Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Can Dream • The Music of Sammy Fain

Rosemary Clooney photo rosemaryclooney_zps13ef1f92.jpg Belle Baker photo BelleBaker_zpsea63253b.jpg
Ella Fitzgerald photo EllaFitzgerald_zps999041c8.jpg The Andrews Sisters photo AndrewsSisters_zpsc620a55a.jpg
Clockwise: Rosemary Clooney; Belle Baker; the Andrews Sisters; and Ella Fitzgerald.

I thought it might be nice to dedicate a night to the music of Mr. Sammy Fain, an amazing composer known for his gorgeous ballads. Fain was born in New York City in 1902, and by the time the 1920s rolled around, he was a part of the entertainment industry. He began as a performer, but soon was dedicating his time to composing. By the end of the decade, he was making hit music, and much of that music has withstood the test of time, and have become standards in the Great American Songbook. And I will start with one of the songs, even if it might not be one of his more popular offerings. "You Brought A New Kind of Love to Me" was written in 1930 with Irving Kahal, and Pierre Connor. It was introduced to the public by the great Maurice Chevalier in the movie 'The Big Pond', and then featured again in 1931 in the Marx Brothers' comedy 'Monkey Business'. It was recorded by Belle Baker in 1930, with a lovely arrangement. It was also in the soundtrack to the the 1977 film 'New York New York', a great big band arrangement sung by Liza Minnelli. With all these choices, I decided to go with one I thought very sweet. Enjoy listening to Belle Baker sing "You Brought A New Kind of Love To Me".

Our next song had music by Fain, and lyrics by Lew Brown. "That Old Feeling" was written in 1937, and first appeared in the movie 'Vogues of 1938', but was really known more for the various recordings, including the one by Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra, which was very popular. The song was recorded by countless artists in the 1950s and 1960s, including Frank Sinatra and Patti Page. There was also a stunning version by Ella Fitzgerald, recorded for her 1955 album, 'For Sentimental Reasons'. And it is that version you will find here, so enjoy!

Our next song was written as a lost-minute replacement song for the 1938 Broadway musical 'Right This Way', which closed after 15 performances. The show had music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Irving Kahal. I have loved this song for a long time, for it has a beautiful and haunting quality. "I'll Be Seeing You" has been sung by some of the greatest voices of the past century, both male and female. I loved Judy Collins' version of the song, recorded in the 1970s. But I decided to go with another voice I love to hear, not matter what she is singing. Enjoy as Rosemary Clooney sings "I'll Be Seeing You", recorded in the mid-1950s.

Although 'Right This Way' was a commercial failure at the time, it wasn't because of the music of Sammy Fain, or the lyrics of Irving Kahal. For there was another song that emerged from the flop as a clear winner, and been recorded by many over the next several decades. That includes versions by Cass Elliot in 1969, and the Carpenters in 1975, both stunning. But I decided to go with what many believe to be the most popular recording of "I Can Dream, Can't I?" It was recorded and released by the Andrews Sisters in 1949, topping the top three Billboard carts at the time: Best Sellers in Stores; Most Played by Jockeys; and Most Played in Jukeboxes. So enjoy the beauty of the harmonies of the great Andrews Sisters as they sing "I Can Dream, Can't I?"

In 1972, Sammy Fain was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He worked into his sixties, making music. And his music continued to be featured by artists and shows around the world. Sammy Fain died in 1989 in Los Angeles. He was 87 years old.


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