August 15th is a vivid date for Jews in the music industry. On this date in 1941, Ben Bernie (Anzelevitz), aka “The Old Maestro,” recorded one of his signature songs, “Au Revoir, Pleasant Dreams” for his popular radio show; the song was written in 1930 by Jack Meskill and Jean Schwartz. (Hear it below.) Ben Bernie is most remembered for his declaration, “Yowsah, yowsah, yowsah!” On this date in 1965, promoter Sid Bernstein brought the Beatles to Shea stadium for the first stadium concert in modern history — sold out, of course. (Watch them take the stage below.) In 1969, dairy farmer Max Yasgur hosted some half a million young people at the historic Woodstock Festival on his land in Bethel, New York. (Watch him speaking to them below.) In 1970, Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s song, “Close to You,” as sung by the Carpenters, logged its fourth week at #1. (See Karen Carpenter singing it below.) And on August 15, 2008, the great record producer Jerry Wexler, who coined the term, “rhythm and blues,” died at 91.
“My secret to success is that I’ve always loved good music and people.” —Sid Bernstein