Happy 113th Birthday, Annette Hanshaw!

Today marks the 113th anniversary of the birth of Cladrite Sweetheart Annette Hanshaw, so we thought we’d celebrate by revisiting this post, which originally appeared on January 14, 2010.

Annette Hanshaw, one of the most revered performers in the Cladrite Radio pantheon, was a very busy gal for a few years in the late 1920s and early ’30s. She recorded dozens of memorably jazzy pop sides (or were they poppy jazz?) between 1926 and 1934, under a variety of names and for several record labels (as was so often the norm in those days), and made innumerable radio appearances between 1932 and 1935. In fact, the readers of Radioland magazine voted Hanshaw, known in those days as “The Personality Girl,” their favorite singer of 1935.

Tommy Dorsey himself once called Hanshaw “a musician’s singer.”

So it was a huge loss to the world of pop and jazz music when Hanshaw retired from show business after marrying Pathé Records executive Herman “Wally” Rose. She made her last record in 1934 and appeared on the radio for the final time in 1937.

In recent years, much of Hanshaw’s recorded output has made its way to CD, boosting her current popularity and keeping her in the public eye. Her songs are even featured prominently in director Nina Paley’s 2009 animated film Sita Sings the Blues.

Though a rumored pair of mysterious demo records, cut many years after her retirement when Hanshaw was said to be considering a comeback, have never been released to the public, some “homemade” recordings Hanshaw did surface on YouTube.

The person who posted the recordings offered the following background:

These two selections are the best sounding of a batch of homemade recordings that Annette Hanshaw did. Her husband copied them onto a tape for a friend of mine. I don’t know when they were made but on one of the records she refers to “Steve Cochran’s looks”. He was a big movie star for a couple of years around 1950. So that’s a hint. Unfortunately the sound on the others is pretty bad.

For Hanshaw fans, these recordings, even lacking as they admittedly are in fidelity and clarity, are an unexpected and delightful gift. They make us wish our Annette had mustered her courage and taken the plunge on that 1950s comeback. And for those who have somehow not been yet exposed to Hanshaw’s delightful stylings of the 1920s and ’30s, just keep listening to Cladrite Radio. You’ll quickly become very familiar with her work.

Happy Birthday, Annette Hanshaw!

Today marks the 112th anniversary of the birth of Cladrite Sweetheart Annette Hanshaw, so we thought we’d celebrate by revisiting this post, which originally appeared on January 14, 2010.

Annette Hanshaw, one of the most revered performers in the Cladrite Radio pantheon, was a very busy gal for a few years in the late 1920s and early ’30s. She recorded dozens of memorably jazzy pop sides (or were they poppy jazz?) between 1926 and 1934, under a variety of names and for several record labels (as was so often the norm in those days), and made innumerable radio appearances between 1932 and 1935. In fact, the readers of Radioland magazine voted Hanshaw, known in those days as “The Personality Girl,” their favorite singer of 1935.

Tommy Dorsey himself once called Hanshaw “a musician’s singer.”

So it was a huge loss to the world of pop and jazz music when Hanshaw retired from show business after marrying Pathé Records executive Herman “Wally” Rose. She made her last record in 1934 and appeared on the radio for the final time in 1937.

In recent years, much of Hanshaw’s recorded output has made its way to CD, boosting her current popularity and keeping her in the public eye. Her songs are even featured prominently in director Nina Paley’s 2009 animated film Sita Sings the Blue.

Though a rumored pair of mysterious demo records, cut many years after her retirement when Hanshaw was said to be considering a comeback, have never been released to the public, some “homemade” recordings Hanshaw did surface on YouTube.

The person who posted the recordings offered the following background:

These two selections are the best sounding of a batch of homemade recordings that Annette Hanshaw did. Her husband copied them onto a tape for a friend of mine. I don’t know when they were made but on one of the records she refers to “Steve Cochran’s looks”. He was a big movie star for a couple of years around 1950. So that’s a hint. Unfortunately the sound on the others is pretty bad.

