Friday, February 11, 2005


rub him out of the roll call, sister

Peggy Lee, I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair.

Eleven days after South Pacific opened at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway (where it would run for five years), Peggy Lee was in the studio recording this number, sung in the original production by Mary Martin. (Due to my first exposure to this song in its sad reincarnation as a shampoo commercial jingle, I can never quite remove that association whenever I hear it.)

Peggy Lee, like many singers who had emerged from the swing bands to establish solo pop music careers, had had to record a lot of dross during the late '40s, as the popular taste for goofy novelty or "ethnic" songs was at a wretched high. (e.g., Lee's "Caramba! It's the Samba!" or the Irish Rosemary Clooney having to fake an Italian accent to sing "Come On-A My House.") So Lee's relief at getting to sing an Oscar Hammerstein lyric is palpable.

"Wash That Man" was released on June 6, 1949, and can be found here.

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