Prince of Crooners
Before it was dubbed rock 'n' roll by DJ Alan Freed, this urban music had been around for years as "rhythm and blues". It was the 1954 film Blackboard Jungle, with Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" on its soundtrack, that introduced this rocking sound to the entire nation. The dynamic Georgia Gibbs followed with "Dance With Me, Henry!", which she kept insisting was NOT rock 'n' roll (but it sure SOUNDED like it!). Gibb's reluc- tance to be associated with R&R was shared by most veteran artists: Rock 'n' roll was just a passing fad, or so they hoped. Then came Elvis.
In 1956, Elvis Presley made his network TV debut on the Dorsey Brothers summer replacement series, and within weeks the landscape of popular music was transformed: R&R finally had its first super-star sex symbol. When the year began, every new record by Eddie Fisher and Perry Como (then the most consistent record sellers) was a guaranteed chart-topper. By summer, most youth-oriented radio stations wouldn't even play their records --- or those of other main-stream artists. Suddenly it was "adapt or die". Perry and Eddie had the safety net of their popular TV series to cushion the fall --- in fact, Como went on to even greater television success --- and his album sales were healthy. But he wouldn't have another top-ten hit until 1973's "It's Impossible".
SURPRISE! SURPRISE! DALE ROCKS!
Who would have guessed that, of all the established pop singers, it would
be Alan Dale, a supreme balladeer, who would have success in rock 'n' roll.
Among his fellow "crooners" there were several (I'll let you figure out who) that couldn't even swing, let alone rock. Of the rest, only Sinatra had the necessary "edge", but he wanted no part of R&R. As for Alan, he desperately needed to keep
the hit records coming or he'd never stand a chance of breaking down the blackball barriers.
On further reflection, Alan's ability to adapt to rock 'n' roll shouldn't have been such a surprise. After all, George Paxton's Orchestra was basically jazz oriented, similar in style to bands like Woody Herman's. Thus, although Alan was mostly assigned ballads, he was surrounded by a very swinging musical environment. In other words, his role can be compared to that of Sinatra's with Tommy Dorsey.
Also helpful in developing his versatility were the impersonations he did on "Sing it Again" --- which ran the gamut from Mario Lanza to Billy Eckstine. This sharpened his natural talent for mimicry and made it easy for him to pick up on the different inflections (as well as the harder edge) required by R&R. He adapted so quickly that his first venture into this "new" music, "Rockin' the cha-cha", not only chalked up hefty sales, it also led to his starring role in the film "Don't Knock the Rock", in which he played a R&R super-star. During the next few years, most of Alan's singles would feature at least one R&R side. At the same time, those fans who still preferred the "old" Alan Dale sound could take comfort in his night club appearances.
AN INTERESTING SIDELIGHT: Thanks to "Don't Knock the Rock", Alan developed a sizable following in Europe (where his early career was practically unknown) and he is considered a great rock 'n' roll singer! His recordings from that film became top-ten hits in Belgium, Italy and Germany. In light of this, it's unfortunate that Alan was unable to cultivate the European market. Other '50's singing stars (Johnny Ray, Guy Mitchell, etc.), who found their careers languishing in the States, actually relocated to Great Britian for a time and found considerable success. But again, Alan's fragile health, not to mention family considerations, made such a move an impossiblilty.
THE MOVIE CAREER ALAN ALMOST HAD
Alan's 1950 collapse happened just as Paramount Pictures was "scouting" him. By the time he'd recovered, they'd cooled off.
In 1953, Alan signed a contract with Universal Pictures for a series of Martin & Lewis-style musical comedies (co-starring his friend Buddy Hackett) ---- only to have the Studio permanently close down it's musical division a few days later.
In 1955, Alan was approached by the producers of a movie based on the romantic life (and mysterious death) of '30's crooner Russ Columbo, but the project never got off the ground.
This list is not complete and some dates are approximate. Additions will be made when more information becomes available.
ALAN DALE, BAND SINGER - 1944 to 1946
Alan Dale began his recording career while vocalist with the George Paxton Orchestra. Their primary label was Majestic, but the same recordings were also issued on several other labels such as Hit and Guild. The numbers were the same, however. For example, Alan's first recording, "More and More", is to be found on both the Hit and Majestic labels as #7120.
