Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Jane Powell born 1 April 1929


Jane Powell (born Suzanne Lorraine Burce; April 1, 1929) is an American singer, dancer and actress who rose to fame in the mid-1940s with roles in various Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals.

Jane Powell enjoyed a successful career in movie musicals primarily throughout the '40s and '50s -- usually typecast as an innocent, "girl next door" teenager. Born Suzanne Bruce in Portland, Oregon, the youngster began going by the name of Jane Powell at an early age as her parents signed her up for singing and dance lessons in hopes of her becoming another Shirley Temple. Powell eventually landed jobs performing at nightclubs during World War II, which led to her own local radio show.

After her family relocated to Los Angeles during the '40s, Powell's career truly took off, as she appeared on further radio programs, eventually leading to a contract with MGM. Powell's movie career began in 1944, as she appeared for the next ten years or so mostly in musicals and comedies. In the late '40s, Powell launched a recording career, issuing several albums on both the Columbia and MGM labels (including such titles as A Date with Jane Powell, Alice in Wonderland, Two Weeks with Love, and Can't We Be Friends?, among others).

Powell's movie career didn't truly take off until 1951, when she appeared in Royal Wedding with dance legend Fred Astaire. But Powell continued to be typecast as the innocent teenager, until she landed a more mature role in what is probably her best-known movie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in which she starred alongside Howard Keel. By the late '50s, however, it appeared as though Powell's movie career had come to a halt, which led to appearances on television, stage work, and a nightclub act choreographed by Gower Champion.


                              

Powell starred in a Broadway revival of Irene in 1973 (replacing Debbie Reynolds), which led to more work in summer stock and road shows, including The Jane Powell Show, My Fair Lady, Peter Pan, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Carousel, The Boy Friend, 
Brigadoon, and The Sound of Music, in addition to South Pacific and I Do! I Do! -- both of which featured her previous Seven Brides co-star, Howard Keel.

During the '80s, Powell landed regular work on TV shows, including Murder She Wrote, Growing Pains (playing Alan Thicke's mother), Marie, and a long running part on the daytime soap opera, Loving. Additionally, Powell also appeared in the musical documentary That's Dancing!, made a fitness video for arthritis sufferers, and was one of many '50s musical stars to appear in a special performance at the 1986 Academy Awards show.

 In 1988, Powell penned a revealing autobiography, The Girl Next Door and How She Grew, and during the '90s, appeared in a few documentaries -- including 1992's Nelson and Jeanette and The Making of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and in 1999, appeared in the movie Picture This.

In 2000, she appeared in two television movies in supporting roles in The Sandy Bottom Orchestra and Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. Her last major television appearance was a guest star in "Vulnerable" on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2002. In 2003, she made a return to the stage as Mama Mizner in the Stephen Sondheim musical Bounce. Despite Powell's great reviews in the part, Bounce was not critically successful and did not move to Broadway and retired from acting. She then started singing on NCL cruise ships.

For one evening, she returned to Portland, her hometown, narrating Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with Pink Martini on December 31, 2007. She also appeared on March 9, 2008, with Martini at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City; she sang a duet of "Aba Daba Honeymoon" with lead singer China Forbes. In March 2009, she appeared and sang "Love Is Where You Find It" in a show in which Michael Feinstein celebrated movie musicals and MGM musicals in particular. She performed again with Pink Martini at the Hollywood Bowl on September 10, 2010.

Jane was married five times married Geary Anthony Steffen, Jr., November 5, 1949 (divorced August 6, 1953); married Patrick Nerney, November 8, 1954 (divorced, 1963); married JamesFitzgerald, June 27, 1965 (marriage ended); married David Parlour, October 21, 1978 (divorced, 1981); married Dick Moore (a public relations executive and former child actor), May 21, 1988 (died 2915).

Powell told The Connecticut Post in 2017 that she was learning to live alone and was enjoying her life, gardening and finding companionship with her pets (a toy poodle and cat). In June 2019 she was honoured as Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month.

