Saturday, February 04, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Della Reese

Artist:Della Reese
Song:Don't You Know
Album:Voice of an Angel

Most fans should be familiar with Della Reese from the 90s TV series Touched By An Angel. But I bet a lot of fans aren't aware that her whole career was set up by her 1959 top five hit Don't You Know or that she started out as a jazz singer. She was born Delloreese Patricia Early July 6, 1931 in Detroit and grew up singing in church. As a teen, she was discovered by gospel legend Mahalia Jackson who told her to graduate from high school. She toured with Mahalia during summer break. While attending Wayne State University, Della formed the gospel group The Meditation Singers. But then she started singing in clubs and changed her name to Della Reese so it would fit on a marquee. Her big break came in 1953 when she joined The Erskine Hawkins Orchestra and signed with Jubilee Records. Her biggest hit for Jubilee was And That Reminds Me which reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957. She moved to RCA Records in 1959 and was assigned to the production team of Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, known as Hugo & Luigi. They worked with several RCA acts including Elvis Presley, Perry Como and Sam Cooke. Don't You Know was adapted from the Musetta's Waltz aria from Puccini's opera La Boheme. The lyrics were written by Bobby Worth who had written songs for 40s films and for bandleader Freddie Martin. Don't You Know reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was first released only as a single but later was added to the 1962 album The Classic Della. All the songs on the album were adapted from classical works. This budget CD covers her RCA years. Della continued to record in the 60s and became more of a jazz singer when she moved to Paramount Records in 1965. She had a TV variety show in 1969. Della was a regular on the sitcom Chico and The Man. This was followed by many film and TV roles. Her most significant role was the 90s TV series Touched By An Angel. That led her back to church and in 2010 she became an ordained minister at the Better Living Church in Inglewood, CA. She still occasionally records and appears on TV. Here's a video for Don't You Know by Della Reese.

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