One of my father’s favorite singers, Lena Horne, passed away yesterday at age 92. My father can’t carry a tune in a bucket and he can play only two songs on the piano – St. Louis Blues and Teddy Wilson’s Body and Soul – but my father had a great collection of 78s from the pre-war era and he knows his jazz singers. TB was so right about Lena Horne.
As the web site The Music’s Over but the Songs Live On noted,
Lena Horne was a popular and influential jazz vocalist and actress who broke many color barriers over a career that spanned nearly seven decades, and her 1943 recording of “Stormy Weather” is arguably the most recognized song of its era. Horne was not only a multi-Grammy award-winning singer, she was also an award-winning star of stage, screen and television.
She was also an activist during the Civil Rights era, which is where I encountered her after the introduction by my father. The New York Times obituary recalled the difficulties she faced as a black actress during the era of segregation, often performing only musical pieces that could be cut from films for viewing in Southern theatres.
Stormy Weather is a great song, and Lena Horne made it her own. Here’s the full version from the 1943 film.
She will be missed.
More to come…