(Edited from Greg Prato @ AllMusic, Wikipedia, 50plusworld & IMDb)

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Rod Allen born 31 March 1944


Rod Allen (March 31 1944 - January 10 2008) was best known as the leader of the group The Fortunes, who were one of many pop groups that rose to prominence in the wake of the Beatles. Their specialty was softer ballads delivered in three-part harmonies underpinning the voice of Rod Allen, who led the group for more than 40 years.

The Clifftones
He was born Rodney Bainbridge in Leicester, where his parents were shopkeepers. His interest in popular music was fired by skiffle, in particular by the voice and guitar of Lonnie Donegan, whose fan club he joined at the age of 12.

When he was 14, the family moved to the Sparkbrook district of Birmingham and Rod attended Moseley grammar school. After working for the Co-operative Insurance Society for 18 months, he became a full-time musician. He had formed an acoustic guitar group, the Clifftones, with friends Glen Dale and Barry Pritchard. 
Robbie Hood & The Merry Men
In 1963 they went electric, with Rod mastering the bass guitar; they added a drummer and keyboards player. They were managed by the flamboyant concert promoter Reg Calvert, who prevailed upon them to accompany a singer Calvert had renamed "Robbie Hood". The Clifftones inevitably became the Merry Men, dressed in jerkins and green tights.

They emerged at the end of this period as the Fortunes Rhythm Group. By now, Rod had dropped the name Bainbridge and chosen Allen from a telephone directory. They worked up a series of songs associated with Dionne Warwick, Gene Pitney and Broadway theatre. So eclectic was their repertoire that Calvert would often challenge an audience: "Name any tune and if the Fortunes can't play it, you win five shillings!"


                             

In 1963, they won a beat contest at the Gay Tower Ballroom in Edgbaston and were signed by Decca. The Fortunes' second single for the label was the plaintive ballad Caroline, which was adopted as a theme tune by the pirate radio station of that name. Calvert was
also entangled in the shadowy world of pirate radio, and was shot and killed in 1966 as a result of rivalry with another pirate station owner.

The Fortunes' first hit was in 1965, when You've Got Your Troubles reached No 2 in Britain and No 7 in the US. The song, composed by leading Tin Pan Alley writers Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook, featured Allen's soaring lead vocals, as did the follow-up hit, Here It Comes Again. The group then toured the US and released This Golden Ring on their return. It reached the Top 20.

Although its success was slightly marred when the Fortunes admitted in a magazine interview that they had not played the instruments on the recording, they were booked to appear at the prestigious NME Poll Winners Show at Wembley Arena, where they performed This Golden Ring before several thousand screaming teenagers.

The Fortunes issued a further 10 singles in the 1960s. None was a hit, although several featured songs written by Allen and other group members, the best of which was The Idol by Allen and Pritchard. Despite their lack of chart success, the band prospered by playing the cabaret club circuit and by recording jingles for several television and cinema commercials. The most distinctive of these was Allen's rendition of It's the Real Thing, the Coca-Cola theme.

The band's recording career was briefly revived in the early 1970s, when Greenaway and Cook supplied them with two more hit songs, Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling and Freedom Come, Freedom Go. These were followed by Storm in a Teacup, co-written by Lindsey De Paul and Barry Blue.

In January of 1999, Barry (Baz) Pritchard sadly passed away after a long illness and Bob Jackson of Badfinger fame was recruited on keyboards. Throughout the late ’90’s and the ’00’s The Fortunes continued to tour the world and built on their reputation as one of the finest harmony bands in 
Europe. Australia, New Zealand, The Middle East were all re-visited and British and European tours with other artists showcased Rod’s towering vocals and professionalism.

These successes renewed demand for live appearances by the Fortunes and the group kept on in steady work right up to the present. Allen played his last show with the group at Yeovil during November 2007, shortly after he was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died on 10 January 2008 at his home in Coventry. The Fortunes had a full engagement book for 2008, and the surviving group members vowed to carry on in Allen's memory.


