Sunday, January 05, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John Raitt

Artist:John Raitt
Album:The Best of John Raitt

Contemporary music fans probably know that John Raitt was the father of guitarist Bonnie Raitt. But you may not know that he was a legend of the Broadway stage. Soliloquy is from his breakthrough performance in the 1945 show Carousel. He was born Jan. 28, 1917 in Santa Ana, CA. He started performing while in high school in Fullerton. After graduating, he joined the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera and then signed with MGM. He appeared in small roles in a few films. But when Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein were casting for Carousel, producer Lawrence Langner heard about Raitt and went to see him in Los Angeles. They were actually looking for a new Curly for Oklahoma. But they cast Raitt as Billy Bigelow in Carousel and also found co-star Jan Clayton. Of course Carousel was a big hit and Raitt became a star. He had a great voice and a great presence. But is he a tenor or a baritone? Who cares? Raitt appeared in many other Broadway shows. But his other really big hit was The Pajama Game. He also appeared in the 1957 film of The Pajama Game with Doris Day. That was Raitt's only major film appearance. He appeared on TV a lot usually guesting on variety shows. He starred with Mary Martin in the 1957 TV production of Annie Get Your Gun. This CD is a good intro to Raitt's music. Of course his daughter Bonnie Raitt is more famous than dad but she enjoyed performing with him. John Raitt is in the Theater Hall Of Fame and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. He continued to perform until his death on Feb. 20, 2005 at age 88. Here's John Raitt performing Soliloquy on The General Foods 25th Anniversary Show: A Salute To Rodgers and Hammerstein Mar. 28, 1954.

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