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Song of the Day #1794

Song of the Day: You've Made Me So Very Happy features the words and music of Berry Gordy, Frank Wilson, Patrice Holloway, and Brenda Holloway, who recorded this song in 1967 [YouTube link]. The song barely cracked the Top 40 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B Singles Chart. But it was a featured selection on the jukebox of the Stonewall Inn, which, on this date, was subject to a police raid, something that was typically aimed at private establishments catering to same-sex clientele. Such bars were often denied liquor licenses or harassed simply because it was illegal for same-sex couples to hold hands, kiss, or dance together ("lewd behavior"). This particular bar was owned and "protected" by the Genovese crime family, which paid off police officers from the Sixth Precinct to look the other way. Corrupt cops would often get payola to tip off the bar if there were any impending raids. But no tip offs came on this night. The police entered the bar, roughed up employees and patrons, and even arrested people for not wearing "gender-appropriate clothing" (something that was actually against the law at the time). The patrons had had enough. They pushed back and touched off six nights of rioting, fighting for their very right to exist and to pursue their own happiness. Though there were many other precipitating events prior to 1969 involving many brave activists, Stonewall remains the singular "nodal point" that gave birth to Pride Day celebrations the world over (today, to the date, is, in fact, the fiftieth anniversary of the first Pride March in 1970 that marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprising). In the end, however, this date celebrates the birthright of every human being to pursue their own vision of personal happiness, without fear of state or social oppression. In keeping with our Summer Music Festival (Jazz Edition), we mark this occasion with several jazz-infused versions of this song, chief among them the classic Blood, Sweat, and Tears jazz-rock rendition [YouTube link], released the same year as the Stonewall Rebellion, rising to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. And check out renditions by song stylist Nancy Wilson, pianist Ramsey Lewis, clarinet legend Benny Goodman, the Lasse Lindgren Big Constellation and trumpeter Chet Baker [YouTube links] (from his very commercial album, with the clever title of "Blood, Chet and Tears").