Still More Grampa's Favorite Songs, Singers -- With 38 Music Videos
Below Are Biographical Sketches and Videos of 38 Great Singers -- Including One Video of Tony Bennett Singing 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams'
Bing Crosby Sings 'Gone Fishin' ' With Louis Armstrong
Bing Crosby, widely recognized as one of the most popular singers-actors-entertainers in history, was a major influence on those who followed him, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Perry Como. His career stretched over half a century. Crosby's more than 2,000 records, including the mega hit “White Christmas,” have amassed more than half a billion in circulation. The Oscar-winning actor was unrivaled over two decades in record sales, radio ratings and motion picture grosses. His Christmas television specials and road pictures with Bob Hope were immensely popular.
Sophie Tucker: 'The Man I Love'
Sophie Tucker, nicknamed “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” was one of the most popular American entertainers. The Russian-born actress and entertainer was known for her stentorian delivery of comical and risqué songs. She began her career in blackface. Among her most famous songs were “Some of These Days” and “My Yiddishe Momme.” She appeared in many movies including “Broadway Melody of 1938.”
Sammy Davis Jr. Sings 'Mr. Bojangles'
Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr. was a multi-talented African-American entertainer, singer, dancer and childhood vaudevillian who won fame as a recording artist, television and movie star, a member of Frank Sinatra’s “Rat Pack” and in performances on Broadway and Las Vegas. His biggest hit record was “The Candy Man.” He was posthumously honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mahalia Jackson Sings 'A Closer Walk With Thee'
Mahalia Jackson, an influential African-American gospel singer who recorded 35 albums, had a dozen “gold” million-selling 45 rpm records. She had a powerful contralto voice and was the first “Queen of Gospel Music.” Nicknamed “Halie,” the New Orleans native had a 14-year association with composer Thomas A. Dorsey, “Father of Gospel Music.” Among her popular songs were “Amazing Grace,” “We Shall Overcome” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Perry Como: 'Catch a Falling Star'
Perry Como, known as “Mr. C,” was an Italian American singer whose career spanned more than half a century. He was a popular recording artist who sold millions of records and pioneered a popular weekly television show. The onetime barber’s career took a leap forward when he recorded “Till the End of Time” in 1945. Among his many hits were “If I Loved You,” “Prisoner of Love” and “Catch a Falling Star.”
Dusty Springfield Sings 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me'
Dusty Springfield, born Mary O’Brien, was a British pop artist who impressed the American market with her distinctive sensual sound. She was noted as a white soul artist. Her first solo hit was “I Only Want To Be With You.” Other hits include “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself.” Her rendition of “The Look of Love” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.
Bobby Vinton Sings 'My Melody of Love
Bobby Vinton is an American pop music singer of Polish origin whose father, Stan Vinton, was a well-known bandleader. His first big hit was “Roses Are Red (My Love).” Perhaps his most famous song was “Blue Velvet.” Both songs were No. 1 on the charts. Other Vinton hits include "My Melody of Love," “There! I’ve Said It Again” and “Mr. Lonely," which he wrote while serving in the U.S. Army as a chaplain’s assistant.
Marion Harris: 'I Ain't Got Nobody'
Marion Harris, sometimes billed as “The Queen of Blues,” was the first widely known white pop singer to sing jazz and blues songs. She started in vaudeville and in theaters around Chicago in 1914. Her biggest hit was “I Ain’t Got Nobody.” Other hits include “After Your Gone,” “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “St. Louis Blues.” In her early radio performances she was billed as “The Little Girl With the Big Voice.”
Don Cornell Sings 'I'll Walk Alone'
Don Cornell, a Bronx-born American singer of Italian heritage, sold more than 50 million records, including his big hit, “It Isn’t Fair.” He was a top nightclub performer whose other big hits include “I’m Yours,” “I’ll Walk Alone” and “Hold My Hand,” which sold over a million copies and topped the UK Singles Chart in 1954.
