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Half-Dozen Rosemary Clooneys

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Rosemary Clooney was a bandleader's singer. On record, she could swing, she had intonation and she sounded extraordinarily relaxed and comfortable with herself, which is partly why Bing Crosby loved her so much. The other part is she seemed fun to be around. But it was on television where the rest of the nation fell in love with her. Clooney was jolie laide, or unconventionally beautiful (leave it to the French to find a phrase for it). She was the daughter of friends in the next apartment, a gal who seemed faithfully square but whose eyes and eagerness gave her away as one of the guys. She was accessible and confident, like someone working hard to overcome disadvantages she was stuck with. As a singer, Clooney could be spotty, thanks to miserable producers. She also had a low-end quiver that made her sound prematurely old. But Clooney always powered through, especially on breezy numbers. When a song was sunny and bright, no one could sell it better. I spent time recently digging deep on YouTube and came up with six videos of Clooney in her prime on her television show:

Here's Mangos, with Hoagy Carmichael and the Hi-Lo's, in 1957...

 

Here's Give Me the Simple Life in 1956....

 

Here's You Make Me Feel So Young, with a Nelson Riddle arrangement three months after Frank Sinatra's Songs for Swinging Lovers was released in March 1956...

 

Here's Just One of Those Things with the Hi-Lo's in 1957...

 

Here's Clooney with Gene Puerling of the Hi-Los singing Let's Call the Whole Thing Off in 1956...

 

And here's Keep It Gay, from Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers' Me and Juliet...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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