Comic Pianists you might not know #2: Liberace(By Les)
Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here to continue with my blogs covering comedian pianists you might not be familiar with.
Today, Iâ€™m looking at one of the greatest showman entertainers of the 20th Century.
Most of you who have heard of him will likely know him as â€œThat flamboyant gay man who played the piano and died of AIDS.â€ To put this into perspective, Iâ€™ll give you some background.
Lee Liberace achieved considerable acclaim and celebrity status for his exceptional piano skills and unprecedented showmanship while using said skills. To say he was a trend setter would be a gross understatement. If you look at the career of Sir Elton John and think he broke the barrier of â€œflashy performersâ€ with his outrageous outfitsâ€¦.understand that Liberace had him beat by about 20 years. In fact, Elton has gone on record stating that he was inspired by Liberace. Hereâ€¦check out these pictures and see what Iâ€™m talking about.
Then again, take a look at another character who was clearly inspired by Liberace
Trelane, the Squire of Gothos(William Campbell) Star Trek TOS
With a habit of flashier and flashier costumes and a larger than life personae to match them, Liberace was like a one man 3 ring circus whose talent was only matched by his unbridled sincerity and love he shared for the crowds he performed for. Here was a guy who was having the time of his life, and that joy was infectious. He was witty, and took a childlike pleasure in showing off in ways that made others happy. Like Victor Borge, Liberace was quite adept at taking classical music and adapting it in different ways for a comic effect or to create something really amazing. Yet, at the same time, he was also quite good at incorporating the modern music(Againâ€¦for that time) to be far more accessible to a modern crowd.
But enough background. Â Let’s check out Liberace in action, shall we?
A clip of Liberace on his television show doing “The Boogie Woogie”
The episode of The Muppet Show with the greatest viewership ever…Liberace
The Muppet ShowÂ he is the entire 2nd half of the show at 12:44 Â Check out the greatest rendition of “Chopsticks ever played.”
Hands down…the most impressive version of the “Bumble Boogie” I’ve ever seen
And check out the virtuosity he demonstrates with this amazing piece of music.
And, would you believe…guest starring on the Smother’s Brothers Comedy Hour?
Smother’s BrothersÂ (My personal favorite sketch is him getting “pulled over” by a motorcycle cop for “speeding” while playing the Minute Waltz LOL!)
And while there’s no video..this audio clip of him performing the 54th Academy Awards nominees for film scoring is amazing.
Liberace was an amazingly talented man who loved performing and bringing joy to others. Â I’ve always admired him for who he was and what he did with his life. Â Did you ever see Liberace, my friends? Â I’d love to hear your opinions of this wonderful pianist. Â Peace.