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Monday, October 24, 2011

Early Doris Day.....1939-1941 w/ Barney Rapp and Les Brown

Doris Day

Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff was born in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Evanston to Alma Sophia Welz (a housewife) and William Kappelhoff (a music teacher and choir master). All of her grandparents were German immigrants. In Doris Day: Her Own Story she states, "I was named by my mother in honor of her favorite actress, Doris Kenyon, a silent screen star of that year 1924." Her biographer, Pianist Jim Martinez, who organized her 87th birthday party in her hometown of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, at Day's hotel, the Cypress Inn, states that according to Doris Day's current assistant, when Day was a teenager, she added two years to her age so she would be old enough to sing with big bands. The youngest of three children, she had two brothers: Richard, who died before she was born, and Paul, a few years older.

Her parents' marriage failed owing to her father's reported infidelity. Although the family was Roman Catholic, her parents divorced. After her second marriage, Day herself became a Christian Scientist. She has been married four times. Day developed an early interest in dance, and in the mid-1930s formed a dance duo with Jerry Doherty that performed locally in Cincinnati. A car accident on October 13, 1937, damaged her legs and curtailed her prospects as a professional dancer.

While recovering, Day started to sing along with the radio and discovered a talent that she didn't know she had. Day said: "During this long, boring period, I used to while away a lot of time listening to the radio, sometimes singing along with the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller [...]. But the one radio voice I listened to above others belonged to Ella Fitzgerald. There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I'd sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words." Seeing that her daughter was interested in show business again, Alma decided to give Doris singing lessons. She came with a teacher, Grace Raine. After three lessons, Raine told Alma that Day had a "tremendous potential", which led her to give Day three lessons a week for the price of one. Years later, Day said that Raine had the biggest effect on her singing style and career. During the eight months of singing lessons, Day had her first professional jobs as a vocalist in the WLW radio program, Carlin's Carnival and in a local restaurant, the Charlie Yee's Shanghai Inn. It was during her performances in the Carlin's Carnival that Day first got the attention of Barney Rapp, who was looking for a girl vocalist and asked if Day would like to audition for the job. According to Day, Rapp had auditioned two hundred vocalists when she got the job. It was while working for Rapp in 1939 that she adopted the stage name "Day" as an alternative to "Kappelhoff," at his suggestion. Rapp felt her surname was too long for marquees. The first song she had performed for him was "Day After Day", and her stage name was taken from that.

After working with Rapp, Day worked with a number of other bandleaders including Jimmy James, Bob Crosby, and Les Brown

To quote a quote I once read: Oscar Levant once quipped that he knew Doris Day before she was a virgin......I imagine that her recordings with Les Brown were made before she was a virgin, too :) I love Doris Day's entire catalog of work, but the recordings before and during the war are still my favourite.. That being said, this list is just recordings from 1939-1941...just leading up to the war. One live recording with the Barbey Rapp band.....several with Les Brown, including a rip of one "Soundie". These are in chronological order today. SOOoooo sit back, relax, and enjoy......a different side of Miss Day than most of us know. :)

With Les Brown

DDay :)----1939-1941

OTR I'm Happy About the Whole Thing-With Barney Rapp (Cincinnati, Ohio June 17, 1939)
Let's Be Buddies-w/ Les Brown and his Band of Renown- Nov.29, 1940
Three at a Table for Two-w/ LB Nov.29, 1940
While the Music Plays On-w/ LB Nov.29, 1940
Dig It, (I Ain't Hep to That Step but I'll dig it)-w/ LB Nov.29, 1940
Between Friends-w/ LB Jan.7, 1941
Broomstreet-w/ LB Jan.7, 1941
Barbara Allen-w/ LB Jan.7, 1941
Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy)-w/ LB Feb.6, 1941
Easy as pie-w/ LB Feb.6, 1941
Booglie Wooglie Piggy-w/ LB Feb.17, 1941
Celery Stalks at Midnight-w/ LB Feb.6, 1941
Beau Night in Hotchkiss Corners-w/ LB Feb.17, 1941
Alexander the Swoose (Half Swan-Half Goose)-w/ LB Apr. 8,  1941
Keep Cool, Fool-w/ LB Apr. 8,  1941
Made Up My Mind-w/ LB Apr. 8,  1941
Lost Horizon-(from a "Soundie" w/ Les Brown) -1941

Barney Rapp
Doris during her brief tenure with Bob Crosby


  1. i freaking LOVE Doris Day!!

  2. She is truly amazing...I don't think anyone could make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day. (to disagree with George Michael of Wham)

  3. Doris Day is the most complete performer ever! Love her so much!