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Thu May 16, 2019, 09:25 AM

Today's birthday boys: Robert Fripp (1946), Liberace (1919), and Henry Fonda (1905)

Liberace was born 100 years ago today.


Liberace in 1969

Born: Władziu Valentino Liberace, May 16, 1919, West Allis, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died: February 4, 1987 (aged 67), Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Cause of death: Pneumonia as a complication of AIDS
Resting place: Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery
Other names: Walter Busterkeys, Claide Forget Jr., Walter Liberace, Lee, The Glitter Man, Mr. Showmanship

Years active: 19361986

Władziu Valentino Liberace (May 16, 1919 February 4, 1987) was an American pianist, singer and actor. A child prodigy born in Wisconsin to parents of Italian and Polish origin, Liberace enjoyed a career spanning four decades of concerts, recordings, television, motion pictures, and endorsements. At the height of his fame, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, with established concert residencies in Las Vegas, and an international touring schedule. Liberace embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off stage, acquiring the nickname "Mr. Showmanship".

Early career

Liberace was a conservative in his politics and faith, eschewing dissidents and rebels. He believed fervently in capitalism and was also fascinated with royalty, ceremony, and luxury. He loved to hobnob with the rich and famous, acting as starstruck with presidents and kings as his fans behaved with him. Yet to his fans, he was still one of them, a Midwesterner who had earned his success through hard work, and who invited them to enjoy it with him.

In the next phase of his life, having earned sudden wealth, Liberace spent lavishly, incorporating materialism into his life and his act. He designed and built his first celebrity house in 1953, with a piano theme appearing throughout, including a piano-shaped swimming pool. His dream home, with its lavish furnishings, elaborate bath, and antiques throughout, added to his appeal. He leveraged his fame through hundreds of promotional tie-ins with banks, insurance companies, automobile companies, food companies, and even morticians. Liberace was considered a perfect pitchman, given his folksy connection with his vast audience of housewives. Sponsors sent him complimentary products, including his white Cadillac limousine, and he reciprocated enthusiastically: "If I am selling tuna fish, I believe in tuna fish."

The critics had a field day with his gimmicky act, his showy but careful piano playing, his non-stop promotions, and his gaudy display of success, but he remained largely unaffected, as preserved by the famous quotation, first recorded in a letter to a critic, "Thank you for your very amusing review. After reading it, in fact, my brother George and I laughed all the way to the bank." He used a similar response to subsequent poor reviews, famously modifying it to "I cried all the way to the bank." In an appearance on The Tonight Show some years later, Liberace reran the anecdote to Johnny Carson, and finished it by saying, "I don't cry all the way to the bank any more I bought the bank!"

From last year:

Today's birthday boys: Robert Fripp (1946), Liberace (1919), and Henry Fonda (1905)

Hat tips, http://www.thisdayinrock.com/, http://www.thisdayinmusic.com/, and Wikipedia.


May 16th: On this Day

1962, B Bumble and the Stingers were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Nut Rocker.' The instrumental was based on Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker Suite.'

May 16th: Born on this day

1919, Born on this day, American pianist, singer, and TV presenter, Liberace, (Wladziu Valentinon Liberace) who had a career spanning four decades and for a period, his TV show would pull in over 30 million viewers at any one time and he was the became the highest-paid entertainer in the world. He died on 4th February 1997. Behind the Candelabra, a film adaptation of Scott Thorson's autobiography, featured Michael Douglas stars as Liberace, with Matt Damon playing Thorson.

1946, Born on this day, English guitarist, composer and record producer Robert Fripp, who with King Crimson had the 1969 UK No.5 album, In The Court Of The Crimson King. He has also worked extensively as a studio musician, notably with David Bowie on the albums Heroes and Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), Brian Eno, Porcupine Tree, Andy Summers, Slow Music, Theo Travis, The Humans, Jakko Jakszyk and many others.

Two for one. Possibly my favorite video on all of YouTube, Liberace playing "The Bumble Boogie," Jack Fina's orchestration of "Flight of the Bumblebee." I see Jack Fina died 48 years and two days ago, in 1970, "during an engagement at the Beverly Hills Hotel."

Here's the same tune, this time by B Bumble and the Stingers:

Nut Rocker:

Hey, we did this yesterday. Yes, and that's Robert Fripp on the guitar solo:

One for the Chapman Stick fans:

From what I sometimes think is the best movie ever made. I found my DVD of it the other day. When Henry Fonda was asked, of all the roles he had played, what was his favorite, he said this one:

Bonus: how could I leave this out?

Here's a favorite from years gone by. "And lots of wavy hair, like Liberace":

One last tune from Liberace, a grerat one, I'll Be Seeing You:

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Reply Today's birthday boys: Robert Fripp (1946), Liberace (1919), and Henry Fonda (1905) (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Thursday OP
dhill926 Thursday #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 11:09 AM

1. thats a helluva lineup....

and I'm oddly big fans of all three...used to watch Liberace on lunch break in elementary school. LOVED King Crimson. And Henry Fonda speaks for himself...

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