Fred Astaire

The greatest song and dance man in Hollywood history. He must have introduced more American Songbook standards than anyone. I’ve uploaded a couple of Astaire sets for your enjoyment.

The first includes his earliest recordings with his sister Adele before he went to Hollywood. Fred and Adele were a famous song and dance team in vaudeville and on Broadway. Adele was supposedly the more talented but Fred eventually eclipsed her to do his perfectionist work ethic (Adele, who hated rehearsing referred to him as ‘moaning minnie’). There are a number of Gershwin songs on this disc with George himself at the piano. Unfortunately the Naxos transfers aren’t the best, and Adele comes across quite shrilly. Randomly Adele was quite beautiful in her day. :slight_smile:

This two cd set includes most of the songs associated with Astaire (two omissions include the Arlen/Mercer standard One for my baby and Cole Porter’s Since I kissed my Baby goodbye). Astaire had the who’s who of American songwriters penning songs for him; Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Vincent Youmans, Harold Arlen etc. Most of these come from the series of 9 RKO musicals Astaire made with Ginger Rogers. However, these are NOT the movie versions, rather separate studio releases. Incidentally Fred sings a song premiered by Ginger before they made their first picture together. (We’re in the Money from Golddiggers of 1933)
The last 3 numbers of disc 2 feature an all star backing band including Oscar Peterson amongst others.

By the way, check this out: Fred’s tribute to Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson from Swing Time. The most amazing dancing I’ve ever seen. Ignore the blackface makeup.

Fred is one of my favourite singers, Rubinstein said that he moved him more than any opera singer. He was also famous for being extremely well dressed; perfectly decked out in top hat, white tie and tails (and a white carnation in his lapel). The coolest thing is to see him use a tie as a belt. 8)

Yep, arguably the snazziest dresser of all-time. Certainly one of my sartorial idols.