Under Paris Skies
|Under Paris Skies|
|Studio album by Andy Williams|
Barclay Studios, Paris
|Andy Williams chronology|
Under Paris Skies is an album by American pop singer Andy Williams that was released in the fall of 1960 by Cadence Records. This, his seventh and final LP for the label, is a collection of songs that Joseph Laredo describes in the liner notes of the CD release by Varèse Sarabande as "a delightful program of twelve compositions, selected by Williams, that proved an engaging mixture of genuine French popular songs and American-penned emulations."
The album was released on compact disc for the first time in 1997 after being digitally remastered by Varèse Sarabande. It was also released as one of two albums on one CD by Collectables Records on September 12, 2000, the other album being a 1962 Cadence compilation entitled Andy Williams' Best. Collectables included this CD in a box set entitled Classic Album Collection, Vol. 1, which contains 17 of his studio albums and three compilations and was released on June 26, 2001.
Although no album producer credit is listed on any of its releases, Laredo writes, "Unlike his previous Cadence efforts, which were meticulously supervised by label owner Archie Bleyer, Under Paris Skies was a pet project for which Williams assumed the producer's responsibilities."
The album was recorded in Paris, and Quincy Jones led an orchestra of both American and French musicians in the studio. In the liner notes from the original album, jazz critic Nat Hentoff quotes the description of the recording of the album that Williams gave. "Our first session was for 9:00 p.m., and I was all set to record. At 9:30 some musicians were still arriving. After about an hour, we had finished one song. The sound was wonderful, and I was very happy. At this point, I was informed that the orchestra has to have a 15 minute break. The musicians vanished to a local café for some wine. About 45 minutes later, they began arriving back in the studio. We got one more song recorded before the contractor stood up and, in perfect English, said, 'Overtime'. Overtime is expensive in Paris, and so we released the orchestra for half an hour and started another three-hour session at 12:30. The musicians naturally returned to their café and their wine, and showed up for the second session about 1:00 a.m., happy and very friendly." Laredo adds that the "French musicians were paid on the honor system. Unfamiliar with local routine, Andy simply hauled a suitcase of francs into the studio and invited each man to take his fair share."
- "Under Paris Skies" (Jean Andre Brun, Kim Gannon, Hubert Giraud) - 3:03
- "Let It Be Me" (Gilbert Becaud, Mann Curtis, Pierre Delanoë) - 3:24
- "April in Paris" (Vernon Duke, E.Y. "Yip" Harburg) - 3:38
- "Mademoiselle de Paris" (Henri Contet, Paul Durand, Eric Maschwitz, Mitchell Parish) - 2:52
- "I Wish You Love" (Albert A. Beach, Charles Trenet) - 3:44
- "Domino" (Louis Ferrari; Jacques Plante; Don Raye) - 2:07
- "I Love Paris" (Cole Porter) - 2:50
- "Mam'selle" (Mack Gordon, Edmund Goulding) - 3:33
- "Comme Ci, Comme Ça" (Bruno Coquatrix, Pierre Dudan, Alex Kramer, Joan Whitney) - 2:14
- "La Valse des Lilas" (Eddie Barclay, Michel Legrand, Eddy Marnay, Johnny Mercer) - 2:39
- "Boum !" (E. Ray Goetz, Charles Trenet) - 2:28
- "Au Revoir, Paris" (Kay Thompson) - 2:41
"April in Paris" was written for the 1932 Broadway musical Walk a Little Faster and first appeared on the charts as a number five hit by Freddy Martin & His Orchestra with Elmer Feldkamp on vocal. "Boom!" comes from the 1938 French song "Boum !", which was recorded by Blossom Dearie for her 1959 album My Gentleman Friend. "Mam'selle" was included in the 1946 film The Razor's Edge and Art Lund and Frank Sinatra both reached number one on the Billboard charts with the song in 1947. "Comme Ci, Comme Ça" had been recorded prior to this album under the title for the 1949 French version, "Clopin-Clopant", by performers such as Yves Montand and Henri Salvador and as the version Williams performs here by Paul Anka, Johnny Desmond, and Gisele MacKenzie.
"Under Paris Skies" was originally written in French as the title song of the 1951 film Sous le ciel de Paris, which was given the English title Under the Paris Sky. Mitch Miller & His Orchestra spent a week on the charts at number 26 with the song under its English title. Bing Crosby, Doris Day, and Tony Martin each had recordings of "Domino" that made the charts in Billboard magazine in 1951. "I Love Paris" originated in the 1953 Broadway musical Can-Can and reached number 13 that same year thanks to Les Baxter & His Orchestra. Bing Crosby recorded "Mademoiselle de Paris" in both French and English in 1953, and Hildegarde did an English version in 1958.
Keely Smith first released "I Wish You Love" as the B-side of her 1956 single "Shy" and then as the title track to an album that qualified her for a Grammy nomination for the song as a 1958 release in the category of Best Vocal Performance, Female. The Everly Brothers had a number seven hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Let It Be Me" when they released the song early in 1960. On this album Williams incorporates the French lyrics from the original song, "Je t'appartiens", into his otherwise English-language version, and on his 1964 album The Wonderful World of Andy Williams, he re-records the song entirely in English with his then-wife Claudine Longet.
- Andy Williams - vocalist
- Dave Grusin - pianist
- Quincy Jones - orchestra conductor
- Billy Byers - arranger
- Frank Gauna - cover design
- Jean-Pierre Leloir - photographer
- Nat Hentoff - liner notes
Varèse Sarabande reissue
- Cary Mansfield - producer
- Marty Wekser - sound producer
- Paul Elmore - digital remastering
- Joseph F. Laredo - liner notes
- Top Design Studio, Los Angeles - design
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