February 12, 2007

Francesco Paolo LoVecchio

Discovered in 1946 when Hoagy Carmichael heard him singing at a club in Los Angeles, Frankie Laine had his first gold record that year with "That's My Desire." It took the number one spot on the R&B charts, where Laine was initially mistaken for being black, and made it to the #4 spot on the Mainstream charts.

More from the Wikipedia entry:

A clarion-voiced pop singer with lots of style, able to fill halls without a microphone, and one of the biggest hit-makers of late 1940s/early 1950s, Laine had more than 70 charted records, 21 gold records, and worldwide sales of over 250 million disks. Originally a rhythm and blues influenced jazz singer, Laine excelled at virtually every music style, eventually expanding to such varied genres as popular standards, gospel, folk, country, western/Americana, rock 'n' roll, and the occasional novelty number. He was also known as Mr Rhythm for his driving jazzy style.

Laine was the first and biggest of a new breed of black-influenced singers who rose to prominence in the post-WWII era. This new, raw, emotionally charged style seemed at the time to signal the end of the previous era's singing styles; and was, indeed, a harbinger of the rock 'n' roll music that was to come.

His 1946 recording of "That's My Desire" remains a landmark record signaling the end of both the dominance of the big bands and the crooning styles favored by contemporaries Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra. Often called the first of the blue-eyed soul singers, Laine's style cleared the way for many artists who arose in the late 40s and early 50s, including Kay Starr, Tony Bennett, Johnnie Ray and Elvis Presley (who was initially described by critics as "a cross between Johnnie Ray and Frankie Laine").

This past Saturday morning, Weekend Edition Saturday ran a story about those 5,000-year-old skeletons, locked in an embrace, found near Verona, Italy (the setting of Romeo and Juliet). At the end of the story, they played this (recorded in 1948) in its entirety, and mentioned that Laine had passed away on Tuesday at 93. I had only heard Sinatra's gut-wrenching version from Songs for Swingin' Lovers! Of course, it was added to that classic collection of swingin', upbeat songs at the request of Capitol Records, after the album was felt to be lacking a ballad. It is one of my favorite Sinatra tunes, so I automatically judged Laine's version as being vastly inferior...

...Until I realized that he had co-written it. Wow! What a song! What a recording. And it was unusual in those days for performers to write their own material. I think I may like his version more than Sinatra's. Here are the chords for the musical cats out there. It's set at a manageable pitch. Alas, it does not include that great first verse(?) - "Here in our moment of darkness, remember the sun has shone. Laugh and the world will laugh with you - cry and you cry alone."

"We'll Be Together Again"


Anonymous said...

I love Frankie Laine, and I'm sorry to hear he passed. Thanks for sharing that song though.

Chris said...

You're very welcome. I thought it was worth sharing!

alessandro said...

my grandmother was your cousin!!

saluti dai figli di palmina lovecchio pulsano italia

goodbye by dougther of palmina lovecchio pulsano italy.