For Hanshaw fans, these recordings, even lacking as they admittedly are in fidelity and clarity, are an unexpected and delightful gift. They make wish our Annette had mustered her courage and taken the plunge on that 1950s comeback. And for those who have somehow not been yet exposed to Hanshaw’s delightful stylings of the 1920s and ’30s, just keep listening to Cladrite Radio. You’ll quickly become very familiar with her work.

We’ll be loving you, always

Today marks the 124nd anniversary of the birth of the great Irving Berlin. One of history’s great tunesmiths, Berlin wrote more than hundreds of songs, 19 musicals and the scores of 18 movies over the course of his lengthy career.

“[Berlin is] the greatest songwriter that has ever lived.”George Gershwin

“Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American music.”Jerome Kern

Here are some of our favorite Irving Berlin songs:

“What’ll I Do?”The Nat “King” Cole Trio

“Say It Isn’t So”Annette Hanshaw

“Marie”Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra

“Puttin’ on the Ritz”Leo Reisman and His Orchestra

We’re having a great time, thanks

Bless Royal Caribbean’s little corporate hearts. They seem to have a Cladrite kindred spirit or two involved in creating their advertising campaigns. We wonder if the people responsible know about our humble little operation—here’s hoping.

Many of you will recall that in February, RC ran a campaign that featured the Hal Kemp Orchestra‘s rendition of “It’s Winter Again,” a relatively obscure song from 1932 with lyrics by Arthur Freed and a lovely melody by Al Hoffman and Al Goodhart.

We were already featuring the lyrics to the song at the bottom of each page here at Cladrite Radio, and when the commercial featuring the Kemp recording of it, with Skinnay Ennis on vocals, began to run frequently, our traffic shot right up. Folks were Googling the lyrics trying to find out more about the song and/or the recording and were finding their way here (more on that here).

Which suited us just fine, as you might imagine.

February came and went, as did winter and, therefore, that particular commercial, but the good folks at Royal Caribbean are now running a television spot that features another relatively obscure song from the Cladrite era, “Are You Havin’ Any Fun?“. We thought the spot might be using a 1941 recording by Joe Loss and His Orchestra, but we began to suspect that it was, in fact, a modern-day recording, just made to sound old (which this story about the commercial confirmed.)

So we thought we’d share the lyrics and a couple of recordings of the song with our readers and listeners. When you’ve got a sympatico relatiionship with a company like Royal Caribbean, you might as well prolong it.

Are You Havin’ Any Fun?
Hey fellow with a million smackers
And nervous indigestion
Rich fellow, eats milk and crackers,
I’ll ask you one question,
You silly so and so,
With all your dough…

Are you havin’ any fun?
What you getting out of livin’?
What good is what you’ve got
If you’re not havin’ any fun?

Are you havin’ any laughs?
Are you getting any lovin’?
If other people do,
So can you, have a little fun.

After the honey’s in the cone,
Little bees go out and play.
Even the old grey mare down home
Has got to have hay. Hey!

You better have some fun.
You ain’t gonna live forever.
Before you’re old and gray, feel okay.
Have your little fun, son!
Have your little fun!

Why do you work and slave and save?
Life is full of ifs and buts.
You know the squirrels save and save,
And what have they got? Nuts!

Better have a little fun.
You ain’t gonna live forever.
Before you’re old and grey, still okay,
Have your little fun, son!
Have your little fun!
Are you havin’ any fun?

“Are You Havin’ Any Fun?” was composed by Sammy Fain (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics) for a Broadway show called “George White’s Scandals of 1939.” The Scandals were an Ziegfeld Follies-esque revue that was produced on an annual basis from 1919-1939.

Tony Bennett had a hit with the song in the late 1950s, but the version heard on the Royal Caribbean ad has more of a late ’30s/early ’40s feel to it, and the versions we’re sharing below date from that era.

“Are You Havin’ Any Fun?” — Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra

“Are You Havin’ Any Fun?” — Ella Logan

“Are You Havin’ Any Fun?” — The Hoosier Hot Shots