Tuesday, 27 October 2020

George Wallington born 27 October 1924

 

George Wallington (October 27, 1924, – February 15, 1993) was an American jazz pianist and composer.

Wallington was born Giacinto Figlia in Sicily, and then moved to the United States (New York) with his family in 1925. He was introduced to opera and the classics early in life. His father taught him solfeggio (sightsinging) and the lessons of his youth in classical piano had a strong influence on his later jazz work. He said that he acquired the name Wallington in high school: "I like to wear flashy clothes and the kids in the neighbourhood would say, 'Hey, look at Wallington!'" He left school at the age of 15 to play piano in New York.

Wallington first heard jazz on New York radio and listened to great players like Count Basie, Teddy Wilson and Jess Stacy. 'But it was hearing Lester Young with Basie that got me interested in jazz and made me want to learn the style. I started playing little clubs and dates with friends. Then I started playing around Greenwich Village and got a job at a club called George's where I played for Billie Holiday.' As he spread his net wider in the search for work he found himself playing opposite Liberace in Philadelphia.

Wallington was there when Charlie Parker first arrived from Kansas City. The combination of Parker and Dizzy Gillespie at that time in New York drew many young musicians into the crucible of bebop which they fired up. Wallington was one of the gifted young white pianists - the others were Al Haig and Dodo Marmarosa - who were able to get a grip on what was essentially a black music.

Black musicians, outraged at the way the Goodmans, Dorseys and Shaws had exploited what they, the black musicians, saw as their own music, tried to keep bebop to themselves. It is a testimony to Wallington's outstanding virtues that Gillespie hired him for his first bebop group, which played on 52nd Street in 1944. Wallington's way of playing was like that of the black pianist Bud Powell, but the two men had arrived independently at the style.

'Dizzy used to take me to his house and we'd play and he showed me his songs. Then he and Oscar Pettiford started the band at the Onyx. Charlie Parker was supposed to join us but he couldn't get a cabaret card. Anyway we had Don Byas, then Lester Young. Billie Holiday used to sing with us sometimes and Sarah Vaughan used to come in too. I don't know if we thought of what we were doing at the Onyx as something historic, but we did know we were doing something new and that no one else could play it.'

Wallington was then much in demand with the black players, and Parker used him on a recording he made with strings for Norman Granz. He wrote 'Lemon Drop', an early be-bop anthem with a nonsense scat vocal part. Among those who recorded the song were Woody Herman and Gene Krupa: over a million records of it were sold. Another composition was 'Godchild', which Miles Davis recorded in 1949 with his classic 'Birth of the Cool' band.


                              

Wallington played with the who's who of bop during 1946-1952, including Charlie Parker, Serge Chaloff, Allan Eager, Kai Winding, Terry Gibbs, Brew Moore, Al Cohn, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims, Red Rodney and recorded as a leader for Savoy and Blue Note (1950). In 1952 Gerry Mulligan called from Los Angeles to ask Wallington to travel out there. Wallington declined and the Gerry Mulligan pianoless quartet was caused by default. Mulligan kept the formula for decades.

Wallington visited Europe briefly in 1953 to tour with the Lionel Hampton orchestra - the only time he ever played with a big band. The band was full of young talent, including the trumpeters Clifford Brown and Quincy Jones. Hampton's wife fired the band's singer Annie Ross and left her stranded in Paris, promising to send Ross a ticket to return to the States. She didn't and Ross stayed in Paris for two years. Wallington felt she had been badly treated and resigned in protest.

Young talent continued to gravitate to Wallington and in the middle Fifties he had a regular quintet of rising stars - the trumpeter Donald Byrd, the altoists Jackie McLean and Phil Woods, the bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Arthur Taylor.

In 1960 Wallington gave up on the music business altogether citing the stress of endless touring and retired to work in his family's air-conditioning company, although he continued to play privately.

