Label: Pickwick Records Of Canada Ltd. - ARS-101 • Format: 8x, Vinyl LP, Compilation Box Set • Country: Canada • Genre: Jazz, Latin, Blues, Pop, Classical •
Tal Bachman is a hitmaker in his own right with songs like "She's So High", and the son of Randy Bachman of the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrivewhich gives him an hereditary claim to a couple more generations of Canadian pop music. But Steyn had him in mind for an even earlier contribution to the Maple songbook.
This was Steyn's pick: With Or Without You - Gregorian - Greatest Hits part of our birthday observances for the Dominion of Canada's th anniversary, Mark introduces Tal Bachman's performance of one of the great ballads of the Second World War. Click to enjoy:. As for Mark's tease about Tal's second song, stay Ill Never Smile Again - Various - Collectors Treasury Of Great Stars Great Hits In the summer ofthe Tommy Dorsey No Time To Lose - DJ Ed White - Special Technics (Deep House), their vocal group the Pied Pipers and a young boy singer called Frank Sinatra took that song to Number One, and not just any old Number One but the very first Number One - the inaugural Number One hit on the very first Billboard magazine chart, the chart that became America's defining measure of commercial success in the music business - the Billboard Hot One Hundred.
Yet it wasn't an American Because Youre You - Al Martino - Spanish Eyes. The very first American Number One was, in fact, Canadian.
The lady who wrote those words and the tune they're set to was my fellow Torontonian Ruth Lowe, born in the city on August 12th Ruth Lowe was a superb writer of both music and lyrics.
Sinatra sang her songs for over half a century and, when she died, it was Frank himself who nominated her for an honorary Grammy Award. Yet, despite the ever vaster array of lame-o boosterish prizes for maple-flavored mediocrity, she remains all but entirely unhonored in her own country.
Like George Gershwin, Ruth Lowe started out as a teenage song plugger, playing the piano in Toronto music stores to boost sheet music sales. Unlike the young Gershwin, she had a family to support.
Her father had died suddenly when she was 16, and Ruthie found herself having to bring home the bacon for both her mum and her younger sister. If you liked music, plugging wasn't a bad job, but it wasn't that lucrative. So in the evening she accompanied singers in Toronto nightclubs, played as one half of a two-piano act with Sair Lee, and sang as part of a girl trio called the Shadows on CKNC. Inyear old Ruth was working in the Song Shop in Toronto when Ina Ray Hutton's all-girl band, the Melodears, came to town and suddenly found themselves in need of a last-minute substitute for an ailing Ill Never Smile Again - Various - Collectors Treasury Of Great Stars Great Hits . There were two requirements: you had to be a good-looking blonde or blondish and you had to be able to play the piano.
Ina Ray and a couple of Melodears chanced to drop by the Song Shop, and discovered that Miss Lowe met both requirements. So she got the gig. The Melodears was a gimmick cooked up by the music publisher Irving Mills, but as gimmicks go it worked out pretty well.
And the band behind her was pretty good. So Ruth became the regular pianist and went on the road, and in she fell in love with a Chicago music publicist called Harold Cohen.
They were blissfully happy — for one year. And then, during Ill Never Smile Again - Various - Collectors Treasury Of Great Stars Great Hits routine operation, he died, quite unexpectedly, of kidney failure. And a devastated Ruth left the band and went home to Toronto - to her family's third-floor apartment, across from Christie Pitts Park, where she watched young couples strolling arm in arm.
One day she was talking things out Summers Day - Chief - Modern Rituals her sister, and said she'd never smile again without Harold.
And, even in her grief, the song plugger in her realized she'd stumbled on a hit title. That night in June of she sat down to write it out:. Even though it's born of shattering personal pain, Miss Lowe was enough of a professional songwriter to universalize her situation:.
For tears would fill my eyes My heart would realize That our romance is through There were a couple of connections — Ina Ray Hutton's sister June sang with the Pied Pipers — and Ruth managed to get the tune to the big guy.
Months later, back in New York, Dorsey had his pianist play the number. Inthe Ill Never Smile Again - Various - Collectors Treasury Of Great Stars Great Hits Gentleman had a new vocalist, a skinny kid from New Jersey.
As Frank Sinatra remembered it:. We were rehearsing on a Saturday afternoon, up at the roof of the Astor Hotel, and Tommy asked Joe Bushkin to play the song.
