Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lita Roza (1926 - 2008) (UPDATED)

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? In the U.S. it was Patti Page windowshopping for a domestic animal but in the U.K. the song was a # 1 hit for Lita Roza in 1953.
She wasn't too pleased that she was remembered mostly for the cheesy doggie novelty song, as she was an acclaimed jazz and pop singer.

Lita Roza, born in 1926 in Liverpool, was the first female singer to top the U.K. charts (with doggie) and she scored two more hits with Hey There and Jimmy Unknown in the mid-50's.
In 1957 she entered the U.K. Eurovision pre-selection with the song The Way It Goes. (unreleased). She ended third in the final that was won by Patricia Bredin and her operatic song All (still holding the record for shortest ESC entry ever).
In 1959 she tried again with the song This Is My Town (Pye 7N15190) and ended 2nd. Sing Little Birdie by Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson won the U.K. selection and became the runners up in the 4th Eurovision Song Contest.
Lita Roza tried again in 1960, but her song (see update below) stranded in the first of two semi-finals.
Like any singer with an ear for a tune she recorded a version of Volare in 1958 and released it on single (PYE 7N15155) and 78rpm.

Lita Roza died two days ago aged 82. You can find out more about the singer and her life at the Lita Roza official website. You can watch a tribute here at Youtube.

UPDATE: Lita Roza preselections
Thanks to Thomas here's an update on Lita Roza's preselection songs. Different variations of the listing of early U.K. selections can be found on the web but Thomas has been digging in the BBC written archives and the results concerning Lita Roza's songs are here.
1957 The Way It Goes
Lita Roza won the first of three heats with this song written by Ronnie Booth. In the final she ended third with 18 points behind All by by the Malcolm Lockyer Quartet and by Patricia Bredin (it was performed twice) and Once sung by Pauline Shepherd. All was subsequently performed at Eurovision by Patricia Bredin and finished 7th.
1959 This Is My Town
Written by John S. Rossiter. Won the second preselection heat but was beaten by Sing Little Birdie as mentioned above.
1960 Unexpectedly
Written by Susan Morrel(l) (& possibly David Greer?). With this song Lita Roza won the first heat but the final was won by Looking High, High, High by Bryan Johnson & the George Mitchell Singers. The points or finishing order of the other songs is unknown. Bryan Johnson took his song to a 2nd place in the contest.
In other sources Unexpectedly is credited to Marion Keene but her song was Love, Kisses and Heartaches which stranded in the 2nd heat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And ther's a very fine 2cd of her
in the Pye Anthology serie's!!