Following much interest in his work in Japan and the appearance of his old recordings there, he returned to the studios in 1983 to make his first recordings in 25 years: Virtuoso in 1984, Symphony of a Jazz Piano in 1986 and Pleasure of a Jazz Inspiration in 1992.His work proved to be as good as ever, and he was invited to play at the Kool Festival in 1985, but this was the sum total of his comeback. He died February 15, 1993 in New York City, NY

(Edited mainly from Steve Voce@ The Independent with help from Wikipedia & AllMusic)

Monday, 26 October 2020

Mike Piano born 26 October 1944


Mike Piano (born October 26, 1944, Rochester, New York), Jim Brady (born August 24, 1944, Los Angeles) and Richard Shoff (born April 30, 1944, Seattle) were the founding members of The Sandpipers. This American easy listening trio carved a niche in 1960s folk rock with their vocals and innovative arrangements of international ballads and pop standards. They are best remembered for their cover version of "Guantanamera", which became a transatlantic Top 10 hit in 1966, and their Top 20 hit "Come Saturday Morning" from the soundtrack of the film The Sterile Cuckoo in 1970.Singing in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Tagalog, the Sandpipers had seven separate album entries in the Billboard 200 from 1966-1970, and over a dozen charted singles.
Mike Piano

The trio first performed together in the Mitchell Boys Choir, before forming the Four Seasons with friend Nick Cahuernga. Due to the rising popularity of a group with that name from New Jersey, they changed their name to the Grads and continued as a trio.

Although the Grads did not enter the charts with their early recordings, they performed well enough to secure a residency at Harrah's Lake Club (now Harveys Lake Tahoe) where a friend brought them to the attention of Herb Alpert of A&M Records. Alpert was impressed with the Grads, but after one single without success the group agreed to a name change, choosing the Sandpipers out of a dictionary. After the name change, their producer, Tommy LiPuma, recommended they record the Cuban anthem "Guantanamera" and they had their first hit. The use of a female singer (Robie Lester, uncredited) to add background vocals on "Guantanamera" established a trend that the Sandpipers would incorporate in multiple future studio recordings and live shows.

Initially Kathy Westmoreland (de) (later with Elvis Presley) toured with the group to provide the lyricless vocals that were used much like second strings, adding an ethereal quality to the Sandpipers' sound. Later Pamela Ramcier was the primary back-up vocalist. At times two or more back-up vocalists were used. For the Sandpipers' first live show in San Diego, two female singers were on stage, the well-known folk singer Penny Nichols and Pat Woolley. Early pressings of the Guantanamera LP showed a five person group—two females with Piano, Shoff, and Brady—on the back cover while later pressings had just the male trio. Subsequent albums depicted only the original trio. Other backup singers followed including Stormie Sherk in 1967, and Diane Jordan and Kathy Westmoreland in 1969, also some pressings of the 1970 Come Saturday Morning LP credit "solo voices" Patrice Holloway, Carolyn Willis, and Susan Tallman.

"Guantanamera" charted in the United States in September 1966 and in the United Kingdom the following month, and remains the group's biggest hit, earning 1967 Grammy Award nominations for Best Performance by a Vocal Group and Best Contemporary Group Performance, plus gold record awards for the single and the album. They also had many lesser chart entries including cover versions of "Louie Louie", "The French Song" (Quand Le Soleil Dit Bonjour Aux Montagnes), and songs from the movies The Sterile Cuckoo and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

                              

The record sleeve for their 1966 album Guantanamera was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover - Photography. Dolores Erickson was featured on the front cover artwork. In 1967 the Baldwin Piano Company signed the group to promote the company's line of musical instruments. In 1968, following a South Africa concert tour, they participated at the Festival di Sanremo in Italy, a highlight on the Italian music calendar. They were, as then usual, alongside Anna Identici as one of the two performers of the song "Quando M'Innamoro," which attained sixth place. The song would become more popular in the interpretation by Gigliola Cinquetti. The English version by British pop singer Engelbert Humperdinck, "A Man Without Love", became a global hit.

In 1969, the group embarked on a European tour with appearances in London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Madrid, and Berlin. In 1970 "Come Saturday Morning" was nominated for Best Original Song and was performed by the Sandpipers at the 42nd Academy Awards ceremony. In the mid-1970s, Michael Piano left the group and was replaced in turn by Michael Brady, Gary Duckworth and Ralph Nichols (later with The Lettermen). The final 1979 single, "Singapore Girl", featured only Brady and Shoff.

