Haymes who was in top form during the same time the immortal Preston Sturges
movies were released, was the great baritone “Mohair Sam”
of his era: a top 40 musical boy singer hit machine from another time.
Although Dick didn’t work with Preston,
his cinema performance in the musical “State Fair” as well
as his reading of “How Are Things in Glocca Morra” from Finian’s
Rainbow are timeless.
Dick never lost his voice and continued
to perform right up to his passing in 1980.
Not sure if they have the words “Easy
Listening” in your Webster’s Dictionary, but if they do the
name Dick Haymes delivers the meaning of those words perfectly.
His music is simply superb, and we are so
thankful to Mike Kelly at United Cargo for these moments recalled.
I hope you and Sabiha are both keeping well
and staying sane! With the denizens of your Big Apple and my Windy City
told to go home and stay there, now’s a perfect time to celebrate,
or in this case commemorate, mankind’s premier artistic achievements.
In that spirit, I note that the best pop ballad singer in recorded history
passed away 40 years ago this Spring: Dick Haymes died of lung cancer
at age 61 on March 28, 1980.
The playlist features 10 tunes that prove
what I said is not hyperbole. The first four are from Dick’s mid-40s
reign leading the Hit Parade, the next two (with Helen Forrest) are from
the finest series of male-female duets in history, and the final four
come from the greatest ballad LP ever released: 1955’s Rain or Shine
As sublime as Dick’s voice was, however,
his personal life can only be described as a tragic mess. If he had brought
a tenth of the discernment and control he demonstrated in his singing
to the rest of existence . . . who knows?
But he didn’t, so there were a lot
of unkind words written about Dick Haymes while he lived. Forty years
after his passing, I hope your readers will listen and learn that the words used above are a more accurate description of
his legacy: words like “best,” “finest” and “greatest.”