The Soundtrack For The Baby Boomer Generation

Step back to a time when singers were as bright as the stars in the heavens
and the music they sang was really swingin'. Stacks of wax to fit every occasion!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Didn't You Used To Be....?

Artist: Janice Harper
Song: Love Me Now, Love Me Never (b-side) (a-side is Only Once)
Label: Capitol 4401
Number: 45-22844
Songwriters: Barry Sanford - Sanny Barkan
Time: 2:15
Released: 1960

Today's artist is another one I couldn't find out much about on the internet. I was thankful that I could at least find a couple images and a few references to Janice Harper. I wasn't able to find much biographical information about her, so I'm not certain if she's living or deceased. If anybody out there can fill in some facts about her, it would be greatly appreciated. She had such a fine voice!
Originally, Janice had her heart set on an operatic career, but she switched to popular music and had no regrets. A native New Yorker, she would sing for her high school buddies who insisted that she study voice and making singing her career.
Janice Harper first broke onto the Pop charts in 1957. Seeing as how Rock and Roll had begun to dominate the music scene by then, it's not surprising that there isn't much known about her. But, don't think that's because she didn't try. Even though teenagers were buying most of the music in the late 1950's, there were still fans of the Popular singers. Singers such as you may have heard on Music For Every Mood before. Patti Page, Peggy Lee, Julie London, Dean Martin, all these singers were still beloved by their fans and continued to have hits into the Rock and Roll era. One specific reason why Janice Harper isn't a huge star like she deserved to be was that, during her most popular period, when she was signed to Capitol Records, they had a stable of artists such as the aforementioned Peggy Lee, June Christy and others. Janice preferred a direct approach to her singing over the cool-school aesthetic of her rivals. Her finest LP, Embers Of Love, remains a potent evocation of perseverance in the face of romantic dissolution, celebrating the dawn rather than the darkness. Paired with arranger Stan Applebaum, Harper infuses melancholy ballads like Cry Me A River, The Thrill Is Gone and For All We Know with a warmth and sincerity bordering on naïvete. For all their smoky, late-night ambience, the songs possess an undercurrent of optimism that softens their impact, divining solace from the sorrow.
Some of her songs included Bon Voyage (1957), Devotion (Number 179 of WMGM's top 200 songs of 1958), I'm Making Love To You and I Was Hoping You'd Ask Me (both January 1959), Let Me Call You Sweetheart (May 1959), Just Whistle (May 1959), Forever, Forever (1960), Just Say I Love Him (1960), Cry Me A River (1960) and Where Shall I Find Him and 'Til Tomorrow (both from 1962). For other labels, she recorded Moonlit Sea and That's Why I Was Born (recorded for the Prep label in 1957), and He Just Checked In and Take Me In Your Arms (for RCA). Evidently, she recorded a handful of albums, with the previously mentioned Embers Of Love being her biggest. Because of that album's success, she secured a guest appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand program on February 2nd, 1960, where she sang the song Cry Me A River, which had been included on that album. She also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show, and worked with a diverse group of performers such as Eddie Albert and Buddy Hackett.
Other than that, I couldn't locate any clues or biographical information about this fine singer. So, despite the meager facts about her life and history, just enjoy the big voice she had and the easy delivery she used. Today's song Love Me Now, Love Me Never, is one of those big band arrangements with an orchestra directed by Stan Applebaum. It has the full compliment of instruments, string section and background vocalists, something uncommon for the songs typically being released in 1960. If you like moving themes, strong vocalists and really good arrangements, please download Love Me Now, Love Me Never by Janice Harper. Like me, you'll wonder why her name isn't a household word and why she didn't become a huge star. Listening to this record proves she had everything it took to be famous, for some unknown reason things just didn't work out for her.
I'm reminded of the line Lucy Van Pelt used when Schroeder always talked about Beethoven in the Peanuts cartoons. She said, "Beethoven wasn't so great. He never got his picture on a bubblegum card, did he?" Well, Janice Harper was great because she got her picture on a bubblegum card! That's her card below:

I just thought I'd throw this out there, but have you noticed how much Janice Harper looks like the woman in my banner? There's an amazing resemblance between the two, don't you think!?

