Podcast Number 34 is the second to look at songs which were hits in the ’60s-’80s but were originally released in the 78 era. It can be found on itunes or Podbean Here
Tracks Heard are :
- I Only Have Eyes For You by Al Jolson (Released by Brunswick (04379) in 1949) Al Jolson was born Asa Yoelson on May 26 1886 in Lithuania. His family moved to the USA in 1894 and he began his musical career in 1897 when he and his brother Hirsch (aka Harry) started singing for money on street corners. In 1911 he starred in his first musical revue and over the following years became one of America’s most popular and highest paid performers. It was during this period that Jolson started performing in blackface. He had huge hits in the ’20s with songs such as “Swanee”, “My Mammy” and “Rock-a-bye your baby with a Dixie melody”. In 1927 he starred in “The Jazz singer”, considered to be the first full length talkie. He went on to appear in other films such as “The singing fool” (1928), “Hallelujah, I’m a bum” (1933), “The singing kid” (1936), and “Rose of Washington square” (1939). In 1942 Jolson’s career was revived by the film “The Jolson Story” and he started recording again for Brunswick. A sequel, “Jolson sings again” was released in 1949 but Jolson’s renewed success was cut short by his death on October 23 1950, after appearing for the troops in Korea.
- Pretend by Nat “King” Cole (Released by Capitol (CL 13878) in 1953) Nat “King” Cole was born (Nathaniel Adams Coles) in March 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. At the age of 4 his family moved to Chicago, where his father became a Baptist Minister. His Mother was the church organist, and taught him to play at an early age. He began formal piano lessons aged 12. He left school at 15 to pursue a career in music. He formed a band with his brother Eddie and in 1936 released a couple of records as Eddie Cole’s Swingsters. Nat then formed the King Cole Swingsters and in 1940 had his first hit with “Sweet Lorraine”, recorded for the US Decca label (released on Brunswick in the UK). In 1943 he signed with Capitol, the label he is most associated with. In the ensuing years he released many hit records, such as “It’s only a paper moon” (1944), “I’m in the mood for love” (1946), “Nature Boy” (1948), “Mona Lisa” (1950), “Too Young” (1951), “Smile” (1954), “Unforgettable” (1954) and “When I fall in love” (1957). During the Capitol years Nat became one of the biggest singing stars worldwide and his success continued in the post 78 era, with hits such as “Let there be love” (1961), “Rambling Rose” (1962), and “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” (1963). In late 1964 Nat began to lose weight and suffered from back pain, and was diagnosed with lung cancer. He initially carried on working, recording and playing live, but his condition worsened and he died on February 15th, 1965.
- September Song by Walter Huston (Released by Brunswick (04658) in 1945) Walter Huston was born in April 1883 in Toronto. As a young man he worked in construction, while also attending acting classes. He made his stage debut in 1902, and for two years toured in stage plays before giving up acting temporarily upon his first marriage in 1904. After his first marriage foundered he returned to the stage in a double act in vaudeville, with Bayonne Whipple, whom he married in 1915. Although silent films were now big business, it wasn’t until talkies came along that Walter Huston started making films. These include “The Virginian” (1929), “Abraham Lincoln” (1930), “The Woman from Monte Carlo” (1932), “Storm at Daybreak” (1933), “Rhodes of Africa” (1936), “The Light that failed” (1939), “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942), “And then there were none” (1945), and “The Great Sinner” (1949). He died in April 1950. His Son John Huston became a successful director and actor, and several of his descendants have become famous actors-Anjelica Huston, Danny Huston and Jack Huston.
- The Great Pretender by Anne Shelton (Released by Philips (PB 567) in 1956) Anne Shelton was born in South London in November 1923, and began singing on the radio show “Monday night at eight” aged 12, gaining a recording contract 3 years later. During the war she appeared many times on the BBC’s forces radio service, often alongside Vera Lynn. After the war she had a regular BBC radio show with band leader Ambrose and then her popularity spread to America, and she toured the US in 1951. Her records include “Down Ev’ry Street” (1941), “Why Can’t it happen to me” (1943), “Down at the old bull and bush” (1947), “The Wedding of Lilli Marlene” (1949), “The loveliest night of the year” (1951), and “Arrivederci Darling” (1955). In 1956 she had a UK number one single with “Lay down your arms”. She made regular appearances on radio and TV all through the ’50s and ’60s; in 1961 she hosted her own TV show, “Ask Anne”. In 1978 she appeared on the Royal Variety Performance, and in 1984 presented a TV tribute to Glen Miller. She continued performing until her death in July 1994.
