Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Redhead of the Week

Julie London was one of the top pre-rock female vocalists, her most famous recording being Cry Me A River, released in 1955. The Famous Author's brother was seventeen years old that year. TFA used to hear her sexy recordings late into the night, wafting down the hall from his bro's bedroom.

Born Julie Peck, in 1926, to Jack and Josephine Peck, a song and dance team in vaudeville, Julie moved from Santa Rosa, California, to San Bernardino in 1929, where Julie's parents had a radio show, on which she occasionally sang. By 1941, she was singing with the Matty Malnech Orchestra in Los Angeles and met Sue Carol, an actor/agent and wife of Alan Ladd, who obtained a screen test for Julie.

She reached star status by playing leading roles in such movies as A Question Of Adultery, Task Force, and The Fat Man. In 1947 she married Jack Webb, who was just breaking into dramatic acting on radio. With marriage, she temporarily gave up her movie career to become a full-time wife and mother, and they had two daughters, Stacy and Lisa. In November, 1953, London and Webb divorced, and she received custody of the children.

In 1954 she met Bobby Troup, a jazz musician and songwriter. Under his guidance she began a serious singing career. Her first singing engagement was the 881 Club in Los Angeles. In 1955 she cut her first album, Julie is Her Name. Included on this LP was her most successful hit: Cry Me A River. Over three million copies of the album and single were sold. The single remained on Billboard charts for 13 weeks, and the LP for 20. Julie was voted one of the top female vocalists of 1955, 1956, and 1957. On New Year's Eve, 1959, she became Mrs. Bobby Troup.

Julie's vocal style has been described as being sultry, sexy, "come-hither", intimate, breathy, warm, smoky, haunting, husky, sullen, sad, suggestive and seductive. She self-described her voice in a LIFE magazine article in 1957, as "It's only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate." The majority of her album covers were graced by sultry, yet sophisticated pictures.

Julie London suffered a stroke in 1995, and was in poor health until her death 2000.

Thanks to Julie's website and Wikipedia.

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