Thinking Of You : Eddie Fisher©2004JCMarion


Edwin "Eddie" Fisher was born on August 10, 1928 in Philadelphia where his father was a grocery store worker. As one of seven children, his formative years were spent living in the teeth of the depression of the thirties. Always attracted to music, young Eddie became a fixture on local radio in Philadelphia as a teenager during the war years. After the war Fisher had a brief stay as vocalist with the Buddy Morrow Orchestra and the band of Charlie Ventura, but the end of the big band era was upon the music scene in America and Fisher spent the late nineteen fortiesperforming at small night clubs in the Northeast and some of the big hotels in New York's Catskills. In 1949 his manager/agent/pr man Milton Blackstone, set up staged "surprise" breakout for Fisher at Grossinger's one of the most popular of the Catskill resorts. Long time entertainer and show business personality Eddie Cantor was the chosen discoverer. The set up worked to perfection as the press coverage trumpeted the entire "a star is born" story to their readers. Cantor then became a mentor to Fisher giving him spots on his tour dates and on his television show. Cantor also encouraged others to "give the kid a break". Even though Eddie Cantor played a major role in setting the foundation for Fisher's career, the singer definitely had the goods. He had the looks, developed a stage persona, and most importantly , had a great voice for interpreting the music at the time.

At Cantor's urging, RCA Victor Records signed Fisher in late 1949. It did not take too long for this deal to result in success. In the fall of 1950 Fisher recorded a song from the film "Three Little Words" called "Thinking Of You" and it was a big seller for the young vocalist. The record got into the top ten and got as high as the number five position while remaining on the charts for almost five months. This began a run of hit records that made Fisher one of the very top selling and most popular vocalists during the first half of the decade of the nineteen fifties. Fisher also had a date in Hollywood for the film "All About Eve" that starred Bette Davis. Fisher's one scene was cut from the final release of the film but the experience was important for the young aspiring singer. "Bring Back The Thrill" was a followup to his first hit, recorded on RCA #4016. Fourteen weeks on the charts and a top fifteen seller for his second hit. In the spring of 1951 "Unless" was a three month charter on #4120 and later that year "I'll Hold You In My Heart" was another top twenty seller on #4191. In September of 1951 Fisher had his second top ten seller with the ballad "Turn Back The Hands Of Time" on #4157, and closed out the year with his biggest seller so far with a song originally written in 1921 which found life in the early fifties as a country tune. The song was "Anytime" on #4359 and reached number two nationally and remained on the best seller charts for an amazing seven and a half months. "Anytime" kept selling well into 1952 and became the first million seller for Fisher.

1952 began for Eddie Fisher on record with a two sided hit on RCA #4444 - "Tell Me Why" and "Trust In Me" both made the charts as "Tell Me Why" got to number four and was a five month best seller. Despite a hit original by The Four Aces on Decca, Fisher's version did well enough to become the singer's second million seller. This was the first of six consecutive two sided hits for Eddie. In late March "Forgive Me" and "That's The Chance You Take" on #4574 both sold well enough to make the top ten in sales. "I'm Yours" was a number three seller and the flip side "Just A Little Loving" made the top twenty seller on #4680. At about this time Fisher served with the Armed Forces Special Services including time in Korea. In June of 1952 Eddie teamed with the top vocal star of the post war years and RCA Victor records top name, Perry Como, with another two sided hit - "Watermelon Weather" and "I Remember When" on #4744. In late July Fisher recorded his first number one seller, the title tune from the Broadway stage "Wish You Were Here" on #4830 (the flip side charted briefly - "The Hand Of Fate"). The show stopping tune became the third gold record for one million in sales for Fisher. In September "Lady Of Spain" and "Outside Of Heaven" on #4953 were both big sellers that got into the top ten across the country. "Everything I have Is Yours" on #4841 possibly suffered by the continuing sales of the previous two releases barely got into the top twenty five charting for only one week. Fisher closed out the year with two seasonal records - "Christmas Day" on #5038 and "You're All I Want For Christmas" on #5065. Fisher was now recognized as one of the top recording artists in the country with twenty two charted records in barely two years.

