Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Lyrids are Coming...

Over the next two nights you might be able to catch a few shooting stars. The Lyrids are said to be an average shower, but they're also known for meteors with bright, lasting tails as well as the occasional window-shaking sonic boom and they peak on April 22nd and 23rd this year. The Lyrids are born of dust from a long-period comet with the catchy name C/1861 G1 Thatcher. So, button up your coat and spend some time in the dark, weather permitting you might get a good show.

For fun I thought I'd add a piece of sheet music art. Falling Star was part of the Ziegfeld Review Follies of 1909. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a recording of the song, but the artwork is really lovely. It features a beautiful, Gibson Girl-esque woman embodying a meteorite, streaking to Earth, trailing fire. In this cover, we revisit a couple that I first referenced in my Full Corn Moon blog post some time ago, Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth.

Nora Bayes (born Elanor "Dora" Goldberg) was a popular American singer, comedienne and actress from Joliet, Illinois. She started her career in Chicago's vaudeville at the age of 18, becoming a vaudeville circuit (and eventually Broadway) star after a cross-country tour that started in San Francisco, California and ended in New York City, New York. In 1908 she married composer, lyricist, and fellow vaudeville performer Jack Norworth who had written the lyric for Take Me Out to the Ballgame that same year. The pair were together for a short five years before divorcing, but in that time they collaborated not only the 1908 and 1909 productions of Ziegfeld's Follies, but also the immensely popular Shine On Harvest Moon. The two would divorce in 1913.

After parting with Jack, Nora put her efforts behind the war effort (World War I), recording two of the best known songs from that conflict: Over There and How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)? Jack's compositions include Meet Me in Apple Blossom Time, Sing an Irish Song, and the sequel to Shine On Harvest Moon, Turn Off Your Light Mr. Moon Man. Nora would pass in 1928 after an unsuccessful operation for cancer and would wind up buried in an unmarked grave in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. Jack would die of a heart attack in Laguna Beach, California in 1959.

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