Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Gott'n Idea" by Alma Cogan

It was still early in her career when Alma Cogan was being proclaimed throughout England as 'The Girl With the Laugh In Her Voice' owing to the spontaneous giggle she'd let slip in her 1953 recording of If I Had A Golden Umbrella...

Yet from these earliest professional appearances - such as on the BBC's radio comedy program Take It From Here (alongside the likes of June Whitfield) in that same year - Cogan's silky vocals were well-sought-after, and she recorded a string of hits (mainly cover versions of American songs) in the 1950s; probably the best known of these is her only #1 hit, Dreamboat. During this time she would become England's highest paid female performer...

By the 1960s Cogan's image was well out of date with the hipsters who bought the majority of the records, and in the face of increased apathy by the major labels she became better known as a hostess to London's glittering elite*, including The Beatles - whom she'd met in January 1964 during the filming of Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Hoping to capitalize on her connection with the world's most popular band, Cogan hustled back into the recording studio - in fact, Studio 1 at Abbey Road Studios, where so much of Lennon and McCartney's magic was to be wrought - but it was to be all in vain...

Alma Cogan died - of ovarian cancer, her system badly weakened owing to experimental diet treatments - on this day in 1966 following a three-week stay at Middlesex Hospital, before she could be embraced by a new generation as camp. She was 34.

Here we see her performing Gott'n Idea for the noted arranger formerly known as Wally Stott in 1955's The Eric Winstone Bandshow.

*As well as those bold-faced American names who found themselves in the capital.
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