Search This Blog

Loading...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sinatra/Miller Feud

  A couple of people have asked about the notorious feud between Miller and Sinatra.  Here's a little back ground on the subject.


In September of 1956 The House Judiciary subcommittee was investigating the television industry and the monopoly involved.  Sinatra sent a telegram to them complaining that Miller forced inferior material on him because Columbia had a financial interest in all parts of the final product.
Sinatra:
"Before Mr. Miller's arrival at Columbia Records, I found myself enjoying a freedom of Selection of material, a freedom which I may modestly say resulted in a modicum of success for me."

"Suddenly Mr. Miller, by design or coincidence, began to present many, many inferior songs, all curiously bearing the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc) label."

Sinatra then stated he preferred  material from ASCAP


Miller replied to Sinatra's telegram.  Saying he shouldn't blame music for his decline, but rather his own hectic love life at the time.  Miller noted that Sinatra recorded while under him 51 ASCAP songs and only 5 BMI songs, but since joining Capitol, which has no broadcast connections, he has recorded "at least 10 BMI songs out of a total of 49."  Miller also noted that Sinatra, a member of ASCAP has recorded at least 30 songs in which he has a financial interest.

Miller:
"If they want to examnine the record, they will find that under my aegis at Columbia, Frank Sinatra recorded 95 per cent or more ASCAP songs and five percent BMI.  It is a matter of record"

While in Pittsburgh in September of 1957 Miller struck back on the radio with:
"I can't believe that Frank has been behind these charges. I think a high-powered public relations firm is using him."

 "When Frank left Columbia," went on Mitch, "He owed us $150,000. That debt has been erased through royalties on the songs he recorded for us during the time he says we forced him to do unsalable tunes."

Miller reflected again in November 0f 1962:
"Like with Sinatra. He left Columbia owing $150,000. We couldn't give his records away. He blamed us, but what about his nightclub appearences? Or his movies? This was during his slump time and nothing was going for him. Later those same songs earned him a million dollars.  It wasn't my fault they hadn't sold them. It was just timing."

The BMI "SIX":

1. January 12, 1950
Chattanoogis Shoe Shine Boy
w/The Jeff Alexander Choir
(H. Stone/J. Stapp)
Acuff-Rose Publ. (BMI) 1950

2. June 28, 1950
Goodnight Irene
w/The Mitch Miller Singers
(H. Ledbetter/J. Lomax)
Spencer Music Corp. (BMI) 1950
Arranged & Conducted by Mitch Miller

3. July 19, 1951
Castle Rock
w/The Harry James Orchestra
(E. Drake/J. Shirl/A. Sears)
Wemar Music Corp. (BMI) 1951
Arranged by Ray Conniff

4. January 7, 1952
I Hear A Rhapsody
w/The Jeff Alexander Choir
(G. Fragos/J. Baker/D. Gasparre)
Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) 1940
Arrangemed & Conducted by Axel Stordahl

5. February 6, 1952
My Girl
(C. Freed)
Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI) 1952
Arranged & Conducted by Axel Stordahl

6. June 3, 1952
Azure-Te (Paris Blues)
(D. Wolf/B. Davis)
Gale & Gayles, Inc. (BMI) 1952
Arranged & Counducted by Axel Stordahl
Arranged & Conducted by Axel Stordahl,

Dorothy Kilgallen a favorite target of Sinatra's refered to him of tagging Miller with the "payola blast" a stool pigeon.

Article references:
1. September 21, 1956 St. Peterberg Times
2. September 21, 1956 Daytona Beach Morning Journal
3. December 8, 1957 Sundy Journal
4. September 13, 1957 Dorothy Kilgallen
5. September 18, 1957 Pittsburgh Press
6. November 11, 1962 The Miami News
© 2010 The Sinatra Archive

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10 - THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY

Studio

NONE

Radio

1939 Roseland Ballroom, New York

Television

1981 Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires , Argentina

Concerts

1939 Roseland Ballroom, New York
Harry James and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1940 Hotel Astor, New York (May 21 - August 28)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1942 Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore , Maryland (August 7 - August 12)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1981 Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1982 Chicagofest, Chicago Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois

1984 Sporting Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco

1991 Riviera, Las Vegas, Nevada

© 2010 The Sinatra Archive

The above is a condensed version of the daily © 1997 "THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY" calendar that appears exculsively on the Sintraphiles.

