school, before his progenitor, who wanted him to pursue a political career, pushed him into becoming a lawyer, so that he eventually got his degree from NY Law School in 1904. 5’9”. Far more interested in NYC’s nightlife, and salubrious bars, then the bar, itself, he spent the next several years writing song lyrics, garnering his biggest hit in 1908, with the lyrics for “Will You Love Me in December as You Do in May?” Extremely social, he had numerous friends in both the entertainment and sports worlds, which he would maintain throughout his political life. At his father’s insistence, he officially entered politics in 1909, winning a state assembly seat from Greenwich Village. Three years later, he finally passed the bar exam. Proved extremely successful in his second career, thanks to a ready wit, a debonair sense of style, and an excellent speaking ability. In 1914, he married Janet Frances Allen, a vaudeville performer and singer, no children from the union. Thanks to his highly social character, and a penchant for Broadway showgirls, he was repeatedly unfaithful to his wife. Served in the State Senate until 1925, where he remained a highly noticeable figure, as well as an effective liberal legislator, backing progressive social reform. Anti-Prohibition, as well as strongly anti-Ku Klux Klan, he rose to Democratic floor leader his last four years in Albany. Helped pass legislation against Sunday blue laws, that allowed sports and movie-going, which greatly endeared him to the workingclass, whose only day off could now be filled with the entertainments they craved. Recognizing his appeal, Tammany leaders tapped him for the 1925 mayoralty race in NYC, which he handily won, then was an hour and a half late to his inauguration, and subsequently late to every public ceremony afterwards, calling himself “the Late Mayor.” Because of the boom times and Tammany’s grip on the city, New York flourished under him, as the transit system expanded, public hospitals were reformed, and a sanitation department was launched, all of which fed into the corrupt patronage system of his political bosses. Served as NYC’s unofficial master-of-ceremonies, rarely rising before 10, and partaking heartily of its nightlife, a virtually ubiquitous figure everywhere, save for City Hall. Drove a $17,000 Dusenberg, wore expensive suits, Continually chasing after women, he launched into a well-publicized affair with Betty Compton, a musical comedy star nearly a quarter century his junior. Uninterested in the details of his administration, and constantly taking vacations, he was, nevertheless, an enormously popular pol, as an emblem for the Roaring Twenties, and the optimistic atmosphere it heralded for any and all with the slightest bit of money. Some 32,000 speakeasies operated in NY under him, as “Our Jimmy” always slyly looked the other way. Kept the subway fare at 5¢ as well, which further endeared him to the workingclass. A great favorite with the local newspapers for his grandiose personality, he easily won re-election in 1929 over Republican Fiorello La Guardia (Bill Richardson), who would eventually succeed him. The Great Depression, however, soon ended the city’s love affair with him, since neither he nor Tammany were equipped at all to handle the economic crisis that ensued. An investigation led by judge Samuel Seabury showed extraordinary corruption in the police department and municipal courts, while revealing large benefices bestowed upon him, from businessmen seeking city favors, and he was forced to resign in the fall of 1932, at the insistence of Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been after him to do so for quite a while. His departure signaled the end of Tammany Hall’s long corrupt hold on the city, as well as the twilight of Irish politicos on NY’s landscape, as other ethnic groups rose to replace them. Went on a European exile, and the following year he divorced his wife and married Betty Compton in France, before adopting two children, although the marriage petered out, and the pair divorced in 1941. Did some sports-writing and radio work, as well as sitting on a couple of commissions, and, despite all, remained extremely popular with his fellow New Yorkers, since he continued to represent a high time in the city in the memories of many. Served as head of Majestic Records, and after his death from cerebral thrombosis, was portrayed by Bob Hope in the 1957 bio-pic Beau James. Inner: Witty, dapper, well-liked, good-timey and flamboyant, with a great sense of personal style. High-stepping lifetime of enjoying much public love as an embodiment of the Jazz Age, before grim depressive reality set in, although the experience gave him the ballast to try it again from a far more personally political standpoint, to see whether he could weather life’s vicissitudes in a far more emotionally charged vehicle, in far more demanding times.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS ADDICTED ADEPT:
Storyline: The vertiginous virtuoso finally manages to vanquish his ongoing draw towards obliteration, only to exit immediately thereafter, clean and sober for the first time in many a go-round, and ready to claim his huge talent from that virtuous perspective.

Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954-1990) - American musician. Outer: Father was an alcoholic, and his son escaped him via music, beginning at the age of 8. Neither parent was a musician, although both were big fans, and would take their sons to pop concerts. Influenced by his older brother Jimmy, inheriting his guitar at 8, while rhythm & blues dominated his childhood. Largely self-taught, he played professionally for the first time at 13, then dropped out of high school and moved to Austin, to become a fulltime musician. Played with numerous bands, including his brother’s “Texas Storm.” Gained fame as a soloist, and formed his own groups, “Triple Threat,” and then “Double Trouble.” Their first album, “Texas Flood,” released in 1983, reached Gold Record status. With a national following, they toured Japan in 1985, but substance abuse curtailed his subsequent career. Despite his likeability and stunning talent, he harbored a strong self dislike, and spiraled downward via bourbon and cocaine, which he used in abundance to fuel his electrifying performances. Collapsed and fell from the stage in London in 1985, and was in and out of rehabilitation centers, despite winning six Grammy awards, and continuing to tour. Finally got his life together, after a successful stay at a Georgia dry-out clinic, before dying in a helicopter crash in a dense fog, a symbol of being ready to move onto a higher plane from his earlier induced fog of drugs and alcohol. Posthumously inducted into the R’n’R Hall of Fame in 2015. Inner: Well-liked virtuoso. Ultimately healing lifetime of conquering his longtime addictive personality, and having done so, immediately opted for a clean break and a start over in a new body. Bunny Berigan (Roland Berigan) (1908-1942) - American musician and bandleader. Outer: From a musical family. One of two brothers. Played violin and trumpet in his grandfather’s orchestra, beginning at the age of 14, then blew in college dance bands, while at the Univ. of Wisconsin, before switching over to the big name jazz bands of the time, with a very distinctive husky style of trumpet. Wrote, “Sometimes I’m Happy,” although needed continual liquid stimulants to maintain that state. Played with the Tommy Dorsey (Billy Corgan) orchestra, then left to start his own band in 1937, before rejoining Dorsey towards the end of his career. Recorded extensively and also had considerable radio play, making him a big name of the era. Best remembered for “I Can’t Get Started With You.” Did continual battle with alcohol, with a legendary capacity for drink, and a great lyrical beauty to his playing. Married, two daughters from union. His health, however, eventually broke and he died prematurely of an intestinal ailment and pneumonia, brought on by overwork and poor health habits. Inner: Felt compromised by playing with commercial bands. Loved by everyone who knew him. Poor businessman, ungrounded in all other aspects of life, save for his music. Uncontrolled lifetime of self-destructing while doing battle with his own sense of artistic integrity. His career paralleled that of Bix Beiderbecke (Brian Wilson), although he was a far happier soul.

*

PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS STAGE-STRUCK SONGSMITH:
Storyline: The theatrical showman finds his musical metier under the bright lights, allowing his own fears full sway as a counterpoint to his otherwise melodious mien.

