It seems I stirred up a considerable fuss with the recent Wall Street Journal column in which I explained why I’d never been crazy about the singing of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. You may be surprised to hear, incidentally, that the fuss came from both directions–I even received an e-mail from a very prominent cabaret singer thanking me for “telling the truth” about Ella and Sarah.
Among the other people from whom I heard was a reader in search of enlightenment:
Very interesting column! I’m not sure I agree about Sarah Vaughan, but I can see right away where you are coming from. I’m sure you are getting a lot of comments about putting Fred Astaire in a list of favorites in an article where you take two legends to task. But again, I take the point. I’ve always sort of ignored him as someone who “sang like an actor,” but your spin makes me see that in a different light.
Astaire is well represented on iTunes. Any recommendations?
This e-mail surprised me, since most of us middle-aged pop-song connnoisseurs take Astaire’s vocal excellence so completely for granted that it would never occur to us how anyone could have overlooked his singing. To be sure, he was modest to a fault, and never admitted to having been anything more than a dancer who sang on the side. “He had put together, at his home, a film library of all his dance numbers,” Andr