Not a member of the Sinatraphiles? Discuss Sinatra with the worlds leading experts in the field. The only place on the internet to educate yourself in all things Sinatra. Join Here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sinatraphiles/

Monday, August 9, 2010

Conductor Mitch Miller dies at age 99

By KAREN MATTHEWS (AP) – Aug 2, 2010

NEW YORK — Mitch Miller, the goateed orchestra leader who asked Americans to "Sing Along With Mitch" on television and records, has died at age 99.
His daughter, Margaret Miller Reuther, said Monday that Miller died Saturday in Lenox Hill Hospital after a short illness.
Miller was a key record executive at Columbia Records in the pre-rock 'n' roll era, making hits with singers Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, Johnny Mathis and Tony Bennett.
"Sing Along With Mitch" started as a series of records, then became a popular NBC show starting in early 1961. Miller's stiff-armed conducting style and signature goatee became famous.

As a producer and arranger, Miller had misses along with his hits, famously striking out on projects with Frank Sinatra and a young Aretha Franklin.
The TV show ranked in the top 20 for the 1961-62 season, and soon children everywhere were parodying Miller's stiff-armed conducting. An all-male chorus sang old standards, joined by a few female singers, most prominently Leslie Uggams. Viewers were invited to join in with lyrics superimposed on the screen and followed with a bouncing ball.

"He is an odd-looking man," New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson wrote in 1962. "His sharp beard, twinkling eyes, wrinkled forehead and mechanical beat make him look like a little puppet as he peers hopefully into the camera. By now most of us are more familiar with his tonsils than with those of our families."

Atkinson went on to say that as a musician, Miller was "first rate," praising "the clean tone of the singing, the clarity of the lyrics, the aptness of the tempos, the variety and the occasional delicacy of the instrumental accompaniment."

An accomplished oboist, Miller played in a number of orchestras early in his career, including one put together in 1934 by George Gershwin. "Gershwin was an unassuming guy," Miller told The New York Times in 1989. "I never heard him raise his voice."

Miller began in the recording business with Mercury Records in the late '40s, first on the classical side, later with popular music. He then went over to Columbia Records as head of its popular records division.
Among the stars whose hits he worked on were Clooney, Page, Bennett, Frankie Laine and Jo Stafford. His decision to have Mathis switch from jazz to lushly romantic ballads launched the singer as a superstar.

He had a less rewarding collaboration with Sinatra, whose recording of the novelty song "Mama Will Bark," featuring a barking dog, was considered the nadir of the singer's career. Still, Miller became known for his distinctive arrangements, such as the use of a harpsichord on Clooney's megahit version of "Come On-a My House." He used dubbing of vocal tracks back when that was considered exotic.
"To me, the art of singing a pop song has always been to sing it very quietly," Miller said in the book "Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music."

"The microphone and the amplifier made the popular song what it is — an intimate one-on-one experience through electronics. It's not like opera or classical singing. The whole idea is to take a very small thing and make it big."

Miller and a chorus had a No. 1 hit in 1955 with "The Yellow Rose of Texas," and that led to his sing-along records a few years later.

The years of Miller's biggest successes were also the early years of rock 'n' roll, and many fans saw his old-fashioned arrangements of standards and folk favorites as an antidote to the noisy stuff the teens adored. As an executive at Columbia, Miller would be widely ridiculed for trying to turn a young Aretha Franklin into a showbiz diva in the tradition of Sophie Tucker.
But Miller was not entirely unsympathetic to rock 'n' roll.

