Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-Roy Rogers
Song:Don't Fence Me In
Album:King Of The Cowboys
Of course Roy Rogers was one of the most popular singing cowboys especially in the 40s and into the 50s on TV. Many of my generation grew up watching him with wife Dale Evans and horse Trigger. You just have to remember that he was a Hollywood cowboy. It's funny that the Cole Porter song Don't Fence Me In was one of his biggest hits. He was born Leonard Slye Nov. 5, 1911 in Cincinnati. His family played music so he learned to play guitar and mandolin and by age 19, he moved to California to persue a singing career. He won an amateur singing contest and joined The Rocky Mountaineers. That's where he met future Sons Of The Pioneers partner Bob Nolan. But Nolan left and was replaced by Tim Spencer. Slye and Spencer formed their own group and in 1933 Nolan joined to form The Pioneer Trio. They were renamed The Sons of the Pioneers when a radio announcer mistakenly introduced them by that name. They became very popular radio and concert performers. Meanwhile, Slye started hanging around Republic Pictures doing bits as Dick Weston. When Republic had a contract dispute with singing cowboy star Gene Autry in 1938, Slye managed to wrangle a screen test and signed a contract. The Sons Of The Pioneers had just signed with Columbia Pictures so he had to leave the group. The studio named him Roy Rogers and he would soon surpass Autry and become Republic's biggest star. He was even able to acquire the rights to the Roy Rogers name. I always thought it was funny that Rogers usually played characters named Roy Rogers in his movies. That was probably part of his appeal. And of course Trigger was The Smartest Horse In The Movies. So by 1944, Rogers was a big enough star that Warner Bros. had him appear in the 1944 all star extravaganza Hollywood Canteen. And Rogers performed the Cole Porter song Don't Fence Me In. It became one of his most popular songs and Republic produced the 1945 film Don't Fence Me In. Cole Porter? Porter wrote the song in 1934 for a musical that was never produced. The words were from a poem by Robert Fletcher. The song sat around until Kate Smith performed it on her 1944 radio show. Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters also had a hit with it. And Warners had Rogers sing it in the film. Rogers' version is probably the most memorable. Of course as we all know, Rogers met Dale Evans in 1944 and they married and of course they were huge stars for many years especially in the early days of TV. There are a lot of Roy Rogers comps and they're all the same. But this one from Synergy Distribution has a bonus DVD with the 1948 film Bells Of San Angelo. But you have to look for the CD/DVD triangle in the bottom left hand corner as there is an import version of this CD with the same cover but no DVD. Roy Rogers continued to remain very popular later in life and was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1988. He died on July 6, 1998 at age 86. Here's Roy Rogers and Trigger performing Don't Fence Me In in the 1944 film Hollywood Canteen.