I noticed that everybody suddenly was very quiet, the whole orchestra sat quietly when he played it. There was a feeling of a kind of eeriness that took place, as though we all knew that this would be a big, big hit, and that it was a lovely song. So Dorsey asked his saxophonist Freddie Stulce to work up an arrangement, and on April 23rd the band found themselves with a spare 20 minutes at the end of a recording session and no songs left.
And they do, and it's And Mala Suerte - Henry Fiol - El Secreto Sinatra sees a celesta over in the corner and suggests Joe Bushkin, the pianist, just shove it in as needed. That celesta sound — eerie and ethereal, as the hammers strike the steel plates - made the record. Well, that and the doo-doo-doo fills from Jo Stafford Handmade - The Jancee Pornick Casino / The Marlones - Split the Pied Pipers:.
The Dorsey band take it at what the Sinatra scholar Will Friedwald calls "crawl tempo" — it's achingly slow, not just slower than the big-band swingers and the fixed-tempo ballads and even slow ballads, but slower than anything else around back then.
And yet it works: its "eeriness" as Sinatra said was heartbreaking. But it's so beautifully written and lushly confident you don't even notice the structure. Not only was it the first Billboard Number One, it held the spot for 12 weeks.
There are theories about that. For a while, its popularity was assumed to derive from a widespread rumor that Miss Lowe's late husband was a flyer killed in action over Europe with the Royal Air Force.
Inremember, Canada was in the war, but America wasn't. Indeed, the rumor was so indestructible that on HBO's Sinatra centenary documentary Frank himself, late in The Hit - Bang Camaro - Bang Camaro II, is heard referring to the widowed Ruth's lost love as a Canadian airman.
Ill Never Smile Again - Various - Collectors Treasury Of Great Stars Great Hits , he wasn't. But in a broader sense, her ballad of love and loss and loneliness, torn from her own widowhood, caught the mood of Americans in that pensive interlude between the start of World War Two and their own entry into it.
It succeeds not just as a song of bereavement, not just as a song of less fatally lost love, but also as a song that captures the fragility of all wartime romance. But the song was a breakthrough for him, and you can't put a price on that.
Not long after, Red - Psalters - Chapter V - The Divine Liturgy Of The Wretched Exiles band were given a cameo in a movie called Las Vegas Nights a novel concept in lateso he got to sing it on the big screen.
On the day they recorded it, Bing Crosby swung by the studio. Frank re-recorded "I'll Never Smile Again" in a very dark version with Gordon Jenkins in the Fifties, and again in the Sixties and Seventies, and sang it now and again more or less up to the end. Even as a young man, he understood the song's power.
Miss Lowe eventually re-married and chose to stay in Toronto and be a stockbroker's wife doing good works and raising her kids rather than be a Départ De LAuberge - La Monnaie Du Pays - Chez Le Roy - Savinien Cyrano De Bergerac* - Benjamin Laz songwriter in Tin Pan Alley.
She nixed a Hollywood biopic in which she would have been played by Judy Garland, and seemed content to be a quirky footnote in pop history. Sinatra kept both songs in his book virtually until the end. The very last time I heard him sing a Ruth Lowe song was in the early Nineties. For the pre-closing routine, Steve and Eydie had a long medley of Sinatra hits and the idea was that, if he felt like joining in, they'd step aside and let him take the songs, but if he was exhausted he could just sip his Jack Daniel's, sit back and recover his strength for the big finish with "Mack The Knife" or "New York, New York", and they'd do the whole thing.
Pushing eighty, he still loved to sing the song, even though there was a little more Jersey gravel or Palm Springs sand in his diction than there was half-a-century earlier: "Until I smile at you" tended to come out as "Until I smile at choo", at which point Steve and Eydie would each provide an echoing "A-choo Order your personally autographed copy exclusively from the Steyn Store.
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Tweets by MarkSteynOnline. From The Mark Steyn Showa great Canadian performer sings a great Canadian song - for the very first time: Tal Bachman is a hitmaker in his own right with songs like "She's So High", and the son of Randy Bachman of the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrivewhich gives him an hereditary claim to a couple more generations of Canadian pop music. Comment on this item Submission of reader comments is restricted to Mark Steyn Club members only.
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