Friday, July 02, 2010

My (New) Favorite Frank Loesser - Make That Hoagy N' Frank -Tune

Hogay Carmichael (1899-1981), in his natural habitat

"Two Sleepy People" was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser when the latter was working as studio lot lyricist for Paramount Pictures. The powers that be at Paramount hoped that Hoagy could, like clockwork, crank out another hit to equal "Thanks For The Memories", the boffo Bob Hope and Shirley Ross duet penned by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger for The Big Broadcast Of 1938. While not the overwhelming hit that Bob's theme song was, "Two Sleepy People" added another doozy of a charmer to Carmichael's repertoire, and also provided a key career break for Loesser (who even then had his sights on Broadway).

IMO, this is the most genuinely romantic of pop standards; the lyrics are actually about the relationship and tangible experiences between two people, as opposed to the lame-brained romantic mythology, adolescent fantasies and/or infatuation drivel that make many "love songs" range from merely false to positively cringe-worthy.

So, here, Bob n' Shirley present "Two Sleepy People":

Hoagy himself got a shot at recording "Two Sleepy People" in his inimitable laid-back style in 1958.

The incomparable songwriter, stride pianist, vocalist, cut-up and all-around raconteur Thomas "Fats" Waller waxed this into a hit in December 1938. The multi-talented Waller passed away from an extended stretch of hard living (A.K.A. too much fun + too little rest) in 1943, just as he was breaking into a new career as songwriter for Broadway.

Enjoy the ever-sultry Julie London's Marilyn Monroe-ish take on "Two Sleepy People", which begs the question, was Marilyn ripping off Julie?

Offering proof positive that this Hoagy n' Frank ditty sounds fantastic in the 21st century, here's a sweet performance of "Two Sleepy People" from Joe's Pub in fabulous New York City on July 22, 2008. Take it away, Howard and Nellie!


Anonymous said...

Ever see Hoagy in "The Las Vegas Story" of the early fifties? Hoagy plays, you guessed it, a saloon pianist who does his bit to bring Jane Russell and Victor Mature back together, despite wascally wabbitt Vinvent Price. You ought to watch more movies from the post-code years.

paul etcheverry said...

I'll check out The Las Vegas Story if there are cameos by Kay Francis, Ruth Chatterton or Ann Dvorak as hotel bar floozies, or Joan Blondell as the bartender.

Sounds like Cesar Romero was not available for the wascally wabbit part. Not to take anything away from Vincent Price, highly skilled at portraying (and spoofing) bad guys, especially his Mr. Evil Incarnate persona in Roger Corman'sThe Masque Of The Red Death.

And in Head, the 1968 "whoa, like far-out" vehicle for The Monkees (with screenplay by Jack Nicholsen and Bob Rafelson), the PreFab Four are dandruff in the irritated scalp of Victor Mature.