Ever hear of Jane Little ? Of course not. Her death did get some minor attention as one of those “funny” news-curio items.
She was one of the "blessed" and “lucky” performers to drop dead on stage. It was during a rousing version of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” Why it’s as if Irving Berlin was sitting alongside God and said, “Do me a favor…”
“What kind of favor?”
“Jane Little got into the Guinness World Record book for “longest tenure with an orchestra.” Since she’s got cancer anyway, let her go out in style. That’s not much to ask. I’m Irving Berlin, after all.”
“Yes, and your GOD-given talent has made millions of millions happy. You’re the little Jew that wrote 'White Christmas.'" after all.”
“Will you strike down Jane Little while she’s performing my song?”
“I’ve got your back. But that’s nothing, I’ve also got Quasimodo’s too. I’m such a fuckin’ kidder! ZAP!”
Little, who was only five feet tall, played a double bass taller than she was. She joined the “Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra” at age 16. Technically there should be an asterisk (ala Roger Maris) because it later became the “Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.” That means it’s technically two different orchestras that she played for.
She began sawing away on February 4, 1945, and finally crept past Mr. Frances Darger (who played the violin for 70 years with the Utah Symphony) on February 1, 2016. She died on May 15, 2016. Said a fellow musician, “Her bass crashed into my bass, she fell over onto the floor, and as quickly as we could, we dropped our instruments and got her offstage.”
She was taken away in an ambulance, was briefly revived, but she said nothing and a while later was pronounced a door nail.
Another asterisk: she dropped on stage, but didn’t technically drop dead.
What’s it all about, Alfie Wiedersehen? Is it just for the record books we live?
Shouldn’t we celebrate ALL people who care enough to play a large and difficult brown-colored instrument? Where’s BASSISTS LIVES MATTER?
And how about Jane wearing that un-PC Atlanta Braves cap? Native Americans are not happy that the idiotic baseball team plays stereotypical “Indian war” music to rally the players, and fans stand up and do “The Tomahawk Chop.” When will the Braves, Indians and Redskins understand NATIVE AMERICAN DIGNITY MATTERS?
For now, we only celebrate average working musicians if they achieve some feat of longevity (we love “world’s oldest…” news items), or die on stage, which always amuses people.
Dying while at work ONLY is amusing in show business. Nobody's smiling about: "Bus driver dies behind the wheel; dozens injured." Or: “World’s oldest dentist drops dead in the middle of filling a cavity.” Somehow religious fanatic assholes don't say in those cases, “how nice, to go out doing what you love to do most.”
40's actor John Garfield died while fucking. OK, he was probably doing what he loved to do most, but did he finish? And if he did, did she?
As to your download below...
I could’ve very easily found you a rousing “pops” version of that horrible tune and you could listen to it and imagine somewhere in the orchestra, an old bag toppling into a colleague. But I’m much more sadistic.
Let’s go with the creepy version where Mary Pumpkin's kitschy cooing is abetted by that chewy Macca-roon himself, producer Paul McCartney. Paulie had some kind of fetishistic crush on the waifish little blonde from Cardwell. Or Cardiff. Or whatever town had the tree branch she was seen chirping from.
McCartney’s unique idea for “There’s No Business Like Show Business” was to open it as a waltz, and then turn it into a turgid oom-pah march with soggy drums (was he playin’ ‘em again?).
To his credit, Paulie’s style worked on her hit “Those Were The Days.” He managed to take a shitty song that had already been destroyed by many a folk trio in America, and turned it into a nostalgic Music Hall piece. Not bad considering the teen singing it was hardly old enough to be nostalgic over being weaned. Covering “There’s No Business Like Show Business" was also an irony considering the little bitch had only been in show business for a few months.
A one-shot wonder girl who nobody cared about after her first album. An old lady nobody but some pompous Atlanta citizens heard becomes famous for dying. The Lord moves in mysterious ways! You just can’t figure out what the hell the point of it all is. And that goes double for this blog.
MARY NAPKIN There’s No Business Like Show Business