Nora Bayes Sings 'How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm'
Nora Bayes, a star on the vaudeville circuit as well as the Broadway stage, was a popular American singer, comedienne and actress of the early 20th Century. She introduced George M. Cohan’s “Over There” on her hit recording of the song, which was closely associated with World War I. Bayes collaborated with her second husband, singer-songwriter Jack Norworth, on the immensely popular “Shine On, Harvest Moon” which debuted in the Follies of 1908.
The Ames Brothers Sing 'The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane'
The Ames Brothers
The Ames Brothers, a singing quartet from Massachusetts, were famous for their popular music hits in the 1950’s. The brothers started their careers at a Boston nightclub and later won a job with bandleader Art Mooney. They became nationally known with their first big hit, “Rag Mop” in 1950 before gaining further popularity on radio, television and in nightclubs. Among their other hits were “You, You, You” and “Melodie D’Amour.”
Libby Holman:'Body and Soul'
Libby Holman was an American torch singer and stage actress whose signature song was Ralph Rainger’s “Moaning Low.” She was notorious for her complex and unconventional life style. Actor Clifton Webb, her friend, gave her the nickname, “The Statue of Libby.” She introduced the hit song, “Something to Remember You By,” in Broadway’s “Three’s a Crowd.”
Tony Bennett Sings 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams'
Tony Bennett is an American singer whose career spans seven decades. The versatile entertainer sings popular music, show tunes, jazz and standards. His first No. 1 hit song was “Because of You” in 1951. His signature song is “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Bennett's career waned during the rock music era, but he staged a huge comeback in the 1980’s and ‘90’s. He has sold more than 50 million records worldwide.
Hazel Scott: 'Rhapsody in Blue'
Hazel Scott, a jazz and classical pianist and singer who performed often in Carnegie Hall, appeared in several motion pictures including “I Dood It,” “Broadway Rhythm” and “Rhapsody in Blue.” Scott was the first woman of color to have her own television show, The Hazel Scott Show, in 1950. Her album, “Relaxed Piano Moods,” is highly regarded by critics.
Russ Morgan Sings 'So Tired'
Russ Morgan was a big band leader and musical arranger in the U.S. during the 1930’s and ‘40’s. He played trombone and piano. His show, “Music in the Morgan Manner” was one of the most popular on radio. At the urging of Rudy Vallee, Morgan formed his own orchestra, which performed at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City. Four of his recorded songs made it big on the charts including “So Tired” and “Cruising Down the River.”
Judy Garland Sings 'Get Happy'
Judy Garland, an American singer and actress virtually all her life, was an international star in movies, recordings and on the concert stage. The award-winning entertainer made more than two dozen movies, nine with longtime movie star Mickey Rooney, but would be identified mostly for her role in the successful 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.”
Blue Barron Sings 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'
Blue Barron was a big band era orchestra leader in the 1940’s and early ‘50’s. The Cleveland born U.S. Army veteran was born Harry Freidman but adopted the stage name Blue Barron when he formed his own orchestra. His music was termed “sweet” to distinguish it from “Swing,” which was hugely popular at the time. His “Cruising Down the River” was a No. 1 hit in 1949.
Joni James: 'Till We Meet Again'
Joni James is an American singer who was popular not only in America but in the Philippines and in the entire Asia-Pacific region. Her first hit song was “Why Don’t You Believe Me.” She had seven Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart including “Have You Heard,” “Your Cheating Heart,” “My Love, My Love” and “How Important Can It Be?”
Tommy Edwards Sings 'It's All in the Game'
Tommy Edwards was a singer and songwriter who is remembered best for his biggest hit, “It’s All in the Game." The R&B singer's single of the song sold more than 3.5 million copies globally and it achieved gold disc status. His first hit, "All Over Again," in 1951 reached No. 10 on the U.S. R&B chart. Another big Edwards hit was “Love Is All We Need,” which climbed to No. 15 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Teresa Brewer Sings 'Your Cheating Heart'
Teresa Brewer was one of the most prolific female American pop singers of the 1950’s. She recorded more than 600 songs. Her style incorporated elements of jazz, country, R&B musicals and novelty songs. Brewer's recording of “Music, Music, Music” sold more than a million copies and became her signature song. Among her other big hits was “Till I Waltz Again With You.”
