Sep 8, 2014

Three Gold Diggers Dig, Plus A Gaggle of Goodies And A Douchey-Judgey Secret Song!

Girls, girls, girls! Twentieth-Century Fox sure knew what they were doing. Advertising, as you may know, is generally designed to follow the eyes' natural path - in a Z pattern, from the top left corner to the bottom right. And look where we end up in this publicity photo for 1953's "How To Marry A Millionaire."

After our eyes have feasted on Betty's gams once we've traveled down the Z to the bottom left, we're given a real treat as we continue to the bottom right: Marilyn's nether-regions. In red, no less. That, kiddies, is good design - and they were doing it before you were born.

As a tot, I discovered "How To Marry a Millionaire" on "The 4:30 Movie"  (if you grew up on the East Coast, you'll know what I'm talking about), and even though I didn't know that Marilyn was a big (dead) deal at that age, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. She was realer-than-real - and just as funny as Bugs Bunny and the gang on the next channel.

I even noticed the music, which was all swingin' and upbeat (almost like cartoon music, I thought, but more "grown up"). I later learned that it was composed by Alfred Newman, and trust me, this is the perfect music to play while you're cooking or cleaning up your place or doing laundry. "Why?" you ask. Because it's so bouncy that even the most mundane chore, like scrubbing the bathroom, becomes a tuneful event.

Of course, if you have lots and lots of cleaning to do, you'll need more time, which means you'll definitely need more tickled-pink music - and this time with Marilyn singing 'n' dancing! Work that cardigan, Marilyn!

I never much liked the movie "Let's Make Love," but the LP is a real kick to listen to, and it has some of my absolute favorite Marilyn tunes, like "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" and the title tune duet with Yves Montand, plus there's some great Big Band jazz from Frankie Vaughn, his best number being "Strip City."

Meanwhile, I'm back from my brief vacation...

....which means I've had time to dig up more Cheerful Exclusives! just for you. Case in point is "Around The World With Me," a bubbly 1954 record with the one-and-only Pearl Bailey. She recorded this LP just a few years after she married jazz drummer Louie Bellson (who seems awfully happy to be lighting Pearlie's cigarette below) (and I think she likes being lit) (but don't all jazz vocalists?).

Pearl was in great voice on this LP, from the opening number "Bill Bailey" to a rousing version of "Jingle Bells" called "Jingle Bells Cha Cha" (which you'll definitely want to play come the holidays). This was early in her career, but the Pearlie Mae you know and love was already in place; confident as all get-out, given to deadpan non-sequiturs (About her car: "Oh, honey, I wish the president of General Motors would personally see to it that my cigarette lighter is working..."), and her voice, of course, which could cut through stone. There's no one like her. Still.

Meanwhile, who in hell's-bells is Vernon Duke? It's one of those names that sticks in your craw, because you know you've heard it somewhere before - but where? And why is he looming above a bunch of musicians like some snot-nosed, prep school Richie Rich?

As it turns out, Vernon really was a Richie Rich-type, but let's not hold that against him. He was born into a noble Russian family (very high class), yet he earned lasting fame after emigrating to America (in steerage class! quelle horror!) and become one of the most lauded songwriters of all time. "Fly Me To The Moon." "April In Paris." "Cabin In The Sky." "Autumn In New York." All by Vernon. All enduring standards. And all gorgeously interpreted by Andre Previn on his 1958 LP "Andre Previn Plays Songs By Vernon Duke." This is the type of music you'll put on with the intention of half-listening while you're doing something else. But I'll bet you'll stop...and just listen. It's that good.

Do you have a favorite James Bond sexpot name? Pussy Galore? Plenty O'Toole? Holly Goodhead? (my favorite is Chew Mee). So who's the Bond Girl pictured below? No, really who is she? I knew her name when I found this photo, but now I've forgotten. Completely. Meh. It happens. 

Still, she looks like "Trouble" is her middle name - the kind of gal you could steal horses with, as they say - and perfect inspiration for a collection of hard-boiled crime music. Everyone's here: Count Basie, Billy May, Nelson Riddle, Vikki Carr and a host of other vocalists and jazz musicians. If you live in an urban area, try listening to it on your iPod while walking down the street at night. It'll make the shadows look longer, the buildings grimier and turn everybody you see into a potential wise guy or lady of ill repute.

The Secret Song File enjoyed her vacation lolling about with her besties on the beach, but jeez, all those trouser-snake douchebags trying to bust a move. Can't a girl get a break? On her (private) plane ride home, one of her besties put on some music - and the Secret Song File almost freaked. "Really? We're listening to that played-out, wanna-be Mick Jagger?! Really? My goddamn toenail is sexier than he is."

But then she heard the first song. And the second. And the third. And she had to admit, it was not bad. In fact, it was downright listenable. In fact, it was a lot of fun. She still thinks he's a dried up wad of smegma, but his new CD is good. Now that's she home, she'll just have to avoid him at all the clubs on the Sunset Strip. Running into trash is a major buzzkill.

Remember, played-out playas are everywhere!

But if you think they're good for a secret nooner or two, let us know in the comments - with deets, please. We won't judge (of course we will). 


Anonymous said...

Alison Doody, Jenny Flex, A View to a Kill.

You're forgiven for blocking it out of your mind.

Thanks for all you do.


The Cheerful Earfull! said...

That's the one! Thanks, Abby.

French said...

I have gotten so much incredible music from you! My eternal thanks! Is there any chance you can repost the Pearl Bailey album?

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I'm so delighted to hear that you've found some good music here!
Miss Pearly's back up just for you.