The year 1953 began with a two sided hit with "Downhearted" a number five seller, and "How Do You Speak To An Angel" from the Broadway show "Hazel Flagg" on #5137. "I'm Walking Behind You" and "Just Another Polka" were released on #5293 in May and again Fisher had a two sided hit. "Walking" was a huge hit spending more than six months on the charts and number one in the country for almost two weeks. It was one of the biggest hits of the entire decade. In April of 1953 the emerging medium of television looked to cash in on the popularity of the singer. "Coke Time With Eddie Fisher" began on the NBC network as a twice a week fifteen minute musical variety show that would last for four years. In the summer of the year "With These Hands" on #5365 a dramatic ballad with orchestral support by Hugo Winterhalter (as is the case in almost all Fisher recordings for RCA) was a solid hit as was the follow up "Many Times" and "Just To Be With You" on #5453. At the end of 1953 Fisher recorded a tune from a Swiss musical called "Fireworks" called "Oh Mein Papa", which was a hit instrumental by French trumpeter Eddie Calvert on the Essex label. Fisher's version anglicized to "Oh My Pa-pa" was a heartfelt nostalgic tribute to one's father and very much like songs done years before by Fisher's singing idol Al Jolson. "Oh My Pa-Pa" released on RCA #5552 remained the number one selling record in the U.S. for eight consecutive weeks and was another million seller.

In the spring of 1954 Fisher recorded "A Girl A Girl" and a song from Broadway's "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" called "Anema E Core" on #5675 and both sides were solid sellers. Next came another two sided hit for RCA on #5748, "Green Years" and "My Friend". In the fall of the year "Heaven Was Never Like This" and "I Need You Now" on #5830 was released. Fisher was voted the top male vocalist of the year by Cash Box magazine for 1954. Staying on the charts for six months well into 1955, "I Need You Now" was another million seller (his seventh) and a number one record for three weeks. Eddie closed out the year with a movie song "Count Your Blessings" from "White Christmas" and a Broadway musical title song "Fanny" on #5871. It was now 1955 and the rock 'n roll age was upon the land but Eddie Fisher kept on turning out the hits. "A Man Chases A Girl" (from the film "There's No Business Like Show Business"), and Wedding Bells" was released on RCA #6015 with both sides getting into the top twenty. During the spring, "Heart" from the Broadway musical "Damn Yankees" was a big national hit for Fisher more than three months on the top selling charts and as high as number six in the country. Eddie also had a hit LP album for RCA called "I Love You" on #1097 which was a top ten seller on the album charts for more than two months. "Song Of The Dreamer" was a solid hit during the summer, a top ten seller on #6196. On Christmas Eve of 1955, Fisher's latest RCA recording first charted, the first of seventeen straight weeks it would appear on the list. "Dungaree Doll" was an attempt by Fisher to appear contemporary and aimed at the teenage market. It worked and the tune became the eighth and final million selling single by Fisher. The flip side also charted briefly - a song from the Broadway show "Pipe Dream" called "Everybody's Got A Home But Me" on #6337. During the summer of 1956 another Broadway show tune - "On The Street Where You Live" which was a hit for singer Vic Damone, was a good seller for Fisher on #6529. Eddie Fisher had one more big seller in him, a Caribbean flavored tune called "Cindy Oh Cindy" which was also a hit for Vince Martin & The Tarriers which ushered in a period of calypso tunes (Harry Belafonte, Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders, etc.). Fisher's rendition was a solid four and a half month hit on the charts and got into the top ten. During the year Fisher tried his hand before the cameras in a movie musical with his wife Debbie Reynolds called "Bundle Of Joy".

In April of 1957 "Coke Time" ended its run and the following September a one hour show called "The Eddie Fisher Show" was televised on alternate weeks with "The George Gobel Show". In the late nineteen fifties Fisher's private life began to overshadow his performances and recordings. Leaving Reynolds and the romance with Elizabeth Taylor made many forget his singing talent. In 1960 Fisher had a role in the Taylor film "Butterfield 8" and by now his position as a top record seller was over. By the mid sixties Fisher's personal life began a long downward spiral that took him years to escape from. A later marriage to actress Connie Stevens also ended like the others. A daughter from his first marriage to Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, became famous for her roles in the Star Wars movies and other features.

In later years he has written an autobiography called "My Life, My Loves", and played himself in a 1995 picture "Nothing Lasts Forever", and appeared on the television show "Ellen" in1996. Through the years his place in the history of pop music in the United States is assured by his massive record sales in the nineteen fifties. Luckily for all of us there are good examples of his work that are readily available on CDs, most of which are imports. One of the best is a fifty track 2 CD set from England released in 2003 called "Every Song I Have Is Yours" for Jasmine. This set features all of the RCA hits from the fifties. There is also "The Very Best Of Eddie Fisher" for Taragon released in 1998. The 45 tracks also have many of the early RCA hits. For nothing but the big sellers there is RCA's "All Time Greatest Hits" from 1991. . Taragon also has "Live At The Winter Garden" from 1999 which was originally on Eddie's own label Ramrod Records. There are nineteen tracks on this CD. "I Heard A Song" for Flare in 2002 is a 25 track CD of songs not on any of the other releases. There is also "Makin' Whoopee" a live CD from Jasmine released in 2000, "The Essential RCA Singles Collection" on Taragon from 1999, and "Eddie Fisher Singing At His Best" released 2004 by Passport.

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