Tag Archives: Eydie Gorme

The quietest New Year’s Eve

What are we doing New Year’s Eve? Oh, not much. Just sticking close to home, staying socially distanced.

“When the bells all ring and the horns all blow
“And the couples that we know are fondly kissing
“Will I be with you or will I be among the missing?”

We’re all among this missing this year, making this classic all the more poignant as 2020 finally ends. Maybe next New Year’s Eve.

Written by Frank Loesser in 1947, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” has been described as the only notable jazz standard with a New Year’s Eve theme. This sophisticated tune tempers an unrequited love with some hope. We all could use some hope these days.

It’s great no matter who does it. Let’s go.

It’s the ’60s. You’re in a roadhouse, the one hard by the tracks. You hear this.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” King Curtis, from “Soul Christmas,” 1968. (Recorded on Oct. 23, 1968, at Atlantic Studios in New York. That’s Duane Allman on guitar.)

Then you head uptown to a nightclub. You hear this …

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” the Ramsey Lewis Trio,” from “Sound of Christmas,” 1961.

… and this …

steveeydieholidayfeelinglp

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Eydie Gorme, from “That Holiday Feeling!” Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, 1964. (Steve sits this one out.)

… and this.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Lou Rawls, from “Merry Christmas Ho Ho Ho,” 1967.

Four decades later, you wander into a hotel ballroom …

setzerdigcrazyxmascd

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Brian Setzer and Julie Reiten, from “Dig That Crazy Christmas,” the Brian Setzer Orchestra, 2005.

This blog post originally appeared here in different form … 10 years ago. Man. Where does the time go?

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Filed under December 2020, Sounds

And so another year ends

This summer marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Frank Loesser, the great songwriter who came up with that holiday favorite, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and the best New Year’s Eve song ever.

I know that because I somehow managed to see “Heart & Soul,” a documentary about Loesser, twice this year on Turner Classic Movies.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has a great story behind it. Loesser wrote it in 1944 for their housewarming party, singing it with his first wife, Lynn Garland. They often performed it for friends at parties. Four years later, he sold the song to MGM. His wife didn’t approve. She’d always thought it was theirs alone, something special.

Well, it was special. MGM used it in the 1949 film “Neptune’s Daughter,” and it became a big hit, released by at least seven duos that year. Often covered since then, it’s a bit of an acquired taste. If breathy, baby-doll vocals are your thing, then you probably like it.

But the most special of Loesser’s tunes — at least at this time of year — is “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve.”

Written in 1947, it’s been described as “the only notable jazz standard with a New Year’s Eve theme.” This sophisticated tune tempers an unrequited love with some hope. It’s great no matter who does it. Listen for yourself.

It’s the ’60s. You are in a nightclub, one hard by the tracks. You hear this …

soulxmascd

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” King Curtis, from “Soul Christmas,” 1968. (Recorded on Oct. 23, 1968, at Atlantic Studios in New York. That’s Duane Allman on guitar.)

Then you head to a nightclub uptown. You hear this …

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” the Ramsey Lewis Trio,” from “Sound of Christmas,” 1961.

… and this …

steveeydieholidayfeelinglp

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Eydie Gorme, from “That Holiday Feeling!” Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, 1964. (Sorry, Steve sits this one out.)

… and this.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Lou Rawls, from “Merry Christmas Ho Ho Ho,” 1967. It’s out of print.

Years later, a husband-and-wife duo revives that style.

setzerdigcrazyxmascd

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Brian Setzer and Julie Reiten, from “Dig That Crazy Christmas,” the Brian Setzer Orchestra, 2004.

This is for Jeff O. Better late than never, my man.

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Filed under December 2010, Sounds

12 days of Christmas, Day 5

For no apparent reason, one of my co-workers posed this question on Twitter yesterday:

Best Christmas crooner ever? a) Bing Crosby b) Nat King Cole c) Burl Ives d) Johnny Mathis e) Karen Carpenter

Hmmm. None of the above?

Someone said Elvis Presley. There’s more than “Blue Christmas.”

