Steely Dan Sunday, "Your Gold Teeth" (1973)

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*** STEELY DAN SUNDAY INDEX ***

Cathy Berberian was this phenomenal opera/modern classical/anything vocally challenging singer. Born in Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1925, Berberian was into music at an early age, starting with the Armenian folk music of her ancestry, and also opera. After devoting much studies toward theatre, music and singing, she made her professional debut in 1957. By 1960 she was a bonafide star, and in addition to opera, she took on some of the most daunting vocal challenges, with many composers, including husband Luciano Berio, composing music that probably only Berberian herself was capable of performing. She’s best known for her self-composed Stripsody, where she used her amazing voice to mimic comic book sounds. She didn’t make contemporary music forms off limits, though, and she even once applied baroque interpretations to Beatles songs. Her life was tragically cut short at the age of 57, dead from an apparent heart attack.

Why all this about a long-deceased singer that few of us here knows about, much less even care about?

Well for one, it helps in understanding a line in the song “Your Gold Teeth”:

Even Cathy Berberian knows / There’s one roulade she can’t sing.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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