You're in for a treat. Since my post two days ago on singer-songwriter and pianist Bobby Troup, I've been bombarded by emails from readers—some who are long-time fans of Troup and others who are new to him. All of those email writers also said they were fans of singer Julie London, who was married to Troup.
By any measure, London was special. In some ways, her recordings don't really do her justice. As the following video clip demonstrates, London really had to be heard and seen to be fully appreciated. The only other singer I can think of who is this much fun to watch on camera is Nancy Wilson. Both London and Nancy knew how to work their feline features and hourglass figures gingerly to punctuate a song's lyrics in the most sophisticated and seductive way. As singers, they were the new models—like cars with fins or homes made largely of glass. Visually, they moved like cats leaping onto furniture without making a sound. Their voices were like a drummer's brushes, not the sticks, and visually they had an innate, natural sense of how to wrap a camera lens around their fingers, leaving audience's mouths slightly agape. Best of all, the seduction always was done with finesse, a minimalist bouquet of subtleties. And with their knowing faces and arful body language that appeared as series of French Vogue poses, you never were sure if they were naughty or nice. And that was all part of the great, theatrical mystery.
Here are Julie London and Bobby Troup in a Japanese TV special from May 28, 1964 called The Julie London Show. They are joined on stage at different points by trumpeter Joe Burnett, guitarist Dennis Budimir, bassist Don Bagley and drummer Dee Barton. There's also a big band back there.
Just be sure you're sitting down for the 48-minute show. The performances by both singers are exceptional. Watch carefully what London does with her eyes and how she cocks her head or tilts it back to sell a song, not to mention that pearl necklace of a voice. London never oversold a song. Instead, she coolly operates doe-like in the shadows, moving forcefully with care. Like Nancy, mesmerizing—yet untouchable...