The Danger of Extreme Heat on Elders

ELDER MUSIC: 1944 Again

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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Well, it’s 1944 and it seems that the entertainment industry is hell-bent on trying to get us to forget about the obvious. That seems to be the tenor of the songs today, except for the last one. So, on with the motley…

JUDY GARLAND was a pretty big star by now and one of her most famous films was “Meet Me in St Louis”.

Judy Garland

The film had 15 songs in it but the one that’s most remembered today is The Trolley Song.

♫ Judy Garland - The Trolley Song

Here is one of the best trios in popular music, the NAT KING COLE TRIO. I only say “one of” so I don’t get some readers off side, although not many, I expect.

Nat King Cole Trio

Here they are with Nat singing, which he didn’t always do on the trio records, with one of their most famous songs It's Only a Paper Moon.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - It's Only A Paper Moon

I remember from the fifties Dinah Washington having a hit with the song What a Difference a Day Makes. This wasn't the first time the song made the charts. Here in 1944, ANDY RUSSELL did the same with What a Difference a Day Made.

Andy Russell

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the songs have slightly different names, but it's the same one nonetheless.

♫ Andy Russell - What A Difference A Day Made

Speaking of DINAH WASHINGTON, here she is.

Dinah Washington1

Dinah was always a bit “out there”, as it were. It seems she has so many men she doesn’t know what to do. Apparently, the song parallels her own life. Evil Gal Blues.

♫ Dinah Washington - Evil Gal Blues

RUSS MORGAN fronted a very successful band from the twenties right through to the end of the sixties. His band still continues to this day fronted by his son Jack.

Russ Morgan

His first bands included such names as Bix Beiderbecke, Eddie Lang, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and many other now famous players. From 1944, with Al Jennings singing, is Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking).

♫ Russ Morgan (Al Jennings voc) - Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking)

It seems to me that back in this year many artists were happy to collaborate on the music they produced. That’s obvious from the next two tracks. First up we have ELLA FITZGERALD and the INK SPOTS.

Ella Fitzgerald & The Inkspots

The song they chose is a rhythm & blues staple (and later rock & roll and blues), Cow-Cow Boogie. It’s not a song I associate with either of those performers, but I’m happy to hear what they do with it. Cow-Cow Boogie. It’s an interesting amalgam of jazz and country.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald & Ink Spots - Cow-Cow Boogie

Another fairly obvious pairing is BING CROSBY and the ANDREWS SISTERS.

Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters

This isn’t the only time they recorded together, but it’s possibly the most famous of their collaborations, Don't Fence Me In.

♫ Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters - Don't Fence Me In

We’ll continue with the MERRY MACS.

the Merry Macs

If you’ve forgotten about the Macs, when I tell you the song, you’ll probably remember (the song anyway). It is Mairzy Doats. Theirs wasn’t the first version, surprisingly, but they were the ones who took it to the top of the charts this year. And our parents carried on about silly rock & roll songs.

♫ Merry Macs - Mairzy Doats

We have FRANK SINATRA to bring us back to sanity.

Frank Sinatra

This is one of his very many famous songs, Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week).

♫ Frank Sinatra - Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)

Back in 1915, a school teacher named Hans Leip, who had been conscripted into the Imperial German Army, wrote a poem called "Das Lied eines jungen Soldaten auf der Wacht" ("The Song of a Young Soldier on Watch").

Fast forward to 1938, and we find that Norbert Schultze set it to music. It was first recorded by LALE ANDERSEN.

Lale Andersen

She later recorded an English version of the song. It became a huge hit during World War II, both with the German soldiers and the allies as well. So much so that many other versions were released, the most notable of which was by Marlene Dietrich, but there were others – Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Vera Lynn, and later Hank Lochlin, Connie Francis and many others.

The song was originally called Lili Marleen, but it’s better known as Lili Marlene. This is the original version by Lale.

♫ Lale Andersen - Lili Marlene


I recognize these though I am a child of the 50's, well a teen then. Most of this was mom's music. :-)

I am late to the party, but just wanted you know that this was my era and I vividly remember all of the songs with the exception of "Evil Gal Blues". We did have some really silly songs like the "Three Itty Fishies" and I remember the lyrics to most of them to this day. Mairzy Doats was fun to sing and when you clarified the lyrics to Mare's eat oats and Does eat oats and little lambs eat Ivy, we slowed down.

Some day I wish you would pick this period and play some of the beautiful ballads that were more popular then. Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald come to mind with many beautiful songs. I don't want these youngsters to think all we did was sing about were dolly's with holes in her stockings, fish, old cowhand, etc.

nteresting group of performers. Most of the pop music I would have heard then would have been in movie musicals, radio shows. Recall enjoying the "Meet Me In St. Louis" movie with Judy Garland with some cute tunes. A favorite sometime during those years was my introduction to Lena Horne whose singing voice and style impressed me and have enjoyed her ever after. She appeared in the black cast movie "Cabin in the Sky" with a host of other performers and music I enjoyed.

Bing Crosby to me was mostly "White Christmas". I never cared for Frank Sinatra's singing until he was older. Also thought the screaming and hollering, mostly older teenagers he hired, I understand (read that years later) were pretty silly as you can't hear and feel the music (still think true with concerts). Liked Rosie Clooney (except some of the dumb tunes they made her sing and turns out that she didn't like them either) and Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme but maybe that's '50s. Nat King Cole's music I mostly heard years when he was a solo performer and really like his voice -- I first heard him when he sang "Sea Breeze", a tune on an old 78 I'd enjoy hearing again, but have never been able to find a recording. Those vocal groups were pretty laid back with appeal to me being for Hi-Lo's, Four Freshmen, Manhattan Transfer, etc.

Music I most enjoyed often had no relationship to what was on the pop charts. But lots of musicians and lots of fans for all of them. Lots of tunes and performers further down the charts preferred by many. Kinda like when people write about '50s they characterize girls all wore Poodle skirts. They weren't popular everywhere and in many places girls didn't care for them.

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