- This Ole House by Rosemary Clooney (Released by Philips (PB 336) in 1954) Rosemary Clooney was born in May 1928 in Kentucky, USA. Her recording career began in 1946, with Tony Pastor’s big band. In 1949 she left the band and went solo. going on to release many records during the ’50s including “Beautiful Brown Eyes” (1951), “Too old to cut the mustard” (with Marlene Dietrich, 1952), “Little Red Monkey” (1953), “Where will the dimple be?” (1955), and “I’ve grown accustomed to your face” (1956). She also appeared in several films in the ’50s including “White Christmas” (1954), although after this her screen appearances were limited to TV work only. During the ’60s she recorded for RCA Victor, Reprise and Dot Records but failed to regain the huge success of the ’50s. After a short stint on United Artists in the ’70s she signed with Concord Jazz Records, and released an album for them every year until her death in June 2002.
- You Need Hands by Max Bygraves (Released by Decca (F 11004) in 1958) Max Bygraves was born in London in October 1922, one of six children. The whole family lived in a two roomed flat, and Max left school at 14, taking a series of jobs before serving in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. After the war he worked on building sites during the day and developed his act in pubs at night. This led to a variety tour with Frankie Howerd, who introduced him to Eric Sykes, who he started writing with. He made his first record in 1949, but it wasn’t until the early ’50s that he became successful with records on His Master’s Voice and later Decca, including “Cowpuncher’s Cantata” (1952), “Bygraves Boogie (1953), “Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellenbogen By The Sea” (1954), “Meet me on the corner” (1955), “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (1956), “We’re having a ball” (1957), “(I love to play) My Ukelele” (1958), “Last night I dreamed” (1959), and “Fings ain’t Wot they used to be” (1960, making it one of the last UK 78s). His singing career faltered in the ’60s but his TV and stage career thrived. Then in 1972 he suddenly revived his musical career with a series of medley albums called “Sing Along with Max”, which sold millions of copies in the UK. The hit albums dried up again after a few years and he reverted to his TV and stage career, hosting the popular TV quiz show “Family Fortunes for 2 years during the ’80s. In 2008 he moved to Australia, where he died in August 2012.
- Java Jive by The Ink Spots (Released by Brunswick (03197) in 1941) The Ink Spots formed in 1934 (initially as The 4 Ink Spots), with the line up of Hoppy Jones (1905-1944), Deek Watson (1909-1969), Jerry Daniels (1915-1995), and Charlie Fuqua (1910-1971). They made their first recordings for the Victor label in 1935, although they didn’t have a major hit until 1939, with “If I didn’t care”, by which time Jerry Daniels had left the band to be replaced by Bill Kenny (1914-1978). The 1940s saw them score many hits, including “My Prayer” (1940), “Whispering Grass” (1940), “I Don’t want to set the world on fire” (1941), “Cow Cow Boogie” (1944), “It’s a sin to tell a lie” (1946), and “Home is where the heart is” (1948). The early 1950s saw line up changes and disagreements between members, leading to two outfits calling themselves The Ink Spots, one led by Bill Kenny and the other by Charlie Fuqua, but by 1954 they had both disbanded. After that several groups performed as The Ink Spots, some featuring ex members but none were official. By 1967 so many acts had called themselves The Ink Spots that a judge deemed the name to be in the public domain.
- Tweedle Dee by Bonnie Lou and her gang (Released by Parlophone (R 3989) in 1954) Bonnie Lou was born (as Mary Joan Kath) in October 1924 in Illinois, USA. She began listening to music at an early age, and began learning the violin aged 5. At 11 she got her first guitar, and by the age of 16 she was singing live on local radio. A Year later she was given a five year contract to sing on national radio. During the 1940s she became a popular radio personality but she didn’t start releasing records until 1953 when she signed to King Records. Her first records were Country Music songs, such as “Seven Lonely Days” and “Tennessee Wig Walk” but later changed her style to Rockabilly, with records such as “Daddy-O”, “The Barnyard Hop” and “La Dee Dah”. She also became a TV presenter, co-hosting The Paul Dixon Show for 2 decades, beginning in 1955.When the Paul Dixon show ended early in 1975, she went into semi-retirement, and died in December 2015.
