Monday, July 30, 2007

It's Mine And You Can't Have It

The other day, I was listening to someone’s recording of “Fever,” the song most associated with Peggy Lee and with good reason. This other artist did a good job, but just didn’t quite make it; she and the musicians lacked the edge that Ms. Lee and her group had.

For those who marginally remember the recording, there was only a bass and drum kit behind the vocalist. The session guitarist was dropped at the last moment and it was his fingers we heard snapping through the song.

Peggy Lee “owns” this song and the best anyone can do is to perform it in their own style, not attempting to imitate her. It’s not going to work.

Meanwhile, back in 1931, Wayne King recorded a song which Frankie Laine also sang in 1950 and Doris Day in 1957. But “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” belongs to Cass Elliot, formerly of the “Mamas & the Papas,” who sold seven million copies of it in 1968. She has delivered what many consider the definitive version as she left the group, got her life together and moved out on her own.

Anyone who sings “Some Enchanted Evening” will do so with the spirit of Ezio Pinza hovering above him. That’s another “owned” song, by the former basso of the Metropolitan Opera. He recorded it from the musical “South Pacific” in 1948, a haunting melody and one of the first I heard from the Broadway stage.


Post a Comment

<< Home