“I came here to play harmonica and have copious amounts of affairs, and well, I just finished playing harmonica.”
When you hear the word “famous” there are a lot of words that could follow without knocking you off balance. Famous movie star? Makes sense. Famous doctor? Somewhat more rare, but not particularly shocking. Famous drunk blogger? Well now you’re just lifting lines from the vision board in our office. But if you were given a million guesses to name professions or identities that could make you famous, we’re willing to bet that “harmonica player” would not even come close to making the list. But that’s only if you’ve not heard of Larry Adler, the famed mouth organ player. (And yes, he referred to the harmonica almost exclusively as the mouth organ, and yes a part of him no doubt did this to allow for all the easy jokes that come from building a career blowing air into a thing you call a mouth organ.)
Larry Adler somehow managed to go from harmonica street performer who didn’t know how to read music to bonified international star who had affairs with famous actresses and recorded music with the likes of Elton John and Cher (as well as a bunch of people who were famous in like the 1950s but if we started this article with stuff like “oh he knew Jack Benny and worked with Dizzie Gillespie” about two thirds of our readers would lapse into an hour-long coma).
Hell, we’ve written AFFotDs for far less impressive careers. So fuck it, we’re going to talk about a harmonica player now.
Larry Adler Was Better At Harmonica Than You Are At Anything