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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Island - The Andrews Sisters

How'dja like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?

I have to say that from snowy New Hampshire's perspective, the prospect looks inviting. I wish I could have found the Bob Atcher and Dinning Sisters version as video, since it's the music I think of when I think of Christmas Island, but the Andrews Sisters do a nice turn on this song from 19 and 46.

Another one of the "sisters" singing acts popular in the 40s and 50s, The Dinning Sisters were probably best-known in the Midwest. Three sisters, twins Jean and Ginger and sister Lou, were winning amateur singing contests before the age of ten, and later began to perform with older brother Ace Dinning's orchestra. The young ladies eventually made their way to Chicago, where they were picked up by NBC Radio and ultimately became the highest paid radio act in the Windy City. And an interesting piece of trivia for you, Jean Dinning wrote the song "Teen Angel" later in her career.

One of the more popular entertainers of the post WWII-era, Bob Atcher had a 21-year career at OKeh and Columbia Records, as well as being a featured performer on the WLS National Barn Dance out of Chicago. His range of material ran from traditional country to comic novelty songs. In 1948, Atcher cut two of the earliest LPs ever released by Columbia, a pair of discs devoted to cowboy songs and folk music.

The Andrews Sisters - LaVerne, Maxene, and Patti - are still probably the most successful female vocal group of the 20th century in the U.S. having 113 singles chart entries between 1938-1951, an average of more than eight per year. Their second Decca single, Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen,"an Anglicized version of a Yiddish song, became their first hit, making ts first appearance on Your Hit Parade on January 8, 1938, and charting at #1 two weeks later.

The Andrews Sisters premiered their own weekly network radio show, Eight-to-the-Bar Ranch - as in Beat Me Daddy... - at the end of 1944, and had one of their biggest hits with Rum and Coca-Cola which went to #1 in February 19 and 45, becoming the top single of the year. That song, as Constant Listeners to TTRH or Dreamtime know, was not written by Morey Amsterdam no matter what the copyright says, but by Lord Invader and Lionel Belasco.

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