Some Thoughts on Eydie Gorme

I could not pass up on the opportunity to make a few comments about the wonderful singer, the late Eydie Gorme.  Yes, posting this message in October when she passed away in August is not timely, but anyway, that’s just the way it’s been lately.

Although I have been a standards singer since the age of eleven, I really didn’t know much at all about Eydie Gorme, except that she performed with her husband.  Then, in the late 90s I saw her and her husband on the Rosie O’Donnell show, an appearance in promotion of the album, Lounge-A-Palooza, on which they sang Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.”  I thought she sounded fantastic, given that she was about 70 years old at the time.  Most people when they get older don’t sound as good as they used to in their youth for various reasons (think Frank Sinatra – a lot of boozing and smoking), but her vocal performance defied her age.  I thought to myself, “When I’m that age, I want to sound that good.”  I also loved the rendition of “Black Hole Sun.”  When I’m in the privacy of my own home, I sing all rock tunes pretty much like that, so it was easy for me to identify with the interpretation.  (LOL)  It was also pretty amusing to hear about their surprise at being asked to participate in the recording and their initial trepidation once they got into the studio and saw all the sound engineers with long hair.

In the intervening years I found a fantastic performance of hers on YouTube from the Johnny Carson show, “I Wanna Be Around.”  To me, this is singing the way it should be done.  She sounds great which is no surprise, but most importantly she is very focused on lyric interpretation.  I have watched this clip dozens of times and could watch it/listen to it dozens more.  Following her death, I was watching it one evening, and my husband commented, “That’s real talent.  No auto-tuning.”  He echoed Carson’s comment at the end of the video, “What a delight to watch someone who really knows how to sing get up there and do it.”

As someone who appreciates this work, I often wonder how it would be possible to keep alive that standard of performance and singing skills as well as the beautiful melodies made for singers in the face of cultural trends moving in the opposite direction.  As performers from the heyday of standards/jazz become elderly and pass away, it’s difficult not to mourn a time past, which will probably never be again.  The lyrics of “Black Hole Sun” provided a prescient quote, relevant to Gorme and her peers, “No one sings like you anymore.”  So true. :/


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