November 6, 2009

"You Belong to Me"

Written primarily by Chilton Price, "You Belong to Me" was published in 1952. That year saw two major artists of the Swing Era, Jo Stafford and Patti Page, sing hit versions. Can you imagine this happening today? The same exact song recorded and released by two different artists within a month of the other? I think that shows the strong appeal of the melody and lyrical message. According to the Wikipedia entry, Stafford's version is apparently the most popular. As well as being her greatest hit, it topped the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom was the first song by a female singer to top the UK chart.

Yet despite all of that, I still feel the song belongs to Patsy Cline. Her version seems more heartfelt and authentic. It has a melancholy to it the other versions rarely achieve. From her 1962 Sentimentally Yours album:

I love the Egyptian/tropical imagery at the very beginning of this song. The first verse, lyrically, is definitely the best (in my humble onion). It sets the romantic/exotic tone which lasts for the duration of the recording. The way she pronounces "darlin'" gets me every time. There's something so quintessentially "Country" about her dialect (especially on that word), thus making it purely American.

Dean's version is pretty cool, no doubt being heard on the radio along with the other versions, as it was released in early 1953:

A later version of the song, by The Duprees, also made the Billboard Top 10, reaching #7 in 1962:

On a somewhat related note. YIKES!:

And then you have dreamy, little Johnny Sinatra from the 1940s:

What a strange visual mix and aesthetic. Are they even in the same dimension? He is obviously a rehire for their lead singer. The three older, Jewish gentlemen, groomed as if it is the 1970s, are no doubt the original members of the group, i.e. the ones who kicked out the original lead singer because success, fame, drugs or personal issues had caused his ego to spiral out of control. And I know absolutely nothing about the Duprees other than they recorded "You Belong to Me," so that's all speculation.

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