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Bandleader Artie Shaw Dies at 94

Bandleader, clarinetist and arranger Artie Shaw has died at home in Los Angeles. His health had declined since Thanksgiving. He was 94 years old.

Shaw's recording of "Begin the Beguine" became so popular in 1938 that it brought him to an even footing with the other so-called "King of Swing" -- Benny Goodman. The famously irascible Shaw later referred to the song as an anchor around his neck.

Shaw was an innovator as well as a hit maker. He was one of the first white bandleaders to hire black musicians, and his orchestral compositions won him respect in the classical music world.

But Shaw quit performing in the mid-1950s to compose and arrange music, write books, produce film -- and perfect fly-fishing techniques. Shaw once said his epitaph should read, "He did the best he could with the material he had." Then he changed it -- to "Go Away."

NPR's Robert Siegel has a remembrance.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.