Monday, April 25, 2005

I've gone as pale as Doris Day

MONICA: Can we talk about Doris Day for a moment?
STEPHIN: I’ll talk about Doris Day for as long as you like. I would say she’s probably my favorite singer.
MONICA: Why Doris Day? Why "Dodo?"
STEPHIN: Well, her voice fascinated me. I would sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle way she sang the words. In turn, Doris Day’s favorite singer is Ella Fitzgerald. I tend to like a more conversational tone.

(from an interview by Monica Lynch, Index Magazine)

At first, I didn't know what to make of Merritt's admiration for Doris Day, whom he namechecked in his songs "Is This What They Used To Call Love?" and, obviously, "Doris Daytheearthstoodstill." Doris Day: that wholesome, bright-eyed singer and actress, seemingly cemented in the Leave It To Beaver era in our minds. After all, she doesn't really have a shtick, unless "squeaky-clean" is a shtick. But after listening to her, I realized that she has an absolute command of her voice - an extremely clear and pretty voice - and can control her modulations in ways that we can't entirely comprehend. I'm serious.

Doris Day started out in big band swing outfits, winning audiences in the wartime era, and then branched out into film, where she found further success throughout the 50s and 60s. Conveniently, several of her films had prominent hit songs, sung by Day, naturally. The first selection is one of Day's biggest hits, "Secret Love," from the film Calamity Jane ("...and I was Wild Bill.") It's a song that Stephin said made him fall in love, although he admitted, "I'm not sure I wasn't in love beforehand." The second track this week is "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" which was featured in a climactic moment of the Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much, with Day passionately belting out the tune. This song was covered by the Three Terrors (Merritt, Dudley Klute, and ld beghtol) in 2001 for their special Hollywood-themed live performance.


Blogger Rusty said...

Every time I randomly hear Doris Day on some speaker system, I always have this strong reaction and ask myself "Who is *that*?!" And then I realize it's Doris Day and wonder why I don't have any Doris Day in my CD collection.

Something about her Midwesternish Rs is what gets me: lots of bent-up words with strong endings.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Hey, Ernest, just a note to say keep it up! This is one of my favourite blogs. By the way, when are you going to do a Burt Bacharach week? There's probably tons of songs you could mention. Cheers for all your hard work!

8:29 AM  
Blogger Ernest said...

Adrian: Thanks! I appreciate the kind words. Regarding a Bacharach (+ Hal David + Warwick) week: patience.

Rusty: I used to not be able to listen to Doris Day, partially due to the uncoolness factor, and partially because I would compare her in my mind to Ella Fitzgerald. Take, for example, Doris's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and then listen to Ella's version. I swore by Ella's take, but then I realized that they're really two completely different beasts. I guess it's kinda like pitting Dionne Warwick's "I Say a Little Prayer" against Aretha's version - they're both great, but for different reasons.

There's an S.A.T. analogy in here somewhere.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Take, for example, Doris's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and then listen to Ella's version. I swore by Ella's take, but then I realized that they're really two completely different beasts. There's an S.A.T. analogy in here somewhere.

Doris Day : Ella Fitzgerald ::
Rusty's taste in music : The taste of people who like "real" music

2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i missed out on these. can you please make them available again once more?

fingers crossed

8:43 AM  
Blogger Ernest said...

Bruno: the tracks are back up this week! Enjoy!

11:06 PM  

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