Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Not So Secret Loves

Speaking of white people...

My friend Marcie found this amazing sheet music for the big 1953 Doris Day hit "Secret Love," from Calamity Jane. (One of the greatest and more underappreciated western musicals, IMHO.) She bought it for me, and I scan it here for your pleasure.

How fabulous is this! One thing I find amusing is that "Secret Love" is of course the romantic number from the movie, encapsulating the moment when Doris realizes that she is: 1) femme, 2) heterosexual, 3) white, and 4) in love with the dour-faced Howard Keel. (I don't get the last one myself, but we all have our own tastes.) In other words, if you are looking at the cover above, "Secret Love" is all about the little inset photo to the right. It is most definitely not about Doris-the-butch-cowgirl shooting her way out of a red sunburst!

Here's some clips of the song:

You have to picture Doris singing this while wearing a very sensible beige pantsuit. And largely looking at a horse while she does so. It's a pretty song, one of the first times she does those trademark octave leaps I'm always talking about, where she throws herself headlong into the chorus, and then more gracefully cups the sound into her lower register. (We all know and love this gesture from "Que Sera, Sera.")

To show you how the disparate chapters of my dissertation actually do end up connecting to one another, I now give you a clip of the Orioles singing "Secret Love," also in 1953. Incidentally, this is the only Orioles song I can think of in which they use the nonsense phonemes "doo" and "wop" to articulate the backing harmonies.

You'll have to read my dissertation to find out how John Cage and Leonard Bernstein connect to all of this.

1 comment:

Dan B. said...

Yeah, the impression I'm getting is that Doris Day cannot keep a secret. Ever.