22 April 2015

Peggy Lee & Marlene Dietrich: They're Playing Our Song!

Many Dietrich admirers know that Marlene never got around to singing two songs written for her, which have gone on to become standards: Autumn Leaves and Speak Low. (In  both cases, she withdrew from the projects they were written for).

Peggy Lee's biographer, James Gavin, adds another unsung classic to the list: Is That All There Is?, which became a late-career hit for Lee. (It is also the title of Gavin's book).

According to Gavin, songwriters Leiber and Stoller had Dietrich in mind when they wrote the song. Burt Bacharach arranged a meeting with Dietrich at her New York apartment where Jerry Leiber performed the song for Marlene, accompanied by Bacharach. Dietrich called the song "a lovely piece of material", and asked whether Leiber had ever seen one of her shows. Leiber admitted that he hadn't.

Then, in what Leiber called "the most consummate response" ever, Dietrich explained that she couldn't perform the song as "That song is about who I am, and not what I do."

11 April 2015

Kylie Minogue as Marlene.

From the spring issue of Sorbet magazine. Two of my favorites merge!

09 April 2015

The Testatrix Is Willing

Totally unrelated. Fred MacMurray & Marlene Dietrich
on the set of The Lady is Willing.;)
Marlene Dietrich's last will and testament as well as its codicil became public record after it was granted probate by the New York County Surrogate's Court in September 1992. Even though private recorded conversations and letters between Marlene and her friends as well as photographs of Marlene's wounded leg after her 1973 fall at Shady Grove Music Fair have circulated among Dietrich fans for years, her will--accessible to anyone--never appears to have emerged. Until now.