Bobby Goldsboro Sings 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix'
Bobby Goldsboro is an American country and pop singer and songwriter who had a string of hits from 1962 to 1982, five of which sold more than one million copies. His first hit song, which he wrote, was “See the Funny Little Clown.” It went “gold.” At one point Goldsboro had 11 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the country chart. His biggest hit was “Honey,” which topped the charts for four weeks in 1968.
Marlene Dietrich Sings 'Lili Marlene' (English version)
Marlene Dietrich was a German actress and singer who became a U.S. citizen and was a high-profile front line entertainer during World War II. Her performance in “The Blue Angel” brought her fame in America and throughout the world. Her glamorous and exotic looks, featured in such films as “Shanghai Express” and “Desire,” cemented her stardom and made her one of the highest paid actresses of her era.
Julie London: 'Cry Me a River'
Julie London, an American singer and actress whose career lasted more than 35 years, was best known for her smoky, sensual voice. She recorded 32 albums and was named by Billboard the most popular female vocalist for 1955, 1956 and 1957. Her most famous single was “Cry Me a River.” Other big hits were “Don’t Worry About Me,” “Motherless Child” and “A Foggy Day.”
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Sing 'Fly Me to the Moon'
Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme
Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, an American pop vocal duet – a husband and wife team since the 1950’s – each also had separate careers as solo singers. The couple recorded on various labels. Their last U.S. chart record was “Hallelujah.” Their 1960 song, “We Got Us,” was the title tune on their ABC-Paramount LP album that earned them a Grammy Award in the same year.
The Brox Sisters Sing 'Falling in Love Again'
The Brox Sisters
The Brox Sisters were an American trio whose greatest popularity was enjoyed while singing in the 1920’s and ’30’s. Their career began in vaudeville around 1910 in the U.S. and Canada. The sisters achieved great success in the 1920’s before breaking up in the early 1930’s. They appeared in a number of films including “The Cocoanuts” with the Marx Brothers and “Singing in the Rain” with Cliff Edwards (Ukelele Ike.)
Eddie Fisher Sings 'Anytime'
Eddie Fisher was an American singer and entertainer who won instant fame and nationwide exposure when he performed on the Eddie Cantor radio show in 1949. Cantor heard him performing at Grossinger’s Resort in the Borscht Belt in New York. Fisher became popular in nightclubs and had his own variety TV show in the ‘50’s. Among his big hits were “Thinking of You,” “Bring Back the Thrill” and “Anytime.”
Doris Day Sings 'Que Sera Sera'
Doris Day, who began her career as a band singer, is an American actress and singer who made her first big recording, “Sentimental Journey,” in 1945. She appeared in 39 films and recorded more than 600 songs. She was the top ranking female box office star of all time as of 2009 and ranked 6th among the top 10 box office performers. She won Academy Awards for Best Original Song with “Secret Love” (1953) and for "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" (1956.)
Glen Campbell: 'Wichita Lineman'
Glen Campbell, an American country pop singer and guitarist, had a series of hit songs in the 1960’s and ‘70’s and hosted his own popular television variety show. Among his many hits were “Gentle on My Mind,” “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix, “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” He released more than 70 albums during his more than five decades in show business.
Bobby Helms Sings 'Fraulein'
Bobby Helms, an American country music singer, reached a peak of success in 1957 with his huge hit, “Jingle Bell Rock” followed a year later with the 1957 single hit, “Fraulein” that hit No. 1 on the country music chart and into the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. The same year “My Special Angel” also hit No. 1 on the country charts and the Top 10 on Billboard’s pop music chart, peaking at No. 7.
Snooky Lanson: 'Mr. Sandman'
Snooky Lanson was an American singer who was known for co-starring on the popular NBC television series, “Your Hit Parade,” along with Russell Arms, Dorothy Collins and Gisele MacKenzie from 1950 to 1957. Later he performed in nightclubs and on Atlanta, Georgia., and Shreveport, Louisiana, area television shows.
Brenda Lee: 'Fly Me to the Moon'
Brenda Lee, a rockabilly, pop and country music singer, is an American performer who had 37 U.S. chart hits in the 1960’s. Nicknamed “Little Miss Dynamite,” Lee is best known for her hit signature song, “I’m Sorry” and for “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” an American standard for five decades. Her biggest hits were “Jambalaya,” “Sweet Nothin’s” and “All Alone Am I.”
Tony Martin: 'Walk Hand in Hand'
Tony Martin is an American actor and traditional pop singer who was a featured vocalist on the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio program. He starred in a number of musical movies and, between 1938 and 1942, had several hit records. During World War II he joined the U.S. Army and sang with the Glenn Miler band. Among his big hits were “To Each His Own,” a million-seller, “Begin the Beguine” and “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.”
Johnny Mathis: 'Chances Are'
Johnny Mathis is an American singer of popular music who had
several dozen gold and platinum albums and more than 60 that made the Billboard
charts. His U.S. sales totaled more than 17 million units. Among his most
popular songs were “Chances Are,” “It’s Not for Me
to Say” and "Wonderful! Wonderful!"
Marty Robbins Sings 'El Paso'
Marty Robbins, one of the most popular country and western singers of his era, was an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for nearly four decades. The Arizona born entertainer began his career on local radio and television and became known through appearances on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Among his biggest hits were “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation,” “El Paso” and “Don’t Worry.”
Ma Rainey: 'Booze and Blues'
Ma Rainey, billed as “The Mother of the Blues,” was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers. She was instrumental in developing and popularizing the blues and a big influence on such younger singers as Bessie Smith. Born Gertrude Pridgett, Ma Rainey made more than 100 recordings from 1923 to 1927, including “Moonshine Blues,” “Black Bottom” and “Soon This Morning.” She sang with an energetic voice in a moaning style reminiscent of the folk tradition.
Georgia Gibbs Sings 'Kiss of Fire'
Georgia Gibbs, often introduced as "Her Nibs, Miss Georgia Gibbs," was a popular American singer whose career began in a Boston vaudeville house in the early '30s. She appeared on many popular radio shows over the next two decades and sang with such big bands as Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Hal Kemp and Frankie Trumbauer. Among her big hits were "Kiss of Fire," "Shoo Shoo Baby" and "Autumn Leaves." She performed only rarely after 1966.
Al Martino Sings 'Spanish Eyes'
Al Martino, an Italian American "pop crooner," was popular through the '50s and '60s. In 1952 he won first place in Arthur Godfrey's popular Talent Scouts TV show. Martino's first hit song was "Here in My Heart" He gained further fame as an actor in the role of Johnny Fontane in "The Godfather." Among his other hit songs were "Spanish Eyes," "Speak Softly Love," "Al Di Là" and "Volare."
Jerry Vale: 'You Don't Know Me'
Jerry Vale -- A native of The Bronx, N. Y., Jerry was a popular singer who was born Gennaro Luigi Vitaliano. He won a contract with Columbia Records after Guy Mitchell's manager heard him singing at a Yonkers nightclub. Vale was popular in the late '50s through the '70s. Among his top recordings were "There Goes My Heart," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," and "Be My Love." His recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was a feature at numerous sporting events.
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My favorite vocalists reflect the fact that I was brought up in Yonkers, N.Y., in the 1940's, but the fabulous music of the '20's, '30's and '40's still ring in my ears. Enjoy the youtube videos.
Here's a compilation of some of the great songs and singers that your grandfather knew and loved a few decades ago. If you're not familiar with these artists, you have a treat in store for you.
Irish lightweight boxer Shamus O'Brien aka Michael J. Hogan, buried in an unmarked grave in 1959, now rests in Yonkers beneath a beautiful tombstone -- his dignity restored by the boxing community.