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At age 12 I was rummaging through my grandparents' attic when I came across several boxes of 78 rpm records, many going back to the turn of the last century and early 1900s through the First World War period. Included was an old portable wind-up phonograph machine from the 1940s with a generous supply of unused needles. In one box was an assortment of '20s and '30s music, but mostly in the collection were 78s from the late '30s and '40s swing era. This was my introduction to the music of Glenn Miller ... lucky for me I found the King of Swing, the guy who made the Big Band Era possible. I was probably the only kid in town who loved the music of The Beatles and Glenn Miller simultaneously. His was a new sound for me, a distant yet familiar sound from a long ago past that existed before I was born. And I was growing up in an era where every year music seemed to undergo the kind of change we normally do not see in ten years. In The Mood, Moonlight Serenade, and this song, A String Of Pearls, were the first Glenn Miller songs I would hear. It was indeed a thrill to listen to these echoes from another time. I was sad to learn that Miller, who had joined the army in 1942 and led the Army Air Force Band during World War II, had disappeared in a small plane flying over the English Channel on December 15, 1944. To this day his status remains missing in action. Talk about the day the music died. In this case it was true. Big Band swing music, the kind Glenn Miller, The Dorsey Brothers, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, and others played, was doomed to die a slow but certain death. Thirty-five years later another major music craze, disco, would suffer the same sort of decline. A String Of Pearls was released as a 78 rpm single in September 1941. It reached #1 on Billboard for two weeks in January 1942 and ran the chart for 22 weeks. This video is a tribute to that song, and to one of the greatest musical forms of the 20th Century before the birth of rock and roll, the times in which it was popular, and to the genius who created it. The immortal music of Glenn Miller.
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