Somewhere over the Rainbow: The Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals
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And somewhere over the rainbow is where you might find another collection of musical highlights from the silver screen that's this good! Here are 42 classic, original performances from the 1935-1965 golden age of musicals- Singin' in the Rain Gene Kelly; Cheek to Cheek Fred Astaire; As Time Goes By Dooley Wilson; A Kiss to Build a Dream On Louis Armstrong; Gigi Louis Jourdan; Wunderbar Kathryn Grayson & Howard Keel; The Best Things in Life Are Free June Allyson & Peter Lawford; Stranger in Paradise Ann Blyth & Vic Damone; Baby, It's Cold Outside Esther Williams & Ricardo Montalban; Bless Yore Beautiful Hide Howard Keel; Going Hollywood Bing Crosby; Put 'em in a Box Doris Day & the Page Cavanaugh Trio; Embraceable You Connie Francis; There's No Business Like Show Business Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Keenan Wynn & Louis Calhern; Puttin' on the Ritz Clark Gable & Co.; It's a Most Unusual Day Jane Powell; Over the Rainbow Judy Garland; The Lady Is a Tramp Lena Horne, and more. Every song a classic great notes, too!
The "Golden Age" referred to here spans The Jazz Singer and the advent of the talkies to the death throes of the old studio system in the 1960s. So vast was the era's musical landscape that even this 42-track, double-disc anthology can't encompass all its peaks. Not surprisingly, the bulk of this collection originated with the Tiffany's of the screen musical, M-G-M, a body of work whose riches here encompass both pop-cultural bedrock ("Over the Rainbow," "Singin' in the Rain," "There's No Business Like Show Business," etc.) and some less familiar, if equally delightful star turns: Clark Gable gamely "Puttin' On the Ritz"; the sassy, 1948 original of "The Lady Is a Tramp" by Lena Horne; and a loopy duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban. Fred Astaire's elegant, epochal reign at RKO and M-G-M is represented by "Night and Day," "Let's Face the Music and Dance," and three others, while Metro mainstays Gene Kelly and Judy Garland share equal time and billing. It's not perfect--Cagney's "Yankee Doodle Boy" and/or some Sinatra seem more logical choices than the odd "bonus" duet of Casablanca's "As Time Goes By" and "Lara's Theme" from Dr. Zhivago that close out disc one--but it's a stunning, surprisingly comprehensive primer on the Hollywood film musical nonetheless. --Jerry McCulley
Top customer reviews
The recordings come from the films, so the fidelity varies somewhat, but the transfers are all top notch. A small booklet contains a synopsis of the history of American film musical that is quite interesting though brief. The last two pages provide details on the songs themselves--composers, lyricists, publisher, performers, film title, year and duration.
The composers and lyricists of these tunes are among the masters of writing songs that keep your feet moving and voice singing--among them Mercer, Porter, the Gershwins, Berlin, Arlen, Lerner and Loewe. Singers include Crosby, Astaire, Kelly, Garland and Keel. In just a few minutes, they tell you a story, typically some variation on the oldest stories of all--boy meets/woos/gets/loses/regains girl. While I've always been a fan of the American musical--both on stage and screen--listening to this collection made me realize how many of the songs I enjoy were featured in musical films. It's great to have a collection of these top hits in one recording.
If you need a "pick me up" when feeling down, put this CD on--you'll be smiling and tapping your toes, if not dancing and singing along. Maybe a little hokey by today's standards, but these folks knew a thing or two about writing tunes that stand the test of time.
I agree, this collection needs more BING CROSBY. But I disagree that it needs some SINATRA. (Even though I love ON THE TOWN and GUYS AND DOLLS.) There are plenty of great SINATRA recordings to own (I have 12), but these recordings are RARE. Man, they had to make room for CLARK GABLE. What a great choice. But never fear SINATRA fans, maybe Rhino will do a box set. One can only hope.
"FORGET YOUR TROUBLES, COME ON GET HAPPY." IF YOU REMEMBER WHEN HOLLYWOOD COULD SING, YOU HAVE TO GET THIS. ENJOY.