Rounding out the week, we have three leftovers—hardly a good term for such great singers.
Nat King Cole (1919-1965) started out as a jazz pianist; that talent, and his unforgettable smoky voice, are on display in this movie performance of “When I Fall in Love”:
Sassy! It was only a few years ago that I discovered the incredible Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990). I don’t know of any female pop singer with anything close to her range. And doesn’t listening to this version of “Perdido” make you smile? (Actually, Vaughan is usually classified as a jazz singer, but I couldn’t leave her out.)
To finish up, Tony Bennett (b. 1926) singing “The Good Life”. (It was a tough choice between this and his version of “Love Look Away,” from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song.)
Most of the singers I’ve highlighted are not ones I grew up with, for my growing-up years coincided almost perfectly with the advent and growth of rock. I distinctly remember the first time I heard what is seen as the flagship song of rock and roll, “Rock Around the Clock,” by Bill Haley and his Comets. The song was recorded in 1954, and I heard it in 1955 in Athens, Greece, where my father, an Army officer, was stationed. I was just a wee tyke, playing at the house of my father’s commanding officer, General Quinn. I heard the song come from a bedroom upstairs; it was being played by Quinn’s 14 year old daughter, Sally, and I was transfixed at the music. It was like nothing I had heard before.
Sally Quinn, of course, became a journalist, married editor Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post, and now edits the Post’s “On Faith” column. LOL!