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)


sheila said...

Am I first? Weirrrrd.

All these are great classics...except I cannot stand Chaka Khan. lol. That chick just always bothered me. :)

Great old finds. Where the heck do you find all these? You're amazing.

Rachel said...

Haha..."Long, Long, Time" was one of the ones I listened to while I was breaking up :)

Bryce said...

'fever' is teh awesome.

John Powers said...

What a great collection of Divas! I'm sometimes dense when it comes to language. I know "diva" is rather generally applied but when I think diva I think Maria Callas. I'm no opera buff and know that soprano voices can be startling and grating. But Callas's voice was truly beautiful. There are many great videos at Youtube of her, but couldn't choose. This one has a nice collection of photographs. I also want to point toAve Maria because it's familiar to people, so even if you hate opera you might hear how special her voice was.

YogaforCynics said...

Okay, ya had me confused there for a minute...Rosemary Clooney was only singing for hippies and bikers till her performance at the Monterey Pop festival? Then, scrolling down a bit, things made more sense...don't worry, though--it's not you, it's definitely me....

I saw Patti Smith a year or two ago by the way and, I gotta say, at the age of 60 she still seriously rocks...can't imagine she could've put on a better show than that back in 75...

the watercats said...

Deeply smiles............. :-D May I also suggest Sister Rosetta Tharp?.... She has to be, single handedly the queen of lady musicguts.. along with Odetta too.

Anonymous said...

I really like the eclectic genre spanning list you have here. Chaka Khan and The Pretenders were my favorite.

Funny that you kicked it off with Mambo Italiano, that was the name of some coming out of the closet movie on Logo last night.

John Powers said...

I sort of figured this thread would grow to monstrous proportions--it still may ;-)

I love this performance of Imogen Heap singing "Blanket." The collaboration with Jeff Beck and the wonderful bassist Tal Wilkenfeld and others is wonderful.

petpluto said...

Whenever I see Vickie Carr and the song, "It Must Be Him", I immediately flash to Moonstruck. Which I love. Awesomeness!

Anonymous said...

Why haven't I heard of Carr before? Outstanding set of pipes. Thanks.

sooner said...

1st rate songs = psg, edwards. thx 4 gr8 aftanoon

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