49 comments:

Ravel said...

Thanks for this interesting lady!
Yes, she looks like the drwaing on yr banner. But the lady on the banner looks very much like Doris Day in the 1950's (see the Day by Day or Day by Night Lp's covers).

chris flash said...

Today (Feb. 14) I discovered a bunch of Janice Harper's personal stuff being sold at the outdoor fleamarket on West 25th, between Bway + Sixth Ave. This includes publicity shots from the 50s-70s, her albums with music she wrote, shots of performances, including poses with celebs like Bob Hope, Ethel Merman, Joey Bishop, etc. There was even a topless shot of her (she's laying on a furry something, so it's PG-rated!)

The Russian guys are selling it, and they'll be there tomorrow (Sunday) if you want to get something.

I got a few shots and a publicity poster that had her address and telephone number written in her hand: 484 West 43rd Street, #23R, 212-244-2981.

Being a detective by nature, I went to W43rd and asked for her. I wanted to let her know her items were being sold at the flea market, just in case they'd been stolen or something. The doorman said she no longer lived there, but he'd heard that she was "in a home." I called the telephone number, but no answer.

Judging by her shots, she was one sexy lady. I'm even more curious about her singing.

If you find out anything else about her, please let me know....

Chris Flash

HaarFager said...

I would be interested in acquiring a few shots of her, but alas, I don't live anywhere near New York City! Being a nature lover like I am, I'm hoping you got the "furry" shot of her!
Hey, if you have the time and wherewithall, I'd sure like scans of those images you bought. I might use them for further Janice Harper posts, with credit back to you, of course!

Kenny

chris flash said...

Now that you've got me more curious about her, I'll see what deal I can work with the Rooskies. The head guy drives a harder bargain when he senses a customer's interest in an item.

I wonder if you sent a letter to her W43rd Street address that it would be forwarded to wherever she is now, if you wanted to do an interview. She can't be THAT old!!

The nudie shot was a standard early-60s Playboy-style pose, wherein a gal lays on her belly and tilts her head to smile at the camera, revealing just a glimpse of the side of her breast. Nothing all that naughty....

Her scene was obviously the club circuit, from NYC to Vegas, where she hob-nobbed with the great talents who are long gone. I saw shots of her performing with Al Hirt's band, among other bands.

I was born too late to enjoy these performers and their scene at its peak, but got good doses of it in my teens (in the 1970s) while they were still around doing their thing on tv specials. Sadly, Janice Harper is one who just didn't attain the same level of fame as the others we know so well....

Today's "performers" taking their places could never hold a candle to them....

I'll be happy to send you scans of the best shots. Might you want to try to reach her?

{Where are you located?}

HaarFager said...

Yes, I would really love to try and contact her. It would be a real coup for Music For Every Mood to be able to post some personal information from the singers themselves! Earlier, I found out that Abbe Lane, someone featured here in the past, was still living and so I sent her a letter, trying to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding one of the singles I posted of hers. They were different versions than was on the album, so I thought she might be able to clue me in on the circumstances surrouning it. I sent a letter and I've never heard back from her. At least it didn't come back, so maybe it did actually reach her.

So, yes.... I'd be very interested in seeing if Janice Harper can be located. I myself am located, not really on Christmas Island, but in Southern Illinois. A couple hours east of St. Louis, Missouri. I once spent a few days in Manhattan, soaking up all I could, and got some good pictures while there. Thanks for the offer of the scans, I would like those!

Kenny

Jen Anne said...

Did anyone contact Janice Harper? I grew up listening to Embers of Love and always wondered what had happened to her. About 15 years ago I contacted Columbia to ask about permission to record the album onto CD, but they had no record that it had even been made.

