You probably know the story of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Wu-Tang recorded an entire album, printed one copy and auctioned it for millions to the highest bidder with a stipulation that the music would not be commercialized. So they made a few million bucks and handed the music over to a biotech used car salesman who might still be in prison(?).
Few, though, know this story about Duke Ellington, who, meeting Queen Elizabeth II in 1958, was charmed.
So charmed Duke proceeded to compose a Suite for the queen, brought in an orchestra, performed and recorded it, pressed one copy only and presented it to her as a gift.
He gave that shit to the Queen as a gift!
This quote from The Telegraph:
“I told her that she was so inspiring and that something musical would come out of it,” Ellington recalled. “She said she would be listening, so I wrote the album for her.”
The suite was finally made public on an album called Ellington’s Suites in 1976 2 years after Duke’s death. Listen to Duke Ellington’s Queen’s Suite Below: