September 29, 2010

Oh, for the love of Steve Allen!

Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen (1921-2000), best known simply as Steve Allen, was known for a lot of things. He was the original host of the long-running (and still running) NBC television series The Tonight Show (so he never needed to worry about being booted to make way for of Jay Leno). He was the host of several other television shows, such as The Steve Allen Show, The New Steve Allen Show, and The Steve Allen Comedy Hour, as well as several others that did not actually have the name "Steve Allen" in the title.

He once appeared on The Simpsons to poke fun at himself for all of these self-named works, by talking about some of his books: "How to Make Love to Steve Allen", "Happiness Is a Naked Steve Allen", "Journey to the Center of Steve Allen", and "The Joy of Cooking Steve Allen". While these book titles were merely made up for a joke, Allen was nevertheless a prolific author as well, having penned over 40 books over the course of his lifetime.

I feel like the name "Steve Allen" hasn't been used enough in this post yet, so - STEVE ALLEN! STEVE ALLEN!

As if all of this wasn't enough, he was also an accomplished musician and composer, writing over 10,000 songs during his lifetime. The album featured here - "Electrified Favorites" - is from 1958 and features Allen doing bouncy swing/jazz tunes (some his, some written by others) on a Wurlitzer electric piano. This is a different instrument than the one featured in an earlier post on this blog, which was more like a pipe organ.

Sadly, Mr. Allen died in 2000 from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident, just short of his 79th birthday. It's a real shame, because I can't help but think we would have seen more great stuff from him if he had been around longer. Well, at least we have a few (read: hundreds) things to remember him by.

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