Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fabulous Women: a diva round-up

I figure everyone should be able to find at least one diva and song they like.

I was just listening to some old tunes and decided to share them. Enjoy these fabulous and larger-than-life women.


I don't know what the special occasion is, but I love the roar that comes up from the crowd when she starts singing in the film clip. I feel the same way when I hear it!

Rosemary Clooney - Mambo Italiano (1954)


Nobody had heard of her at this point outside of Bay Area hippies and bikers, so this performance has the added electricity of one who knows: this is my big chance. She didn't waste it, either, she burned the freakin house down.

After the Monterey Pop Festival (where this was recorded), she was virtually a household name. This clip is also famous for catching Mama Cass Elliot's unabashed "Wow!" at the end. (Well, what else could you say?)

Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company - Ball and Chain (1967)


This song was originally recorded in 1958, but this TV appearance is quite obviously later, since there was no color TV in the 50s. I can actually remember seeing it when it was first broadcast, so I am guessing it was around 1965 or 66.

"What a lovely way to burn"...can't argue with that. :)

Peggy Lee - Fever (mid/late 60s)


Okay, somewhat melodramatic to die from not getting a phone call, but that's exactly why we loved it. This clip is from Belgian TV, and contains some rather artsy set decoration for its time. And I love the "frosted" hair, the shiny dress--this really brings back the 60s for me!

Vikki Carr was born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona, but none of us had any clue at the time. It was only when I heard her sing in Spanish, I wondered why she recorded so many songs in Spanish...

Vikki Carr - It Must be Him (1967)


I am not sure which of the back-up singers are Aretha's sisters--I am guessing from photos that Erma is on the far left and Carolyn is on the far right? (Does anyone know for sure?) This clip is from Cliff Richard's British TV-series.

Aretha Franklin - I Say A Little Prayer (1970)


Amazing to watch the very young Dolly in this one! She is too fabulous for mere words. (And Porter Wagoner's flashy get-ups never disappointed.)

Dolly Parton - My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy (1970)


My mother called this "an excellent whiskey-drinkin song." Caution: If you're going through a breakup, please avoid; turn back now!

Check out how perfectly she delivers the poignant line, "and I never drew/one response from you"--she could make you weep, people.

Linda Ronstadt - Long, Long Time (1970)


I can hardly believe this is now a staple of "lite rock"--but alas, it is.

Don't let that put you off, she is incredible.

Chaka Khan and Rufus - Sweet Thing (1976)


Patti wrote this for her husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith, guitarist for the legendary MC-5. When I heard he passed away (in 1994), the song was the first thing I thought of...

Patti Smith Group - Frederick (1979)


I've always loved the way Chrissie delivers the line, "and the veins bulged on his....brow..."

Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders - Up the Neck (1980)


To be included with the above women, you have to record a song as good as this one:

Kathleen Edwards - Maria (2003)