Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1956 The Blue Stars – Lullabye Of Birdland

My blog usually researches records from 1955 to 1989, and in 1956 we have a first: the first Foreign Language record in the top forty. That only happened because there weren’t any in 1955, but after finding Lullabye Of Birdland in 1956 I started looking for Foreign Langage records., and I’ll get around to listing all of them eventually:

1955 to 1959 there were eight, including one #1 record.
1960 to 1969 there were seven, but two of them hit #1 in 1963.
1970 to 1979 there were only three.
1980 to 1989 there was one that hit #1 and one that hit #2.
1990 to 1999 there was one at #1 and one at #5.
2000 to 2005 there were only three.

From 2006 through 2020 we saw many Spanish songs reaching the charts, especially songs that included both Spanish and English lyrics. The third best-charting single of the rock era in terms of weeks at #1 was Descpacito (assuming you count both pre- and post-Bieber versions).

Margrethe Blossom Dearie performed professionally as Blossom Dearie. Her middle name possibly came about because of some peach blossoms delivered by a neighbor when she was born (or maybe because her brothers brought some blossoms to the house). She began singing in New York City where she was a member of the Blue Flames with the Woody Herman Orchestra and later the Blue Reys with Alvino Rey’s band.

Morris Levy was the owner of the New York jazz club Birdland and wanted a song to use as a theme song on a radio show. He asked George Shearing to write a song for him in 1952, and George claimed he wrote Lullaby of Birdland in about ten minutes.

That same year, Blossom moved to Paris and joined a jazz group, the Blue Stars. Another member of the group was composer Michel Legrand’s sister. Jean Constantin write French lyrics for Lullaby of Birdland and Michel arranged the music for the Blue Stars. The group had a hit in France with the record in 1954. They released the single in the United States and it reached #16 on the US Hot 100 in 1956.

Blossom returned to the US in 1957 and began recording solo albums. While she sang on most of the albums, some of them featured instrumentals on which she played piano.

In 1966, Norma Tanega recorded the hit record Walking My Cat Named Dog, which reached #22 on the Hot 100. In 1970, Blossom recorded a song she co-wrote with Norma, Dusty Springfield.

Blossom received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children in 1973 for her album Multiplication Rock, but lost out to Sesame Street Live.

Blossom recorded dozens of albums in the US and England before her death in 2009.

Norma moved to England and lived with Dusty Springfield for five years. Dusty recorded a few songs that Norma wrote for her, usually putting them on the B-sides of her singles.

Michel Legrand composed countless songs and soundtracks and received nominations for 17 Grammy Awards. He won five of them, including wins for best instrumental compositions for Theme From Summer Of ’42 and Brian’s Song.


My books are on sale on Amazon (or free with Kindle Unlimited) and contain a lot more Lost or Forgotten Oldies. You can visit my author page to see them.

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