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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Two Lady Singers, Too Late For Me.

My mind works in mysterious ways - that it works at all, is the biggest mystery. Before Friday, I never knew who Fran Warren was, and I never knew how good Julie London sounded. How did I come across these 2 singers from the 40's thru the 60's? 
If you've come here from my Patch article you already know that I was at Fran Warren's estate sale and learned about her from her daughter and also from a friend of the family. Though both ladies were born in the same year (1926), Fran Warren was a more traditional big band singer who first tried out for Duke Ellington's band at 16. Though she didn't get the job, she was soon employed by other band leaders such as  Billy EckstineCharlie Barnet, and Claude Thornhill. You can read her full Wiki entry here 

Julie London, I learned about on Thursday as I tried to pitch a comedic rendition of "Cry Me A River" to the producer of a local stage show. My research brought me to a Japanese performance of the song by Ms. London in 1964. All I can say is "WoW!!" Her style would be best described as Torch song and her breathy delivery and and languid sultry pace made my jaw drop. There are better copies and even better direction if you watch her contribution to the feature film "The Girl Can't Help It" (1956). Take a look at the 1964 version:


The coincidence in me "discovering" these two talents is the only reason they appear to be in competition on this blog, but this is not the case. Both were talents in their own right though their careers seemed to go in different directions. Most people would tell you that never heard of Fran Warren, and then after hearing the tune she is best known for might say, "Why have I never heard of her?" Take a listen:

Julie seemed to enjoy more media exposure than Fran. I grew up only knowing Julie from the TV series "Emergency!" Not a bad show, but not the part of her career she would want to be known for, maybe. Fran made her appearances on TV as well and was friends with Jack Parr and Johnny Carson, Sinatra, and numerous others. I just wish I could find clips. I am a new fan and my hat's off to both of them, though sorry that I arrived to the show too late as they have both passed.

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