Artie Shaw


Arthur Jacob Arshawsky, commonly known by his stage name, Artie Shaw, was an American clarinetist, composer, and bandleader. Also an author, Shaw wrote both fiction and non-fiction. Widely regarded as "one of jazz's finest clarinetists", Shaw led one of the United States' most popular big bands of the in the late 1930s through the early 1940s.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Artie Shaw.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Artie Shaw.


1910 Birth Born on May 23, 1910.


1925 15 Years Old From 1925 until 1936, Shaw performed with many bands and orchestras; from 1926 to 1929, he worked in Cleveland and established a lasting reputation as music director and arranger for an orchestra led by the violinist Austin Wylie.
1929 19 Years Old In 1929 and 1930 he played with Irving Aaronson's Commanders, where he was exposed to symphonic music, which he would later incorporate in his arrangements.


1935 25 Years Old Shaw first gained attention with his "Interlude in B-flat" at a swing concert at the Imperial Theater in New York in 1935. … Read More
1937 27 Years Old The show was well-received but forced to dissolve in 1937 because his band's sound was not commercial. … Read More
In addition to hiring Buddy Rich, he signed Billie Holiday as his band's vocalist in 1938, becoming the first white bandleader to hire a full-time black female singer to tour the segregated Southern U.S. However, after recording "Any Old Time" she left the band due to hostility from audiences in the South, as well as from music company executives who wanted a more "mainstream" singer. … Read More
1939 29 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Following the breakup of what was already his second band in 1939, he rarely toured at all, and if he did, his personal appearances were usually limited to long-term engagements in a single venue or bookings that did not require much traveling, unlike many bands of the era that traveled great distances doing seemingly endless strings of one-night engagements. … Read More


Following Shaw's return from Mexico in 1940, and still under contract to record for RCA Victor, he recorded Frenesi with a group of session musicians in Hollywood.
1941 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Shaw broke up the Hollywood band keeping a nucleus of seven musicians in addition to himself and filled out the ensemble with New York musicians until it all came to an end in March 1941.
1942 - 1945 3 More Events
1946 36 Years Old 1 More Event
He made a few records for Musicraft before the band broke up and all of the subsequent recordings for Musicraft from 1946 were all staffed by top-notch session musicians.


1950 40 Years Old In 1950 he was a mystery guest on What's My Line?, and during the 1970s he made appearances on The Mike Douglas Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. … Read More
1952 42 Years Old His autobiography, The Trouble With Cinderella: An Outline of Identity, was published in 1952 (with later reprint editions in 1992 and 2001). … Read More
1953 43 Years Old In 1953, Shaw was forced to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee for his leftist activities. … Read More
1954 44 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Following the break-up of that band he began to focus on other interests and gradually withdrew from the world of being a professional musician and major celebrity, although he remained a force in popular music and jazz before retiring from music altogether in 1954. … Read More


1962 52 Years Old He was a precision marksman, ranking fourth in the United States in 1962, as well as an expert fly fisherman. … Read More


1980 - 1984 3 More Events
1985 75 Years Old In 1985, another week-long series of strenuous rehearsals followed during which Shaw added more repertoire, including many arrangements and compositions that were from the later years of his career but which Shaw had never recorded.
1987 77 Years Old By 1987 though, Shaw was no longer touring with the band, quietly content that Johnson and the band kept true to Shaw's spirit and vision for it. … Read More
1994 84 Years Old …  In 1994, he told Frank Prial (The New York Times), "I thought that because I was Artie Shaw I could do what I wanted, but all they wanted was Begin the Beguine. "
2000 90 Years Old In 2000, filmmaker Ken Burns interviewed Shaw at his home for his PBS documentary/miniseries Jazz in which Shaw appears in multiple segments.
2003 93 Years Old Shaw's last major interview was in 2003, when he was interviewed by Russell Davies for the BBC Television documentary, Artie Shaw – Quest for Perfection. … Read More
2004 94 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2004, he was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.