Original member Michael Piano died on December 29, 2014 in Kauai, Hawaii. Jim Brady died on May 5, 2019 in Durango, Colorado.

The Sandpipers has also been the name of many others including a girl group from Florida; A vocal group who sang for Mitch Miller; A South African folk rock group; A female choral group from Conncticut; A South Florida trio; A new York group; A Detroit group; A Nashville group; A Malaysian group; An instrumental group and a backing group to country singers Gary Lane and Chris Beckett.

(Edited from Wikipedia)

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Sam 'The Man' Taylor born 25 October 1934


 Samuel Leroy Taylor, Jr. (July 12, 1916 – October 5, 1990), known as Sam "The Man" Taylor, was an American jazz and blues tenor saxophonist of the 1950’s who was a mainstay in studios throughout the decade and on multi-artist stage shows leading the band. The number of hits he played on is staggering and it was largely his economical, but still explosive, style that defined what role the tenor sax would play in vocal records in rock for years.

 A certified honking sax legend, his Non-stop drive and power worked perfectly in swing, blues, and R&B sessions. He had a huge tone, perfect timing, and sense of drama, as well as relentless energy and spirit.

Sam Taylor was born in Tennessee and like so many other musicians of his era he headed to Alabama State University and did time with the famed Bama State Collegians. He also worked with Scat Man Crothers and the Sunset Royal Orchestra in the late '30s.Moving into the professional ranks in the 1940’s he tried his hand in jazz, still the dominant style of the day, but began to move in a more populist direction playing with Cab Calloway for six years and then Lucky Millinder’s group.

By the late 1940’s he found himself recruited to cut sessions behind others and along with drummer Panama Francis and later on guitarist Mickey Baker, they became the first-call musicians for the huge number of record labels in and around New York during the 1950’s, most of whom were hip-deep in rock ‘n’ roll.

Not at all snobbish about slumming in this less technically adroit style, Taylor solidified the formula that was required to pack as much excitement into brief instrumental breaks without upending the singers or the song itself. Taylor toured South America and the Caribbean during his tenure with Calloway. Then, Taylor became the saxophonist of choice for many R&B dates through the '50s, recording with Ray Charles, Buddy Johnson, Louis Jordan, and Big Joe Turner, among others. He supplemented his studio work by acting as the bandleader for Alan Freed’s stage shows which were huge events and which in turn led to him leading the band under Freed’s name on albums that the disc-jockey concocted as promotional material..


                                

  Taylor played the saxophone solo on Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll". He also played on "Harlem Nocturne"; on "Money Honey", recorded by Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters in 1953; and on "Sh-Boom" by the Chords. He also did sessions with Ella Fitzgerald and Sy Oliver. He played sax and clarinet on an album of poetry made by Langston Hughes in 1958, and his solo albums usually had a ‘Misty’ theme, with ‘Blue Mist’, ‘Misty Mood’ and ‘Mist of the Orient’. During this period Taylor had long term deal with MGM for his own singles but in spite of some quality outings they failed to make an impact as he had little name recognition with audiences who knew his work but not his name.

Taylor with Alan Freed.

By the 1960’s there was less reliance on session musicians in rock and Taylor led his own bands and recorded in a quintet called the Blues Chasers. In the In the 1970s he began touring overseas where he built up a large following in Japan. He wound up cutting a number of popular albums there that were far more tranquil than his heyday as rock’s leading saxophonist.

Taylor passed away  in Crawford Long Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia, October 5, 1990 at the age 74. Despite being the arguably most important session musician in rock during the 1950’s he hasn’t been inducted into The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame, remaining all but anonymous in the afterlife as he was in life itself. 

(Edited from Wikipedia, AllMusic & spontaniouslunacy.net)

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Bettye Swann born 24 October 1944


Betty Barton (born October 24, 1944), better known by the stage name Bettye Swann, is a retired American soul singer. She is best known for her 1967 hit song "Make Me Yours". For one with such a fabulous voice and given the quality of her output, Bettye Swann criminally failed to get the recognition she deserved.

