DINAH SHORE : the Dixie
Dinah Shore was born in Winchester, Tennessee in 1917. She grew up in Nashville and attended Vanderbilt University in that city. After some unsuccessful auditions for vocalist with various big bands in the late thirties, she recorded with the Xavier Cugat orchestra from June to October in 1939 and she also appeared on radio with Ben Bernie. Some of the songs she recorded as vocalist with the Cugat Orchestra were "Yours", "The Thrill Of A New Romance", "Jungle Drums" and "Cuban Episode". In early 1940 Dinah landed a spot on the NBC network radio show "The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street" where she was billed as the singer who "starts a fire by rubbing two notes together". The resultant publicity led her to a regular spot on the Eddie Cantor radio show, also for NBC. She was a cast member for 1942 and 43. During this time she signed a recording contract with RCA Victor and began recording for the company"s Bluebird subsidiary. Her very first release was "Yes My Darling Daughter" in 1941. This was followed by a number of hit records which included 13 top ten records and a number one hit "I'll Walk Alone" by the end of 1945. During these years she also had her own show for NBC in a fifteen minute format, and then jumped to CBS in 1943 for a weekly thirty minute program for Birdseye Foods.
As 1946 began Dinah Shore was about to change programs on radio again. New this year would be a weekly half hour show for Ford on CBS every Wednesday evening. By now a proven hit maker for RCA she began the second half of the decade with a new label, Columbia records after one last hit for RCA in 1946 - "Personality" from the Crosby-Hope film "Road To Utopia". Her first appearance on the charts for Columbia was a cover of a Stan Kenton hit for Capitol called "Shoo Fly Pie And Apple Pan Dowdy". The Shore version was good enough to make into the top ten. The follow up record was also a cover- or actually covers. A two sided hit with a version of the Sammy Kay hit "Laughing On The Outside" on one side. Again it was good enough to get into the top ten best sellers. The third release to chart in 1946 was the flip side, Dinah"s rendition of THE song of the year "The Gypsy". This time not only a top ten listing but an impressive run of four months on the charts for this very successful recording. For the next release "All That Glitters Is Not Gold" with Sonny Burke's Orchestra got into the top ten which was followed by a song from the highly popular stage show "Annie Get Your Gun"- "Doin' What Comes Natcherly" introduced by Ethel Merman. For this release Dinah was backed by Spade Cooley and His Aces of Western Swing. The recording was an immediate hit reaching the number four position and remaining on the hit list for three months. The tune "You Keep Coming Back Like A Song" reached the top five and closed out a very successful 1946 for Dinah Shore.
1947 began with a cover record of a tune done by a lot of recording artists, "For Sentimental Reasons". Nat Cole's version made the number one spot on the hit list, but Dinah's was good enough to make the top ten. The next release was also a cover- "The Anniversary Song" which was a huge hit by a newly re-popular Al Jolson. The tune based on an old classical melody called "Danube Waves", was a tune much in demand, so much so that Shore's version made the top ten for two months. Following were the less popular "The Egg And I", "When Am I Going To Kiss You Good Morning" and "Tallahassee" with Woody Herman from the film "Variety Girl"."I Wish That I Didn't"t Love You So" from Betty Hutton in the film "The Perils Of Pauline", got as high as the number eight position. Another movie tune "You Do" from the Betty Grable picture "Mother Wore Tights" reached number four on the best sellers list. Not so successful were "Golden Earrings" (a cover of Peggy Lee's hit), and "At The Candlelight Cafe" / "The Best Things In Life Are Free" with The Four Hits & A Miss from the Broadway musical "Good News".
1948 started out with "How Soon" which was a respectable hit, and a cover of Dick Haymes hit "Little White Lies" which just missed the top ten. The next release however made it's mark with a flourish. The record was "Buttons And Bows" an academy award winning song from the hit film "The Paleface" with Jane Russell and Bob Hope. The record like the film was a huge hit with a broad cross section of the population. The record went to number one and was a mainstay on the pop charts for over six months. It sold close to two million copies as the movie and the record seemed to complement each other. Even though "Buttons And Bows" was a hard act to follow, the next Columbia release did just fine. It was a tune called "Lavender Blue" which Dinah did on the soundtrack of the Walt Disney film "So Dear To My Heart". The song was nominated for a 1949 academy award. The record got in the top ten and stayed on the hit list for three months. The following year of 1949 started as slowly as the previous one had as far as record sales were concerned. A cover of Bing Crosby's "Far Away Places" briefly charted for one week, and the follow up called "So In Love" lasted a month but got no higher than twenty two on the hit charts. "Forever And Ever" did somewhat better lasting almost four months on the charts selling slowly and steadily. The very next record however made it in a big way. It was a duet with Buddy Clark on the tune "Baby It's Cold Outside" from Frank Loesser in the film "Neptune's Daughter" with Esther Williams, and was the Oscar winner for best song of the year. The record charted as high as number four and spent five months on the best sellers. "A Wonderful Guy" from South Pacific was gone almost as fast as it appeared, but another cover of a Bing Crosby tune "Dear Hearts And Gentle People" was a resounding hit getting into the top ten and lasting on the charts for four months.
The bright and breezy "It's So Nice To Have A Man Around The House" did not do as well as might have been expected, "Bibbidi Bobbidee Boo" from the Disney film "Cinderella" and "Can Anyone Explain" also were misses, but the follow up, a cover of Guy Mitchell's breakthrough hit "My Heart Cries For You" did very well, just missing the top ten and remaining on the charts for almost four months. The song adapted from the French tune "Song Of Marie Antoinette" and the flip side "Nobody's Chasing Me" from the Broadway musical "Out Of This World" ended the year with a bit of a pleasant surprise in 1950. A two sided hit featuring a duet with longtime pop singer Tony Martin began 1951 in good style. "In Your Arms" and the bigger hit of the two "A Penny A Kiss" hung around on the charts for close to three months and made into the top fifteen best selling records in the country. The song "Sweet Violets" adapted from an old folk song that had been around for ages provided Dinah with a big hit carrying over the last half of the year. It charted as high as the number three position and was on the hit list for more than four months. One last record in 1951 had an interesting ensemble-Dinah with Tony Martin, Betty Hutton, and Phil Harris and called "The Musicians" barely charted.
One record charted briefly in 1952 called "Blues In Advance", and in 1953 there was "Blue Canary" and "Changing Partners", but Dinah Shore was now ready to embark on a television career that would be her biggest success. Five records charted in 1955 and 1957, but only "Chantez Chantez" and a cover of Jane Morgan's "Fascination" made any lasting impression. In the field of television Dinah Shore became an even greater star than what she was from the success of her recordings. The first TV show was called "The Chevy Show" and ran on NBC for four years beginning in 1950 as a fifteen minute musical variety program, and then stretching out to a half hour in 1954 for two more years with the same cast. After the summer of 1956, the new Dinah Shore Show was unveiled as a one hour musical variety show featuring the David Rose orchestra and guest stars. The show ran from 1956 to 1962. It is this program that is so fondly remembered by so many millions of people. In the seventies Dinah had two syndicated variety programs - Dinah's Place and Dinah ! which showed her staying power as a popular show business personality.
As a recording star, her twenty straight top ten records during the forties is significant. She was a major performer on records when that medium was becoming a major force in the music world. An even dozen top ten sides during the Interlude years including a number one million seller made Dinah Shore one of the biggest stars of her time.
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