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, January 6, 2011

Linda Leigh: A Special Reprise

Artist: Linda Leigh
Song: Please (a-side) (b-side is Someone Special)
Label: Reprise R-20,060 A (Promotion Copy)
Number: 856
Songwriters: Rotella - Sanicola
Time: 2:22
Released: 1962

Today's post is a very special one indeed! Thanks to one of my readers here on Music For Every Mood, I was able to get in contact with an artist that has previously been featured on here. Namely, one Linda Leigh. In that previous article found here, I wasn't able to relate much of her story or even locate a picture of her. Well, that has all been rectified! I spoke with Linda herself a few moments ago and found out she is a very, very nice person. And what an interesting career she had. Sadly, for all of her fans, she no longer performs anymore, but when she did, she had one heck of a great voice. And now for a little on her life and career, from the person who lived it.

She was born and performed under her birth name of Lucille Vanelli. She must have always been talented for, by the age of 14, you can see from the bill above that she was a stalwart of the early Las Vegas scene, this in 1952, and still going by her own name. It was just after this period when she decided to adopt the stage name of "Linda Lee," before settling with "Linda Leigh." But, at the beginnings of her career, she performed at Las Vegas in such shows as Calvalcade Of Stars. You'll have to remember that in the early days of Vegas, it wasn't the huge tourist attraction it is now. When she played there, Las Vegas had only about 10 hotels, she said.
During the 1950's, she was signed to Verve Records. While with them, she released songs such as What Good Does It Do Me; I Cry; Let Me and What Good Is A Memory. They also released an album called Songs For Your Boy Friend. It was right after this period that she shared the bill with Frank Sinatra, at his own Cal Neva Lodge in Nevada. She told me that for three summers in a row, she performed with him there. It was due to Frank's manager that they were introduced and Frank himself chose her to move to his own recording label, Reprise. It was during this period, which she said lasted for about a year, that she was signed to Reprise. After awhile, she began to want to perform where she wanted to go and on her own schedule so she broke away from Reprise and Frank. But as you've heard on the other side of this record and today's song, she had her full vocal powers in command and therefore could do it "her way." Another factor that caused her to go her own way was that Marilyn Monroe had spent a weekend at the Cal Neva Lodge the week before she died, Linda had also been at the Lodge that weekend and after that, she felt she needed to break away for awhile and have a family, "raise babies," as she called it.

She said it was all interesting that it had been "a great life" to have been in show business and to experience the career she had had. Now she likes to devote her time to her family and help with her grandkids. This brings us to today's record. It is actually the a-side of the single that was used on her other post and is just as strong a cut as that one. Her powerful voice, which she attributed to "all the garlic" in the Italian dishes, just commands your attention and with this particular arrangement, from the moment the song starts you're hooked. It's a very wonderful song and should have made her a household name, but time has it's own course and things didn't turn out that way. Despite that, you can still hear her in her glorious prime once again. Do get Linda Leigh singing this massive ballad called Please. Please do and then enjoy! Below is Linda and her husband Michael Tisbo today; looking just as amazing as she always did. One classy lady, indeed:


Anonymous said...

Wow! I've always wanted to know more about Linda Leigh...thanks so much for this informative post! She recorded a song called "Beri Beri" for American International records in, I think, 1960 or can hear it on YouTube. The URL is:

HaarFager said...

Great song, and thanks for providing the link! And thanks to your link for "Beri Beri," I am able to provide a little more of her story. Apparently after her contract with Verve ended, she was signed to American International Records. As you said, "Beri Beri" dates from 1960, but a couple of her songs were featured in the 1959 motion picture "Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow," distributed by American International Pictures. These two songs were featured on a single and were, respectively, "He's My Guy," as the a-side, and "I Promise You" as the flipside. One interesting side note is that future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston co-wrote the latter track along with Judy Harriett.

I'm glad you liked the post! It was wonderful getting to talk with that fabulous lady and to be able to fill in a little more of her history for her fans.