That's For Me : Dick Haymes©©2000JCMarion


Dick Haymes was born in Buenas Aires, Argentina, in 1916. It is said he inherited his musical ability from his mother who was a noted concert pianist. By the time he was a teenager living in California, he was a part time vocalist with the band of Johnny Johnson. He also tried his hand at song writing, acting as an extra in motion pictures, and appearing on stage in musical revues. In an attempt to pitch some of his songs to bandleader Harry James, he was hired instead as a vocalist with the band in late 1939. He recorded a number of tunes with the band for Columbia. He left James for a short stint with Benny Goodman where he also recorded a few tunes for Columbia. He then replaced Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and that particular changing of the guard taking place on a coast to coast radio broadcast, remains on a well known recording that exists to this day. By 1944 Haymes was a staple of wartime musical films such as "Four Jills In A Jeep" and "Irish Eyes Are Smiling" in 1944, and "Diamond Horseshoe" and the fondly remembered "State Fair" in 1945. He appeared in a few more films during the late 40s, but by 1946 he was hitting his stride as one of the foremost baritone singers of American popular music.

By the start of the year 1946 Haymes had already had eleven records that made the top ten best sellers, and two number one records - "It Can't Be Wrong" (Decca #18557) and his big hit "You'll Never Know" (Decca#18556-from the picture "Hello Frisco, Hello"). He began his chart run in 1946 with three songs from "State Fair" - "That's For Me" / "It Might As Well Be Spring" on #18706 with both sides getting into the top ten best sellers, and "It's A Grand Night For Singing" on #18740. A song from the film "Fallen Angels" called "Slowly" briefly charted as did two songs from the film "Three Little Girls In Blue" - "You Make Me Feel So Young" and a moderate seller with "On The Boardwalk In Atlantic City" on #18914. Starting off the year 1947, Haymes teamed with Judy Garland on a tune from the picture "The Shocking Miss Pilgrim" called "For You, For Me, Forevermore" on #23687. The next two charted records were from the stage and screen, and both sold well and reached into the top ten best sellers list. "How Are Things In Glocca Morra?" (#28830) the great song from "Finian's Rainbow", was followed by "Mam'selle" (on # 23861) from the picture "The Razor's Edge" which got as high as number three in the country.

Dick Haymes continued his string of charted records in 1947 with "There's No Business Like Show Business" from the Broadway show "Annie Get Your Gun". On this record he joined Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters on #40039. "Ivy" a movie title song followed on #23877 and spent just one week on the charts, but the next Decca release on #23977 paired "Naughty Angeline" with a tune from the Betty Hutton movie, "The Perils of Pauline" called "I Wish I Didn't Love You So" which was a substantial hit and a top ten seller. One last record in 1947 "And Mimi" was a moderate seller on #24172. Haymes began 1948 with a duet with The Andrews Sisters on "Teresa" on #24320. The next Decca record was the monster hit he was looking for the last three years. "Little White Lies" recorded with The Four Hits & A Miss on #24280 spent six months on the pop hit list , reached number two in the country, and sold more than one million copies. This was followed by a two sided hit with The Song Spinners on #24439 - "You Can't Be True Dear" / "Nature Boy" both made the top ten, and "It's Magic" from the film "Romance On The High Seas" recorded with Gordon Jenkins Orchestra (#23826).

1949 started out with a brief charter "Bouquet Of Roses" with The Troubadours (#24506), but the next three Decca record releases were huge national hits. "Roomful Of Roses" (#24632)spent five months on the top seller charts, "Maybe It's Because" (#24650) sold almost as well, and "The Old Master Painter" recorded with Sonny Burke's band on #24801. While Haymes starred on record, he also did plenty of network radio. One popular program was "Here's To Romance" with Helen Forrest for CBS, followed by The Dick Haymes Show (also called Everything For The Boys) for Autolite on both CBS and NBC from 1944-1947, The Chesterfield Supper Club for NBC, a stint on Your Hit Parade, and finally a non-singing drama called "I Fly Anything" in 1950. There were still the movie musicals such as "Carnival in Costa Rica", "One Touch of Venus", "Up in Central Park", "All Ashore" and "Cruising Down The River".

In 1950 "Roses" with Gordon Jenkins on #27008 got on the charts for one lone week, but the next Decca release was Haymes last sizable hit, one that was recorded with Swing era veteran Artie Shaw. "Count Every Star" (#27042) was a three month charter and a top ten seller. Dick Haymes had three further brief charted hits in 1950 and 1951 - "Can Anyone Explain?" with The Four Hits & A Miss (#27161), "You're Just In Love", a duet with Ethel Merman from "Call Me Madam" on #27317, and finally "And So To Sleep Again" with The Four Hits & A Miss on #27731. By 1953 the career of Dick Haymes had started to wane, and the films, radio, and records, were no longer produced. For close to twenty years, Haymes remained a memory to most from his records and films (and his celebrated short marriage to Rita Hayworth) until the 1970s when he had a resurgence in interest and made in person appearances at supper clubs in New York and Los Angeles.

Although he is now gone, Dick Haymes possessed one of the finest singing voices in the history of American popular music. Many people still marvel at that "great set of pipes" owned by Haymes. Anybody doubting his talent and appeal, just has to give a listen to "I'll Get By" recorded with Harry James on Columbia (#36698) in 1941 and released in 1944. It is a testament to his resonant style and pitch, and is responsible for his being mentioned along with Crosby, Sinatra, Como, and Bennett as the foremost practitioners of his craft.

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