Here is a wonderful compilation of newly remastered recordings focused on Judy singing about love.
Included in the new-to-CD 1946 radio performance of "Why Was I Born?" This recording is unique. Judy is singing to an MGM pre-recording of the background scoring of the song recorded to accompany Lena Horne in the film Till The Clouds Roll By (1946).
Twenty minutes after the concert had started, word came that Lena Horne would not be able to appear. Since they were using the MGM pre-recordings for the finale section, which included Lena’s “Why Was I Born?” solo, her section couldn’t be cut at such short notice. At intermission, MGM’s musical director Roger Edens went to Judy’s dressing room and persuaded her to step in for Lena. They quickly rehearsed the song at a “small, broken down piano” in a “passageway leading to the dressing rooms backstage.” Judy came through with a beautiful performance.
Because of this last minute change, and the fact that the broadcast was recorded, we’re treated to a unique MGM recording of Judy Garland singing “Why Was I Born?” Yes, an MGM recording. It’s Judy singing with the studio pre-recording of the MGM Studio Orchestra. That’s not as crazy as it sounds. MGM pre-recorded their music in a multi-track system on separate audio optical tracks, a process dating back at the studio to about 1931. This was done to create perfect takes and a balanced mono track for the films. Many of the recordings you hear in their films are culled together from multiple vocal and orchestra takes.
The only public release of this performance was on a 1970s record “The Judy Garland Musical Scrapbook” without any explanation of its history. Over the years, collectors have wondered if this was a rare, unreleased and possibly undocumented pre-recording that Judy made for the studio. Maybe she was even slated to sing it in the film?
As nice as it would be to think that this is a rare test record Judy made at the studio, it’s not. Judy completed her work on “Clouds” on November 7, 1945. Already pregnant with Liza, Judy was off work for the rest of her pregnancy and shortly thereafter. In fact, this broadcast is one of Judy’s first public appearances after Liza’s birth. Lena recorded her numbers for the film in January, March, and April of 1946. It makes no sense for MGM to call Judy in to record a vocal to marry to the orchestra track of a Lena recording from March 22, 1946. Besides, Judy was never slated to sing it in the film. It was always planned as Lena’s solo in the film’s “Finale Medley” section. In the end, thanks to this concert being recorded we have this “lost” Judy Garland MGM recording.
images on this page from the collection of Scott Brogan.
*First time on CD
ON THE BUMPY ROAD TO LOVE
(with Mary Astor, Freddie Bartholomew & Scotty Beckett) Listen, Darling (MGM 1938)
Arrowhead Springs Hotel opening broadcast on CBS Radio
ZING! WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART
Command Performance #58, Armed Radio Network
THIS HEART OF MINE
Decca Records DLA-3727
Decca Records DLA-3728
WHY WAS I BORN?
Hollywood Bowl tribute to Jerome Kern
MGM Studio Orchestra pre-recording from Till The Clouds Roll By (MGM 1946)
I WISH I WERE IN LOVE AGAIN
(With Eadie Griffith and Rac Godwin, pianos)
Decca Records L-4565
GO HOME, JOE
(with Paul Weston and his Orchestra)
Columbia RCHO 10467