Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Out Come Pagliacci, Also Liberace

Sorry I haven't posted here recently. While I'm trying to put something together, here's a song I always enjoy hearing: Lena Horne singing "Push de Button" from Jamaica by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. (One of the songs in the show that was originally intended for Harry Belafonte, and changed over when Belafonte was not available but Horne was.) When I first heard it, I couldn't get enough of it, and played it over and over for days. Someone else in my dorm heard it and said, puzzled, "isn't this song just 'Push the Button' repeated over and over?" I had to admit that it repeated "Push the button" quite a lot, yes.

Semi-historical note: This show helped push Broadway toward increased acceptance of amplification in the theatre. Horne had her songs re-scored by her brilliant husband/arranger, Lennie Hayton, who used multiple saxophones; she couldn't be heard over the saxophones in the theatre (no one could be heard, un-amplified, over that many saxophones), so she had to be miked.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Great recording. I knew I heard that somewhere before. I wonder how they miked Lena on stage back in those days, as microphones were pretty bulky in those days.

On a totally different subject: do you have the WKRP episode about the concert tragedy? It was 30 years ago today when a concert by The Who in Cincinnati was marred by eleven deaths due to a crush to get to the festival seating of the era. It's not the funniest episode, but very significant.