It is not only as a great singer but also as a great bass guitarist that Rod Allen should be remembered for. His fluent use of the instrument on stage while fronting the band and in the recording studio was always something to be admired. Rod may have left the stage, but he leaves behind a proud legacy as a superb vocalist, and as a performer that remained with the same band for over forty years, not something many bands of today are ever likely to equal.

(Edited from an article by Dave Laing @The Guardian & Brum Beat)

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Donny Conn born 29 March 1930


Donny Conn (born Donald Claps, 29 March 1930 – September 2, 2015) was a singer and drummer of the late 1950’s music and comedy trio The Playmates. Other members were pianist and arranger Chic Hetti (born Carl Cicchetti, 26 February 1930)  and Morey Carr (31 July 1932 – 1987).

Donny Conn, Morey Carr and Chic Hetti rank among the most outstanding popular singers of the mid-20th century. Their individual vocal chops were impressive enough; when it came to harmonizing, this trio from Waterbury, Connecticut approached perfection. A popular touring act in Canada in the early '50s they staked a claim early as a novelty act, going by the name The Nitwits, singing silly songs or humorously altering existing hits while acting up in front of audiences.

They started out as The Donny Conn Trio while attending the University of Connecticut . Chic, whose real name was Carl Cicchetti, played piano; Donny, whose real last name was Claps, played drums. Going largely unnoticed, they started doing funny bits to attract attention. Attempts at landing a recording contract went unfulfilled until Conn's trio joined Roulette Records as The Playmates (the labels first vocal group). Switching to a more "normal" name than Nitwits was a smart move, but it was not without certain drawbacks as a rhythm and blues girl group from Newark were also called the Playmates (Gwen Brooks and sisters Lucille and Alma Beatty) and appeared 
on Savoy at the same time Roulette's guys put out their first single.

Easing off on the silly stuff, Donny and Chic composed a light little ditty called "Pretty Woman" for the group's debut. Next they went totally romantic with a cover of The Lovers' late-'57 R&B hit, "Darling it's Wonderful." Neither song caught on. The third single was "Jo-Ann," a rock and roll ballad” that hit the top 20 in February 1958,  Savoy's Playmates, meanwhile, changed their name to The Three Playmates.


                             

The trio confidently began moving in a slightly more wacky direction as their Nitwit background was difficult to shake. The most famous of all Playmates records (and, unfortunately, the only one many people are familiar with) is "Beep Beep."  
The popularity of this late-'58 top ten hit caused an unintentional windfall for American Motors, the manufacturer of the Nash Rambler.  As soon as the record became a hit, sales of the Rambler American increased sharply. In England, though, the BBC denied airplay to songs with brand names, so the Playmates rerecorded it, changing the Cadillac and Nash Rambler references to "limousine" and "bubble car," obscuring much of the song's humour in the process.

The group then teamed up with composers  Pockriss and Paul Vance, the creators of Perry Como's top-selling "Catch a Falling Star." The fresh new songwriting team with a knack for penning pop-rock songs that teens could relate to would be behind all of the group's remaining hit singles. The breaking point came in the summer of '62 with "Keep Your Hands in Your Pockets"  kooky way to kiss!'), the group's final single to appear on the national charts.

Leaving Roulette in early 1963, they signed with ABC-Paramount and continued putting out semi-novelties. A couple of singles for Colpix in 1964 and '65 preceded a novelty 45 on Congress. By this time their records proved too dated to sell and "The Ballad of Stanley the Lifeguard," composed by the trio, ended their recording endeavours for several years. 

After four albums for Roulette, the novelty group broke up. They performed together off and on, then in 1971 produced a single "Dayenyu (That Would Be Enough For Me)," released by Bell Records. A permanent split occurred at some point resulting in Chic Hetti becoming a school teacher and Morey Carr going  into real estate.

Donny Conn worked in sales while keeping one foot in show business, singing and doing stand-up comedy and occasionally appearing on television. One of his routines was a take-off of a typical pompous speaker who says nothing, but with great authority. An association executive caught his act one night and asked him to appear at a convention. The success of that appearance opened up a new frontier for Donny Conn who became a professional speaker. He died in Malibu, California on September2, 2015 at the age of 85.

As for the other Playmate members; Morey Carr died from lung cancer in 1987. I am unable to find any news regarding Chick Hetti who was 90 this year.

(Edited mainly from Way back Attack)

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Marion Sumner born 28 March 1920


Marion Sumner ( 28 March 1920, Florida, USA - 17 August 1997, USA) known as the “Fiddle King of The South,” or “Fiddling Marion” was an influential country and bluegrass fiddler who 
performed with some of country music’s legends such as Roy Acuff, Kitty Wells and Don Gibson.

Raised in Vicco, Kentucky, which is where his family moved when he was a baby, Sumner learned to play the violin as a child.  He played with the Payroll Boys and made his radio debut in 1936 at Station WCPO, in Cincinatti, playing with the Harvey Brothers. He won a fiddle contest during the 1937 Black Gold Festival in Hazrad and was later picked up by the bands Cousin Emmy and the Johnny & Jack Band. During World War II worked with Molly O’Day, Lynn Davis, Eddie Hill, Johnnie Wright and others and soon became known as the ‘Fiddle King of the South’.

Playing with flair and enthusiasm, Sumner lived up to his title and developed a following among fans of traditional country music. Among his recording sessions with other artists are those with country singers Preston Ward and Don Gibson and with banjo player Lee Sexton. On another date he was joined by banjo player Freddie Campbell, guitarist and vocalist Sonny Houston, and bass player Phil Sexton. He also recorded duo fiddle sets with Jesse McReynolds (of Jim And Jesse).

Sumner’s first professional recording “My Eyes Are Still Dry” with Preston Ward, was released by King Records in 1947. He was said to have been able to play anything on a fiddle, from bluegrass to country, but he had a passion for Western swing.

Marion and his wife 1985

He travelled extensively working the nightclub circuits of Cincinnati, Columbus and Knoxville but recorded very little.



Records by Sumner are hard to find, but perhaps his best-known song is ‘Lost Indian’, which appears on a number of compilations of recordings by similar artists.


He died at his Kentucky home from heart problems 17 August 1997 (age 77).

Marion Sumner’s influence as a fiddler upon others of his generation was notable, particularly on Kenny Baker, who won wide acclaim as a sideman for Bill Monroe over a long period.
  
(Edited from AllMusic, minuteoflistening.org & Kentucky media obit)
Here’s Appalshop Archive  containing nearly 45 minutes of  early Headwaters Television Collection outtakes, raw footage: Jack Wright as St. Nick; studio performances by Marion Sumner, Dennis Breeding, Nick Stump, and Jack Wright; Wright interviews Sumner and Breeding from 1980.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Semprini born 27 March 1908


Alberto Fernando Riccardo Semprini (27 March 1908 – 19 January 1990) known by his stage name Alberto Semprini, or Semprini, was an English pianist, composer and conductor, known for his appearances on the BBC, mainly on radio. He also produced a prolific number of records for EMI.

Alberto Semprini, christened Alberto Fernando Riccardo Semprini, was born in Bath, as the son of an Italian father and an English mother. He studied composition, conducting and piano at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan, Italy, graduating in 1928. He began his musical career in 1934, with some jazz concerts and for the rest of the decade and early 1940s he worked in Italy as a pianist and as an orchestra leader performing a broad range of music. For some time, he was deputy conductor of the Scala Opera Orchestra in Milan.

In 1942, he toured the country with his Grande Orchestra Ritmo-Sinfonica, accompanying the likes of Lucia Mannucci and Ernesto Bonino. During the last stage of World War II, Semprini was
discovered by actor Michael Brennan, who served in the British armed forces. Brennan took Semprini back to England, where his semi classical style of piano play caught on, too.