In a 1955 essay in The New York Times magazine, he said the popularity of rhythm and blues, as he called it, with white teens was part of young people's "natural desire not to conform, a need to be rebellious."

He added: "There is a steady — and healthy — breaking down of color barriers in the United States; perhaps the rhythm-and-blues rage — I am only theorizing — is another expression of it."
"Miller has often been maligned as a maestro of 1950s schlock ... Yet Miller injected elements of rhythm and blues and country music, however diluted, into mainstream pop," Ken Emerson wrote in his book "Always Magic in the Air."

In the Martin Scorsese documentary on Bob Dylan, "No Direction Home," Miller acknowledged that he was dubious when famed producer John Hammond brought the nearly unknown Dylan to the staid Columbia label in the early '60s. "He was singing in, you know, this rough-edged voice," Miller said. "I will admit I didn't see the greatness of it." But he said he respected Hammond's track record in finding talent.

In recent years, Miller returned to his classical roots, appearing frequently as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras.

In 2000, he won a special Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.
Reuther said her father died of "just old age."

"He was absolutely himself up until the minute he got sick," she said. "He was truly blessed with a long and wonderful life."

Miller was born in 1911, in Rochester, N.Y., son of a Russian Jewish immigrant wrought-iron worker and a seamstress. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester.
Reuther said there will be a memorial service for her father in the fall.

Associated Press Writer David Bauder contributed to this report. Biographical material in this story was written by former AP staffer Polly Anderson.

Sinatra Factoid


Question:  What is the story behind the recording of  "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" for the movie the victors?


Archive Answer: Sinatra was offered a role in Carl Foreman's "The Victors." Unable to accept it due to the 1962 World Tour for children's charities, he opted to do a song for the film.  Sinatra not only recorded the song for no fee but also covered the cost of the entire recording session.



Have a Sinatra Question?  Send it in.  We will do our best to answer you queries.

August 9 - THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY

 Studio

 NONE

 Radio

 1943 Broadway Bandbox

 1944 Mail Call

 Television

 NONE

 Concerts

1940 Hotel Astor, New York (May 21 - August 28)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1942 Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore , Maryland (August 7 - August 12)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1978 Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California

1981 Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1991 Riviera, Las Vegas, Nevada

© 2010 The Sinatra Archive

The above is a condensed version of the daily © 1997 "THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY" calendar that appears exculsively on the Sintraphiles.

Not a member of the Sinatraphiles? Discuss Sinatra with the worlds leading experts in the field. The only place on the internet to educate yourself in all things Sinatra. Join Here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sinatraphiles/

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lost Recording: Farewell, Amanda


Sinatra Scholar Ed O'Brien was kind enough to share a little history about this lost song, recorded on this date in 1949:

1949 MGM Soundstage, Hollywood, California
Farewell, Amanda
(Cole Porter)
Conductor: Johnny Green
(Not used in the film "Adam's Rib"

MGM commissioned Cole Porter to write a song for the Tracy-Hepburn film "Adam's Rib."  Porter used the same music that he had written for an unpublished song in 1940, "So Long, Samoa."

The title for the 1949 song was "Farewell, Amanda."  David Wayne sang it during a scene with Hepburn. (She was Amanda.)

There was also a six-second Sinatra vocal of the song. Sinatra recorded the complete song on August 8, 1949 on the MGM soundstage. The orchestra was conducted by Johnny Green. There were four takes and the running time was 1:17. The vocal cannot be located. Prior to the Sinatra vocal, a fellow named Gil Merchon also did four takes with Green conducting.

FAREWELL, AMANDA

Verse:
I loved you madly, you know it well,
Which makes my story too tough to tell,
So why not forget it all,
Just leave it unsaid,
And I'll merely sing it to you instead,

Refrain:
Farewell, Amanda,
Adios, addio, adieu,
Farewell, Amanda,
It was great fun but it is done, it's through,
Still now and then, fair Amanda,
When you are stepping on the stars above,
Please recall that wonderful night on the veranda,
Sweet Amanda, and our love.

