IN 1954, ROBERT SHAW made it big when his album Christmas Hymns and Carols went gold. “Gold” meant it sold at least a million copies—it was the first classical record to ever do so—and this was about 10 years into Robert’s solo career as a conductor. Robert had grown up poor, and although he’d enjoyed early success on the radio with the Robert Shaw Chorale, Arturo Toscanini, and the NBC Symphony, it wasn’t ‘til that gold record the he felt he’d truly hit the big time.

 

At 38, Robert sold his Buick and marched in to Inskip Motors on Park Avenue to order himself a 1955 Bentley: a gorgeous, drop-head, two-tone, all-al...

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