Archive for the ‘Dick Haymes’ Tag

Fantastic Foursome – Revisiting A Familiar Time And Place   Leave a comment

It’s been several months since our last Fantastic Foursome, so I’ll remind everyone that it’s the Special Feature that presents a classic song in its definitive version and then gives you four different variations. You can listen to them and – if you’d like – vote for your favorite.music

We seem to be featuring music from World War II quite a bit lately and we’re doing more of the same today, with a song written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon (based on a poem by a young war bride). “You’ll Never Know” actually made its debut in the 1943 movie Hello, Frisco, Hello, where it was performed by Alice Faye. It won the Oscar for best song and she sang it again the following year in Four Jills in a Jeep, but even though it was considered by some to be her signature song, she didn’t make a record of it at the time.

That left an opening for crooners Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra to cut records, although both had to do so with only a chorus behind them because musicians were on strike at the time. As an interesting side note, Sinatra’s chorus — the Bobby Tucker Singers — was sort of anonymous at the time, but Haymes was backed by the Song Spinners and the group made it on the label with him. Of course, “Coming In on a Wing and a Prayer” had hit #1 for the combo just before that, so that might have had something to do with it.

In any case, both versions did well but Haymes ended up with a #1 record so let’s say his is the gold standard. Other notable versions have included those by the Harry James band with a vocal by Rosemary Clooney, along with British songstress Vera Lynn, Doris Day, and even – much later – Alice Faye. In later years the song has been covered by everybody from a 13-year-old Barbra Streisand to Rod Stewart.

Here’s a video of “You’ll Never Know” by Dick Haymes, which I’ve nominated as the definitive version. Below that are four variations for you to enjoy, and you can then vote for your favorite.

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Rosemary Clooney (w/ H. James)  –  Vera Lynn  –  Frank Sinatra  –  Rod Stewart

 

1-clooney2-Lynn3-Sinatra4-rod

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Anatomy Of A Song – Differing Styles But Same Song   2 comments

It’s about time we had another edition of our oldest Special Feature, Anatomy of a Song, so here we go. Today’s choice was popular with fans in two different eras although it had a contrasting style in each. It began life in the mid-1940s as a movie love song that was perfect for crooners, but then became a big hit record for a 1960s teen idol when he performed it in a decidedly different way.dh

The song — “The More I See You”– was written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, and made its debut in the 1945 musical film, Diamond Horseshoe. Smooth baritone Dick Haymes did the honors, presumably serenading his co-star, Betty Grable. His record of the song came out in the same year, as did one by Betty’s husband, bandleader Harry James (with vocal by Buddy Divito) but the song didn’t seem to create a big stir at the time.

By the 1950s it was a different story. Versions by singing stars like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole gave it some momentum, and it soon became a mainstream pop standard. Its surge continued into the 1960s with popular records by Bobby Darin, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis and others, but in 1966 it was given a makeover. Chicano rock star Chris Montez recorded what would be the biggest seller of all time on the song, in a very unique style.

dccdDick Haymes – “The More I See You”

Anatomy Of A Song – It Had To Be Me?   2 comments

Isham Jones kept pretty busy in the 1920s and 1930s as the leader of a popular orchestra, but years later his legacy is more about his songwriting ability. He was the composer of a number of familiar songs, among them “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” “There Is No Greater Love,” and our Anatomy of a Song subject today, “It Had to Be You.”it

The year was 1924, and Jones wasted no time making a record of the song with his band, something that several others did in that same year. Among them was the orchestra led by the self-styled King of Jazz, Paul Whiteman, but it seemed to be a popular choice for many bands of the era.

The song also had words added by lyricist Gus Kahn, which opened up things for vocalists too. One of the earliest memorable performances by a singer occurred when Ruth Etting did the honors in the 1936 movie short Melody in May, but the song became a popular choice for the soundtrack of many movies, including some in later years — like Harry Connick, Jr’s version in 1989’s When Harry Met Sally. It also furnished the title for a surprising number of movies and TV shows — although not all of them included the song itself — and even a book or two.

A lot of performers have had successful records with “It Had to Be You” through the years, with a duet by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest charting the highest — #4 — in 1944. But it has been recorded by just about every singer you can imagine, including Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, and Andy Williams, and maybe one or two that would surprise you — for example, Elvis Costello and John Travolta.

icdIsham Jones Orchestra – “It Had to Be You”

A ‘Thoughtful’ Fantastic Foursome   2 comments

Something a little different on today’s Fantastic Foursome. I’m still giving you four different versions of a song and asking for you to vote for your favorite, but I’ll tell you right up front that I’ll be voting for Nat King Cole. His rendition of “The Very Thought Of You” is one of my all time favorites.

The song was written by bandleader Ray Noble in 1934, and it probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that one of the first hit records of the song featured his band and its star vocalist Al Bowlly. In the years since, it has been recorded by just about everybody and has also made appearances in several movies, including Casablanca and Young Man With A Horn.

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Dick HaymesDoris DayNancy WlsonNat King Cole

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Dick Haymes

Nat King Cole

It Might As Well Be Spring   Leave a comment

In our area of the Midwest, daytime temperatures have been rising into the 60s. That’s pretty amazing for mid-February, and even though I know there’s bound to be lot of bad weather still to come, I can’t help but wonder if Spring is at least not TOO far away.

That being the case, I thought I’d present a little slideshow of growing things that have been made into magical shapes. Hopefully it will get everybody into the right frame of mind. And for an appropriate musical accompaniment, what could be better than this one? It’s performed by crooner Dick Haymes, the subject of a previous post.

Dick Haymes – “It Might As Well Be Spring”

 

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