© 2010 The Sinatra Archive 

August 8 - THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY

Studio

1946 Hollywood

HCO1945 Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)

HCO1946 Lost In The Stars

HCO1947 Jingle Bells

HCO1948 Falling In Love With Love

1949 MGM Soundstage, Hollywood, California

Farewell, Amanda

Radio

NONE

Television

NONE

Concerts

1940 Hotel Astor, New York (May 21 - August 28)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1942 Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore , Maryland (August 7 - August 12)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1978 Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California 

1980 Monaco
Princess Grace Red Cross Gala Benefit

1991 Riviera, Las Vegas, Nevada

© 2010 The Sinatra Archive

The above is a condensed version of the daily © 1997 "THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY" calendar that appears exculsively on the Sintraphiles.

Not a member of the Sinatraphiles? Discuss Sinatra with the worlds leading experts in the field. The only place on the internet to educate yourself in all things Sinatra. Join Here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sinatraphiles/

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August 7 - THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY

Studio

NONE

Radio

1943 Your Hit Parade

1948 Your Hit Parade

Television

NONE

Concerts

1940 Hotel Astor, New York (May 21 - August 28)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1942 Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore , Maryland (August 7 - August 12)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

1961 Frankfurt, Germany
w/Dean Martin

1975 Harrah's, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

1978 Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California

1981 Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1982 Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California

1992 Sporting Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Princess Grace Red Cross Gala

© 2010 The Sinatra Archive

The above is a condensed version of the daily © 1997 "THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY" calendar that appears exculsively on the Sintraphiles.

Not a member of the Sinatraphiles? Discuss Sinatra with the worlds leading experts in the field. The only place on the internet to educate yourself in all things Sinatra. Join Here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sinatraphiles/

August 6 - THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY

 Studio

 NONE

 Radio

 1942 Sunday Evening At Tommy Dorsey's

 Television

 NONE

 Concerts

 1940 Hotel Astor, New York (May 21 - August 28)
  Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

 1942 Earle Theatre, Philadelphia , Pennsylvania (July 31 - August 6)
  Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

 1975 Harrah's, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

 1978 Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California
   
 1982 Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California

 1994 Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey

© 2010 The Sinatra Archive

The above is a condensed version of the daily © 1997 "THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY" calendar that appears exculsively on the Sintraphiles.

Not a member of the Sinatraphiles? Discuss Sinatra with the worlds leading experts in the field. The only place on the internet to educate yourself in all things Sinatra. Join Here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sinatraphiles/

August 5 - THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY

 Studio

 1943 New York City

 CO33250 People Will Say We're In Love
 w/The Bobby Tucker Singers

 CO33283 Oh What A Beautiful Morning
 w/The Bobby Tucker Singers

 Radio

 1939 Marine Ballroom, Steel Pier, Atlantic City
 Harry James and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra
 First Broadcast
 Late Broadcast

 1944 Your Hit Parade

 Television

 NONE

 Concerts

 1939 Marine Ballroom, Steel Pier, Atlantic City

 1940 Hotel Astor, New York (May 21 - August 28)
 Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

 1942 Earle Theatre, Philadelphia , Pennsylvania (July 31 - August 6)
 Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra

 1975 Harrah's, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

 1978 Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California

 1982 Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California

 1983 Monte Carlo, Monaco
 Princess Grace Red Cross Fund

 1994 Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey

© 2010 The Sinatra Archive

The above is a condensed version of the daily © 1997 "THIS DATE IN SINATRA HISTORY" calendar that appears exculsively on the Sintraphiles.

Not a member of the Sinatraphiles? Discuss Sinatra with the worlds leading experts in the field. The only place on the internet to educate yourself in all things Sinatra. Join Here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sinatraphiles/