- Yes Tonight, Josephine by Johnnie Ray (Released by Philips (PB 686) in 1957) Johnnie Ray was born in January 1927 in Dallas, USA. He was musically gifted from an early age, beginning to play piano at the age of 3 and joining the local church choir at 12. At 13 he had an accident which left him deaf in one ear, which he claimed lead to his unique singing style. At 15 he turned professional, singing on a radio station in Portland, Oregon. He made his first record, “Whiskey and Gin” in 1951, and had a major US hit the following year with “Cry” and “The little white cloud that cried”. He developed a very theatrical stage persona, earning himself the nicknames “The Nabob of Sob” and “The Prince of Wails”. Other hits in the ’50s included “Walkin’ my baby back home” (1952), “Glad Rag Doll” (1953), “Such a night” (1954), “Flip, flop and fly” (1955), “Just walking in the rain” (1956), “Pink Sweater Angel” (1957), “Strollin’ Girl” (1958) and “You’re all that I live for” (1959). The ’60s were a less successful time for Johnnie Ray, although he still played live, touring Europe with Judy Garland in 1969. He had a brief career revival in the US in the early ’70s, appearing on various TV shows, but his popularity soon waned again and during the ’80s he toured more in Australia and Europe where he remained a popular live attraction. He continued performing until 1989, despite ill health (partly due to heavy drinking), and died in February 1990.
The theme for the twenty third 78Man podcast is Birds. It can be found on Soundcloud Here and on itunes Here . Tracks heard on the podcast are :
- If I Were Only A Swallow by Gloria Jean (Originally released on Brunswick (2970) in 1940). Gloria Jean was born in Buffalo, New York in 1926. She began her career at an early age, making her radio debut at the age of three, and singing with Paul Whiteman’s band. At the age of 12 she became the youngest person to be engaged by an Opera Company, and at 13 was signed by Universal, and appeared in her first film, The Under-Pup. Further film roles followed, and she starred with Bing Crosby in “If I had my way” (1940), and WC Fields in “Never give a sucker an even break” (1941). By 1949 she had appeared in 23 films. During the ’50s she appeared more on TV and stage than in film, and by the early ’60s film work had dried up. She gave up acting and worked for a cosmetics firm until her retirement.
2. The Blue Danube by Musical Dawson and his Famous Choir of Canaries (Released by Broadcast (910) in 1932). Possibly the epitome of a novelty act, Musical Dawson’s Famous Choir of Canaries nevertheless managed a sustained career, appearing on stage, record and Pathe newsreels from the early ’30’s well into the ’40s. Their other records include “Bells across the meadow”, “Barcarolle”, Love’s old sweet song”, “Londonderry air” and “Liebestraume”. You can see Musical Dawson and his canaries from 1938 in a Pathe film Here
3. The Parrot (On The Fortune Teller’s Hat) by Ethel Smith (Released by Brunswick (3632) in 1946.) Ethel Smith was born in 1902 and began her musical career early in life, becoming an accomplished organist. She travelled widely and while in South America learnt to play Latin music, for which she is best remembered. Her recordings include “Tico-Tico” (1945), “Toca Tu Samba” (1947), “Easter Parade” (1948), “The Harry Lime Theme” (1950), and “I’m walking right behind you” (1953). She died in 1996.
4. The Woody Woodpecker by Anne Shelton (Released by Decca (F 8951) in 1948.) Anne Shelton was born in South London in November 1923, and began singing on the radio show “Monday night at eight” aged 12, gaining a recording contract 3 years later. During the war she appeared many times on the BBC’s forces radio service, often alongside Vera Lynn. After the war she had a regular BBC radio show with band leader Ambrose and then her popularity spread to America, and she toured the US in 1951. In 1956 she had a UK number one single with “Lay down your arms”. She made regular appearances on radio and TV all through the ’50s and ’60s; in 1961 she hosted her own TV show, “Ask Anne”. In 1978 she appeared on the Royal Variety Performance, and in 1984 presented a TV tribute to Glen Miller. She continued performing until her death in July 1994.
