How many times has a musician's career taken off as the result of kismet?
(You don't have to answer that question. It's what we major-league writers call a "rhetorical question.")
In 1962, jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi recorded an album titled Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus. It consisted mostly of covers -- including covers of several songs from the soundtrack of Black Orpheus, a Brazilian/French/Italian co-production that won the 1960 "Best Foreign Language Film" Oscar.
Guaraldi's record company released one of the Black Orpheus covers as a single in 1962. But DJs were more interested in the record's B-side, "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," which was the only original Guaraldi composition on the album. It eventually made it to #22 on the Billboard "Hot 100" in 1963, and won a Grammy for "Best Original Jazz Composition." Both English and French lyricists subsequently wrote words for the song.
But kismet -- a Turkish word meaning "fate" or "destiny" -- wasn't through with Vince Guaraldi. When the producer of the first Peanuts Christmas special heard "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" on the radio -- he was in a cab going over the Golden Gate Bridge at the time -- he hired Guaraldi to write the score for the upcoming TV special. Guaraldi ended up writing the music for 17 Peanuts TV specials.
Here's Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy":
Sometimes kismet isn't a good thing. Guaraldi died on this date in 1976, when he was only 47. The cause of death may have been an aortic aneurysm -- the rupture of the largest blood vessel in the body, which causes catastrophic internal bleeding and is almost always fatal within a matter of moments. (My father suffered an aortic aneurysm several years ago shortly after going to the emergency room with terrible abdominal pain. He was very fortunate that the surgeon on call immediately recognized what was happening and was able to save his life.)
"Cast Your Fate to the Wind" has been covered by a variety of artists, including Mel Tormé, Earl Klugh, George Benson, Chet Atkins and even the James Gang -- who covered it as part of a three-song medley titled "The Bomber Medley."
Here's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind":
Click below to buy the song from Amazon: