Annette Hanshaw & Ben Selvin and the Crooners Orchestra – Happy Days are Here Again

positive musicAnnette Hanshaw & Ben Selvin and the Crooners Orchestra – Happy Days are Here Again

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Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
Let us sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Altogether shout it now
There’s no one
Who can doubt it now
So let us tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again

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Your cares and troubles are gone
There’ll be no more from now on,

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So, let us sing a song of happy cheer again,

Happy, happy, happy days
Are here again!

About Happy Days Are Here Again:

Happy Days Are Here Again” is a song copyrighted in 1929 by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics). The song was recorded by Leo Reisman and His Orchestra, with Lou Levin, vocal (November 1929), and was used in the 1930 film Chasing Rainbows. Today, the song is probably best remembered as the campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) successful 1932 Presidential campaign. Since FDR’s use of the song, it has come to be recognized as the unofficial theme of the Democratic Party. The lyrics suggest optimism and buoyancy.

Matthew Greenwald characterized it, “A true saloon standard, Happy Days Are Here Again is a Tin Pan Alley standard, and had been sung by virtually every interpreter since the 1940s. In a way, it’s the pop version of Auld Lang Syne.” The song is #47 on the Recording Industry Association of America’s list of “Songs of the Century”.

One of the most influential recordings of the song was made 33 years after its first recording; this was Barbra Streisand’s version in her 1963 album debut The Barbra Streisand Album. She also sang this song on The Judy Garland Show, in a medley with Judy Garland’s Get Happy. While the song is traditionally sung at a brisk pace, her recording is notable for how slowly and expressively she sang it. By 2006, 76 commercially released albums included versions of the song.

About Annette Hanshaw:

Annette Hanshaw (Oct.18,1901 – March 13,1985) was one of the first great female jazz singers. In the late 1920s she ranked alongside Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith and the Boswell Sisters. Her singing style was relaxed and suited the new jazz-influenced pop music of the late 1920s. Although she had a low opinion of her own singing, she continues to have fans because of how she combined the voice of an ingenue with the spirit of a flapper.

Hanshaw made her one and only appearance on film in the 1933 Paramount short Captain Henry’s Radio Show, “a picturization” of the popular Thursday evening radio program Maxwell House Show Boat, in which she starred from 1932 to 1934. Annette Hanshaw was a popular singer and radio star of the 1920s and early Thirties who had many Jazz overtones in her singing style. She stepped out of her role of a torch singer and improvised and had a great deal of swing that harkened to the Big Band singers of the 1930s. She was viewed by the public as the epitome of a flapper.

She was known as “The Personality Girl,” and her trademark was girlishly saying “That’s all” at the end of a lot of her records. Annette Hanshaw recorded under a number of pseudonyms which included Ethel Bingham, Dot Dare, Gay Ellis, Marion Lee, Janet Shaw, Lelia Sandford and Patsy Young. Annette Hanshaw never thought much of her abilities as a singer and retired from showbiz in 1935. Having grown tired of show business, in the late 1930s Annette Hanshaw retired and settled into married life with her husband, Pathé Records executive Herman “Wally” Rose. Later in life, in a would-be comeback, she recorded two demo records, but they were never released.

Between September 1926 and February 1934, she recorded prolifically. From 1926-1928 she recorded for Pathe (her sides were released on both the Pathe and Perfect labels). Starting in June 1928, she recorded for Columbia; most of these were issued on their dime store labels Harmony, Diva, Clarion and Velvet Tone. A handful were also released on their regular price Columbia and OKeh. Although most were released under her own name, she was renamed Gay Ellis (for sentimental numbers) and Dot Dare or Patsy Young (for her Helen Kane impersonations). Starting in August 1932, she began recording for the ARC with her recordings issued on their Melotone, Perfect, Conqueror, Oriole and Romeo. Her final session, February 3, 1934 was placed on ARC’s Vocalion label.

About Ben Selvin:

Ben Selvin (March 5,1898 – July 15,1980), son of Russian-immigrant Jewish parents, was a musician, bandleader, record producer and innovator in recorded music. He was known as The Dean of Recorded Music. Selvin started his professional life at age 15 as a fiddle player in New York City night clubs. A “husky” lad, he looked older than he was and as such was permitted into such establishments. A mere six years later, as leader of his own dance band, the “Novelty Orchestra,” Ben Selvin released the biggest-selling popular song in the first quarter-century of recorded music. That single, Dardanella, eventually went on to sell more than 5 million copies and an additional 2 million pieces of sheet music.

Originally a violinist, Ben Selvin probably made more records than any other bandleader of the 78 rpm era, his career in the record industry spanning decades. He may be best known among record collectors not for specific recordings but for quantity. Articles on page 145 of the January 1924 issue of Talking Machine World and page 86 of the January 1924 issue of Metronome celebrated Ben Selvin‘s 1,000th record–this was early in Ben Selvin‘s career. The articles, evidently based on the same press release prepared by Selvin himself, state that the musician was “twenty-five years of age.” Page 67 of the February 1925 issue of Metronome states that Selvin “recently made his 1200th phonograph record.” He remained important in the record industry for decades, even becoming a vice president of Columbia during the heyday of Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Doris Day and Buddy Clark. Later he was an A & R man for RCA, overseeing the popular RCA Camden series of reissued material until forced to retire at age 65. When nineteen years old, Ben Selvin organized his own orchestra (Ben Selvin and His Orchestra) and played at the Moulin Rouge for Broadway’s record orchestral run–a run of seven years.

During the Columbia era, he recorded under many different names including “The Broadway Nightlites”, “The Knickerbockers”, “The Columbians”, “The Cavaliers”, “Barney Trimble and his Oklahomans”, “Perley Stevens and his Orchestra”, “Jerry Mason and his Californians”, “The Harmonians”, “Rudy Marlow and his Orchestra”, “Columbia Photo Players”, “Frank Auburn and his Orchestra”, “Kolster Dance Orchestra”, “Lloyd Keating and his Music”, “Earl Marlow and his Orchestra”, “Ed Loyd and his Orchestra”, “Ray Seeley and his Orchestra”, “Sam Nash and his Orchestra”, “Mickie Alpert and his Orchestra”, “Johnny Walker and his Orchestra”, “Chester Leighton and his Sophomores”, “Wally Edwards and his Orchestra”, “Roy Carroll and his Sands Point Orchestra”, “Buddy Campbell and his Orchestra”, “Golden Terrace Orchestra”, “Bar Harbor Society Orchestra”, “Ted Raph and his Orchestra”, “Georgia Moonlight Serenaders”, “Cloverdale Country Club Orchestra”, and “Ed Parker and his Orchestra”

According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Ben Selvin recorded more musical sides (on 78-rpm discs) than any other person. One reason for this prolific output is that he recorded for dozens of different labels during this high-growth time in the industry, using a different name (or slightly different name) for each label. Selvin’s output has been estimated at 13,000 to 20,000 song titles.

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