Monday, June 29, 2009

STORM PASSES - Gale Storm, 87

Gale Storm was one of the bright stars of the 50's, simultaneously winning TV ratings and scoring Top 40 hits.

Born in Texas, given an American Indian middle name that means "Bluebird," Josephine Owaissa Cottle was the winner on an "American Idol"-type radio show called "Gateway to Hollywood" at age 17. The prize was a movie contract at RKO.

A year or two later, Storm ended up at the low-budget Monogram studios, where she was tossed into dozens of films opposite such luminaries as Frankie Darro and Frank Graham. Gale became one of the early TV stars when she joined Charles Farrell for "My Little Margie" in 1952. After the run of that series, she co-starred with Zasu Pitts on her own "Gale Storm Show," also known as "Oh Susanna." Both shows played on Gale's ebullient personality as she got herself into and out of sitcom trouble.

During the run of "My Little Margie," Gale sang on a TV variety show, which caught the attention not of a record exec, but the guy's young daughter. She pleaded with Dad to sign her up, and he did. Randy Wood, of Dot Records, was taken by Storm, too, and she soon had some cover version hits for the label, including "I Hear You Knockin'" and her take on the R&B flirt tune "Lucky Lips." Gale put her authentic rockabilly sensibilities into her songs, becoming one of those early artists leading pop into rock. The perky singer rocked out a lot more often than label-mate Pat Boone did!

Storm was also adept at ballads, and in 1957 hit the Top Ten with "Dark Moon." Storm's retirement years were marked with conflict. She battled alcoholism, and was married twice; both husbands died. Health problems over the past few years sidelined her memorabilia show appearances, which were always a treat for her fans. She was known to be just as gracious and charming in real life as she was on TV. She died two days ago, June 27th, with her sons and their families close by. This contemplative moment suits "Dark Moon" and "Memories Are Made of This" a bit more than her trademark rave-ups, and that's the combo you get below.

DARK MOON/MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS Instant download or listen on line. No pop-ups, porn ads or peculiarities.

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