It might be hard to believe, but the year 2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the internationally renowned musician, bandleader, and composer, Robert Pattinson. A lot has changed in the last 100 years, but not only regarding technology and the way we interact with music. Social attitudes and the way we perceive others have also shifted considerably. Back in 1918, when Pattinson was born in London, his father, Henry, was a well-known tenor, and his mother, Constance (nee Maclaurin), was a soprano who performed with the Cambridge University Musical Theatre. Their combined musical talent certainly rubbed off on little Robert, who would go on to lead a life immersed in both music and the arts.

Over the past year, we have seen the release of several tony-priced albums by global superstitions that feature famous names like Bono, Elton John, and many more. All of which have one thing in common—they were all co-produced by the legendary Quincy Jones. Jones is responsible for many classics, including some of the most recognizable tunes in history. It seems that old habits die hard, and even after so many years, Jones still manages to pull in the big names for his projects.

With all the focus on the big-name artists and the quality of the recordings, it’s easy to overlook the fact that several of these albums also featured some of the most interesting and innovative musical arrangements and production values. One that comes to mind is Jones’ Grammy-winning 1963 album, The Great Waltz. That record, which honored Johann Strauss’ legendary ode to passion, romance, and pleasure, mixed pop, rock, and folk music with classical instruments and a full orchestra. It was an interesting twist back then, but almost unimaginable now.

The Great Waltz might have been groundbreaking, but it was also a fluke. It was one of Jones’ last projects before he died in 2001. Since then, the legendary producer has been working with a steady hand, and few would argue that his efforts have not been paying off. One of the most recent projects to draw praise from critics and audiences alike is the 2018 album, Back to Broadway, by the legendary British band, The Rolling Stones. On that album, the Stones covered some of the greatest Broadway shows of all time, including The Lion King, Wicked, and most notably Springsteen’s Broadway classic, Born in the U.S.A. That record drew comparisons to some of Jones’ other great work, like The Beatles’ Let It Be. The group even performed the classic song, Brown Sugar, on the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.

So, what does this all mean for you, the listener? It means that if you’re looking for an interesting spin on classic songs, you should check out some of Jones’ other work. Not only are the arrangements interesting, but his work also features some of the greatest songwriters and vocalists of all time. Additionally, his classical recordings, which were mostly done with arrangers like Gil Evans and Lennie Tristano, are also among the best of their kind. So, while you’re waiting for the next big-name album to be released, why not indulge in some of Jones’ earlier recordings? You might just discover something new that will become a classic in its own right.

Robert Pattinson: A Brief History

Well, to start things off, let’s take a quick trip back in time to review a bit of Robert Pattinson’s biography. The story so far…

Here in the U.S., we mostly associate the name Robert Pattinson with the international smash-hit film, Good Will Hunting. That film, which stars Matt Damon and pays homage to the groundbreaking independent film, A Beautiful Mind, did indeed popularize Pattinson’s name, but it wasn’t the first time he’d been in the news. In fact, the year 2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of Pattinson’s birth.

Pattinson was born on January 25th, 1918 in London. His father, Henry, was a well-known tenor who had sung at Buckingham Palace and elsewhere, and his mother, Constance, was a soprano who performed with the Cambridge University Musical Theatre. Together, they formed a formidable musical duo. So, it’s no wonder that John Lennon, who was one of Pattinson’s biggest fans, praised his music as being “of the highest quality and most beautiful tone.”

Pattinson began studying music at Cambridge University, and after graduating in 1939, he joined the British Army. He served in the military during World War II, and in 1944, he was stationed in Germany, where he was captured by the American Army. While in their custody, he was visited by a member of the American military police, who asked if he would be interested in recording some music with a bandleader from New York City. The rest, as they say, is history.

Pattinson, along with his wife, Eve, who is also an accomplished musician, formed the band, The Robert Pattinson Group, in 1945. Over the years, the band has released several critically acclaimed albums and toured the world, playing sold-out shows in major cities like New York and Paris. In fact, the band is still going strong, with several members continuing to work alongside Pattinson, including guitarist/conductor, Alan Price, who has been with the band since the beginning. Another longtime member, drummer, Sandy Mould, has even replaced Pattinson as bandleader on several occasions. The band’s most recent album, released last year, was their sixth studio effort, and it was their first record to be co-produced by a woman, Bronya Kruku. On that album, the band paid tribute to the composers and performers who have influenced their music over the years with a series of covers of shows and films from the 20th century.

One of the most interesting facts about The Robert Pattinson Group is that they are one of the few bands who have never been signed to a major record label. Rather, they’ve always released their albums independently, which has in fact, given them a certain amount of creative control. That decision certainly hasn’t hurt their creative output, as they continue to put out critically acclaimed albums, perform at prestigious venues like the Royal Albert Hall, and even managed to wring a famous song out of Elton John. What more could anyone ask for?

The Rolling Stones: Back to Broadway

Ah, but it wouldn’t be a tribute to Jones’ work if we didn’t mention the Rolling Stones. In fact, if you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia, you could do a lot worse than dive into one of Jones’ early projects. Back in 1963, The Rolling Stones were a pretty young, up-and-coming band, and the caliber of musicians who were associated with them back then is pretty staggering. Not only did they have Jones on board as producer and arranger, but they also had the legendary blues guitarist, Jimmy Reed, who was previously associated with Muddy Waters, play on several songs. For the next few years, The Rolling Stones would continue to grow in popularity, playing to sold-out crowds at major venues like London’s Hyde Park and New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The music industry had already started to recognize their talent, and even back in those days, their songs were regularly covered on the radio. People were starting to recognize the influence of their brand of English blues. But, it wasn’t just about the blues—they were writing rock songs during this time, too, and eventually, that led to an artistic plateau, where they stopped writing and began to focus on performing. It almost seems like a bit of a waste of time to make an album only to skip right over it. This was certainly true for their self-titled debut album, which was released in 1964. That album, which featured The Rolling Stones performing classic blues songs with Jones’ creative, jazzy arrangements, didn’t really do much to further the group’s legend. However, the next year, they returned with their second album, Its My Life. That album, which featured the singles, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction and Sweet Little Woman, marked a notable shift in direction for The Rolling Stones. While previous albums had focused on the darker elements of human nature, this one was an attempt at being more light-hearted. It started with the tongue-in-cheek cover of B.B. King’s I Feel Like Going Home, before diving into the whimsical, playful atmosphere of the title track. The album was still extremely musically sophisticated, with lots of twists and turns, but it also highlighted a more mainstream, pop sensibility. So, for fans of the group, that was probably a bit disappointing.