“Nightmare” was composed by clarinetist/bandleader Artie Shaw in 1936. That same year, it became the opening theme of his orchestra’s live radio broadcasts. The choice was significant. At the time, bands tended to use Tin Pan Alley songs as their opening themes. “Nightmare,” with its heady sound and Hasidic influences, gave Shaw’s orchestra a distinctive edge. It also became one of the iconic compositions of its time. Some claim that it may even have inspired that vamp of John Barry’s “James Bond Theme.”
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