Doc: The Nocturnal Julie London


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Recently over a weekend, I posted a few video clips of Julie London singing and appearing on the TV game show What's My Line? Many of you unfamiliar with London wrote to me fully understanding why I would write that she's my favorite female vocalist of the 1950s and '60s. As I noted, London's voice is the hippest, the coolest and the most detached and nocturnal. Forget her cinema looks. More important was her artistic integrity, her humility and her rejection of the conformist mainstream. She had her own scene and didn't care a bit if she never fit in. Even now, when London sings, it's 2 a.m. the entire time her recordings are on. That's what I love most about her voice. It's far off in the night, intimate and resigned.

Last week, Joe Lang sent along a link to a BBC documentary on the singer. While it struggles at times to stay on point—her talent—and dwells too often on her looks, the film's flaws can be excused given all the footage and commentary packed into an hour.

Here's The Lady's Not a Vamp (see below)...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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