In 2012, Sony Masterworks in New York
and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in Hollywood collaborated on a special
2-disc Doris Day compilation titled WITH A SMILE AND A SONG. The 30
selections on the collection were personally chosen by Ms. Day (see
Amazon and TCM websites for details) and all of the songs were drawn
from her Sony catalogue. The album was aggressively marketed by TCM
and its launch was linked to an evening of Doris Day movies presented
on the Turner Classic Movies channel.
I am happy to report that Sony and TCM have joined forces once again,
this time to celebrate the life and career of Mario Lanza in films and
on record. A terrific new 2-CD 30-track Lanza compilation titled MARIO
LANZA: THE TOAST OF HOLLYWOOD will be released on August 27th
on the TCM label. As part of a promotional campaign for the new collection,
an evening devoted to Lanza films on Turner Classic Movies has been
scheduled for September 18, 2013. Check out the TCM website for the
The new two-disc set, which I compiled, will contain 6 previously-unreleased
recordings and 3 new-to-Sony CD selections. Not bad for an artist who
has been gone for over half a century! Disc 1 is devoted to A
TENOR AT THE MOVIES, while Disc 2 captures A TENOR
IN LOVE. Track list and comments as follows.
TENOR AT THE MOVIES
MY LOVE (RCA)
LA DONNA E MOBILE (RCA)
LOVELIEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR (RCA)
The 1957 version (yet to appear on CD) was briefly considered
for this release, but in the end we went with the definitive RCA recording
DIDN’T BELIEVE ME (RCA)
YOU’RE MINE (RCA)
MARIA (RCA with Eudice Shapiro, violin solo)
Traviata: BRINDISI (RCA- with Elaine Malbin, soprano)
Elaine Malbin has been a steadfast supporter of Lanza’s legacy over
the years and it’s fitting that her delightful recording with Mario
be included in this new collection.
(MGM “Student Prince” Soundtrack)
Coke Show and a paint-stripper of a performance by Lanza; fearless
high notes and thrills galore.
Bohčme: CHE GELIDA MANINA (RCA)
DRINK, DRINK (MGM “Student Prince” Soundtrack)
ROMA (RCA 1957 Italian-English version)
E LUCEVAN LE STELLE (RCA)
I had planned to close out disc one with a previously unreleased
recording from the RCA archives but that will have to wait for a future
collection. No apologies required for its replacement, though; one
of Lanza’s most powerful and moving recordings.
2: A TENOR IN LOVE
Spoken Introduction by Lanza)
Trust me when I say the new collection is worth buying for this
track alone. Lanza’s spoken intro sets the perfect tone for this collection
of romantic Coke Show favorites.
IN, DAY OUT (PREVIOUSLY
This is the broadcast version of the song, a different take to
the track on the “Touch of Your Hand” album.
IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?
A perfect example of Lanza’s flawless diction and intuitive phrasing.
Even Sinatra can’t best him here; a standout recording and great to
have it on wide release at last.
NIGHT IS YOUNG AND YOU’RE SO BEAUTIFUL
BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
Gorgeous. We often talk about the ‘smile’ in Mario’s voice. Well,
he’s positively beaming here.
I LOVED YOU
YOU ALONE (Includes
Spoken Introduction by Lanza) (PREVIOUSLY
This Coke Show recording
was originally intended for the “You’ll Never Walk Alone” compilation.
Good to have it available on disc at last.
Mario sang two great songs from Show Boat on his radio
program: “You Are Love” and this charmer, finally getting a wide release
on a Sony product.
NEVER LOVE YOU (PREVIOUSLY
Short, sweet and very romantic.
NEVER WALK ALONE
LOVE THEE (PREVIOUSLY
Lots of Lanza lung power on this popular recording from the radio
I was taken to the woodshed by a few Lanza fans some years ago
when I chose the previously unreleased broadcast version of this song
for the “When Day Is Done” CD. Never mind that the collection had 22
songs, most of them new to Compact Disc and all of them presented in
pristine sound: Mannering had foolishly selected the 'wrong' take of
this great Rodgers & Hart standard. I’ve been wearing sackcloth
and ashes ever since but at last I can cast off my cloak of shame! Yes,
this is the 'right' version, the one first heard on the “A Kiss and
Other Love Songs” LP. To quote the Reverend Dodgson: O Frabjous Day!
Spoken Introduction by Lanza)
Lovely song with spoken intro restored for this release.
And there you have it: 30 great recordings
on 2 CDs in celebration of Mario Lanza’s career as THE TOAST OF
HOLLYWOOD. As always, I am grateful to the folks at Sony who went the
extra mile to source the rare material.
- Derek Mannering
THE CD HERE!