5. Goosey Gander by Woody Herman and his Orchestra (Released by Parlophone (R 2990) in 1946). Woody Herman was born in 1913 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. He began as a child performer, singing and tap dancing, before learning to play the clarinet and saxophone. He joined the Tom Gerun band as singer before fronting his own band which signed with Decca Records in 1936. It was, however, two and a half years before they scored their first hit with “Woodchopper’s Ball” in 1939. Other hits followed, such as “Blues in the night” (1942), “Do Nothing till you hear from me” (1943 ) ,and “The Music stopped” (1944). Although Herman’s heyday was in the ’40s and ’50s, he continued performing up to his death in 1987.
6. The Ugly Duckling by Danny Kaye (Released by Brunswick (5031) in 1952) Danny Kaye was born (as David Daniel Kaminsky) in Brooklyn, New York in 1911. In his early 20s he joined a vaudeville dance act, The Three Terpsichoreans, with whom he toured America and Asia. In the mid to late ’30s, now a solo act, he worked on stage and appeared in a few short films. His growing success on Broadway led to his first feature film, “Up in arms” in 1944, which led to a series of successful films, including “The secret life of Walter Mitty” (1947), “On the Riviera” (1951), “Hans Christian Anderson” (1952), “White Christmas” (1954) and “Merry Andrew” (1958). At the same time he also had a successful radio and recording career, his records including “Tubby the Tuba” (1948), “I’ve got a lovely bunch of cocoanuts” (1949), “Love me or leave me” (1950), “Wonderful Copenhagen” (1952) and “I love you fair dinkum (Dinky di I do)” (1955). In the ’50s and ’60s he moved into television, including his own “Danny Kaye Show” (1963-1967), as well as appearing on “What’s my line?” and “Here’s Hollywood”. He died in 1987.
7. Cuckoo by Leslie Sarony (Released by His Master’s Voice (B. 2391) in 1927. Leslie Sarony was born in Surbiton, Surrey on 22 January 1897 and was Christened Leslie Legge Tate Frye. After serving in the first world war, he took his Mother’s maiden name as his surname and began a long career in entertainment, which took in radio appearances, appearances in films (the first being Hot Water and Vegetabuel in 1928), and recordings of mainly humourous songs, many of which he wrote himself. According to the sleeve notes of his 1980 album “Roy Hudd presents Leslie Sarony”, Leslie said “I recorded for every company in the country”, and there are a bewildering amount of 78s on a multitude of different labels to collect. The same sleeve notes state that there were over 350 Leslie Sarony recordings, but that he recorded many more under assumed names (including Layton and Victor Payne). Some of Leslie’s best known songs from this time include “Jollity farm” (later covered by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band), “Ain’t it grand to be bloomin’ well dead”, “I lift up my finger and say “Tweet Tweet”” (also recorded by Gracie Fields among others), “Fourteen Rollicking Sailors” and “Rhymes”. In 1934 he teamed up with Leslie Holmes to form The Two Leslies, a partnership which lasted until 1946. Apart from the previously mentioned Roy Hudd album, Leslie stopped recording in 1939 and later moved into acting, appearing in TV shows such as The Passing show (1951), Dial 999 (1959), Crossroads (1964), Steptoe and Son (1965), Z-Cars (1962 and 1969), Nearest and dearest (1969), The Sweeney (1975), I didn’t know you cared (1979), Minder (1982) and Victoria Wood as seen on TV (1985). He also appeared in the Monty Python short film “The Crimson Permanent Insurance” (1983). Throughout his life he had a lengthy stage career, lasting from around 1922 right up to his death, on February 12th 1985, aged 88. Here he is in a British Pathe film from 1932 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ywR6IqaVcU
8. Aint Nobody Here But Us Chickens by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five (Released by Brunswick (3778) in 1947). Louis Jordan was born in July 1908, in Arkansas, USA, into a musical family, his father being a music teacher. He learnt the clarinet at an early age, playing with his father’s band. In the early ’30s he began playing with the Clarence Williams band, and in 1936 joined the Savoy Ballroom Orchestra, where he became lead male singer (alongside Ella Fitzgerald). Two years later Jordan went solo with his own band, who were initially called the Elks Rendezvous band, before changing to the Tympany Five. They signed to Decca in the US, and over the next 15 years released many records, including “Mama Mama Blues” (1941), “G.I. Jive” (1944), “That chick’s too young to fry” (1946), “Pettin’ and Pokin'” (1947), “Saturday night fish fry” (1949), “Dad gum ya hide, boy” (1954), and “I want you to be my baby” (1955). After declining popularity in the early ’50s, he left Decca in 1954,and had a series of short lived recording contracts on smaller labels, never regaining his previous popularity. He died in 1975.
