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The Essential Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

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Album Review

Fred Astaire has been anthologized many times and in many ways, befitting his status as a statesman of song — if not vocal prowess. Columbia/Legacy fortunately found a different way to compile an Astaire collection with its 2004 disc The Essential Fred Astaire. Instead of a '30s collection with his commercial hits from the movies or a '50s collection charting his return to the studio for Verve, the compilers balanced material from several eras and sought out true movie recordings, many from his RKO classics of the mid-'30s. While not the equal — for record fans, at least — of The Cream of Fred Astaire (on Pearl Flapper), The Essential offers a much fuller portrait of Astaire's genius, including his duet with sister Adele on "Fascinating Rhythm," accompanied by George Gershwin on piano and more than six years before his movie debut; the film version of "Easter Parade" from 1948's As Thousands Cheer, a duet with Judy Garland; the title song to 1956's Funny Face with a few steps from Astaire; or "Nice Work if You Can Get It," from 1937's A Damsel in Distress, which rates a full tap solo.

Customer Reviews

makes you want to dance

This collection is amazing, and I could listen to Astaire all day. My personal favorites are "Puttin' On The Ritz" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It." It's worth noting that the "Ritz" version on here is the original unedited version. Also for some reason, the CD I have does include "Easter Parade," but it is not listed in the tracks above, despite it being mentioned in the review at the top of the page.


Genre: Musicals

Dancer, actor, and singer Fred Astaire worked steadily in various entertainment media during nine decades of the 20th century. The most celebrated dancer in the history of film, with appearances in 31 movie musicals between 1933 and 1968 (and a special Academy Award in recognition of his accomplishments in them), Astaire also danced on-stage and on television (garnering two Emmy Awards in the process), and he even treated listening audiences to his accomplished tap dancing on records and on his own...
Full Bio
The Essential Fred Astaire, Fred Astaire
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