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Originally published at YouTube on March 25, 2016.
This is my second Glenn Miller video in 2 years, the last and first one being "A String Of Pearls" back in 2014. Oddly, "Moonlight Serenade," which was Miller's signature opening instrumental number in 1938, a year before it was given its title and released as a single, and probably the most famous of all his recordings, only reached #3 on the Billboard charts in 1939. It was originally the B-side to "Sunrise Serenade" which also became a big hit, but not nearly as big as "Moonlight."
Upon the radio broadcast news reports that Miller's plane had disappeared over the English channel on December 15, 1944, it was this song most stations played immediately following the announcement. To this day the status of Major Glenn Miller remains "missing in action." Like the Beatles, he had somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 hit singles ... but over a period of only four and half years. "In The Mood" is ranked as #1, but "Moonlight Serenade," ranked at #2, is clearly the romantic leader and one of the most popular hit singles of all time, inducted into the Music Hall of Fame in 1991.
It was a sound no one had ever heard: using reed instruments, Miller's band simulated a string section, but with a superior mixture of emotion and pure loveliness no amount of violin and cello could ever duplicate. Not since the time of Mozart had anyone ever created such a "perfect" musical sound. It was as exquisitely "new" (and thus modern) as the Beatles' later vocal harmonics and use of fluctuating minor, major and major seventh guitar chords. It has always been my view that, had Glenn Miller lived, it is almost impossible to know what direction pop music would have taken. Swing died because its most innovative and successful artist disappeared in what was likely a fatal plane crash. The death of Buddy Holly, far from ending rock and roll, inspired the beat sound that was developed in England and prospered in the 1960s. Sadly, Miller's death inspired only universal mourning and loss ... and that is why this era eventually drew to an untimely close.
This video is a tribute to the enduring classic romance of "Moonlight Serenade" and the sound it created, one of the greatest musical forms of the 20th Century before the birth of rock and roll, and to the genius who created it. The immortal music of Glenn Miller and his Orchestra.
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