What a Year

Lasting for over three years the Korean War ended and the 38th parallel became the dividing line between North and South, Dr. Jonas Salk created the Polio Vaccine, James Watson and Francis Crick were given credit for discovering the double helix shape of DNA, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, McCarthyism was in full swing and the FBI was rounding up communist leaders, a gallon of gas only cost 20 cents and the most important event of 1953 was that I was born.  Music was being made by Percy Faith, Patti Page, the Ames Brothers, Teresa Brewer, Perry Como, Frankie Laine, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Eddie Fisher, Eartha Kitt and the singer that I selected Doris Day.

The Doris Day song that I chose is ‘Secret Love’ which was on her Greatest Hits album and this song charted #1 in both the US and the UK. ‘Secret Love’ was used in the film Calamity Jane, in which Doris Day played the title lead opposite the late Howard Keel.  In 1954, Calamity Jane received the Academy Award for Best Song for ‘Secret Love’ with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics written by Paul Francis Webster, a writing team that also won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Original Song with ‘Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing’.

Doris Day recorded this song in less than 15 minutes. She rode her bicycle to the studio, did one take (that was with the full live orchestra in those days) and the musical director said that is a wrap, as he was grinning from ear to ear.  Doris Day (born Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff) on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Doris changed her last name at the suggestion of her singing coach Grace Raine after she heard her singing the song ‘Day After Day’, and after that her reputation as a singer started to grow.  She worked briefly with Bob Crosby an American jazz singer and bandleader and eventually with bandleader Les Brown when she was only 19 years old.  She sang with several big bands before going solo in 1947.  In the 1950s, she made a series of popular film musicals, including Calamity Jane (1953) and The Pajama Game (1957).  Doris Day achieved commercial success in 1945 with two No. 1 recordings, ‘Sentimental Journey’ and ‘My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time’ with Les Brown & His Band of Renown.  She was an American actress, singer, animal welfare activist and she had her own TV show from 1968–1973.

Doris Day won the NME (New Musical Express) Award for Favorite US Female Singer in 1955, 1956 and 1957, a Golden Globe Henrietta Award for World Film Favorites in 1958, 1960 and 1963, a Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1989, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and she was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 for ‘Sentimental Journey’, in 1999 for ‘Secret Love’ and again in 2012 for ‘What Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera Sera)’.  Doris Day died on May 13, 2019 from pneumonia.

Once I had a secret love
That lived within the heart of me
All too soon my secret love
Became impatient to be free

So I told a friendly star
The way that dreamers often do
Just how wonderful you are
And why I am so in love with you

Now I shout it from the highest hills
Even told the golden daffodils

At last my heart’s an open door
And my secret love’s no secret anymore

Written for Love Is In Da Blog where Bee asks us to find a love song from the year we were born.

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