For collectors of 60’s and 70’s Soul music she is highly revered and popular artist. In a recording career lasting around fourteen years or so from 1964 to 1978 she recorded some 20 singles and three LP’s for Money, Capitol, Fame and Atlantic with very little recognition commercially. 

Southern soul chanteuse Bettye Swann was born Betty Jean Champion in Shreveport, Louisiana, one of 14 children. She grew up in Arcadia, Louisiana, and moved to Los Angeles, California in 1963. Although some sources state that Swann was in a vocal group known as The Fawns who recorded for Money Records in 1964, she has refuted this, saying that she sang with a trio in Arcadia by that name. 

In 1964, Swann started a solo singing career, changing her name to Bettye Swann at the prompting of local DJ Al Scott, who became her manager. After a minor hit with the self-penned "Don’t Wait Too Long", the first of a series of Arthur Wright-produced singles for the independent Los Angeles label Money, her big breakthrough came with "Make Me Yours", which topped the Billboard R&B charts in July 1967 and made #21 on the Billboard Hot 100.This song also served as the title for her first full-length LP. 

                           

1967 saw the release of three more Money singles -- "Fall in Love With Me," "Don't Look Back," and "I Think I'm Falling in Love" -- while the next year heralded a leap to major label Capitol for "My Heart Is Closed for the Season." The follow-up, "Don't Touch Me," was the first single released from Swann's second long-player, The Soul View Now; Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me? followed in 1969, highlighted by the minor hit "Little Things Mean a Lot.” 

After a one-off single for Fame, 1971's "I'm Just Living a Lie," Swann transferred to Atlantic Records; her label debut, "Victim of a Foolish Heart," cracked the R&B Top 20 in 1972, and was revived over three decades later by blue-eyed soul upstart Joss Stone. Her next Atlantic effort, "I'd Rather Go Blind," was notable in large part for its B-side, a reading of Merle Haggard's "Today I Started Loving You Again," that proved Swann a superb interpreter of country-soul -- 1973's "Yours Until Tomorrow" was backed by another Nashville cover, this time Tammy Wynette's "Til I Get It Right." 

In 1974, she made a return to the lower rungs of the Billboard Hot 100 with "The Boy Next Door" -- the flip side, "Kiss My Love Goodbye," found Swann operating firmly in Philly soul territory, its slick, urbane production courtesy of the Young Professionals team of LeBaron Taylor, Phil Hurtt, and Tony Bell. With 1975's "All the Way In or All the Way Out" she again enjoyed minor chart success, but subsequent recording sessions are undocumented,.

Following the death of her husband and manager, Bettye Swann retired from the music industry aged thirty-six. It was then that Bettye decided upon a change of name and career. In a sense Bettye Swann died and Bettye Barton was born. The “newly born” Bettye Swan embarked on a career in education in Las Vegas and became a Jehovah’s Witness. Never again, did Bettye return to soul music. 

That was a great shame. Bettye Swann was one of the most talented singers of her generation. She could breath life, meaning and emotion into lyrics. They were transformed, and the song took on new meaning. Sometimes, it seemed as if Betttye Swann had lived and survived the lyrics. However, despite her undoubtable talent, Bettye Swann didn’t scale the heights that Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight did. Nor did Bettye Swann make a fortune from music. Far from it. Bettye Swann made very little money from music. It’s only relatively recently that Bettye Swann has received a small income from the various compilations of her music that have been released. 

Her one foray into the public eye was in 2013 when she was persuaded to visit the UK for an appearance at the Cleethorpes soul weekender. She was in good voice and enjoyed herself, singing her heart out to a big audience who clearly adored her and knew every word of her songs. Bettye's personality shone through and as the show went on she came to realise just what a great reception she was receiving and a huge grin came over her face. 

Nowadays, Bettye is retired, and lives quietly in Las Vegas. She is a modest and humble woman, who doesn’t court publicity.  Instead, Bettye has spent so much of her life helping others. Very few of these people will even be aware of her past, or her rich musical legacy. 

