Archive for the ‘Vic Damone’ Tag

Fantastic Foursome – Astaire Redux   Leave a comment

Today’s featured song on the GMC Special Feature known as Fantastic Foursome is another with a strong connection to Fred Astaire. For a guy who always comes to mind first and foremost as a dancer, he had quite an impact in many other ways during his long career. In this case, he not only introduced the song in a memorable movie but also had a #1 hit record with it.tophat

Irving Berlin wrote “Cheek to Cheek” for 1935’s Top Hat, one of Fred and Ginger’s best-known films. The song was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost the Oscar to “Lullaby of Broadway.” However, Astaire’s record of “Cheek To Cheek” climbed to the top of the music charts and stayed at the #1 spot for five weeks, and — in spite of missing out on the Oscar — would eventually land at the #15 spot on the AFI list of most memorable movie songs. And just for good measure, it would also eventually be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Of course, as the years passed the song was recorded by just about everybody, and some of the best are below. You can listen to each and then — if you like — vote for your favorite in the poll below the video.

Billie HolidayEydie & SteveFrank SinatraVic Damone



A Fantastic Foursome For Stella   Leave a comment

I think we’re due for another Fantastic Foursome and I’ve unpicked one of my favorite songs, offering four versions of it and giving folks the chance to vote. (Wouldn’t be much point in choosing one I didn’t like.) The incredibly prolific Victor Young wrote it for a spooky 1944 movie called The Uninvited, which starred Ray Milland and also ‘introduced’ Gail Russell in her first adult role. She played Stella — the subject of our song, “Stella By Starlight.”

A couple of years later, it was given lyrics by Ned Washington and the song was on its way to becoming a jazz standard. Early best-sellers included instrumental versions by Harry James and his orchestra and also one by Charlie Parker, who softened his normally frenetic sound to reach a wider audience. Vocalists that did well with the tune in its early days included Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, but there is a school of thought that says this kind of song is best when performed by a male vocalist, so I’ve substituted Vic Damone in the choices below.

Charlie ParkerFrank SinatraHarry JamesVic Damone