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Did You Know?

Basically, you’ll find small facts about our favorite old school performers. Was actress Lynda Carter always an actress?

The legendary Marilyn Monroe, SpotifyThrowbacks.com

You know, having Marilyn Monroe here probably seems a little out of place. Most of the time, when we hear or read anything about Marilyn, it’s usually one of three following things. It’s either about her struggles as an actress; her scandalous relationship with Bobby Kennedy; or whether her death was an accidental overdose or murder. However, as strange as it may seem, I chose to write about her because believe it or not, Marilyn was also a talented singer too. Luckily for us, Spotify has a treasure trove of music history hidden in its massive library.

Happy Birthday Mr. President!




Not to sound arrogant or anything, but… I’m willing to wage a bet that for most people, the only singing anybody has ever remembered by Marilyn (if any) was her famous “Happy Birthday Mr. President.” Marilyn sung Happy Birthday to then president John F. Kennedy, for his 45th birthday in 1962. Well, I guess it would make sense, since back in those days, Marilyn was considered a sex goddess. That performance was such a big deal! LOL. She sang to the president in such a way, that it seemed she was trying to seduce the president on stage! 😳

The legendary Marilyn Monroe, SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Not only the late Marilyn Monroe could sing, she had several albums to prove it. Now, unfortunately it appears I can’t find any chart information for Marilyn, but that doesn’t mean that she did not have any popular music! Especially when it came to her movie soundtracks! One of the most popular songs I remembered growing up was a song called “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” The song was recorded in c. 1953. She performed this song in the movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and it became the inspiration for Madonna’s “Material Girl (1984).”

The legendary Marilyn Monroe. She wasn't just an actress, she was a beautiful singer as well!! SpotifyThrowbacks.com

You know, it’s a shame. Marilyn isn’t really spoken of, unless you happen to watch an old documentary about her, or some sort of conspiracy theory episode on one of those “unsolved mysteries” type of shows. But Marilyn had a powerful influence in American culture. From paintings, to fashion, film, photography, and even music performances. One good example is when Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) from “Bewitched,” turns in to her character “Serena.” She was basically a brunette version of Marilyn. Performers such as Madonna; even Donna Summer! It is said that Donna Summer literally channeled Marilyn when she recorded her hit song “Love To Love You Baby,” in 1975.

Stephanie Mills was the original Dorothy in The Wiz

Did you know that Stephanie Mills was the ORIGINAL Dorothy, of the first Broadway play of “The Wiz?” Yup! The play opened in 1975 thru 1977. I believe she performed for the entire two years (I think). I had the original Broadway album. You guys have got to hear her original live recording of “Home.” The song eventually shot to #1 on the R&B charts, and this became the start of Stephanie’s amazing career!


Did You Know?


Even today, every time I hear Stephanie sing Home, it brings chills down my spine. It was as tho that song was made just for her. No matter how many times she sings this song, when she picks up that mic, you know she’s going to tear it up lovely! I once read an article where she stated the auditioning she had to go through for The Wiz was brutal. I’m so happy she went through all of that, cause I can’t imagine anybody else doing this song so well. She was a powerful influence for young Black girls.

The legendary Valarie Simpson - Singer and songwriter, a forgotten artist, and forgotten half a duo

Ever since Valarie Simpson met Nick Ashford in 1963, they were inseparable. Together they’ve made some really massively remember-able hits; such as “Solid,” “Is It Still Good To Ya,” and “Street Corner,” just to name a fraction of their great works together. But, did you know that in addition to Valerie being an awesome singer, she was and still is a phenomenal songwriter in her own right? I happened to listen to an internet radio station that played TV jingles 24/7; and on that radio station, I’ve learned that Valerie written a lot of songs for commercials! I didn’t realize this at all.


Even Hershey’s Almond Joy


Even more surprising to me was that one of them (I considered to be) was one of the biggest ad campaigns of it’s time. She written and performed jingles for many companies such as “Canada Dry,” & Hershey’s “Almond Joy,” “because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.” 😂😂😜 I absolutely had no idea! But then again, even today, songwriters are not acknowledged and given much credit. You really have to dig and search for them nowadays. I found a tribute to Valerie on YouTube, singing some of her most famous jingles and themes. I’ll give you another tidbit… Did you know that Valerie co-wrote, along with her late husband Ashford, the lyrics to The Supremes’ hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough?” Now, that I knew! 😜 Homage to all the songwriters out there!!!

Rare photo of Smokey Robinson in the studio recording. I'm not sure what year this is

This is a very rare photo of the legendary Smokey Robinson. I’m not sure what year this is from, but my guest guess would be mid 70s. Did you know that this legendary singer also had a major cocaine problem? I didn’t. It’s funny, now that I think about it, I was always shocked of the physical changes I saw in Smokey’s photos over the years. Now that I know he struggled with addiction, it makes sense. It’s so amazing to see and hear these talented people, and with all that money, they still turned to drugs. Such a shame….

 

Did you guys know that our very own Lynda Carter was a singer before she became the iconic Wonder Woman? Yes!! As much as I love Lynda, I saw her as a better actress than a singer. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t sound bad at all, she has a very beautiful voice. Her music just isn’t something I would listen to more than once. It’s really an acquired taste. As far as I’m aware of, she hasn’t ever had a big hit (at least in terms of the major music genres). Not to sound mean but, I think her singing career is surviving because of her successful career as Wonder Woman. I don’t remember her doing any other major acting gigs other than Wonder Woman. If I remember correctly, I heard her say in a television interview that she loves singing more than acting…. She sang mostly music standards. If you’re curious to hear what she sounds like, check out her album called “Crazy Little Things,” released in 2011. According to The Music Billboard, the only hit she ever had was her reinterpretation of Etta James’s “At Last (2009),” which peaked at #10 on the Jazz Charts.

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