Marc Shaiman (1959) - American composer. Outer: 4th child of an unmusical Jewish middle-class family. Close to his mother, and viewed as a self-proclaimed show business prodigy, while growing up, with the dream of becoming a Broadway composer. Given the opportunity to develop his all-abiding love for theater, with a particular affinity for Bette Midler. Following a community theater production of “The Sound of Music” and the realization of his power as an entertainer at the age of 12, he subsequently abandoned high school, and headed for NYC. Hooked up with the Divine Miss M, and began arranging for her, while also meeting his longtime companion, Scott Wittman, his antithetical co-lyricist. Worked with the latter on dozens of revues, doing “guerrilla dinner theater,” at an East Village church basement called Club 57, then began composing on his own, although something always stopped his shows from making it to Broadway, despite his having worked there as a musical director in 1979 at the tender age of 19. Labored in other media, then following an ecstatically reviewed revue of his best songs, he announced he was heading for Hollywood, where he became a successful producer, arranger and eventually composer for a heady series of hits throughout the 1990s, which brought him 5 Academy Reward nominations. Following the turn of the millennium, he returned to Broadway with “Hairspray,” in an unconscious completion of the journey he had taken his previous go-round, without the early success. Won a Tony in 2003 for the effort, while the show swept the awards with 8 wins, then sealed his joy with a televised kiss with his partner, Wittman, for a prime-time same-sex first, while celebrating their quarter century together, and declaring he would love to spend the rest of his life with him. Orchestrated the later movie version as well. Inner: Neurotic, filled with small fears, but always candid and a virtual encyclopedia of theatrical and popular song. Of-me-I-sing lifetime of integrating success with innate musical skills, by playing the same symbolic life-song in different order and orientation, with far more satisfying results. Jerome Kern (1883-1945) - American composer. Outer: Mother was a musician and father was a successful businessman, heading a merchandizing firm. Had a privileged upbringing in an upper middle-class Jewish family. Youngest of 3 surviving sons. Began taking piano with his mother, and wound up studying at the NY College of Music,. Small, jovial, and bespectacled with blue eyes, as well as more than his share of nervous energy. Quickly showed his ineptitude for business, in order to pursue his song-writing vocation fulltime. First published in 1902, and the following year he was sent to Europe by his sire, presumably to keep him away from the family coffers. Took the opportunity to study in Heidelberg, and directly experience the London musical theater. With a gift for both melody and form, he returned to the U.S. in 1904, and went to work as a sheet-music salesman, enjoying his first songsmithing success the following year. Over the next decade he absorbed musical theatrical styles from Europe, while marrying an Englishwoman, Eva Neale, , in 1910. Their daughter, Elizabeth, would go on to marry oft-wed bandleader Artie Shaw. By WW I, his gifts were notably on display on Broadway, culminating in his masterwork, Show Boat in 1927. By 1934, he had hied out to Beverly Hills, to turn his ear towards the movies. Although none of his earlier musicals had been well-captured at the time, he felt celluloid was the medium for his message and turned out a half-dozen musical films which were more memorable for individual songs than their totality as shows. Lived luxuriously in Beverly Hills at life’s nearend, but was never happy in Hollywood. Returned to NYC to work on a new Broadway musical, but before he could begin, he succumbed to a cerebral hemorrhage in a hospital, surrounded by wife, daughter and Oscar Hammerstein II. The show was completed by Irving Berlin, and became the hugely popular Annie Get Your Gun. Wrote the melodies for over 100 stage and screen vehicles, while only penning one song, “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” that was not for a specific show. Inner: Mild-mannered and extremely modest master of melody. Urbane, zestful and primly restrained. Identified culturally rather than religiously with Judaism, and had a great love for rare books, eventually selling his collection for nearly $2 million, when it became too much of a responsibility. Tune-smithing lifetime of allowing himself to be blinded by some of the glitter of success, and losing his musical way in the overly bright lights of ambition, despite leaving a splendid legacy beforehand.

*

Lists

1- Rulers-Ancient Kingdoms
2 - Rulers-Modern EuroAmerica

3 - Camelot Lists
4 - AngloAmerican Lists
5 - Euroroyalty Lists

6 - Show Biz Royalty Lists
7 - Show Business Lists
8 - Writers Lists
9 - Artists Lists
10 - Musicians Lists

Home Sweet Home Page

 

Biographies