(Edited from AllMusic, Wikipedia & Dereks Music Blog)

Cleethorpes Weekender 7/8/9th June 2013.  Here’s Bettye singing one of her most popular songs on the UK's Northern Soul Scene "Kiss My love Goodbye". The sound quality is a bit poor due to too many people were in front of the speakers. Also the stage monitor speakers were I believe also turned down. Still great to see Bettye in action. 

Friday, 23 October 2020

Katie Lee born 23 October 1919

Katie Lee (October 23, 1919 – November 1, 2017) was an American folk singer, actress, writer, photographer and environmental activist. The folk singer Burl Ives once called her “the best cowboy singer I know.” 

From the 1950s, Lee often sang about rivers and white water rafting. She was a vocal opponent of Glen Canyon Dam, which closed its gates in 1963, and called for the canyon to be returned to its natural state; for her environmental activism, was often called "the Desert Goddess of Glen Canyon." Her obituary in The New York Times states, "Ms. Lee never forgave the builders of the Glen Canyon Dam and said the only thing that prevented her from blowing it up was that she did not know how." 

Kathryn Louise Lee was born in Aledo, Illinois on October 23, 1919 to decorator Ruth (Detwiler) and architect and homebuilder Zanna Lee. When she was three months old, her family moved to Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama. Following her graduation, she left for Hollywood where she studied with two of the most successful folksingers of the 1940s, Burl Ives and Josh White. 

Lee's early folk music albums, Spicy Songs For Cool Nights (1956) Songs of Couch and Consultation (1957) and Life Is Just a Bed of Neuroses (1960), parody the rising popularity of psychoanalysis at the time. Speciality records also issued two singles which were more exotica than folk. Most early albums have long been out of print, but six of her later CDs remain available. She also released three videos, including Love Song to Glen Canyon. 


                           

Eloquent and blissfully profane, Ms. Lee joined conservationists like David Brower, executive director of the Sierra Club, and the writer Edward Abbey to try to stop construction of the 710-foot-high Glen Canyon Dam in Northern Arizona, which opened in 1963. She became part of the chorus of environmentalists that ever since has demanded that the canyon be restored. 

Her enchantment with Glen Canyon began in 1953 during a visit with friends and continued when she became a river runner. She adored its rapids, and the breezes that she said sounded like voices speaking to her. She swam nude in its potholes and waterfalls. She explored its 125 contoured side canyons, each of them named (some by her), and each one a different aesthetic experience. Her anger at the federal government, in particular the Bureau of Reclamation, which built the Glen Canyon Dam, fueled her music and made her a magnet for filmmakers. In her ballads, she sang about rivers and boatmen. In her protest songs, she rebuked dam builders. 

In 1964, Lee released an album on Folkways Records, entitled Folk Songs of the Colorado River. In the 1980s, she recorded a cassette-only release, Colorado River Songs, consisting of old songs popular among river runners on the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon, and some original compositions. This release was hailed by Edward Abbey and David Foreman, among others. Colorado River Songs was expanded to include more songs and re-released in 1997 on CD. She released Glen Canyon River Journeys on CD, which mixes music and her narration. She also was featured on the 2005 Smithsonian Folkways compilation album, Songs and Stories from Grand Canyon. In October 2011, Katie Lee was inducted into the Arizona Music Hall of Fame. 

She authored five books. Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle: A History of the American Cowboy in Song, Story and Verse (1976) is a study of the music, stories, and poetry of the American cowboy, later recorded as an album with Travis Edmonson. Sandstone Seduction, a 2004 memoir, relates Lee's continuing love affair with desert rivers and canyons, and discusses her Lady Godiva-style bicycle ride through downtown Jerome, Arizona, where she lived. 

Records indicate that Lee seems to have been married three times. She was first married to Charles Eld, who was mentioned in her book Sandstone Seduction. The N.Y. Times obituary mentions a second husband named Eugene Busch whom she married in 1958. The marriage lasted 3 years and then Katie moved to Aspen, Colorado from New Jersey in 1961.She met her last husband Edwin Carl "Brandy" Brandelius, Jr (.to whom her book Sandstone Seduction is dedicated) on a trip to Baja California in 1968. Brandy was a war veteran, a race car driver, announcer, and good friend of Turk Murphy. Lee noted Brandy as the prime influence on finishing and publishing her first book, Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle. Brandy died in 1973 while they were married. 