In the meantime, Semprini kept on having a career in Italy as well. He composed songs and worked as an arranger and conductor in Milan’s studios for many artists (jazz singer Natalino Otto, for example), while also making recordings with his own ensembles, such as the Sestetto Azzurro and the Quintetto Ritmico. In 1954, Semprini, who at that time was considered a modernizer in the country’s light music industry, was asked to be the musical director of the highly popular Sanremo Festival.

Providing rhythmical accompaniment with his Sestetto Azzurro, Semprini worked with half of the participants (Katyna Ranieri, Flo Sandon’s, and Gianni Ravera, amongst others), the other half of them being trusted to the more traditionally sounding orchestra of maestro Cinico Angelini. In 1955 and 1958, Semprini received an invitation to return to the festival with his sextet. 1958 was the year he wrote the original orchestration of Volare for his sextet, with which he accompanied Domenici Modugno during his winning performance in the Sanremo Festival.


                             

In 1957, the BBC gave him the chance to exhibit his talents in his very own radio show, ‘Semprini Serenade’, which ran for 25 subsequent years until 1982. In it, Semprini showcased his versatility by playing keyboard arrangements of old and new songs, light classics and themes from films and shows. Initially, 
the orchestra accompanying him was the BBC Revue Orchestra under the direction of Harry Rabinowitz, but later ensembles led by other conductors took over, amongst whom Vilem Tausky. The show always opened with a tune composed by Semprini himself, ‘Mediterranean Concerto’, after which he used to utter his catchphrase ‘Old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones’. Many of the arrangements for both piano and orchestra were written by Semprini himself. He did more than 700 programmes of the weekday evening show Semprini also wrote a number of original light music compositions, including Concerto 
Appassionato and Mediterranean Concerto, which he used as the theme tune for his radio show. He was a prolific recording artist. 

His work was first released on the Italian label Fonit Cetra, then EMI Records, where he remained for the rest of his professional career. Although strongly associated with light music, his recordings were principally of well-known classical music, including the Grieg Piano Concerto and solo pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and Debussy

Perhaps his most unusual claim to fame is the fact that his name was used by the comedy team Monty Python as one of the prohibited words in their The Chemist Sketch (1971). In the sketch, anyone saying “Semprini” was arrested.

Semprini with his wife Consuela and family moved to Wivenhoe in 1979 from West Mersea where he had lived on a houseboat called  L’Esperance during the 1960’s/70’s. 

People would pause by the boat to listen to him play – he also practised on a grand piano in a storeroom at Clifford White’s builders shop in Barfield Road, in West Mersea.
He gave his last concert at the Mercury Theatre in April 1982. He told the Essex County Standard that he wanted to give up playing the piano as felt he had given the best of himself.  He was aged 74 at the time of this concert.   He even gave up playing privately, saying “it would be impossible to go the piano and play badly for myself, so I won’t do it”. This last concert at the Mercury was given to raise money for Soroptomist charities.


Semprini with his son Chris (left), wife Consuela
 and son Chevi (right) after receiving his OBE

Semprini raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years and was awarded an OBE at Buckingham Palace in London, 30th November 1983. In his later years Semprini suffered from  Alzheimer’s disease and died at his home in Brixham, in Devon, on January 19, 1990. 

(Edited from numerous sources mainly Wikipedia & andtheconductoris.eu)

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Brew Moore born 26 March 1924


Milton Aubrey "Brew" Moore (March 26, 1924 – August 19, 1973), was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.


The tenor saxophonist Brew Moore (Milton Aubrey Moore Jr.) was born in Indianola, Mississippi.. He showed musical prowess at an early age. As a child of 7 he started playing popular tunes on a toy harmonica that he had received as a gift for his birthday. After a 
few years he played in his junior high school’s band. Inspired by
the style of Lester Young, he got his first professional experience playing in a Texas territorial band the summer before entering college. After graduating he entered Mississippi University to study music but left after only one semester to pursue a career as a tenor saxophonist.

