Friday, October 2, 2009

Jane Morgan

Jane Morgan was a 50s diva who placed 5 songs in the Billboard top 100 between 1956 and 1959. I found her Greatest Hits album at the Centennial Library; it was an old original vinyl copy. It has 3 of the 5 songs on it.

Next time you’re at a cocktail party, just say to the nearest unoccupied party-goer: “Boy, I sure love those old songs by Jane Morgan.” And see where the evening takes you…

Jane Morgan:

Fascination – (By Jane Morgan & The Troubadors) One of those songs that seem always to have existed. It sounds to me like a jewellery commercial. Maybe it was one. Anyway it’s one of those songs, better known than the singer in this case, though she put it in the top 10, and that was in the fall of 1957.
My Favorite Things – From The Sound Of Music, which my favourite journalist described as a “charming musical romp through Nazi-occupied Austria“, and I can’t hear this without hearing Julie Andrews, of whom I am not a fan, but who does this better anyway. My favourite version, though, is the one by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, which they included on their 1968 Christmas album.
Till – Opens with the most beautiful solo violins. When she sings, she doesn’t totally destroy the effect. Damning with faint praise? Ok ok, it’s not bad really. This was a hit for Roger Williams, for Percy Faith, and, about 10 years later, for the Vogues.
Romantica – What you’d think. A bit Latin. Let’s leave it at that.
Scarlet Ribbons – This bit of supernatural whimsy was a hit for The Browns in 1959, but for me it’s Harry Belafonte that owns the song. No contest here.
The Day The Rains Came – A song of reawakening and a hit in the fall of 1958.
Fly Me To The Moon – Stiff competition on this, but she handles it. Oversings it a bit, but it’s not terrible.
Moon River – Everyone has to do Moon River, and so does Jane Morgan. By Henry Mancini, from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, as if you didn’t know.
Tammy – The Debbie Reynolds hit, and The Ames Brothers hit also.
It’s All In The Game – A song about love. The tune was written by Charles Dawes, who was vice-president of the US under Calvin Coolidge. Tommy Edwards hit with it twice, the last time in 1959, and it was a hit for Cliff Richard and for the Four Tops. Wikipedia has a decent listing of cover versions.
Two Different Worlds – (By Jane Morgan & Roger Williams) Originally by Don Rondo, whose version I don’t have. That’s good, because Jane Morgan’s version is the only version I know, so it doesn’t suffer by comparison with anything. This is about overcoming barriers in matters of the heart. It was a hit in the fall of 1956.
If Only I Could Live My Life Again – A song of regret, sure to liven up any party.

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