Happy New Year – and my first 365 days on this site!

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I hope 2013 has been off to a good start for all of you!

I suddenly realized that today it’s been exactly one year since I created this blog, and during that year you’ve been treated to my very personal views on a lot of different musical topics, a diverse group of singers – and a couple of other subjects squeezed in between!

So, what to expect next? Well, during 2012 we lost some well-known artists; Whitney Houston and Donna Summer are those everyone remembers…

Therefore I will look into the music and career of a great singer whom I’m sure a lot of people don’t remember these days; the great Toni Arden! She passed away in May last year at the age of 88.

A very fitting title! Toni Arden was an incredibly exciting and very versatile singer!

A very fitting title! Toni Arden was an incredibly exciting and very versatile singer!

Toni Arden was born in 1924, her birth name Antoinette Ardizzone conjures up images of both France and Italy, and she later recorded in both languages. Starting out in the late 1940’s, Miss Arden was yet another traditional pop singer – but she had her very own personal way of making every song she sang totally unique!

Miss Arden; elegant and stylish even in her later years...

Miss Arden; elegant and stylish even in her later years…

April 2013 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of another great singer – Frances Langford! She was maybe the most versatile of all the girl singers who appeared on the scene during the 1930’s.

Frances was a recording star, a radio star, a movie actress and one of the biggest attractions of the 30’s and 40’s! During WWII she endlessly entertained soldiers both in the US and abroad, and she is fondly remembered even to this day for her efforts during the war.

An autographed photo from the 1940's of (a dark haired) Frances Langford

An autographed photo from the 1940’s of (a dark haired) Frances Langford

Thanks to labels like Jasmin and Flare – most of Miss Langfords recordings are now once again available – and they show a truly versatile singer doing an incredible amount of great music! She made her last studio recordings in the late 1960’s, but lived to the age of 92 – she died in 2005.

Frances Langford in the early 200's. Approaching her 90th birthday, she was still a sweetheart!

Frances Langford in the early 2000’s. Approaching her 90th birthday, she was still a sweetheart!

A closer look into the music and careers of both these singers will be posted in the near future! So stay with me this year as well!

Comin’ up next – Girls from the Big Bands

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From the early stages of popular music, a band with a featured singer was often the main attraction where music was played. From around the 1920’s and 30’s a lot of great bands had a female vocalist as their headliner. Some of those girls later went solo, and from the late 30’s and early 40’s the music business was full of ex-band “canaries” who had their minds set on a solo career.

I will be writing some shorter biographies on some of those great girls in my next blog posts – and there are quite a few to choose from: Frances Langford, Bea Wain, Peg LaCentra, Helen Ward, Helen Forrest, Helen O’Connell, Dinah Shore, Fran Warren…..

Frances Langford on stage, probably around 1940

Some of these girls seem to have vanished from view quite early, while others had fairly long careers and branched out into both movies and television later on. Many of them also made appearances on the great 1980’s television show “Jukebox Saturday Night” and some of those clips can be seen on YouTube – giving younger generations an impression of just what it was that made mom and dad fans of these singers 40 years earlier.

Dinah Shore and Helen O’Connell were visible in many different settings right up to the 1990’s. Peg LaCentra, Helen Ward and others seem to have been shrouded by the mists of time… Or maybe not! Keep checking back over the next weeks, and you’ll find out more about these great ladies that started out as “big band singers” at the first part of the last century….

A 1970 LP by Helen O'Connell - who started recording back in the late 1930's

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