“She’d better put a bell on it”

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‘A story about Queen Elizabeth’

It’s been a while since I wrote a piece that qualifies for my ‘Brushes with Fame’ category. I’ve got some pretty juicy stories parked there. About Steve Martin, Vladimir Horowitz, Karl Malden, Willem De Kooning, Malcolm Forbes and even Elvis.

This week the long-expected-but-still-shocking passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth reminds me that I have one about her, too. No, I never personally met the Queen, but I knew somebody who did — and here’s his story. (Oh, that person in the crown at the top of this story? That’s me with two regal pals — hi, T! hi E! — channeling queenhood on a recent birthday.)

Here’s another birthday shot — this one taken in honor of my mom’s 90th. Because, why not? Mom’s a real queen in my book

The person I knew who met Elizabeth the Queen was, in fact, pretty famous himself. His name was George Shearing, and he was a celebrated jazz pianist. He not only played at Birdland, he wrote¬† “Lullaby of Birdland,” a song I bet you know, even if you don’t think you do. But I bet you haven’t heard it played on a massive pipe organ in St. Thomas Church. (Which I did, at the funeral of Sir George.) Continue reading