Gimarc and Reeder contend that “laughing yourself limp” while listening to Bette Davis sing the soberest “Mother of the Bride” (on a 45 rpm recording) is far more entertaining than, say, “listening to 45 minutes of C-minor arpeggios from John Tesh.” Good point. The book is also a salute to “a whole genre of records that has been largely ignored by pop culture historians.” It is a fun and fast read, crammed with background information and clever jabs. Original album and 45 covers are featured as well
Checking my own truly strange celebrity recordings, I found a wealth of weirdness, some included in Gimarc and Reeder’s book. Those not chronicled, but that I have:
•Cary Grant warbling “Christmas Lullaby,” a mostly talked, string-sappy, tearful earful found on a limited edition Christmas album produced by the now defunct Grant’s store chain. No relation to Cary.
•Tough guy star John Garfield reading “Raymond the White Rabbit” on a children’s album.
•Ted Knight doing his Ted Baxter voice on a single, “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.” At one point, he quips, “Are you as tired of this song as I am?” Oh, yes.
•Renee Taylor (now the nanny’s mom on The Nanny) singing a 1960’s forgotten tune, “I’m In Love With Jack.” The Jack is John F. Kennedy, and Taylor sings the song a la Jackie’s voice, accompanied by a cha-cha arrangement. (“I really fell in love…cha-cha-cha…on the night of the Great Debate…cha-cha-cha.”) A collector’s showcase.
•Other all-time forgottens include: “The Humphrey Bogart Rhumba,” Red Buttons' “The Ho Ho Song,” Bill Cosby’s “Stand Still For My Lovin’,” and Richard Chamberlain barely modulating “Close To You,” recorded during his Dr. Kildare days.
Authors Gimac and Reeder are featured in this promo for their book in which we get to hear William Frawley aka Fred Mertz sing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDUFw0GA-2E