Lee lived in Jerome, Arizona from 1971. She died in her sleep at her home there on November 1, 2017, aged 98. In 1979 she met Joey van Leeuwen in Australia while on a round-the-world trip, who became her partner. He committed suicide the day after her death. Katie and Joey were cremated and their ashes were scattered on the San Juan River. 

(Edited from Wikipedia & The NY Times)

The inimitable Lee has been in many films, but the short doc Kickass Katie Lee, made by Beth and George Gage (the creators of Bidder 70), takes a different, more personal look at this indomitable spirit.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Owen Bradley born 21 October 1915

William Owen Bradley (October 21, 1915 – January 7, 1998) was an American musician and record producer who, along with Chet Atkins, Bob Ferguson, Bill Porter, and Don Law, was one of the chief architects of the 1950s and 1960s Nashville sound in country music and rockabilly.

Bradley with Patsy Cline

As one of the architects of the Nashville sound, Owen Bradley was one of the most influential country music producers of the '50s and '60s. Along with his contemporary Chet Atkins, Bradley helped country music move away from its rootsy origins to a more accessible, radio-friendly format by blending pop production and songwriting techniques with country. Bradley's country-pop productions relied on non-traditional country instruments like light, easy listening piano, backup vocals, and strings, using steel guitars and fiddles as flourishes instead of a foundation. This smooth production style helped make Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee into stars during the '50s, and its success often overshadowed Bradley's other musical contributions. 

Bradley with Gabe Tucker,
Bob Moore & Slim Whitman

A native of Westmoreland, Tennessee, Bradley learned piano at an early age, and began playing in local nightclubs and roadhouses when he was a teenager. At 20, he got a job at WSM-AM radio, where he worked as an arranger and musician. In 1942, he became the station's musical director, and was also the leader of a sought-after dance band, joined later by vocalists Bob Johnstone and Dottie Dillard, that played well-heeled society parties all over the city. That same year he co-wrote Roy Acuff's hit "Night Train to Memphis". He kept the band up until 1964, although in the intervening decades, his work as a producer would far overshadow his own performing career.


                   

In 1947, Bradley took a position as a music arranger and songwriter at Decca Records. He worked for Paul Cohen on recordings by some of the biggest talents of the day, including Ernest Tubb, Burl Ives, Red Foley and Kitty Wells. Learning from Cohen, he eventually began to produce records on his own. When his mentor left the label in 1958, Bradley became vice president of Decca's Nashville division, and began pioneering what would become the "Nashville sound". 

Ernest Tubb & Bradley

Patsy Cline was Bradley's most successful country-pop production. He had worked with her when she was with Four Star, but when she signed with Decca, Cline's music shifted toward country-pop and she began a string of Top Ten hits. Following her success, other artists that he produced in that style, most notably Brenda Lee, became successful as well. During this time, Bradley also produced harder-edged hits by Webb Pierce and Kitty Wells. In addition to his record production, Owen released a handful of records by his instrumental quintet, including the minor 1958 hit "Big Guitar." With his brother Harold, Bradley produced a half-hour television series, Country Style U.S.A., during the late '50s. 

Bradley bought a farm outside of Nashville in 1961, converting a barn into a demo studio. Within a few years, the barn was upgraded to a first-class recording studio called Bradley's Barn, and over the next two decades it became one of the most popular and legendary studios in country music. In 1980, it burned down, yet it was rebuilt with a few years in the exact same spot. 

Throughout the '60s and '70s, Bradley worked with many of Decca's most famous artists, including Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. In 1974, Bradley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

In the early '80s, he retired from full-time producing, yet he continued to work on the occasional special project. His last major work was k.d. lang's 1988 album, Shadowland. Bradley died January 7, 1998.    (Edited from Wikipedia & AllMusic) 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Julie Wilson born 21 October 1924


Julie May Wilson (October 21, 1924 – April 5, 2015) was an American singer and actress "widely regarded as the queen of cabaret". She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 1989 for her performance in Legs Diamond. 

