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Bing Around the Rosie

6.05.2008

Sometimes it amazes me how one can go through life perfectly content without knowing that something amazing and wondrous is available to them. For instance, it was not until today, this very day, that I found a precious, precious treasure.

It comes in the form of an album called Fancy Meeting You Here.

I was just about to search "Liza Minnelli" on the iTunes store, when two names caught my eye on the home page: Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby. Now I know what you're thinking. "Silly Maryann, no one will read this post." Or maybe you're thinking, "Silly Maryann, that must be the White Christmas (1954) soundtrack and nothing else. Surely that is the one and only shining glimpse of duet utopia that is Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby. You are a fool--A FOOL!--to wish for anything more."

But I dared to hope, to dream. So I clicked on the album link and sure enough, an entire 19-song album of Rosie and Bing chock-full of their harmonious chemistry! My absolutely favorite song they perform in all their classy glory is the Babes on Broadway (1941) tune "How About You?" Sample lyrics:

I like New York in June
How about you?
I like a Gershwin tune
How about you?
I love a fireside
when a storm is due
I like potato chips,
moonlight and motor trips
How about you?
Other tunes they cover are "It Happened in Monterey", "'Ol Man River", "Isle of Capri", and "I Can't Get Started." The recordings for the most part are very sharp and clean (some might be from TV performances that the duo did together). According to wikipedia, the two friends gave a concert tour throughout Ireland together. If only they could have force-fed Vera Ellen together, too. Growing up I think my sister and I both wanted to be Vera Ellen (Judy) when we watched White Christmas because she was the skinny dancer and ended up with the young Danny Kaye. Rosemary Clooney's character Betty is sort of a bitch (there's a misunderstanding when the lousy housekeeper gossips!), she didn't dance much, and to top it off she got stuck with grandpa Bing. But I remember my dad telling us that Rosemary was the real bombshell, and now of course we know it too. All you have to watch is "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" (for which you'll actually have to buy the movie because the performance is not on Youtube. Probably because it's too smoldering).


As much of a huge treat and joy that the songs on "Fancy Meeting You Here" are, they will never take the place of "Count Your Blessings." So make sure you own the White Christmas soundtrack as well as the movie. Diana Krall also does a lovely cover of it, and she actually knew Rosemary. Ms. Clooney never rose to the same level as Bing, as she stayed mostly in the music industry rather than straddling it with the film industry. But I keep looking forward to day when her nephew George will be cast in a musical!

I like Rosie and Bing, how about you?

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