HaarFager said...

Well, I have a letter out that I sent to Janice, but haven't heard back from it yet. Maybe that's a good sign in that it's being forwarded around and it will reach her wherever she is now! If I hear any word from her or if the letter comes back "Return To Sender, Address Unknown," I'll be sure to keep it posted here.

HaarFager said...

Well, everybody.... I have bad news. My letter came back and it said on it "Return To Sender, Not Deliverable As Addressed, Unable To Forward." Apparently, it looks like we won't be able to get in touch with Janice Harper using the address provided by Chris Flash. That's too bad.

Norm said...

I saw Janice Harper in concert in the mid-60s in Monroe, LA and have an autographed 8 x 10 picture of her. She was outstanding in concert.
Now retired from 37 years of broadcasting, I loved her early recordings and personally "pushed" them. Her "That's Why I Was Born" was a real favorite of mine. She certainly deserved stardom. Oh, I hope she is NOT "in a home." -- Norm

HaarFager said...

I have the Prep single "That's Why I Was Born," and will be uploading it sometime soon. As it was the only other 45 I have by her, I was trying to stretch out my "stash" of her recordings a little bit. But, if the need is there for me not to wait, just let me know and I'll post it, too! Thanks for commenting, Norm!

Norm said...

Gee, Haar, I really appreciate that offer. Don't rush on my part. I've plenty of waiting time. Will keep on the lookout...and THANKS! -- Norm

John Meyer said...

I remember Janice Harper from the late 50s and early 60s. She has a great voice and had a great orchestra that accompanied her on her Capitol albums. I have both of her Capitol albums and her singles which are still in mint condition. I owned a suburban Chicago FM station for 25 years and now own an Internet station called TheBreez.com where we feature the world's best Easy Listening music
We would like to do a feature on Janice on our Internet radio station site if we could find out where she is now. She is a great talent who should have much more success.

HaarFager said...

The last known address for Janice Harper was provided to me by someone who posted a note here, Chris Flash, and I tried using it to contact her, to no avail. If anybody out there is aware of her present whereabouts, please leave a message here for all her fans! Keep checking back everybody, maybe something will turn up.

HaarFager said...

Well, more news of a sort. Somebody contacted me that used to play at the same Pocono resort area as Janice and has provided me with some promo photos of Janice as she looked when she appeared there and on the back of the photos was her booking agent's name, address and telephone number. I'm going to try and contact this person and address and see if there's still a line left to trace Janice through. If I have any success, I'll be sure to post it here. But, whatever happens, I now have some more images of Janice to use when I post her first single, "That's Why I Was Born" and "Moonlit Sea," on the Prep label. Stay tuned for that one!

HaarFager said...

Well, sad news everybody. I received an e-mail today (August 22nd, 2009) from a cousin of Janice Harper's and was told that Janice has been in a New York nursing home for the past 3 years with Alzheimer's Disease. I have posted another record of hers, "That's Why I Was Born" with all the details. Just click the link for her name on the left of any page on Music For Every Mood and it will take you to all her postings I've done and you will see it listed.

Sad, sad news.

Mark Adams said...

I see it's been a while since comments were posted, but what the hell.
I've tried to gather info on Janice for many years...this blog has the most info.
I interviewed her in the early 60s, when she appeared at the long-defunct Chateau deVille in Framingham MA. She was charming, and her career was ebbing at that point (her last hit was "Cry Me A River," and she was still rolling with that). She did a couple of records for RCA in the mid-60s, "Take Me In Your Arms" was one of them, which had a "country" feel to it - perhaps they were trying to change her direction, who knows. It wasn't real "country," lots of strings and big instrumental background, but it had an Owen Bradley-ish sound (may have been arranged by Chet Atkins - I don't remember exactly). RCA also released a Janice Harper version of "Hello Dolly," around the time the play opened and everyone known to mankind was doing a cover of Louis Armstrong's hit version. Her biggest hit "Bon Voyage" was released on a comp disc of "Hard To Find 45s," but it's now out of print. She should have been a huge star, but it sadly never happened. Even sadder is the report of her being in a nursing home with Alzheimers.

