Friday, February 19, 2010

KATHRYN GRAYSON DIES "All of A Sudden My Heart..."

One of the oddest hit songs of all time was Kathryn Grayson's "All of a Sudden My Heart Sings," which was basically the scale set to lyrics. Any idiot who could play "Chopsticks" could whack out the melody to "All of a Sudden My Heart Sings."

What made the song actually sing, was Kathryn Grayson, the lovely lady of light opera and silver screen musicals, who made it one of her biggest hits, along with "Jealousy," "Lover Come Back to Me" and "Will You Remember?"

Some still remember. Her early hits were soon put out on a new-fangled ten inch "long play" album by MGM. Many more records followed, containing pop tunes, Broadway tunes and even opera. Grayson could do a credible job on most anything from "Sempre Libera" (from "La Traviata") or "The Bell Song" (from "Lakme") to the soft pop hits of the 50's and 60's including "Both Sides Now" and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes." Her soprano style, to the far right of Judy Collins or Julie Andrews, was certainly considered more piquant by fans of opera and classical music than big band or jazz...and there were more of them in the 40's and 50's than today.

Grayson, who died February 17, 2010 at 88, was born Zelma Kathryn Hendrick in North Carolina. She was well trained in opera by the time she was 15, which was when she was signed up by RCA's Red Seal classical division as a prospect. Her all-American good looks had MGM showing interest as well. In this era of Deanna Durbin and other fresh-scrubbed singer-actresses, Grayson fit right in. She made countless musical films, including Rio Rita (1941), Thousands Cheer (1943), Anchors Aweigh (1945), Show Boat (1951), Lovely To Look at (1952), Desert Song (1953) and Kiss Me Kate (1954).

While she only appeared on Broadway in Camelot (1962) and wasn't often seen on television variety shows, she was not forgotten by her fans, who eagerly came to see her in touring productions of hit shows. She continued a pretty heavy work schedule even into the 80's and 90's.

In the 80's she appeared in "straight" acting assignments including both dramas such as "Night Watch" and comedies including "Noises Off." A little too old for the lead roles in such standards as "Kiss Me Kate," she reprised the best songs from her favorite musicals via "An Evening with Kathryn Grayson," and toured with this one-woman show from 1988 to 1997. She made a rare TV appearance via "Murder She Wrote," Angela Lansbury's show that often gave one last look at beloved stars "of a certain age" who otherwise weren't working. Grayson though, was always working. When she retired from active performing, she turned to teaching voice to private students.

Update November 2011: Rapidshare deletes files if they aren't uploaded often enough to suit them. A sample song has been re-upped individually via a better service:

KATHRYN GRAYSON -- All of a Sudden My Heart Sings

1 comment:

Gerard said...