Tag Archives: Traditional Pop

63. Cry Me a River – Julie London – 1955

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WikipediaCry Me a River” is a popular American torch song, written by Arthur Hamilton and first published in 1953, and made famous in the version by Julie London, 1955. A jazzy blues ballad, “Cry Me a River” was originally written for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the 1920s-set film, Pete Kelly’s Blues (released 1955), but the song was dropped. Fitzgerald first released a recording of the song on Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! in 1961. The song’s first release was by actress/singer Julie London in 1955, backed by Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass. A performance of the song by London in the 1956 film The Girl Can’t Help It helped to make it a bestseller (reaching nr. 9 on US and nr. 22 on UK charts). London’s recording was later featured in the soundtracks for the movies Passion of Mind (2000), and V for Vendetta (2005).

Trivia

  • London began singing under the name Gayle Peck in public in her teens before appearing in a film. She was discovered by talent agent Sue Carol, while working as an elevator operator.
  • London’s most famous single, “Cry Me a River“, was written by her high-school classmate Arthur Hamilton and produced by Bobby Troup. The recording became a million-seller after its release in December 1955.
  • Shirley Bassey recorded the song on her album The Fabulous Shirley Bassey (1959).
  • London later starred in the TV medical drama Emergency! (1972–1979), co-starring her real-life husband, Bobby Troup, and produced by her ex-husband, Jack Webb, in which she played the female lead role of nurse Dixie McCall.
  • London released 32 albums of pop and jazz standards during the 1950s and 1960s.

 

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60. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning – Frank Sinatra – 1955

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Wikipedia “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” is a 1955 popular song composed by David Mann, with lyrics by Bob Hilliard. It was introduced as the title track of Frank Sinatra‘s 1955 album In the Wee Small Hours. It was composed by Mann and Hilliard during a post-midnight session at Hilliard’s New Jersey home. Mann was about to depart for New York when Hilliard insisted he remain to try some impromptu songwriting. Mann reluctantly agreed and eventually came up with the tune, to which Hilliard quickly wrote a lyric.

Trivia

  • By the early 1950s, Sinatra saw his career in decline, his teen “bobby soxer” audience having lost interest in him as he entered his late 30s.
  • The rebirth of his career began with the eve-of-Pearl Harbor drama From Here to Eternity (1953), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
  • The songs on In the Wee Small Hours deal with themes such as loneliness, introspection, lost love, failed relationships, depression and night-life. As a result, it is generally regarded as one of the first concept albums.
  • The album was recorded in five sessions at KHJ Studios, Hollywood. These sessions took place on February 8, 16 & 17, and April 1 & 4, and would start at 8:00PM, continuing to past midnight.
  • Since its release, In the Wee Small Hours has been regarded as one of Sinatra’s best, often being ranked alongside Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956) and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely (1958).
  • It is also considered by many to be one of the best vocal jazz releases of all time. acclaimedmusic.net, a website which aggregates musical accolades, names …Hours the 3rd most acclaimed album of the 50s (…Swingin’ Lovers! being one place behind it), with Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and Elvis Presley’s self titled début album in front.

42. Cry – Johnnie Ray & The Four Lads – 1951

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Cry” is the title of a 1951 popular song written by Churchill Kohlman. The song was first recorded by Ruth Casey on the Cadillac label. The biggest hit version was recorded in New York City by Johnnie Ray and The Four Lads on October 16, 1951.

Trivia

38. Summertime – Sarah Vaughn – 1950

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Summertime” is an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP.

The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as “without doubt… one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote….Gershwin’s highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of negroes in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century.” Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has characterized Heyward’s lyrics for “Summertime” and “My Man’s Gone Now” as “the best lyrics in the musical theater”. The song is recognized as one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, with more than 33,000 covers by groups and solo performers.

Trivia

  • Gershwin began composing the song in December 1933, attempting to create his own spiritual in the style of the negro folk music of the period.
  • The song is sung multiple times throughout Porgy and Bess, first by Clara in Act I as a lullaby and soon after as counterpoint to the craps game scene, in Act II in a reprise by Clara, and in Act III by Bess, singing to Clara’s baby.
  • It was recorded for the first time by Abbie Mitchell on July 19, 1935, with George Gershwin playing the piano and conducting the orchestra (on: George Gershwin Conducts Excerpts from Porgy & Bess, Mark 56 667).
  • There are over 25,000 recordings of “Summertime”.
  • In September 1936, a recording by Billie Holiday was the first to hit the US pop charts, reaching #12. The most commercially successful version was by Billy Stewart, who reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966.

37. Autumn Leaves – Jo Stafford – 1950

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Autumn Leaves” is a much-recorded popular song. Originally it was a 1945 French song “Les feuilles mortes” (literally “The Dead Leaves”) with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert, and the Hungarian title is “Hulló levelek” (Falling Leaves). Yves Montand (with Irène Joachim) introduced “Les feuilles mortes” in 1946 in the film Les Portes de la Nuit.

The American songwriter Johnny Mercer wrote English lyrics in 1947 and Jo Stafford was among the first to perform this version. “Autumn Leaves” became a pop standard and a jazz standard in both languages, both as an instrumental and with a singer.

Trivia