If I said that he cast his fate to the wind and Charlie Brown answered, who would you guess?
If you needed another clue I would say that, with his handlebar mustache and horn rimmed glasses, if he bent over his keyboard, he could have be a grown up version of Linus Van Pelt.
However, Linus was born from the pen of Charles Schultz in 1952 and described by Charles Schulz as his spiritual side. Our mystery guest wasn’t involved with the project until 1964.
Would you have the answer yet?
If you still didn’t get the references, I might tell you that he died of a sudden heart attack in 1976, a few weeks before his music aired on a beloved television special and they played Peanuts music at his funeral, much of which he wrote.
Do you have it now?
So who is this performer? The one and only, Vince Guaraldi.
Born in 1928, he lived in San Francisco most of his life. On his 1962 single inspired by the movie Black Orpheus, the A side “Samba de Orpheus" flopped but the DJs loved the B side, "Cast Your Fate to the Wind." It received considerable air time on the jazz and pop stations of the day. Hearing it while in a taxi cab going over the Golden Gate Bridge, Lee Mendelson, the producer for the first Charlie Brown animated special, decided that Vince was the man to compose the music. As they say, the rest is history.
From the bio on his website, he and his music are described as follows:
“Guaraldi's smooth trio compositions -- piano, bass and drums -- perfectly balanced Charlie Brown's kid-sized universe. Sprightly, puckish, and just as swiftly somber and poignant, these gentle jazz riffs established musical trademarks which, to this day, still prompt smiles of recognition.
They reflected the whimsical personality of a man affectionately known as a 'pixie,' an image Guaraldi did not discourage. He'd wear funny hats, wild mustaches, and display hairstyles from buzzed crewcuts to rock-star shags. . .
. . .On February 6, 1976, while waiting in a motel room between sets at Menlo Park's Butterfield's nightclub, Guaraldi died of a sudden heart-attack. He was only 47 years old.
A few weeks later, on March 16, ‘It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown’ debuted on television. It was the 15th--and last--Peanuts television special to boast Guaraldi's original music.”
R.I.P., Vince – and I don’t mean rest in peanuts.
~Lydia Barnes (email@example.com)
Our Smooth Video of the Day: We all know Vince Guaraldi's composition inspired by Linus and Lucy, but have you ever heard his ode to Peppermint Patty?