MAGESTIC (also HIT and GUILD)
1945 - 1946
Dale's vocals highlighted
V-Disc 523-B (Y release) /VP 1486 - XP 35089
You're So Worth the Waiting For / While You're Away
V-Disc 553-B (AA release) / VP 1581; VP 1570; D5TC 1395
One side is Sam Donahue Orch. Paxton side is a medley,
the center part is Dale singing "My Devotion".
7120 More and More / Accentuate the Positive
7121 Every Time We Say Goodbye / Only Another Boy and Girl
? Out of This World / This Can't Be Love
? Anytime / ?
7164 Oh, What It Seemed To Be / I'm Glad I Waited For You
7167 You Are Too Beautiful / Wave To Me My Lady
7183 All the Time / Love On A Greyhound Bus
ALAN GOES SOLO
Alan's solo recording career began in 1947 under the direction of Bob Thiele on the Signature label. When Signature went bankrupt many of these recordings were reissued on other labels that Thiele headed, including Hi Tone, Advance, and Coral.
An asterisk * indicates song is not a new recording but is a Signature reissue.
SIGNATURE / HI TONE RECORDS 1947 - 1949
15114 Jun.'47 Kate / If My Heart Had a Window
15124 On the Old Spanish Trail / Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.
15158 Mean to Me / Shine On Harvest Moon
15160 Oct.'47 Oh, Marie / So Far
15163 My Melancholy Baby / It's a Lonesome Old Town
15166 I'll Hold You In My Heart / Papa, Won't You Dance With Me
15169 The Wildest Gal In Town / I Never Loved Anyone
15174 All Dressed Up With a Broken Heart / My Cousin Louella
15175 Jan.'48 An Old Sombrero / Judy
15176 Jan.'48 At the Candlelight Cafe / Thoughtless (instrumental)
15177 Jan.'48 But Beautiful / I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover
15178 Nina Nana / Now is the Hour (instrumental)
15183 Isle of Capri / My Guitar
15184 I Went Down to Virginia / Poinciana
15197 Jul.'48 Darktown Strutters' Ball (with Connie Haines/
15206 My Happiness / Tea Leaves
15234 Goodnight Sweetheart / Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland
15247 Doo-De-Doo on an Old Kazoo/ Mean to Me *
15248 Bella Bella Marie / Tara Talara Tala
15256 My Melancholy Baby* / Lady of Spain (instrumental)
15261 Waiting For the Robert E. Lee / A Million Miles Away
15263 Vampin' / Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl
141 1949 Vampin' */ Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl *
162-A Jul.'49 Let's Take An Old Fashioned Walk / I Love You
164-A Aug.'49 Through a Long and Sleepless Night / Circus
205-A Oh, Marie * / Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland *
(subsidiary of Columbia Records
6022 Album 1950 THE IMMORTAL MELODIES OF JEROME KERN (Alan Dale,
Thelma Carpenter, The Three Suns, etc.) Taking advantage of Dale's
popularity, they dug up some of Alan's old George Paxton records for these albums.
This one features just one Dale/Paxton number: "More and More."
6024 Album 1950 COLE PORTER'S GREATEST SONGS (Alan Dale, Betty
Brewer, The Three Suns, Russell Bennett Orchestra and others)
This disc mistakenly lists Dale singing two songs, but in fact he is only
featured on one: "Every Time We Say Goodbye". The vocalist on the other
song ("I've Got You Under My Skin") is probably Dick Merrick, who followed
Dale with the George Paxton Orchestra..
BH1-107 Album: Alan Dale On Tour with D'Artega and the Cavalcade Orchestra
contains eleven radio transcriptions from 1950 (RECOMMENDED)
"How Deep Is The Ocean" "All the Things You Are" "Laura"
"The Talk of the Town" "Darktown Strutters' Ball" (solo)
"Try a Little Tenderness" "The Thrill is Gone" "Stardust"
"Sleepytime Down South" "Rain" "Stormy Weather"
(a subsidiary of Columbia Records)
1078 Oct.'49 There's No Tomorrow / I Can Dream, Can't I?
1080 Oct.'49 A Dreamer's Holiday / Give Me Your Hand
38720 You're My Treasure / This is Heaven to Me
38742 I'll Believe in You / More Than I Should
38814 Ride the Magic Carpet / Today, Tomorrow & Forever
38819 Aug.1950 Moon and Sand / The Whole World's Saying I Love You
38874 Of All Things / You Wonderful You
39033 Let's Do It Again / Rainbow Gal
39072 Timeless / If I Had Only Known
39302 I'll Buy You a Star / I'm Late
39391 May 1951 Tell Me / A Robin, A Rainbow & a Red, Red Rose
27961 Nov. 1951 Broken Hearted / Silver and Gold
60699 *Oh, Marie / Judy (Signature reissue) Dec. 1951
60700 *Darktown Strutters' Ball (with Connie Haines) (reissue)
60746 Mar. 1952 Here in My Heart / I'm Sorry
60754 May 1952 I'm Sorry / Faith
60809 1952 My Thrill / You're My Destiny
60850 Oct. 1952 Laugh, Clown, Laugh / Toddling the Todalo
60889 Jan. 1953 How Do You Do? / Do Baby Do (with Judy Lynn)
60895 Feb. 1953 A Million Tears / Must I Cry Again?
EC-81004 (extended play 45, four tracks) Laugh, Clown, Laugh / My Thrill /
Sweet Jennie Lee* /Give Me The Moonlight, Give Me the Girl*
60960 Apr. 1953 Alexander's Ragtime Band (with Judy Lynn)/
I Wish I Had Never Learned
60997 June 1953 Return to Paradise / Tonight We Live
61051 1953 In Old Sorento / For Your Love
61076 Heart of My Heart / I Think I'll Fall in Love Today
(with Don Cornell & and Johnny Desmond)
61119 1953 Gioia Mia / Honey, Honey, Honey
61176 East Side, West Side / Sweet Augustine
(with Johnny Desmond & Buddy Greco)
61215 1954 All About You / Loving You Madly
61246 1954 Moonlight and Roses/ I Wonder What's Become Of Sally
61268 1954 Don't / There's No Happiness For Me (with Desmond & Greco)
61325 1955 Learn to Croon / The Song I Heard Last Night
61373 1955 Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White / I'm Sincere
61435 1955 Sweet and Gentle / You Still Mean the Same to Me
61495 1955 Rockin' the Cha-Cha / Wham!
61526 1955 You Gotta Give / Robin Hood
61553 1956 Lisbon Antigua / I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open
61598 1956 Dance On / Mr. Moon
61625 1956 The Promise / The Birds and the Bees
61666 1956 Me 'n' You 'n' the Moon / No One Home
61677 1956 Be My Guest / Pardners (with Buddy Hackett)
61699 1957 I Cry More / The Test of Time
61752 1957 Don't Knock the Rock / Your Love is My Love
61781 1957 The Girl Can't Help It / Lonesome Road
61817 1957 All I Have is a Love Song / Teresa (with Lawrence Welk Orch.)
62355 1958 The Sound of a Breaking Heart / Cicirinella
ALBUMS (Coral Records)
1952 Alan Dale Sings
1956 He (all-star religious album) The Ten Commandments
1956 Songs by Alan Dale
1957 The Stars Visit Lawrence Welk (Alan sings two songs which were
also released on a single: Teresa and All I Have Is A Love Song)
9828 1957 Heartless Heart / Cry, Cry, Cry
9845 1957 How Very Wonderful / I'll Never Forgive You
9879 1957 Cindy and I / We're So In Love, Aren't I?
9914 1958 The Valley of the Moon / We're Together
10547 1958 If You Want to Leave Me / If You Want To Leave Me (Italian)
K12699 1958 Volare / Weeping Willow in the Wind
K12720 1958 The Great Adventure / Cha-Cha-Cha Funicula
K12742 1958 Love Eyes / As Young As We Are
K12787 1958 Oh Marie / Let Me Sleep Here Tonight, Mama
1003 Monday to Sunday / That's a Teenage Girl
412 1959 You Pass This Way Only Once / Blue Valley
UAL 3091 1960 ALBUM:ALAN DALE SINGS GREAT AMERICAN HITS IN ITALIAN
FXS-715 1961 ALBUM: OPERATIC ARIAS: THE WORLD'S GREATEST LOVE SONGS
F-407 1961 Conquered / Daddy's Little Girl
AD-1001 1965 The Spider and the Marionettes / Seven-Eleven
P-1003 How Do You Mend a Broken Heart / All You Add Is Love
AMSTERDAM (Flying Dutchman)
AM85031 (#64511 & #64513) This Is Only the Beginning / All Of My Life (1974?)
ALAN'S (almost complete) DISCOGRAPHY
HIS ROCK 'N' ROLL YEARS