9. When The Swallows Say Goodbye by The Stargazers (Released by Decca (F. 10696) in 1955). The Stargazers were formed in 1949 by Cliff Adams and Ronnie Milne. Dick James, later a solo singer and then music publisher for The Beatles, was also an original member. The group went on to big success in the UK-their first two hits were number 1s- “Broken Wings” in 1953 and “I see the moon” in 1954 and they also backed Dickie Valentine on the 1954 number 1 “The Finger of suspicion”. Other hits included “The Happy Wanderer” (1954), “Close the door” (1955), and “Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom” (1956). The group also served as backing singers on recordings by many artists including Petula Clark, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra and Jo Stafford.
Interlude Record : Nightingales recorded in Beatrice Harrison’s garden, Oxted. (Released by HMV (B. 2469) in 1927). Beatrice Harrison was born to British parents in India in 1892. The family moved back to the UK and Beatrice studied at the Royal College of Music in London. She became an accomplished cellist, and became known for her performances of the works of Delius, being the first performer of his Cello Sonata in 1918, and his Cello Concerto in 1921. Her garden in Oxted was home to many nightingales, and she made radio broadcasts from her garden playing cello accompanied by birdsong. She died in 1965.
This is the first of an occasional series of podcasts featuring music used in films. It can be found on itunes Here or on Soundcloud Here . Tracks heard on the podcast are :
- Well, Did You Evah by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra (Released by Capitol (CL. 14645) in 1956). From the film “High Society”. Francis Albert Sinatra was born in December 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey, US. As a teenager he became interested in music, and was a fan of the then up and coming Bing Crosby. He began singing himself and in 1935 joined The 3 Flashes, a vocal group-with the addition of Sinatra they changed their name to the Hoboken Four. They won a major talent contest and began touring the US, with Sinatra gradually becoming the lead singer. In 1939 he began singing with the Harry James band, and made his first recordings with them, although they weren’t big sellers. After about 6 months, frustrated at their lack of success, Sinatra left Harry James and became the singer with the Tommy Dorsey band-it was with Dorsey that he had his first US hit record in April 1940 with “Polka Dots and Moonbeams”. Over the next two years Sinatra scored several other hits with Dorsey’s band, before deciding to go solo in 1942, which led to an acrimonious split. Once solo, Sinatra became America’s biggest singing star, idolised by the teenage “bobby soxers” who made up a large proportion of his fans. He signed to Columbia Records in June 1943, where he stayed for a decade, releasing such hits as “A lovely way to spend an evening” (1945), “Nancy (With the laughing face” (1946), “Goodnight Irene” (1950), and “Hello Young lovers” (1953). Towards the end of his time with Columbia, his popularity began to wane but his career was revitalised by the success of the film “From here to eternity” (released in August 1953), and his new recording contract with Capitol Records. The new contract co-incided with the rise of vinyl records, and in 1954 Sinatra recorded the first of a series of hugely successful albums, “Songs for young lovers” followed by “In the wee small hours”, “Songs for swingin’ lovers”, “A Swingin’ Affair!”, “Come fly with me” and “Nice ‘n’ Easy” among others. Despite his huge success with the label, Sinatra grew disenchanted with Capitol and in 1961 formed his own label, Reprise. Further successful albums and singles followed, including some of his biggest hits- the duet with his daughter Nancy (who also recorded for Reprise), “Something stupid”, and the song he is most associated with to this day, “My Way”. He briefly retired in the early ’70s before returning with another hugely successful album, “Ol’ blue eyes is back” in 1973. During the later ’70s and ’80s his recordings became more sporadic but he continued to play live, mainly in Las Vegas. His final concerts were in Japan in December 1994 and he died in May 1998. “High Society” was directed by Charles Walters and, alongside Frank and Bing, starred Grace Kelly, Celeste Holm and Louis Armstrong.
