National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – June 5 – Mel Torme

0 Comments 05 June 2012

A real treat today folks,

The Velvet Fog.

I had no idea how truly talented Mel Torme was. Best-selling author, international movie star, composer, professional drummer & pianist and, obviously, one of the best singers of all time.

In 1975 Bing Crosby was asked by a disc jockey whose records he would want to have on a desert island. Along with jazz musicians, Crosby mentioned just one vocalist – Torme; adding, “Any singer that goes to hear this guy sing has got to go and cut his throat. He’s the best musical performer I’ve ever seen.”

As a composer, his best-known work, “The Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire) was famously covered by Nat King Cole and subsequently loved by moms everywhere.

What struck me while reading the obit is that I was already incredibly impressed with his resume and the line of the next paragraph started “Then he turned 30”. I was simultaneously even more impressed and excruciatingly depressed. Dimpressed I guess.

In closing if any of you guys out there can pull that strut Mel does around the 1:00 mark in the video above…it’ll be lights out for any female on the dance floor when you do. Hell, I was aroused when I saw it.

Get your Tuesday obits here….soft and sloppy!

Obituary: Mel Torme

Tom Vallance

Monday 07 June 1999

SINGER, ACTOR, writer, composer, arranger, drummer and pianist, Mel Torme was extraordinarily versatile, but he will primarily be remembered as one of the supreme popular vocalists of this century, a superb song stylist equally persuasive handling tender love-songs, swinging rhythm numbers or giving a cool jazz sound to the best of popular song.

As a singer, his name ranks in the top echelon along with Crosby and Sinatra, but he excelled them when it came to jazz stylings, particularly with the series of superb recordings he made with arranger Marty Paich starting in the mid-Fifties. As a composer, his best-known work, “The Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .”), is a perennial favourite, and his books include a novel, a biography of the drummer Buddy Rich and his own autobiography, It Wasn’t All Velvet. That title is an oblique reference to the label given him by the disc jockey Fred Robbins, “The Velvet Fog”, an attempt to sum up the warm, mellow timbre that gave Torme’s voice its unmistakable individuality. Continue

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.

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