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16 Biggest Hits: Rosemary Clooney

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Album Review

Rosemary Clooney launched a solo career on the eventual Sony-owned Columbia Records label in 1950 after splitting with her sister Betty and the Tony Pastor Orchestra, and she racked up a series of hits before departing for RCA Victor in 1957, at which time her commercial success declined. 16 Biggest Hits contains 11 of her 16 biggest hits from this period, including her four number one singles, "Come on-a My House," "Half as Much," "Hey There," and "This Ole House." The five missing titles are the Top Ten hits "Beautiful Brown Eyes" and "The Night Before Christmas Song," the Top 20 hits "Be My Life's Companion" and "Too Old to Cut the Mustard," and the Top 40 hit "I'm Waiting Just for You." In their place, the compilers have substituted "Sisters," a duet between Clooney and her sister on an Irving Berlin song from her film White Christmas that was a Top 40 hit; "The House of Singing Bamboo," a duet with Guy Mitchell; "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," an Academy Award-winning song, on which Clooney is accompanied by Harry James and His Orchestra; "Sophisticated Lady" from Blue Rose, Clooney's album with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra; and a version of Cole Porter's "From This Moment On" that has not been released previously in the U.S. These are not unreasonable alternates to the missing songs, and 16 Biggest Hits manages a good balance between Clooney's popular novelty material and her more impressive ballad performances.

Customer Reviews

A fine jazz album marred by incredibly stupid samples

What is there to say about the brains of whoever decided that the so-called "sample" of Rosemary Clooney singing "Memories of you" would contain not even one single microsecond of her voice? I have no hope that anyone who can fix this barbarity will ever read this review, but since there's no other way to make the situation known, I'm doing what I can.

Rosemary Clooney has the voice of her era. It's warm, shapely, jazzy without being self-indulgent, perhaps a little weak at the top but always able to make you feel what the song wants you to feel. Her style is perfectly of the period--vocally skillful and very musical, perhaps a little technical sometimes.

Perhaps the most important way in which her music is of its time is her bubbly optimism. That's a quality really out of style today, but it can be really refreshing--or really trite in a few cases.

Most of these tracks are old--both sonically and stylistically. You would owe yourself to check out her later albums as well. But don't pass these up without a listen! The period audio style and period musical style go together really well!


Born: May 23, 1928 in Maysville, KY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Before the rock & roll revolution, Rosemary Clooney was one of the most popular female singers in America, rising to superstardom during the golden age of adult pop. Like many of her peers in the so-called "girl singer" movement -- Doris Day, Kay Starr, Peggy Lee, Patti Page, et al. -- Clooney's style was grounded in jazz, particularly big-band swing. She wasn't an improviser or a technical virtuoso, and lacked the training to stand on an equal footing with the greatest true jazz singers. However,...
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