Personality & Golden Throat



"Golden Throats" mostly are actors from film and television who were put up to the task of recording. While a few had singing ability, most failed miserably at the attempt, and many resorted to speech or "talk-singing." Despite the general lack of crooning ability, the expectations of stars were huge. Golden Throats, or their producers, sought the brass ring of hokey theatricality, often surpassing even go-nowhere lounge acts in desperation. Pretty faces, who could not and should not have emitted song, resorted to gruff, [tongue-in-cheek] love poetry and weirder gimmickery.

Notorious Golden Throats include Star Trek actors and the industry gag, Mrs. Miller. An ordinary housewife character who could not carry a tune to save her life, she was photographed in a psychedelic dress behind a plate of green "brownies" and charged with singing drug-reference songs. Like Mrs. Miller but with greater chutzpah was Dora Hall, heiress to the Solo (Dixie) Cup fortune. She "vanity published" album after album of abysmal covers of otherwise venerable rock hits.

Sullying the idiom still further were warbling politicians, exalting religious leaders, and stammering sports stars. Badsong abounds in comedy, spoofs, burlesque, satire, commercial tie-ins, and other idioms needing a boost from star power. The boost often came at a price; indeed the hallmark of astounding "personality" albums is compromised integrity. Should we have trusted television journalist Mike Wallace after he shilled for Zenith? Should we have bought a Zenith because it was Mike Wallace who read the script? Only one thing is certain: the ironic value in hindsight.

The sensationally awful did not always surpass the talented. Almost every popular "Golden Age" television series led to at least one record, from cartoons to cult shows such as "I Dream of Jeannie." And in many cases a hit single justifiably created public demand for an album. Successful albums led to spin-offs, notably the several terrific Warner Bros. albums with Connie Stevens and her costars from hit shows. Legitimate "thrushes" such as Linda Lawson, particularly those with singing roles on television, wowed audiences before both camera and microphone.

Not every singing actor is a Golden Throat. The great multi-talented stars of stage, screen, and studio --Fred Astaire, Eartha Kitt, Josephine Premice, Lena Horne, Annette Funicello, Ann-Margret, Tiny Tim, etc.-- are true singers. And it may be unfair to damn as Golden Throat abominations all the misguided crossover LPs, such as calypso and Hawaiian albums by country-western singers. Finally, a few key Hollywood figures, for instance exotica fans William Holden and Jon Hall, produced some fine musical albums (listed elsewhere).

See also: Hyp Records/Vinyl Safari's calypso & Hawaiian pages.

Buying: Start with Warner Bros. and descend to the murky depths of Dora Hall (and worse) as you dare. Especially hazardous are albums by Shatner, Cabot, and Quinn.