Anonymous said...

HI: Janice Harper did indeed live on 43rd St. in Manhattan. She was my neighbor. Unfortunately, Janice has been in a nursing home for the last 3 yrs., suffering the last stages of Alzheimers. The reason her possessions were found at a flea market is because her son who lives in England, tossed her collectibles in storage and never paid the storage fee and never returned for the items. He didn't care what happened to them and he's never visited his mother.

Anonymous said...

To Whom It May Concern: Janice Harper turned 79 years old on April 1, 2010.

snowbunny said...

To Jen Ann or To Whom It May Concern:

I have an original., autographed copy of "Embers of Love." It's from the late 50's so the cover is not in the greatest condition but the vinyl inside is pristine. I see Amazon is selling the unautographed copy (new or used) for close to $50. I would never sell mine.

A CD was made and I have a copy of it. Very few CD's were made and only close friends rec'd copies. Many of the songs from "Embers of Love" are on it.

BlueBunny said...

To Whom It May Concern: Janice Harper is at the Lawrence Nursing Care Center in Arvene, NY (Far Rockaway). Her ALZ is so advanced, she is unable to form sentences, only speaks in baby babble but hums and sings which delights the staff and other residents. One questions why her son would sequester her in a home so far away from home and friends. Even though relatives preferred she be placed at the lovely Actor's Home in NJersey.

Anonymous said...

The answer to why Janice's career was cut short was because one can't judge a book by it's cover. Regardless of her lovely looks and voice, she was not a nice lady. A spoiled, conceited, lazy, stubborn primadonna who ran around with the wrong element, refused to play ball or "toe the line" - when her longtime mgr. dropped her, she was blackballed and her career went sour overnight. Some of her lovers: Sam Giancana, mobster; Joe Carlo, mobster; Jerry Vale, singer; Joe Namath,football star; Danny Aielo, entertainer, among others. Yes, she had quite a life!!! This is the part her relatives don't want anyone to know.

Mark Adams said...

Wow! I would like to know the source for your info above ("don't judge a book by it's cover). I'm not saying that couldn't be true, but how do you know all this? I hate to see someone whose "career" was loved be scandalized without some verification material.

SandPiper said...

To Mark Adams: I just read the posts by Anonymous. I can verify/confirm what he/she wrote is all true. Even though it does not take away from her fabulous beauty and talent. If you knew her FULL story, you would be shocked and mesmerized. Contempories still alive who knew her back then say her sad current condition is "payback." She has many relatives. A cousin in Bucks Cty, one in Westchester, cousins in NC, FL, a teenaged granddtr down south, a son in England. When she was a success, they all bowed down and kissed her butt, now none of them, except the sister & a few close friends care enuf to visit even tho she no longer recognizes them. No relative dares speak up (only in whispers)..you read the email the FL cousin sent. They are all afraid of her psycho son. Stripped bare of lifetime possessions by vultures & left penniless, she was banished to a far away snake pit in the boondocks. Regardless of her past, there are still pple around who love and care about her and I am one of them. I would love to see her life story told one day in depth. Maybe after the son has expired.

Mark Adams said...

Again, wow. Sounds like great material for a movie/play, and I say that after just having seen a play about the life of Billie Holliday.
Hard to say whether her career would have gone further had she not had the rep that she must have had in the industry. For someone who was relatively popular for even a short period of time, there is amazingly little to be found about her on the internet.

Mr. PotatoHead said...

To Mark and Sandpiper: If I am blessed to live long enough to see his demise, I will write her story in a heartbeat. It has all the elements of a bestseller and movie. Talent, beauty, success, wealth, riches, failure, heartbreak, love, hate, family dissension, ignorance, jealousy, incest, greed, love affairs, gangsters, regret, loneliness, despair, raving madness, insanity....and much more.

