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.