- The Flies Crawl Up The Window by Jack Hulbert (Released by His Master’s Voice (B 4263) in 1932). From the film “Jack’s the boy”. Jack Hulbert was born in 1892 in Ely, Cambridgeshire. He studied at Cambridge University where he made his first stage appearances in the Cambridge Footlights. After leaving Cambridge he made a name for himself appearing in stage plays and revues. In 1916 he married Cicely Courtneidge, an aspiring actress and they began appearing together regularly. Despite his success on stage he didn’t make his film debut until 1930, when he appeared in Elstree Calling, alongside his wife. He appeared regularly in films from then on, including “The Ghost Train” (1931), “The Camels are Coming” (1934), “Jack of all trades” (1936) and “Under your hat” (1940). He later appeared in many TV films, plays and programmes, including a stint in the BBC soap opera “Compact” in 1964-65, and a cameo in the ITV series “Father dear Father” in 1972. He died in March 1978. “Jack’s the boy” was directed by Walter Forde and starred Hulbert, Cicely Courtneidge, Winifred Shotter and Francis Lister.
- Why Can’t It Happen To Me by Anne Shelton (Released by Decca (F. 8243) in 1942). From the film “King Arthur was a gentleman”. Anne Shelton was born in South London in November 1923, and began singing on the radio show “Monday night at eight” aged 12, gaining a recording contract 3 years later. During the war she appeared many times on the BBC’s forces radio service, often alongside Vera Lynn. After the war her popularity spread to America, touring the US in 1951. In 1956 she had a UK number one single with “Lay down your arms”. She continued performing until her death in July 1994. “King Arthur was a gentleman” was directed by Marcel Varnel, and also starred Arthur Askey, Ronald Shiner, Max Bacon and Vera Frances.
- I Could Make A Good Living At That by George Formby (Released by Decca (F. 3377) in 1932). From the film “Boots! Boots!”. For more info on George Formby see podcast 8 blog (September 2016). “Boots! Boots!” was Formby’s first film, released in 1934. It was produced by John E. Blakeley and directed by Bert Tracy on a shoestring budget at the Albany studios ( a cramped area with no soundproofing above a garage) in London. By the time of release, Formby’s stage and recording career was beginning to take off, and the film proved to be a huge success. It also starred his wife Beryl, as well as Betty Driver (later of “Coronation Street” fame) and Harry Hudson and his Orchestra. The original film was 80 minutes in length, but a cut down 55 minute version was released in 1938 to capitalise on Formby’s continuing success, and it is this version which was the one seen in future screenings, the original being thought to be lost for decades. The Betty Driver scene was cut from the shortened version, and for many years she denied ever appearing in the film but a complete version was discovered in 1999, which restored her to the film. You can see Betty in the film performing Leslie Sarony’s “The Alpine Milkman” Here (note the close spotlight-due to the cramped conditions in the studio this was the only way they could give the illusion of being in a nightclub).
- Theme From The Man Between by Cyril Stapleton (Released by Decca (F. 10208) in 1953). From the film “The Man Between”. Cyril Stapleton was born in December 1914 in Nottingham, UK. He began playing violin at the age of 7, and by the time he was 12 was playing on local radio. He began playing in Henry Hall’s band, before forming his own orchestra, which began playing regularly on the BBC in 1939. During the war he joined the RAF, and played in the RAF Symphony Orchestra. After the war he briefly played for the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra before reforming his own Orchestra in 1947. Soon signed to Decca, over the next few years The Cyril Stapleton Orchestra released regular records, including “Zip a dee doo dah”, “Lazy Mambo”, “Elephant Tango”, and “Teenage Lullaby”. He continued touring and recording into the ’70s, and died in February 1974. “The Man between” was directed by Carol Reed and starred James Mason, Claire Bloom and Hildegard Knef.
- River Of No Return by Tennessee Ernie Ford (Released by Capitol (CL. 14005) in 1954). From the film of the same name. (For more info on Tennessee Ernie Ford see blog for podcast 12, Dec 2016). “River of no return” was directed by Otto Preminger, and starred Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe.