Mark Adams said...

Mr. PotatoHead:
At the very least...a Lifetime movie.
BTW, I found a CD import from Japan of her Embers of Love LP that I picked up for around 30 bucks. Only a sleeve/cover, but a steal at that price, from what I hear.

Mr. PotatoHead said...

Mark - You got a great deal. Someone earlier posted that Amazon.com is selling Embers of Love(new and used)for around $50. Maybe someone will do a "Movie of the Week" but it will be highly censored "by you know who" and will not tell the entire story.

Mark Adams said...

Bottom line, I guess, is that she was a great talent and I still enjoy listening to her records...oops, CDs.
Must be getting old...

Sandpiper said...

To Mr. PotatoHead: If you know/knew her that well, then you know how loving and sweet she was in the few years before her ALZ took hold. If there was suddenly a cure and she regained her senses, she would be horrified to learn how the vultures stripped her of "everything", possessions, jewelry, furs, investments, etc., including her dignity. I am praying for that cure so she can "kick some ass."

Mr. PotatoHead said...

To Sandpiper:

Aha...and you know this tough lady would definitely "kick ass"

Anonymous said...

I met Janice Harper in April 1960 when she was appearing at a night club in Buffalo,NY. I worked for a TV station and talked to her after the show (which was great) and asked her to come on our station for an interview and she agreed. This was on Monday opening night.She came to the station on Wednesday and I spent most of the afternoon with her. She invited me to a cocktail party Capital records was giving her on Thursday. I went back to the nightclub on Friday to see the show again. I brought friends with me. Went backstage to see if she would come out to say hello and she did. I can't believe the awful things said about her. She was very nice to all of us and had a great personality. When she came to the TV station, she autographed her Embers of Love album for me.
What a great person and fantastic voice she had. I called Capital Records in Los Angeles and they claim they never heard of her and had no records of her. What a sad story.

Mark Adams said...

I am not surprised that any of the current crew at Capital Records has no idea who she is/was. I would also not be surprised if they had no idea who Peggy Lee was. It's not the same industry it used to be. A Google search for her brings up practically nothing for her - mostly for a Professor in Tennessee with the same name. What a shame.
The most recent comment from anyone who might know her current status was posted well over a year ago. Does anyone have any further info?

Anonymous said...

Wow.. just read all this stuff about my Aunt Janice, I am speechless! I did know her, before the Alzs took her away, she was a lovely woman. Really cant say the same for her sister and son though.They are horrible people filled with jealousy and hate.

Anonymous said...

I knew Janice as my father was her doctor and also her
friend..later in life, when my father was single and in
in his eighties he tried to romance her again but it didn't work out. She was a very good hearted woman who struggled and worked very hard. I saw her perform a few times. When my mother died, my father wanted to marry her but I guess we thought she was too "Las Vegas" for him..didn't appreciate her talent at all,
and discouraged him from the move..she may have had associations with the mob, but so did Mia Farrow..
and she was trying to survive in a tough industry..
I never saw a nasty side to her in the twenty years that I knew her, any my father would never have been interested in her if she was as some have described

Anonymous said...

I would like to post an update on Janice Harper. She was admitted last night into Beth Israel Medical Center Emergemcy Room in Brooklyn, NY last night on Christmas eve at around 9PM. She was brought in by paramedics and admitted. Her condition was stable. Just wanted to share this info with anyone here on his page that still cares about this wonderfully talented woman.

Mark Adams said...

Thanks for the update. Don't know who you are, but you obviously must be close to her in order to get that info. Still amazes me the lack of info on her, other than this blog. Also a shame that the many who were fans cannot tell her how loved she was (and still is).

Anonymous said...

anything further updates since 12/25/12

HaarFager said...

No further updates that I'm aware of. Thanks for asking!

Thomas said...

