Dear Friend : Gogi Grant©2004JCMarion


Myrtle Audrey Arinsberg was born in Philadelphia in September of 1924. By the mid nineteen thirties, she had moved to Los Angeles, California, and greatly influenced by Russ Colombo, Bing Crosby, and Ruth Etting, the teenaged Myrtle entered a number of talent contests. She came in number one at a state wide search for new talent, and by the end of the war during the late 40s she began her recording career. Known originally as both Audrey Brown and Audrey Grant, she had no success at all. Soon renamed by Dave Kapp who was head of A & R at her label RCA Victor, she was now known as Gogi Grant (from the name of a French bistro in New York City). She also had some appearances on early television such as "Toast of the Town" (the early version of the Ed Sullivan Show) and "Broadway Open House".

A cover of Teresa Brewer's hit for Coral "Ricochet" was released on RCA # 5436 during 1953. That tune did not make any inroads on the pop charts, nor any subsequent efforts during the following year. In early 1955 Herb Newman and Lou Bedell formed a new record label in Los Angeles to be called Era Records. Buddy Bregman was head of A & R for the label and at his insistence the new label signed the (so far) struggling vocalist Gogi Grant. In late 1955 a recording by Grant for the label called "Suddenly There's A Valley" was released on Era # 1003. It was a huge hit for the singer, and her first big seller and the label's first success. The record went well into the top ten and stayed on the best seller charts for close to three months. Grant now had name recognition for the first time in her life and the success of the record opened a number of opportunities that had eluded her for years. Her greatest success was just ahead.

Early in 1956, a song written by label head Herb Newman and produced by Bregman was recorded for Era Records. This was "The Wayward Wind" released on # 1013 with "No More Than Forever" on the flip side. The record was one of the finest crafted pop music singles of the post war years and the sales numbers showed it. It became a huge million seller that held the number one position in sales in the United States for an amazing eight straight weeks and remained on the charts for an incredible six months. All of this was accomplished as the rock 'n roll age was upon us, which made it even more surprising. On the strength of the recording and its phenomenal success, Grant was named the most popular female recording artist in the country. After this huge seller Grant was never able to follow it up with another song that caught the public's ear as she had with the big record of 1956. "When The Tide Is High" / "You're In Love" on Era # 1019 was one such example. Another surprise was her return (as it was) to RCA Victor Records in 1957.

In 1957 Grant had a brief fling in Hollywood. She provided the vocals for "The Helen Morgan Story" with her voice dubbed in for actress Ann Blyth. She also appeared in (of all things) a rock 'n roll quickie called "The Big Beat". Grant was also called on for a number of TV appearances for Ed Sullivan, George Gobel, Ford Startime, and others. Most of the subsequent releases for RCA did not sell. "What A Beautiful Combination" on #7082, "Bonjour Tristesse" / "Johnny's Dream" on #7146, "My Secret Prayer" / "How Do We Know?" on #7215, and "The Ride Back From Boot Hill" on #7492, did not do much of anything on the national scene. During this time Grant's one lone success (as little as it was) was with "Strange Are The Ways Of Love" on # 7294 which charted briefly (the song "Marjolaina" was on the other side). By the late nineteen fifties, the pop music 45 rpm single had become the domain of American teenagers and rock 'n roll music and Grant began to concentrate on LP albums. Era records first LP was "Suddenly . . . It's Gogi Grant" on LP#20001, and was followed by "The Wayward Wind" LP for Era. LP albums for RCA Victor followed such as "Welcome To My Heart" on #1717, and "Granted It's Gogi". They were followed by a number of musical scores from the Broadway stage. "Show Boat" with Howard Keel, "Gigi" with Tony Martin, and "Kiss Me Kate" were all released by RCA. The album "Torch Time" was her last for RCA Victor (which was re-released by Taragon in 2000). Moving into the late 60s, Gogi Grant recorded on a number of different labels such as Liberty where "If You Want To Get To Heaven . . . Shout !" was released on LP# 7144. The obscure Pete label released "Gogi Grant" LP#1101 in 1972, followed by "The Way A Woman Feels" on LP #1111. "Down Here On The Ground" a vocal version of the theme song from the film "Cool Hand Luke" was released by Pete as a single along with "The Magic of People". The songs "The Sea" and "How Much Will I Love You" were also released. "Send Him Back To Me" and "Joanie's Shadow" were out on the CRC label.

The album "City Girl In The Country" on the Original Cast label was released in 2002, and songs from that album were released on CRC including : "Here Comes Heartache Again" and "I Miss You", and "Image Of Your Face" and "Dear Friend". That same year "The Very Best of Gogi Grant" CD was released on Varese Saraband which included her Era hits and covered her career through the years and is an excellent compilation of her music. Also in 2002 Gogi Grant was remembered with an award at the 27th annual convention of Friends of Old Time Radio in New Jersey. Five decades later Gogi Grant still has the musical talent that so many of us remember, and we still cherish those memories.

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