Saying it again: A touch of the 1940s in the 1960s

Bobby Vinton 1965

Bobby Vinton 1965

There! I’ve Said It Again is a romantic love song written by Redd Evans and David Mann popularized originally by Vaughn Monroe in 1945. While Monroe’s version reached the Number 1 position on the Billboard charts, a later version was even more significant. That version was sung by Bobby Vinton in the early 1960s. So let me leave 1945 for a few moments and jump to the 1960s.

Although in reality Bobby Vinton was living in the 1960s, in his mind, he was living in the 1940s, when he was a young teen-ager (he was born in 1935) and every song was sentimental and designed for slow dances. It was a world in which backing singers tended more often than not to sound like a choir of heavenly angels singing lullabies.

Vinton covered an old Number 1 song from 1945: There! I Said It Again, originally sung by Vaughn Monroe. Bobby Vinton was the polar opposite of the bottom of the baritone rumble of Vaughn Monroe, a man whose voice was so virile that he was sometimes called “the Baritone with Muscles,” or “the Voice with Hair on its Chest,” or “Ol’ Leather Tonsils,” or “Leather Lungs.” By contrast, Vinton sang in a higher register and in a more relaxed manner, much like Perry Como, who, like Bobby Vinton came from the same home town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. There must have been something in the water in Canonsburg to make them both sing so effortlessly and so wonderfully casual.

In the 1960s, most pop singers would have sung a song like There! I Said It Again with a more up-beat tempo, but not Bobby Vinton. He sang it just as if it were 1945 all over again, reaffirming what someone has written, “the song’s position as probably the least exciting sounding song ever to ever have been granted an exclamation mark as part of its title.”
Covering an old Number 1 is often a good way of getting a new Number 1, and certainly it was the case here because There! I’ve Said It Again reached Number 1 on the Billboard charts and reached Number 34 in the United Kingdom, and even reached Number 13 in Australia.

Vinton’s version topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 4, 1964 and remained there for four weeks. The song is significant because it marks a sort of dividing line between the “innocent years” of the Rock and Roll era and the modern rock period. Much has been made of the fact that There! I’ve Said It Again was the last Number 1 song on the Billboard charts before The Beatles’ I Want To Hold Your Hand knocked it off. With the so-called “British Invasion” of The Beatles and the phenomenon known as Beatlemania, popular music would be changed forever. Ironically, The Beatles – the sound of the future – knocked off not only a Bobby – but also the most old-fashioned of all of the Bobby’s, singing a song from 1945, that sounded as though it were recorded in 1945!

Returning to the 1940s, in addition to Vaughn Monroe’s version, there were two other recordings that made it on the Billboard charts.

The first was a recording by Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra, with vocals by Teddy Walters. This version reached #8 on the Billboard charts and lasted for six weeks.

The other version was by The Modernaires, a vocal group best known for performing in the 1940s alongside Glenn Miller. The group began in 1935 with members Hal Dickinson, Chuck Goldstein, and Bill Conway, and were called “Don Juan-Two and Three.” They then joined the Ozzie Nelson Band, and became known as “The Three Wizards of Ozzie.” They next recruited Ralph Brewster to make a quartet and, performing with the Fred Waring Orchestra, became known as The Modernaires. In 1940, Glenn Miller engaged them to record It’s Make Believe Ballroom Time, a sequel to the original Make Believe Ballroom, which they had recorded earlier for Martin Block’s big band show of the same name, on WNEW New York. In January 1941, Miller made The Modernaires an important part of the most popular big band of all time. Paula Kelly (Mrs. Hal Dickinson) was added to the Miller band between March – August 1941. After Miller joined the Army, Paula Kelly became a permanent member of The Modernaires, making it a quintet. For the next few decades they traveled the world many times over making history with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

The Modernaires with Paula Kelly 1951

The Modernaires with Paula Kelly 1951

The lyrics describe how deep one lover’s love is for the other lover in the words:
I’ve tried to drum up
A phrase that would sum up
All that I feel for you
But what good are phrases
The thought that amazes
Is you love me and it’s heavenly

Forgive me for wanting you so
But one thing I want you to know
I’ve loved you since heaven knows when
There! I’ve said it again.

There are other versions of the song recorded that did not make the charts, but are worth mentioning. These versions include recordings by Nat “King” Cole, Louis Prima, Woody Herman, and Spade Cooley. Even though the song is beyond the scope of my blog, because of its importance I have included the 1963 version by Bobby Vinton as well.

To listen to the song, click on the song title.
Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra, vocals: Vaughn Monroe There I’ve Said It Again (#1)
Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra, vocals: Teddy Walters There! I’ve Said It Again (#8)
The Modernaires with Paula Kelly, Mitchell Ayres Orchestra There! I’ve Said It Again (#11)
Nat ” King” Cole Trio, vocals: Nat “King” Cole There! I’ve Said It Again (1947)
Bobby Vinton, Stan Applebaum Orchestra There I’ve Said It Again (late 1963)

Next song: I Can’t Begin To Tell You


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