Golden-Throat LPs

Rating
6Jim Backus/Dennis Farnon: Magoo in Hi-Fi/Mother Magoo Suite; RCA Victor LPM-1362; 1957
7Warren Barker/Poncie Ponce/Connie Stevens/Robert Conrad: Hawaiian Eye ST; Warner Bros. WS-1355; 1960
9Edd Byrnes: Kookie--Star of "77 Sunset Strip"; Warner Bros. WS-1309; 1959
6Sebastian Cabot, Actor--Bob Dylan, Poet--A Dramatic Reading with Music; MGM SE-4431 (Family Affair)
6Yvonne de Carlo Sings; Masterseal; 1957 (Ten Commandments)
6Richard Chamberlin Sings; MGM SE-4088 (Dr. Kildare)
6Marlene Dietrich at the Cafe de Paris; Columbia ML-4975
5Marlene Dietrich: Lili Marlene; Columbia CS-1275
Marlene Dietrich: Wiedersehen mit Marlene; Capitol of the World T-10282
6Marlene Dietrich: Marlene--Songs in German by the Inimitable Marlene; Capitol of the World ST-10397
6Marlene Dietrich: Her Complete Decca Recordings; MCA 1501; 1980
7Troy Donahue/Connie Stevens/Ty Hardin/Stefanie Powers/Robert Conrad: Palm Springs Weekend ST; Warner Bros. WS-1519
6Mamie Van Doren: The Girl Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll; Rhino RNLP-70819; 1986 (compilation)
6Dick Van Dyke w/Enoch Light/Ray Charles Singers: Songs I Like; Command RS-33-860; 1963
4Vincent Edwards Sings; Decca DL-4311 (Ben Casey)
Joel Grey: Black Sheep Boy; Columbia CS-9794
3Dora Hall: Today's Great Hits; Dot DLP-75727 (Top of the Chart Hits; Reinbeau PRL-5000 & as Great Hits!; Cozy PL-1001-D)
2Dora Hall Sings Swing Jazz; Premore PL-100A ("disco jazz")
Dora Hall Sings Pop Country; Premore PL-102 (Cozy SP-102)
4Dora Hall: Children for Dora Hall (Imagine That; Premore PL-280; kids TV special)
3Dora Hall: Tramping; Premore PL-881
3Dora Hall: Country Western; Cozy/Premore 1005
3Dora Hall: Travelin' with Dora Hall; Cozy/Premore PL-1010
2Dora Hall: Down at Papa Joe's; Cozy/Premore PL-1101
2Dora Hall: The Great Country Hits--Series One; Cozy/Premore PL-1182
2Dora Hall Sings Top Teen Tunes; Cozy/Premore 9201
2Dora Hall: One More Time; Cozy/Premore 9204
2Dora Hall: Remember; Cozy/Premore PL-9205
2Dora Hall: Rose on Broadway; Cozy/Premore PL-9206
Dora Hall: Young Broadway, Young Hollywood; Premore
Dora Hall: Hits of the 60s & 70s; Premore (3-LP)
4Shirley Jones & Jack Cassidy: With Love from Hollywood; Columbia CL-1255 (Partridge Family)
7Bob Keeshan & the Honeydreamers: A Child's Introduction to Jazz; Golden GLP-29; 1958 (Captain Kangaroo w/Don Elliott, Dick Hyman, Allen Hanlon, Mundell Lowe, Hal McKusick, Sonny Igoe, Teddy Sommers, Sonny Russo, George Duvivia, Jack Zimmerman)
8Dorothy Lamour with Dick McIntyre & his Harmony Hawaiians: A Collection of Famous Hawaiian Songs 10"; Decca DL-5115
5Dorothy Lamour: The Road to Romance; Design DLP-45
4Mrs. Miller's Greatest Hits; Capitol ST-2494
4Mrs. Miller: Will Success Spoil Mrs. Miller?!; Capitol ST-2579
7Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing; Sidewalk/Camaret ST-5000 (the "drug" LP)
4Greg Morris: For You; Dot DLP-25851 (Mission Impossible)
5Leonard Nimoy: The Way I Feel; Dot DLP-25883 (Star Trek)
7Leonard Nimoy: Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space; Dot DLP-25794
6Leonard Nimoy: The New World of Leonard Nimoy; Dot DLP-25966
7Leonard Nimoy: Outer Space/Inner Mind; Paramount/Famous Twinsets 0698; 1974 (2-LP; all of 25794/compilation from other Dot LPs)
6Leonard Nimoy: Space Odyssey; Pickwick SPC-3199 (compilation from Dot LPs)
5Jack Palance: Palance; Warner Bros. WS-1865; 1970
7Poncie Ponce Sings; Warner Bros. WS-1453; 1962
7Vincent Price: Withcraft-Magic; Capitol SWBB-342 (2-LP; spoken)
7Anthony Quinn: In My Own Way...I Love You; Capitol ST-116
5Tony Randall: Warm & Wavery; Mercury SR-61128 (Odd Couple)
7Connie Stevens as "Cricket" in the Warner Bros. TV Show "Hawaiian Eye"; Warner Bros. WS-13825; 1960
6Connie Stevens: From Me to You; Warner Bros. W-1431; 1962
6Telly Savalas: Telly; MCA 436; 1974 (Kojak)
7Telly Savalas: Who Loves Ya Baby; MCA 2160; 1975
5Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren; Angel 35910-S
8William Shatner: The Transformed Man; Decca DL-75043 (Star Trek)
7Roger Smith: Beach Romance; Warner Bros. WS-1305; 1959 ("77 Sunset Strip" star; golden throat/calypso/exotica/Latin)
Orson Welles: I Know What It Is to be Young; GNP Crescendo GNPS-1206; 1984
7Mae West: Way Out West; Capitol/Tower ST-5028 (rock/psyche w/Somebody's Chyldren)
7Richard Williams: Where Do I Go; MGM QUS-5003 (Love, American Style)
7Wolfman Jack; RCA/Wooden Nickel WNS-1009; 1972/1971 (golden throat/funky rock/beatnik-jive)
7Warner Bros. Stars: We Wish You a Merry Christmas; Warner Brothers WS-1337 (Edd Byrnes, Poncie Ponce, Connie Stevens, Robert Conrad, Roger Moore..)


Partly Golden-Throat LPs

Rating
4Sammy Davis, Jr.: Now; MGM SE-4832; 1972 ("John Shaft")
5Johnny Williams: Penelope ST; MGM SE-4426-ST (mod/mod jazz/odd pop/golden throat "The Sun is Gray"--Natalie Wood)
4Various: The Fabulous 50s; Columbia P2S-5510 (2-LP, Rosie Clooney & Marlene Dietrich: Too Old to Cut the Mustard Anymore); 1977
7Various: Listen to the Banned; ASV Living Era AJA-5030; 1984/1927-33 (naughty and banned songs including Cliff Edwards & Mae West)
6Various: A Swingin' Summer ST; Hanna-Barbera HST-9500; 1965 (Raquel Welch: "I'm Ready to Groove"; also Swingers/Donnie Brooks/Carol Connors/Righteous Bros./Rip Chords)
5Various: Twilight of Honor ST & Other Motion Picture Themes (Richard Chamberlain); MGM E-4185-ST
6Various: Zenith Extended Range High-Fidelity Long Play Demonstration Record 10" (Mike Wallace, narrator); Columbia TV-26433


Golden-Throat 45s

Rating
8Jim Backus & Friend w/Mart Garson & Appleknocker: Delicious!/I Need a Vacation; Jubilee 5330 (comp. Mort Garson; see also Christmas 45s)
3Dora Hall: Hoochi-Koochi/I Don't Want Your Kisses; Premere PR-161
4Dora Hall: King of the Road/Party Line; Reinbeau (from Country Western
Dora Hall: New Boy/Franklin Street; Calamo PR-1005
3Dora Hall: I Won't Give Him Up/Did He Call Today, Mama?; Calamo PR-1009
3Dora Hall: Blue Christmas/Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree; Calamo PR-1024
3Dora Hall: Cum Saw Saw Du Vra Et/Born to Lose; Reinbeau PR-1033/HAW-PE-1
4Dora Hall: Bread & Butter/How's My Baby Tonight?; Reinbeau/Cozy PR-1075
4Dora Hall: You Made Me Love You/Rock-A-Bye Your Baby w/a Dixie Melody/Waiting for the Robert E. Lee/My Mammy; EPR-1158 (EP)
7Yaphet Kotto: Have You Ever Seen the Blues/Have You Dug His Scene; Buddah/Chisa CH-11-11 (golden throat/black-power rap)
7Poncie Ponce: Ten-Cent Perfume/No Huhu!; Warner Bros. 5244; 1962 (non-LP A-side)


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