Moore left the University of Mississippi in his first year to pursue a performing career and quickly hired by the Fred Ford’s Dixielanders. Between 1942 and 1947 he played with different local bands in both New Orleans and Memphis.

In 1948 he moved north to New York where he first heard the new music called bebop. As one who idolized Young (he even held his horn at the same unorthodox 120 degree angle), Moore was at first uncomfortable with it, but as he recalled for The New York Times critic John Wilson in 1968: "When I heard what Bird (Charlie Parker) had done for himself, I realized that Pres was not the complete messiah. So I combined Bird and Pres and my own thing."

His first appearance on record as a sideman was with Howard McGee entitled Howard McGhee's All Stars .Moore became a fixture on the city's vibrant jazz scene, cutting his first album as a leader ("Brew Moore and His Playboys,") and working with Machito's orchestra and Claude Thornhill's Big Band, the Kai Winding sextet, Stan Getz and George Wallington among others. 

He returned  to New York in 1948 and in 1949 he joined three of the "four brothers" from Woody Herman's celebrated Second Herd (Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn) plus Allen Eager in a session that resulted in the album The Brothers for the Prestige Label.  In the early 50s he gigged with Bird and other beboppers of note at venues like Birdland. Pianist Gene DiNovi described him as "a
natural player. I remember him saying once that you should come to the saxophone as a child would—pick it up and blow. He had blond, straw-collared hair. Always with a farmer's cow-lick sticking up. He was a very simple, lovely person."

He left New York in 1954 for the West Coast, settling eventually in San Francisco where he found a congenial environment, fitting well into the beat generation culture personified by one of his acknowledged admirers, Jack Kerouac. His first record as the leader of The Brew Moore Qunitet was released in 1955.


                             

In 1959 due to alcoholism he fell seriously ill but recovered and in 1960 went on a tour of the Far East. Shortly after that, in 1961, he permanently moved to Scandinavia and lived in both Sweden and Denmark. He remained there the rest of his life, except for a brief 
time spent in the Canaries, working regularly in local clubs, touring and recording; he led 9 recording session during his dozen years in Scandinavia.

In August 1973, back in Copenhagen from a trip home to settle his late father's affairs (and, ironically, after years of economic uncertainty coming into a substantial inheritance), he fell down a flight of stairs in Tivoli Gardens after a characteristically bibulous night. He died on his way to hospital.

Storyville Records executive Alun Morgan suggests in liner notes for the CD reissue "No More Brew" that Moore's "total discography is small for a man of his musical stature" because of the saxophonist's unswerving adherence to his Lestorian roots. And indeed, as critic Scott Yanow has pointed out, "In the early '50s, 

Moore recorded with fellow tenors Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Alan Eager; at the time, they all sounded identical. Moore was the only one of the five who did not change his sound through the years."

Moore himself told critic Ralph Gleason in 1954, "The idea of playing for me is to compose a different, not always better I'm afraid, melody on the tune and basis of the original song, rather than construct a series of chord progressions around the original chords." An idea the more pre-bop inclined Gleason clearly approved of, noting that Moore "has two absolutely golden gifts. He swings like mad and he has soul . . . he also has a priceless gift for phrasing. . . . When Brew says it, he says it simply, but it rings true."



Brew’s is music is found on only a few recorded works, but his saxophone, like that of Charlie Parker, lives on as a collector’s item.  (Edited from Wikipedia & All About Jazz)

Footnote:

Brew Moore had a Danish girlfriend who died in 2011. Their daughter found Brew Moore's saxophone in the apartment, and commissioned Copenhagen wind-instrument shop I.K. Gottfried who overhauled and sold it at an undisclosed sum. (Source: saxmundstykker.dk)

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Anita Bryant born 25 March 1940


