We’d never thought we’d hear Seal and Frank Sinatra on the same track… until today.
The two vocal legends appear on the Christmas song, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”
Permission was granted by Frank Sinatra Enterprises as the star passed away in May 1998. The single comes a few days before what would’ve been 102nd birthday.
The dream collaboration, granted by Frank Sinatra Enterprises, will be released ahead of Frank Sinatra’s birthday on 12th December. It will be accompanied by an exclusively commissioned video, showcasing both artists at their very best.
On this day 100 years ago, the incomparable Dean Martin was born.
The Italian-American singer, actor, comedian, and film producer was one of the most inescapable entertainers of the mid-1900s, known for his incredible charisma. It was only befitting Martin was constantly referred to as the “King of Cool.”
He partnered with Jerry Lewis for the comedy team aptly named Martin and Lewis, and joined the “Rat Pack” before hosting the television variety program The Dean Martin Show (1965–1974) and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (1974–1984).
Martin has scored dozen of hits, some of his most well known being “Memories Are Made of This”, “That’s Amore”, and “Everybody Loves Somebody”.
He was born on June 7, 1917 as Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, to Italian parents. He was bullied as a child for his broken English. In Grade 10, he dropped out of high school because he felt he was smarter than his teachers. He found odd jobs bootlegging liquor, dealing blackjack, and working in a steel mill.
At 15, he started boxing and billed himself “Kid Crochet.” He suffered a broken nose, a scarred lip, and broken knuckles as a result of 12 fights (he says he won eleven.)
He caught his first break in show business working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra and singing in a croon inspired by the styles of Harry Mills. He started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, who suggested he change his name to Dean Martin.
Martin married in 1941 to Elizabeth “Betty” Anne McDonald and had four children before divorcing in 1949. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1944 during World War II in Akron, Ohio.
Upon his return, he pursued comedy and made his TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show with Lewis in 1948. It was here his show business career would take off, with acting ventures (including Ocean’s 11 with the Rat Pack) and recorded more than 100 albums over his carer, even though he could not read music.
Born 100 years ago today, in 1917, if not quite at the dawn of the recorded music era, then during its infancy, Ella Fitzgerald has done more than most singers to fill the world with beautiful music and spread the joy and the love of the Great American Song Book. But what is it that makes Ella so important? Or as Mel Tormé put it, “She was the best singer on the planet.”
As a teenager she bunked off school, worked for the Mafia and lived on the streets, so it is perhaps surprising that her purity of voice has beguiled audiences since she first recorded with Chick Webb’s Orchestra in 1935. Like so many singers from the era of the big bands, Ella’s job was to perform live for dancers at clubs and ballrooms and then to go into the studio to sing the pop songs of the day, whether they truly suited her voice, or not. As often as not these songs better suited the band than the singer.
It wasn’t until the summer of 1938 that Ella found real success and when she did it was with a 19th century nursery rhyme that was brought up to date by Van Alexander who regularly sold arrangements to Chick Webb. ‘A-tisket A-tasket’ hit the right note with record buyers and it made No.1 on the American hit parade. A year later Webb passed away from spinal tuberculosis and for the next few years Ella kept his orchestra together, billed as Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra.
However, it was a struggle to keep it going; the band members were very demanding and Ella, barely in her twenties, found their demands difficult to rebut. In the summer of 1942 things came to something of a head when the American Musician’s Union (AFM) called a strike for all its members, which put an end to recording. Decca Records, Ella’s label, came to an agreement with the AFM in late September 1943 and instead of putting her back with her Orchestra, Decca teamed Ella with another of their prized recording assets, The Ink Spots. The result ‘Cow-Cow Boogie’ which made the Billboard top 10. Later in 1944 the same pairing scored a No.1 with ‘Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall’ coupled with ‘I’m Making Believe’.
Having had this success Decca tried to replicate the formula with recordings with Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, The Delta Rhythm Boys and The Song Spinners and there were some modest hits. One of these was her last chart success of the decade, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ with Louis Jordan, from the Esther William’s 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter. The problem was, no one at Decca could work out what Ella should be singing solo.
So just who are the greatest jazz pianists? Well we have, as usual, scoured the net, magazines and books to conduct our poll of polls and this is the result. Of course we know many of you will disagree with the list, who is ranked above, or below, who, and we’re as ever, keen to hear from you as to who you think should be on the list.
There are a number of pianists that we are sorry to see fail to make the Top 36, the innovative Mary Lou Williams for one, Jacky Terrasson is another that we admire and so is the late Joe Sample. Just let us know your favourites and why.
We’re sursprised that Bud Powell didn’t make it a little higher up the list and glad to see that Lyle Mays made it.
Scroll down for our playlist of the 36 Greatest Jazz Pianists…
But why 36? Well as we all know there are 36 black keys on a piano…