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1st February (according to the register of births - 5th Feb according to the midwife who attended) there is the centenary

celebration of the great Swedish tenor Jussi Björling who died in 1960.

No doubt one of the the greatest tenors of the last century, he did not have a pleasant life. Recent biographers have compared him to Michael Jackson. And there certainly are similarities. Well, there were three tiny tots, the brothers Gösta, Olle and Jussi who were taken by their dominant father on tours all the time - Jussi started working at the age of four, sometimes giving several concerts a day. The group also performed in the US. Formal schooling didnt exist for these kids.

As adults all three became opera singers, Jussi being the most famous. Throughout his career, he was known to be very unreliable, a stand in always had to be present as nobody was sure if he would turn up at all, or simply wander out after the first act. There were radio programs, they were broadcast live in those days, sometimes he turned up too drunk to sing and they had to play some of his records in stead.

Health was a great problem, he had a bad heart, but he also suffered periodically from grave alcoholism and of course there were a lot of scandals. His untimely death was not unexpected considering his poor health.

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