Helen Kane with the Leroy Holmes Orchestra MGM Records (1954)
Starlets and Pin-ups
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“Let’s Put the Lights Out” Columbia Records (1947) Jane Russell At the age of 25 in 1946, Jane Russell was a big movie star without many movies to justify her status. She had been signed to a seven-year contract by Howard Hughes at 19, and Hughes had spent nine months shooting her first film, The Outlaw, a western that was more about her cleavage than about its nominal subject, Billy the Kid. That got it in hot water with the Hays Office, and years went by while Hughes tinkered with the picture, then fought to get it released properly. Meanwhile, he had tens of thousands of photographs taken of Russell and lent her out for one other film, Young Widow. While she was waiting around for her movie career to take off, she got an offer from bandleader Kay Kyser to appear on his radio show, and after hearing her he signed her to a 12-week contract and even took her with him to Columbia Records for a couple of sides. As The Outlaw finally neared a New York opening, Columbia signed Russell on her own for this album, originally released on four 78s in 1947. The eight original tracks are bedroom ballads that she coos in a drowsy voice dripping with sex. The sentiments are well represented by such titles as “Do It Again” and “Love for Sale,” and on two songs, the title track and “Two Sleepy People.”