Hi there, this is Thomas from Germany. Are there any news concerning our admired Miss Janice Harper? Is she still alive? If so, does anybody visit her on a regular basis and take care of her? If only I'd live in the US...Please tell her that she still has fans over here in Germany who admire her talent and personality and wonder why she didn't become the huge star she deserved...Best Wishes to all!

Thomas said...

...my email address is tholu67@web.de

Mark Adams said...

Since the last time I checked in here, there are a lot more items listed on Google, including a couple of CDs that were not previously available. If you're interested, just type in "Janice Harper Singer" into the Google search bar.
Meanwhile, there appears to be no further word on whether Ms. Harper is still alive. Hopefully, this thread will make its way to one of her remaining relatives and they can post here.

Thomas said...

I have collected her two albums and all her 45s from Capitol, RCA and GWP Records. I also discovered that there are two DIFFERENT versions from her "Embers Of Love" album: the Mono version, released on CD in Japan in 2005 has different takes than the Stereo version (with the exception of two songs which are similar, available only in the vinyl format. So we are lucky to have two versions of her great LP. My collection is really nice (contains two unreleased songs) and she was such a great talent that I can't understand why there is so little left from her professional legacy--no matter how her private life might have been. Probably there are some treasures hidden in the vaults at Capitol and RCA Records without their knowledge--what a shame!

BeetleBuzz said...

To Janice Harper's fans: Our beloved Janice remains in the same "snake-pit" where her cruel son dumped her about 10 years ago. She no longer speaks or recognizes and is at the point of no return. On April 1, 2016, she turns 83 years old. The son only calls to find out if she is still alive. No one knows what funeral plans he has for her or where she will be buried. A truly sad ending to a tragic life. Hopefully, someone will one day write her biography and reveal all the facts and leave nothing out. It would be a most compelling book and a fabulous feature or TV film. But the author must be brave enough to reveal ALL the true facts and leave nothing out. There are many old friends still alive today who know her whole life story; the fame, glory, warts and tragedy, but afraid to speak because of the son. No sense interviewing the sister because she has her own warped agenda. And, because the cruel son will not be featured favorably, one must wait until he expires...and not hesitate to sue.

Mark Adams said...

Thanks for the above, sad tho it certainly is.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to think about trying to find some information on Janice Harper today for some reason and came across this blog. I had not thought of her in a long time. I first came in contact with her in about 1970. It so happened that I was working at a summer camp in Missouri and had her son, David, as one of my campers. He was a NY kid who didn't fit in and was plopped down in Missouri for the entire summer, so I kind of looked out for him and gave him some special attention. Later on, I had some correspondence from Janice, thanking me for the interest that I had taken in David. She then continued to maintain contact with me for a couple years.

Our paths crossed when I was a student at the University of Kansas, and she appeared at a concert with Bob Hope. I was paged and taken backstage at intermission, along with my date, to meet her. She was very gracious and charming. She later told me that she had toured with Al Hirt, who happened to be one of my favorites back then. Because of the association with Janice, I got to meet Al Hirt at his club in New Orleans. We had a drink together! So that is my story on Janice Harper and her son, David. I got the feeling that David got a bad deal when growing up, so I guess I am not surprised to hear that he is "not nice" and apparently, not much of a son now. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Update: My sweet and beautiful Aunt Janice passed away May 21st, 2016 @ the nursing home she lived at for the past several years. She suffered from ALZ. Please continue to write about her and listen to her music. I always enjoyed coming here and reading all the great things her fans had to say about her and knowing there's so many people out there that still listen to her music makes me so happy! She will be forever missed! "Bon Voyage" Aunt Janice, See you Soon XOXO

Mark Adams said...

So sad. Hopefully she will find happiness and success that somehow evaded her here.

Mark Adams said...

So sad. Hopefully she will find happiness and success that somehow evaded her here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for lettung us know the sad news of the passing of your dear Aunt. I will light a candle for her and listen to one of my favourite songs from her: "Let There Be Love".
Best Wishes from Germany,
Thomas