Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jo Stafford

1917 - 2008

Our Jo is gone. Jo Stafford, the supreme vocalist with perfect pitch, who could tear your heart out with a ballad or have you holding your sides in mirth recently passed at the age of 90.

Some people have music in their souls. Jo's earliest plans were for the opera, but the Great Depression sidetracked many dreams. She sang first with her sisters and then with The Pied Pipers. Starting a solo career she would sell over 25 million records and make the Billboard Charts 83 times between 1944 and 1957 with songs such as Early Autumn, Long Ago and Far Away, Shrimp Boats, Make Love to Me, You Belong to Me, plus popular duets with Gordon MacRae and Frankie Laine.

Here is a performance I adore. The song, Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Gentleman is a Dope.

One of the great ironies of the world of entertainment is that the only Grammy won by Jo is for comedy album. Jonathan & Darlene Edwards, an excrutiatingly funny parody of a really bad lounge act was created by Jo and husband Paul Weston as a party turn, but evolved into albums that still elicit the original reaction.

Here's Jo as another comic alter-ego, Cinderella G. Stump, who thinks she can better Bing Crosby and Perry Como on Arthur Freed & Herb Nacio Brown's Temptation, or is that Tim-Tay-Shun?

This is just one of the lovely wartime ballads that gave her the nickname G.I. Jo, Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn's I'll Walk Alone.

Jo and her second husband, Paul Weston, the pianist/arranger/composer/producer had more than a successful career together, their marriage in 1952 lasted until his death in 1996 and their two children, Tim and Amy, are also musicians.

Her presence will be missed. Jo Stafford's legacy lives on.

1 comment:

  1. "Some people have music in their souls."

    Very true, and her voice will be missed.



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