Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy 100th Birthday, Frank Loesser

Frank Loesser, author of literally hundreds of songs and numerous enduring standards, was born on June 29, 1910. Loesser, who could write both lyrics and music with panache, deserves credit for giving that Gershwin-Porter metropolitan musical tradition an original spin drenched with genuine 1950's style Americana.

To represent the Damon Runyon-esque part of that mix, I submit the following:

Pianist, vocalist and walking encyclopedia of American musical theater, Michael Feinstein, spoke at length about Loesser (whose classic Broadway shows include Where's Charley, Guys And Dolls, The Most Happy Fella and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying) in this interview by Terry Gross that aired as part of a tribute on the Fresh Air show.

The following trailer plugs Walter Gottlieb's 2006 documentary about the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning author of Broadway shows and movie scores.

My favorite Loesser tune? Let's Get Lost! And while I have a tough time choosing between Sinatra's and Chet Baker's versions of it, for today's blog entry, I go with Chet - but promise to crank up Frank's killer version of "Luck Be A Lady" from Sinatra At The Sands later.

My second favorite? Tough call, since there are so many cool songs to choose from, but I just love the simmering salaciousness of Baby, It's Cold Outside. Here are two highly entertaining covers - with big time thanks to Dino, Satchmo and Velma - of that fine song:


Anonymous said...

I join with the thousands of milquetoast lovers who find Frank L. a great way to get "in the mood"...especially when sung by Frank S. Full disclosure: I sometimes sing "I Believe in You" to my rear-view mirror.

paul etcheverry said...

One of the best songs ever regarding lingering post-in the mood afterglow is "Two Sleepy People".

Carol L. Skolnick said...

If you want more great version of Baby It's Cold Outside - look for Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton...Ray Charles and Nina Simone...and last but not least, Mae West purring it to Rock Hudson on the Academy Awards.

paul etcheverry said...

Wow, I didn't know Ray recorded "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Nina Simone - that sounds wonderful - but he definitely recorded it with the great Betty Carter (who I got to see in her full scat-singing glory several times way back when).


Anonymous said...

frank ! frank! ! frank ! ! ! i love, adore "I Believe in You" but the best yet , (yes?) "The Lady is in Love with You"

"what are you doing New Years Eve?"

If there's a gleam in her eye
Each time she straightens your tie
You'll know the lady's in love with you;
It means the lady's in love with you.
And when your friends ask you over to join their table,
But she begs a far-away booth for two,
Well, sir, here's just how it stands:,
Because the lady's in love with you

if a guy paying rent that would flatten the taj mahal.... can't find the whole thing....i love you!

paul etcheverry said...

"If she drives a thousand miles, with a cough, red eyes and no smiles, The Lady Is In Love With You!"