Retreat across America
This chapter focuses on Kentuckian Bill Stepp, who worked as a logger in his younger days, then later turned his energies to fiddling for neighborhood hoedowns. Stepp is the creative source of an American anthem. In 1942 his rendition of the tune “Bonaparte's Retreat” became incorporated, nearly note for note, in the score of Rodeo, Aaron Copland's acclaimed modern ballet. By the early 1970s it appeared as “Hoedown,” an FM radio hit for Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, a symphonically oriented English rock band. Later, it formed the soundtrack for the beef growers' commercial, and finally, in this, an example of its continuing presence in American life, it recurs in the music piped down the hallways of a modern airport.
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