Anita Jane Bryant (born March 25, 1940) is an American singer and anti-gay rights activist. She scored four Top 40 hits in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including "Paper Roses" which reached No. 5 on the charts. She was also a former Miss Oklahoma beauty pageant winner, and was a brand ambassador from 1969 to 1980 for the Florida Citrus Commission

Although her family lived in Oklahoma City, entertainer Anita Bryant was born  at her grandparents' house in Barnsdall, Oklahoma. She lived in Velma-Alma, Tishomingo, Midwest City, and Tulsa. Her musical career began at a very early age. She first performed on-stage at the age of six, and three years later she won her first talent show. It was after this victory that she won a spot on Arthur Godfrey's talent show on television. From there her musical career blossomed, and the singer -- known as Oklahoma's "Red Feather Girl" -- made her recording debut in 1956 with the single "Sinful to Flirt."

In 1958, she was crowned Miss Oklahoma and moved on to the Miss America pageant, where she came in third thanks to her musical talents. "'Till There Was You" from The Music Man was Bryant's first chart-topping hit in 1959. She released three albums on the Carlton label (Anita Bryant, In Your Home Tonight, and In My Little Corner of the World), and hit number one again in 1960 with Bert Kaempfert's "Wonderland of Night."


                             

In 1962, Bryant switched to Columbia and recorded a series of inspirational titles as well as standard pop albums. From 1960 to 1967, Bryant served as a commercial spokeswoman for the Coca-Cola soft drink company. Her nickname was "The Coca-Cola Girl." In 1962 she changed to Columbia Records and continued to have a successful career. During this period she toured with the Billy Graham Crusade .For each Christmas from 1960 to 1966, she served as a member of Bob Hope's touring troupe of entertainers for the United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) visiting and appearing in shows for 
servicemen at many U.S. military bases in different parts of the world, including 3 in Vietnam in 1964, 1965 and 1966.

In 1968 she performed at both the Democratic and Republican presidential conventions. She has entertained several times at the White House, and she sang at former Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson's 1973 funeral. From 1968 to 1980, she appeared in 76 television commercials as a spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission.

In the 1970s she became a spokesperson for several products, including Florida orange juice, Coca-Cola, and Kraft Foods. She also authored a series of books. She also recorded several albums for the religious label Word, though the transition never lacked the boisterous singing style that had already been associated with her.

By the late 70’s, following her highly publicized anti-gay campaigning, gay activists in the country had ensured a boycott on Florida Citrus Commission due to their use of Bryant as their spokesman. The ban was supported by many celebrities, including Barbra Streisand , Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Bea Arthur, Paul Williams, John Waters, Carroll O'Connor, Mary Tyler Moore, and Jane Fonda. Anita’s outspoken position on the subject and the launch of the Anita Bryant Ministries eroded her commercial success.

Emboldened by her success in Florida, Bryant and her husband went national with their anti-gay message, but on October 14, 1977 while in Des Moines, Iowa,, a gay rights activist pushed a whipped cream pie into Anita Bryant’s face during a press conference. Her reaction was to say “Well, at least it’s a fruit pie.”

Good Housekeeping magazine named her the most admired woman in America in 1978, 1979 and 1980.She was also inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1980 Bryant and husband Bob Green divorced. In 1986 she was the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honour by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation..

In 1990 she married Oklahoma native Charlie Dry, a former NASA test crewman. She opened and headlined music theaters in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Branson, Missouri, and finally in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. She continued to sing in numerous performances throughout the season at the Anita Bryant Theater in Branson, Missouri, and later at her own theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The Pigeon Forge venue filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

In 2002 Bryant returned to Oklahoma, and in 2005 she performed at Barnsdall's centennial celebration and to have a street renamed in her honour. She returned to her high school in Tulsa on April 21, 2007, to perform in the school's annual musical revue.

As of 2008 Anita still lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, and is doing charity work for various youth organizations while heading Anita Bryant Ministries International.  (Edited from IMD, AllMusic & Encyclopedia of Oklahoma, History and Culture)