MHS Class of 1958
1:00pm Sunday December 4th
at Da Vinci's Restaurant in Williamstown
Spaghetti Mona Lisa, Grilled Chicken Salad, Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich with salad, or Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
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MHS CLASS OF 1958
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"Dudley's Disc Data" (In Memory)
This is a part of Dudley's remaining legacy, a gift to his classmates. We, sadly, are
coming to the end of his articles (one more) , 50 articles in all.
Each a marvel of music history, knowledge and writing style.
Ella Fitzgerald, please enjoy his gift to you !
Article 49 (Vol. 4, Article 6)
Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
(Part I of III)
Planning a segment on Ella Fitzgerald has been the most difficult of any so far, due to the length and depth of her active career. She worked consistently, recording from 1935-1989, and giving concerts (often from a wheelchair) till 1992. She’s been called the “Queen of the CD”; and the most recorded voice ever. (Her only competition may be Sinatra or Crosby). There are around 200/250 CDs; I have about 50 of those.
Let’s see. Research shows, Ella recorded over 100 songs at least once – not counting numerous remakes. Sinatra is credited with over 1400 recordings, but this does include hundreds of remakes. Crosby recorded over 1300 songs from about 1929-1975, and had over 300 hits (more than anyone), but less than a third are available today, on CD or anywhere.
So it is likely that Ella stands alone – as a perfect voice too, with amazingly clear diction. This from a girl who didn’t get past grade school, for like so many performers, she had a poor (awful) background – one of the worst. Orphaned early, unwanted, abused, homeless in her teens, living on New York streets – but “discovered”, recording at 18, and never having to look back, or be poor. And she deserved it all.
Her most “classic” performances, many say, came in the 50s and 60s, and I’m concentrating on these. Most of her late 30s and 40s records, including many hits, were unavailable for years and quite a revelation to me when I finally heard them. Her style and diction did change, but never aged.
Unlike her great colleague/peer/rival Billie Holiday, who also had a horrifying background, Ella did not get into drinking or drugs. She ate a lot, and got very rich. A price was paid – perhaps a lonely personal life if she slowed down to think about it; two brief marriages, two briefer engagements; one adopted son with whom she lived in one of her mansions, in her final invalid years. Her music played endlessly throughout the house.
Always I hear in her the sheer joy of singing. From 1956-64 she recorded her seven celebrated “songbooks”, devoted to classic songs by great writers; over 220 songs. I’ve picked 21 of these from 3 volumes:
Irving Berlin (1888-1989)
Irving Berlin certainly had more hits than any songwriter, from about 1907 till 1954; he “retired” with the advent of rock ’n’ roll. He would be immortal if only for the astonishing trifecta of “Easter Parade” – “White Christmas” – “God Bless America”, but there is so much more.
My first four selections show me the lively high-energy side of Irving Berlin and Ella. (She recorded all of these in 1958).
- “Alexander’s Rag Time Band” (1911, originally)
- “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (1935)
- “Heat Wave” (1933)
- “Let Yourself Go” (1935)
“Alexander’s” was his first international hit and often considered the beginning of modern songwriting. (Berlin had previous hits which are no longer heard - such as a song which women disliked, in 1908 “My Wife’s Gone to the Country, Hurrah, Hurrah.” In 67 years, Elton John finally wrote the follow up – “The Bitch is Back.”
“Puttin’ on the Ritz” had memorable revivals by Fred Astaire (1996), Judy Garland (1961), and a Disco version by Jaco Ockerse in 1983. Remember that one?
Jaco never quite made it into the Astaire/Garland/Fitzgerald league.
“Heat Wave” is not, of course, the great Martha & the Vandellas hit, but Marilyn Monroe sang it memorably and appropriately. (By the way, Ella Fitzgerald was Marilyn’s favorite singer and inspiration, and they established a friendship.)
“Let Yourself Go” was a great routine from a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie.
- “Remember” (1925)
- “All Alone” (1925)
- “What’ll I Do” (1924)
Obviously, a sadder side of Irving Berlin, and sung so sweet by Ella. (Did Berlin have a crisis in 1924-25?)
Cole Porter (1891-1964) (Ella’s recordings, all 1956)
He was the most sophisticated of these writers, and his songs had an upper class, high society feel, with a lot of flirting, teasing, innuendo, and word play.
