Lulu’s creation mirrors the themes of its plot. Berg started writing it after being emboldened by the success of his first opera, Wozzeck, in the 1920s. He made significant progress but abandoned the project following the death of Manon Gropius, a muse of Berg’s and essentially he and his wife’s adoptive daughter. By the time the violin concerto he dedicated to Gropius debuted, Berg himself had already died at age 50. Blood poisoning took his life on Christmas Eve in 1935, and Lulu was left only one-third orchestrated.
On this day, 57 years ago, James Brown and his Famous Flames recorded what would become one of the most earth-shattering funk and soul albums of all time.