Cabaret singer and musical theatre star Julie Wilson was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the daughter of Russell Wilson, a coal salesman, and Emily Bennett Wilson, who became a hairdresser. She displayed an interest in theater and music in her youth and began singing with local bands at the age of 14. She enrolled at Omaha University, majoring in drama with a minor in music, but dropped out when she successfully auditioned to replace an ailing performer in a road tour of the musical revue Earl Carroll's Vanities that had come to town. She stayed with the tour six months, leaving when it got to New York in the spring of 1943. 

In New York, she embarked on a career as a nightclub singer that led to engagements at prestigious clubs such as the Latin Quarter and the Copacabana. She also occasionally sang with big bands such as those of Johnny Long and Emil Stern. She made it to Broadway as an understudy in the 1946 revue Three to Make Ready. She spent much of the late '40s on the West Coast, performing in such clubs as the Mocambo in Los Angles and the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco. 

She replaced Lisa Kirk as the second female lead in Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate on Broadway in 1949, was a member of the national touring company from 1949 to 1951, and on March 8, 1951, opened in the London production, which ran for 501 performances. Along with other members of the cast, she made recordings of the show's songs for the English Columbia label. She starred in the London musical Bet Your Life (February 18, 1952), which ran for 361 performances and produced a cast album on the English Columbia label, and she replaced Mary Martin in the starring role in the London production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific. 

Julie with ray Anthony

While remaining based in London, but commuting back to New York, she resumed her career as a nightclub singer, appearing in the Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel. She also recorded for Philips Records in London. She was a replacement in the starring role in the Broadway musical The Pajama Game and later also appeared in the London production. She moved back to New York permanently in 1955 and released her debut album, Love, on Dolphin Records in 1956. 

                              

She appeared in two films in 1957, the drama The Strange One and the musical comedy This Could Be the Night. The latter produced a soundtrack album released by MGM Records on which she appeared. She also appeared in an American television production of Kiss Me, Kate in 1958. 

She made three more albums, My Old Flame (1957) and Julie Wilson at the St. Regis (1958) for Vik Records, and Meet Julie Wilson (1962) for Cameo Records, but she became less active after marrying theatrical producer Michael McAloney in 1961 and bearing him two sons in the mid-'60s. (They later divorced.) She originated her first role on Broadway in the musical Jimmy (October 23, 1969), which ran for only 84 performances, but produced a cast album released by RCA Victor Records, and quickly followed with the even less successful Park (April 22, 1970), which ran only five performances.

In the early '70s, she appeared in the national touring companies of the Stephen Sondheim musicals Company, Follies, and A Little Night Music, but in 1976, after releasing the albums Julie Wilson at Brothers & Sisters, Vol. 1 and Julie Wilson at Brothers & Sisters, Vol. 2, she retired from performing and moved back to Omaha to care for her ailing parents. She returned to show business in January 1984 with a celebrated engagement at Michael's Pub in New York devoted to the music of Porter. 

Now in her sixties, she was rediscovered as a major cabaret singer, performing at such tony venues as the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel and the Café at the Carlyle Hotel. She signed to DRG Records and made a series of songbook albums devoted to the work of Broadway composers Sondheim (1988), Kurt Weill (1988), Harold Arlen (1989), Porter (1989), George Gershwin (1999), and Cy Coleman (2000). 

She returned to Broadway in the Peter Allen musical Legs Diamond (December 26, 1988), which ran only 64 performances, but produced a cast album released by RCA, then starred in the off-off-Broadway production of the Bob Merrill musical Hannah...1939, which ran for 46 performances at the Vineyard Theatre after opening, on May 31, 1990 and was recorded by the British That's Entertainment Records (TER) label. 

Julie Wilson died at the age of 90 on April 5, 2015 in Manhattan after having suffered two strokes over several days. . (Edited from AllMusic & Wikipedia)