- “Night and Day” (1952)
- “Begin the Beguine” (1935)
- “Anything Goes” (1934)
- “You’re the Top” (1934)
- “It’s All Right with Me” (1953)
- “So in Love” (1948)
- “Too Darn Hot” (1948)
These seven give a good representative survey of Porter’s talent. The intense , obsessive “Night and Day” may have been his biggest hit ever – written for Fred Astaire, who had numerous hits in the 1930s – Sinatra recorded “Night and Day” at least 6 different times.
Sinatra also recorded “Begin the Beguine” twice. It has a flamboyantly romantic, over-the-top lyric – Listen twice for the words! Oddly, ironically, “Beguine” was never a big hit as a vocal. It was most famous for Artie Shaw’s 1938 instrumental hit.
“Anything Goes” and “You’re the Top” show Porter’s highest spirits. In the late 30s, he slowed down somewhat after a crippling accident. But in 1948 appeared with a huge Broadway hit, “Kiss Me Kate”, with “So in Love” and “Too Darn Hot” (really hot live).
“It’s All Right with Me” is one of his last great songs, not a hit when it first came out. He seemed to have retired after 1957.
Article 50 (Vol. 4, Article 7)
Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
(Part II of III)
Rodgers and Hart (Ella’s recordings, 1956)
Irving Berlin and Cole porter wrote music and words. For most of his career, Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) wrote music collaborating with two very different lyricists – the unhappy Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) and of course Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960).
Ella recorded 32 songs by Rodgers-Hart. And I must say that the Hart songs are my personal favorites of all these writers! For all the apparent torment in Hart’s life, there is a dreamy sweetness in so many of his lyrics – and often innocence and a sense of wonder. Hear for yourself:
- “With a Song in My Heart” (1929)
- “I’ve Got 5 Dollars” (1931)
- “Everything I’ve Got (Belongs to You)” (1937)
- “Manhattan” (1925)
- “Blue Room” (1926)
- “There’s a Small Hotel” (1936)
- “Lover” (1932)
- “Lover” (1952) Peggy Lee
In the first six, I hope you can sense the “dreamy sweetness” and “innocence” I mentioned. “Song in My Heart” is regarded as a favorite Ella performance. “I’ve Got 5 Dollars” and “Everything I’ve Got” are generous (it all belongs to you). “Manhattan” was Rodgers & Hart’s first hit. I was in New York about a dozen times and this romantic tune is the way I wanted it to be – I still think of New York this way, a place full of blue rooms and small hotels with wishing wells.
As for “Lover” – Ella sings it as written, a waltz. (Rodgers was partial to waltzes). But 20 years later, Peggy Lee heard it a different way – as a galloping swoon of lust – which outraged and scandalized Rodgers, but he made a lot of money from it……watch for more Ella from me!!
Video Appears Here
WASHINGTON GRADE SCHOOL 1951
Top Row: ?, Byron Westerman, Bob Kirkbride, Chuck Barnes, Bill Pindar, Lee Hadley, Tim Rosenbush, Gene Eddy
First Row: Rex Preasher, Denny Lankford, Lanny Williams, John Beiser, Chris Mattocks, ?, Doug Scott, ?, Coach Henderson
PUTNAM SCHOOL 1951-52
N.Brown;R.Crumb; ? ;B.Wolfe;J.McKee;A.Williams;
FR. Bill Brown,Leo Stacy,Perley Hill,Dave Stacy,Roger Householder
2nd. row: Bill Burgoyne,Ronnie Householder,Coach:C.R.Wilking,Pat Morris,Dave Barrows,Neal Roberts,Willard Lutz,Jim Wilking
OAK GROVE ELEMENTARY 1955
WASHINGTON GRADE SCHOOL 100 year Anniversary
Pat Hannan, Nancy Brown, Jane Morris, Jerry Hiatt, Marry Ann Kinney, Bob Burton, Judy Wagner, Ruth Yarnell
Don Rose, Gary Knotts, Norm Pape and Byron Westerman
Hilltop Confectionary 1957
WONDER HOW WE EVER MADE IT
Click here: I can't believe we made it
Steve Ford Pat Hannan Ron Burton