Mel Torme? Well, certainly for “The Christmas Song.”

Dean Martin? His louche style doesn’t quite fit Christmas songs.

Lou Rawls? Too hip to be a crooner.

No one came to mind right away, but then it came to me.

“That Holiday Feeling!” Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, 1964.

I bought this record on a whim right after Christmas three years ago. It sat in the crates for almost a year, waiting until the next Christmas.

I thought it might be cheesy, but it’s pretty good. It’s a bit of a time capsule, with Steve and Eydie serving up a bubbly, sophisticated slice of the seemingly lost art of the pop duet. Yes, this may be crooning, but it’s done in the finest nightclub tradition.

We saw Steve and Eydie so often on the TV variety shows of the ’60s and the ’70s — my dad loved watching them — that they seemed like family.

When this record came out, Steve and Eydie were in their early 30s. Ever since they debuted separately on “The Tonight Show” with Steve Allen in the late ’50s, then as a duo on Oct. 6, 1960, they were among the biggest pop acts around. Can you think of a duo like that today?

Steve and Eydie are in their late 70s now. Eydie has all but retired, but Steve still does a show now and then. They haven’t released a record in 10 years. That’s OK. They’ve left us Christmas classics like this:

“That Holiday Feeling!”

A sassy, sexy duet written by Bill and Patty Jacob, orchestrated by Don Guercio and arranged by the great Don Costa.

“Winter Wonderland”

A textbook nightclub duet, a showstopper, and not even 2 minutes long.

“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”

Wait until it gets 1:50 in. Another showstopper of a finish.

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Yes, ladies can croon, too. Take it away, Eydie!

All from “That Holiday Feeling!” Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, 1964. It’s hard to find but is available from Steve and Eydie’s website, with two extra cuts.

“Navidad Means Christmas,” Eydie Gorme with the Trio Los Panchos, 1966.

Here’s a little something extra in your stocking. This is one of several Spanish-language records Eydie did from the mid-’60s to the mid-’70s.

“Blanca Navidad (White Christmas)”

Eydie Gorme with the Trio Los Panchos, from “Navidad Means Christmas,” 1966. The LP was reissued on CD in 1991 as “Blanca Navidad.”

The Trio Los Panchos was a Latin group that became popular after World War II. It came together in New York in 1944 with founding members Alfredo Gil and Chucho Navarro of Mexico and Hernando Aviles of Puerto Rico. Simply put, it was three voices, three guitars as one. They moved to Mexico in 1946 and became international stars. Gil, Navarro and Johnny Albino, another Puerto Rican, made up the trio when this was recorded.

Postscript: I’m on Steve and Eydie’s mailing list, and what should drop into my e-mail three days after writing this? A note reminding fans that these two Christmas records are available on CD from Steve and Eydie’s website. “That Holiday Feeling!” with two extra cuts is here, and “Navidad Means Christmas” is here.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2010

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

That’s the question posed by the great songwriter Frank Loesser, who also wrote another holiday classic — “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

We’ve seen plenty of New Year’s Eves, and we long ago left the crazy parties behind. We’ll leave Amateur Night to the amateurs.

The only time it’ll get anywhere close to wild for us is at midnight, when we’ll stick the fireworks in the snow and fire them off.

Just three questions for you, then.

Do you like your sexy, sophisticated New Year’s tune as a solo by one of America’s great female pop singers, served up in vintage nightclub style?

steveeydieholidayfeelinglp

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Eydie Gorme, from “That Holiday Feeling!” Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, 1964. (Sorry, Steve sits this one out.)

Or as a sexy husband-and-wife duet, paying homage to that style?

setzerdigcrazyxmascd

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Brian Setzer and Julie Reiten, from “Dig That Crazy Christmas,” the Brian Setzer Orchestra, 2004.

Or as a sizzling, sax-driven instrumental with a style all its own?

soulxmascd

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” King Curtis, from “Soul Christmas,” 1968. (Recorded on Oct. 23, 1968, at Atlantic Studios in New York. That’s Duane Allman on guitar.)

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Filed under December 2008, Sounds