Spotlight on ……
Dinah was born in Winchester, Tennessee on March 1st 1917 as Frances Rose Shore. She later became famous as one of the first of a new breed of star – the singer as a star in their own right after she broke away from the big bands.
She began singing early, singing on the radio in Nashville while she was still at school. The name “Dinah” came when she adopted the 1925 song of that name as her theme song and she changed her name accordingly.
Her early auditions in New York were disappointing, and it was suggested by a few band leaders – among them Benny Goodman – that her voice was perhaps too soft to be backed by a big band. This apparent set back didn’t stop her and she soon became – as mentioned before – a star in her own right. Dinah was a big hit in the Big Apple and she continued her radio career, especially on The Eddie Cantor Show.
She made her solo recording debut in 1939, after singing on some records by Xavier Cugat (quite a few of Cugat’s early forties hits had Dinah singing on them).
Slow ballads especially benefited from her low pitched dusky voice which sometimes seemed in contrast to her bright and bubbly appearance. From 1940 to 1957 Dinah had no less than eighty American chart hits, yet amazingly she never had a single chart entry on this side of the pond.
The first big hit came in 1940 with ‘Yes, My Darling Daughter’. She eventually had a number of chart toppers including ‘I’ll Walk Alone’, ‘The Gypsy’, ‘Anniversary Song’ and ‘Buttons And Bows’ which was from the movie ‘Paleface’. ‘Blues In The Night’ only managed to get to number four but was a million seller.
She also sang duets with the likes of Buddy Clark, Tony Martin and Spade Cooley. One of the duets with Clark was ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, more recently a hit for Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews.
Dinah also featured in a number of films starting with ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ in 1943 (which also featured Spike Jones and his City Slickers). Other films were ‘Up In Arms’ and ‘Follow The Boys’ (both 1944), ‘Belle Of the Yukon’ (1945), ‘Aaron Slick From Punkin Creek’ in 1952 and even as late as 1977 she appeared in the John Denver / George Burns comedy ‘Oh God’. Also, whilst making the movies, recording on disc and on radio, Dinah was entertaining the troops. She was very busy indeed.
During the fifties she also embraced the medium of television, and naturally was a big hit there as well. She had a top rated variety show which ran from the mid fifties to the early sixties; and when that ended she recorded many “specials”. A career change had Dinah hosting the daytime talk show ‘Dinah’s Place’ through the seventies and into the eighties.
Dinah Shore died on 24th February 1994 in Beverly Hills leaving behind fifty years’ worth of great music, some of which is collected here for our listening pleasure.