- Painting The Clouds With Sunshine by Jack Hylton and his Orchestra (Released by His Master’s Voice (B 5722) in 1929). From the film “Gold diggers of Broadway”. Jack Hylton was born in July 1892 in Bolton, UK. His Father was an amateur singer, and Jack learnt to play piano to accompany him. Later, Jack started singing himself, in his Father’s pub. In 1922 he released his first records under the name Jack Hylton’s Jazz Band for the Zonophone label, then the following year he moved to His Mater’s Voice, where he released dozens of records until 1931, as Jack Hylton and his Orchestra, including “It ain’t gonna rain no mo'” (1924), “Chick, Chick, Chicken” (1925), “Ain’t She Sweet” (1927), “Forty-Seven ginger headed sailors” (1928) and “Mucking about the garden” (1929). In 1931 he moved to Decca Records, where he was a director, where he stayed until 1934, when he re-signed to His Master’s Voice. He continued recording until 1940, and after the war became an impresario, managing new talent and producing theatre, radio and film productions before forming his own TV production company. He died in January 1965. “Gold diggers of Broadway” was directed by Roy Del Ruth and starred Nancy Welford, Conway Tearle and Winnie Lightner, and was shot in Technicolour, one of the earliest colour films.
- I Used To Be Colourblind by Fred Astaire (Released by Columbia (DB 1809) in 1938). From the film “Carefree”. Fred Astaire was born (as Frederick Austerlitz) in 1899 in Omaha, US. His career began when his older sister, Adele, began taking singing and dancing lessons, and Fred started mimicking her, which led to a brother and sister child double act. It was during this period that both took the stage surname of Astaire. The pair carried on as a double act into adulthood in the 1920s, appearing on both Broadway and the London stage. In 1932 the pair split when Adele married Lord Charles Cavendish. Fred appeared in his first film, “Dancing Lady” the following year, the first of a series of hugely successful song and dance films. His second film, “Flying down to Rio” also starred Ginger Rogers, and the two then appeared in a string of films, including “The Gay Divorce” (1934), “Top Hat” (1935), “Follow the fleet” (1936), “Shall we dance” (1937) and “Carefree” (1938). He split with Rogers in 1939 (although they briefly reunited for the 1949 film “The Barkleys of Broadway”, but continued to appear regularly on the big screen throughout the ’40s and ’50s in films such as “You’ll never get rich” (1941), “Holiday Inn” (1942), “Blue Skies” (1946), “Easter Parade” (1948), “Wedding bells” (1951) and “Funny Face” (1957). His film roles became less frequent from the late ’50s onwards and he worked more in television, but he did appear in the films “Finian’s Rainbow” in 1968 and “The Towering inferno” in 1974. His final film role came in 1981 with “Ghost Story”, and he died in June 1987. “Carefree” was directed by Mark Sandrich, and as well as Fred and Ginger, starred Ralph Bellamy, Jack Carson and Kay Sutton.
- All By Myself by Bing Crosby (Released by Brunswick (3672) in 1946). From the film “Blue Skies”. Bing Crosby was born in May 1903, in Tacoma, Washington, US (originally named Harry, he was nicknamed Bing as a child and the name stuck). As a teenager he saw singers while working at his local auditorium, but it wasn’t until he was 20 that he started singing in a band himself, called The Musicaladers. Two years later this band split and he started singing with a vocal trio, The Three Harmony Aces. He then formed a duo with Al Rinker, with whom he made his first record, “I’ve got the girl” in 1926. The act then expanded to a trio again, with the addition of Harry Barris, and were rechristened The Rhythm Boys. Several successful records followed before Bing was offered a solo recording contract in 1931 with Brunswick records. Over the next decade he became one of the most successful American singers worldwide, with hits such as “Stardust” (1931), “Please” (1932), “Let me call you sweetheart” (1935), “Basin Street Blues” (1937) and “My melancholy baby” (1939). It was during the ’30s that Bing also started appearing in films, such as “College Humor” (1933), “She loves me not” (1934), “Anything goes” (1936), “Sing, you sinners” (1938) and “East side of heaven” (1939). As well as appearing in films and releasing records, Bing also had his own US radio series. In 1942 Bing released what would become his most famous recording, “White Christmas”, which was also used in the film “Holiday Inn”. He re-recorded the song in 1947 after the original master became damaged and the record still sells more copies every Christmas. Bing continued recording, appearing in films, radio and TV into the 1970s, right until his death in October 1977 (he gave his last live performance 4 days before his death, and recorded his last radio session and interview the following day.) “Blue Skies” was directed by Stuart Heisler and Mark Sandrich and starred Bing, Fred Astaire, Joan Caulfield, and Billy De Wolfe.