“Sing for your supper and you’ll get breakfast. Songbirds are well fed …”
I like that. Most of the singers I enjoy fall into the category of “songbirds.” That is, they can actually SING, and express positive personality while doing it. (In other words, anyone I consider good is either old or dead.)
In a previous post, I said I enjoy both Paul Simon and Carly Simon. What I didn’t explain was that I like Paul as a songwriter (he’s an okay singer.)
Carly Simon, on the other had, is a singer with all kinds of personality. Whether you like her or not, it’s difficult not to watch her when she sings.
I liked Reba McEntire even before she did ANNIE GET YOUR GUN on Broadway. She does “cute and charming” better than just about anybody I know.
I first became aware of Linda Ronstadt when she did THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE in New York’s central park. I’ve enjoyed seeing pictures of her over the years. She’s never going to be a great beauty, and the more they try to “glamorize” her, the more clown-like she looks. She likes singing back-up more than leads, and her favorite music was written before she was born. How can you not love somebody like that?
One of my favorite singers is Pam Dawber from the old MORK & MINDY TV series. I saw her in a production of MY FAIR LADY, and she was every bit as good as Julie Andrews – and that’s saying something.
Patti LuPone. Pure raw command and power, both.
In men, one of my favorite singers is Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone’s co-star in EVITA. The man can sing anything, and chooses Broadway tunes that are both obscure and difficult.
I also like Michael Crawford, who starred in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. He was also featured in the movie HELLO DOLLY.
Do you get the feeling I like Broadway singers?
Well, I like Willie Nelson, so there! I don’t know why I like Willie Nelson, but I do. He’s one of those people who got better looking as he aged. He’s now 110, and tolerable. But as a singer, he sells sad songs wonderfully well.
And finally, I like Theodore Bikel (speaking of balladeers). He had a growing popularity in the U.S., before he moved permanently to Israel. Their gain. Our loss. (I saw him do the lead in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. He was incredible.)
Those are singers who come to my mind with no great effort. I know I’ve missed a few. So … do you think I have any taste at all?