I woke up yesterday thinking about East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I didn't realize I'd once known the song, that's how long ago I heard it. When I went looking for renditions at YouTube, after a few other tries I found Keely Smith's 1959 version, recorded with the Billy May Orchestra.
I'd forgotten all about her, that's how long ago I'd heard her sing. She's still alive. 84 years old. American. Part Irish, part Cherokee heritage.
Was Keely Smith the greatest pop/jazz female singer of the late 20th Century, as some claim? She was definitely among the most under-appreciated.
She seemed born to sing with big bands, and when they fell out of fashion in the USA along with clear elocution of lyrics, maybe that's why superstardom eluded her.
Or maybe it's that she made great singing sound so easy that casual listeners didn't fully appreciate her vocal stylings. I think she was a singer's singer. Frank Sinatra loved her singing.
From Wikipedia's article:
Smith showed a natural aptitude for singing at a young age. At age 14, the Portsmouth, Virginia native started singing with a naval air station band led by Saxie Dowell. At 15, she got her first paying job with the Earl Bennett band.********