Doris Day – Singer

04 Apr

Yesterday was Doris Day’s birthday – were she just discovered she is truly 95 and not 93 as she had thought – and in honor of her birthday, Love Letters to Old Hollywood has hosted “The Doris Day Blogathon,” which I am delighted to participate in with this tribute to Doris Day as singer.

I’ve always loved Doris Day as an actress, but one of the remarkable things about her is that even if she had never been an actress, she would have deserved to be remembered as a great singer, one of the most popular of her era. She was singing number one hits on the chart before she had even become an actress (click here for a look at her chart hits and discography).

Doris Day originally intended to be a dancer, but when an accident left her temporarily disabled, she turned to singing. She would listen to Ella Fitzgerald and try, as she said, “to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words.” Her teacher taught her to sing as if she were singing into the ear of one person. The result is that she developed one of the most intimate styles of singing that I have ever heard.

She envelopes you in her warm vibrato. She had perfect diction, a beautifully fresh tone, that could also be suggestive, and spellbinding phrasing. But she’s an understated performer, which I believe has led to her being underappreciated. It sounds easy. Her singing has even been called easy listening, but there is nothing easy about it.

Check out her phrasing in “My One and Only Love.” Listen to the way she sings the first line “The very thought of you/makes my heart sing.” She sings it as one phrase, pausing after “you,” but not breathing, only to swoop up vocally on “makes my heart sing.” Such phrasing is only possible with perfect breath control and technique. I tried imitating her, which only increased my appreciation of her.

She was also a mesmerizing performer and no one could put across a song quite like her. When showing the movie Love Me or Leave Me to my cousin, she remarked on how the camera rarely moved while Doris Day was singing. As she said, it didn’t have to. Doris Day draws you in, just sitting there singing, and anything else would be a distraction (listen to “It All Depends on You for an example”). She demonstrates the exact same thing in her version of “The Way We Were.” Her ability, without histrionics, without much movement, to tell a story and convey feeling is marvelous. But this subtly has also, I think, contributed to her sometimes being underappreciated as a singer (as well as the way people association her with more upbeat song).

Although primarily known for singing popular music, Doris Day was also a fine jazz singer and it has been remarked be a number of people that she could have been one of the greatest female jazz singers if she had pursued that path. Here is a jazzier song from her discography, called “You’re Just Too Marvelous,” which she sang in the film Young Man With a Horn. The trumpet player is Harry James.

Of course, in a pinch she could also belt out a song Broadway style, as she proved in Pajama Game.

Absolutely stunning singer! I never get tired of listening to her.

Thanks so much to Love Letters to Old Hollywood for hosting! And Be sure to check out all the other posts about her life and career and films.


Posted by on April 4, 2017 in Music


Tags: , , , ,

11 responses to “Doris Day – Singer

  1. Michaela

    April 4, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I’m really happy that you chose this topic. Day is one of my favorite singers and she is one of the best musical performers we’ve ever had. I love that you singled out “It All Depends on You” and “There Once was a Man” — those are two numbers that rate very high with me, and I think they perfectly demonstrate what Day could do. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a wrong note or phrasing choice from her!

    Thanks so much for joining my blogathon! So many blogathons popped up around this time and I know many participants had other commitments, personal and blog-related, so it meant a lot that you still wanted to contribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      April 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      I was really looking forward to writing this post and participating – and then I misjudged the day and thought the blogathon ended on the 5th instead of the 3rd – but am so glad I could still contribute!

      So true – she always seems to hit her songs just right. It’s hard to get my mind around how great she was…and acting and singing and dancing!

      I think I’m now going to go through a Doris Day phase and watch some of her movies! Thanks! 🙂


  2. FictionFan

    April 4, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Why have I never seen The Pajama Game??? This must be rectified… soon!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Le

    April 4, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Great post!
    I really like Doris as a singer, and your post opened my eyes and ears for some details I hadn’t caught until now. Thank you so much!


    • christinawehner

      April 4, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks! She is so marvelous, isn’t she! And makes it all sound so easy.


  4. In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood

    April 11, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Excellent article Christina. As I stated in my article, Doris Day has a golden voice. She is truly one of a kind.

    I also invite you to read my contribution to the blogathon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      April 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks! ‘Golden’ is the perfect word for her voice. Thanks for the link, too!


  5. vinnieh

    April 26, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I love the clarity and depth of her voice. It makes for a soothing listen.

    Liked by 1 person


What Are Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: