Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bésame Mucho

Consuelo Velázquez (1916 – 2005) was a Mexican concert pianist, songwriter and recording artist. Velázquez, who is said to have begun playing the piano at the age of four, started her professional career as a classical music concert pianist, but later became a singer and recording artist. She  was the songwriter and lyricist of many Spanish standard songs, most notably the enduring 1940s-era standard "Bésame mucho", a romantic ballad which was soon recorded by artists around the globe, making it an international hit. - "Bésame mucho" was composed in 1941, Consuelo Velázquez wrote the original Spanish lyrics for this tune (a bolero) when she was 25 and, as she liked to say, had never been kissed. The song's haunting melody is based on the aria "Quejas, o la Maja y el Ruiseñor" ("Plaints, or the Maiden and the Nightingale"), from the 1916 opera "Goyescas," by the Spanish composer Enrique Granados. The  lyrics have a simple dramatic urgency: Bésame, bésame mucho, / Como si fuera esta noche la última vez ("Kiss me, kiss me a lot, / as if tonight were the last time"). The English lyrics (Bésame, bésame mucho, / Each time I cling to your kiss, I hear music divine) add a generous dollop of schmaltz. The English version, written by Sunny Skylar in 1944, was a hit that year for the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, with vocals by Kitty Kallen and Bob Eberly. "Bésame Mucho" is not so much an enduring standard as a global phenomenon. Translated into dozens of languages and performed by hundreds of artists, the song has been an emblem of Latin identity. [info extracted from Wikipedia profile of Consuelo Velazque and obiturary in New York Times By MARGALIT FOX, Published: January 30, 2005]

Below is inserted Consuelo Velázquez' own instrumental version of "Bésame mucho" from a TV presentation

OSCAR ALEMÁN y su Quinteto de Swing (Manuel Gavinovich  v, Rogelio Robledo  p, Oscar Alemán  g (dobro) vo dir, Oscar Guillermo Barbieri  g, Luis Gavinovich b, Ramón M. Caravaca  dm  Band vo) recorded "Bésame mucho" for Odeon on 7th Sep. 1943, it was released as the B-side of the 78 rpm Odeon 45885 and soon became a smash hit,  the royalties for this recording alone were enough to let Alemán live a comfortable life during this period. The tune "Bésame mucho" became a part of Alemán's standard book throughout the remain of his career, there are many examples of performance of the tune among the un-issued, private recordings of radio and TV shows, and he also recorded the tune again on the IMPACTO IMP-14014 LP from c.1965 (re-issued on the FA5366 CD by FREMEAUX & ASSOCIES: OSCAR ALEMÁN - BUENOS AIRES 1965-1975).

- Here is the 1965 version of "Bésame mucho" uploaded at YouTube with inserted entertaining film clips from a bygone era - enjoy!

NB! On the 20th February this year all true Alemániacs will celebrate the 105th anniversary of El Maestro!