Song of the Day #1915

Song of the Day: Laura (“Soundtrack Suite”) [YouTube link], features the memorable music of David Raksin, who scored this 1944 film noir, directed by Otto Preminger, and starring Gene Tierney in the title role, along with Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, and Vincent Price. As Wikipedia tells us, Preminger wanted to use “Sophisticated Lady” by Duke Ellington for the main theme, but Raksin, who was hired to score the film, objected. Fox studio’s musical director, Golden Age film score composer, Alfred Newman, convinced the director to give the composer a weekend to write an original tune, though Preminger threatened Raksin with dismissal if he failed. The haunting theme composed by Raksin would become a jazz standard recorded by 400+ artists in the years thereafter (with lyrics later written by Johnny Mercer).

In the Facebook discussion that followed, I stated:

In the wake of the success of the film and its soundtrack, Johnny Mercer wrote lyrics to the main theme. And it was recorded (as mentioned above) over 400 times. Sinatra’s vocal version (1957, [YouTube link]) is one notable one, arranged by Gordon Jenkins. There have been so many jazz artists (from Erroll Garner, Woody Herman, and Stan Kenton to Nat King Cole, Eric Dolphy, and Bill Evans [YouTube links]) who have recorded “Laura”—a partial list is here. [Others mentioned on the thread include Charlie Parker and Joe Pass (YouTube links), who recorded an acoustic guitar solo version in tribute to Parker.]

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation