Saturday, November 5, 2016

Kay Starr, and "Wheel of Fortune"

Kay Starr--who sang the very popular song "Wheel of Fortune," a number one hit in 1952--died on Wednesday, in Los Angeles.  She was 94.  

Here is an obituary, from The Washington Post:

"Wheel of Fortune" remained Ms. Starr's signature number, for many years.

The story in The Washington Post noted that she "never wearied — even decades later — when aging audiences requested that she trot out  'Wheel of Fortune.' "

The story, quoting Ms. Starr, continued: " 'Wheel of Fortune' has been good to me.  How could I get tired of it? That's like saying you get tired of the person who gives you everything in the world,' she said. 'And when I see the expressions on the faces of the audience, as they remember, maybe, the first time they heard the song...the pure, unadulterated pleasure it gives them makes it all worthwhile." 

The song was recorded by many other singers, but Ms. Starr's version is certainly the best known.  Here is a link to her recording of it, on YouTube:  

Also, from Ms. Starr:  the song "(The) Rock and Roll Waltz," recorded in 1955, and which reached number one, on the charts, in 1956.

Here, too, is Dorothy Collins, one of the stars of Your Hit Parade, singing "Wheel of Fortune" on a 1952 telecast of the program. (The audio quality, unfortunately, is less than pristine):  

Though my mother was part of the Hit Parade cast, at this time, she did not perform "Wheel of Fortune" on the TV show.  She did, however, sing the song while making a guest appearance, in April of 1952, on the NBC Radio version of the Hit Parade. (While the TV show aired on Saturday nights, and featured bandleader Raymond Scott and the Lucky Strike Orchestra, the radio show, at the time, aired on Thursday nights, and starred Guy Lombardo and his orchestra; each broadcast featured a guest female vocalist.)

Here is an excerpt of my mother singing the song with Guy Lombardo's orchestra: