Grant in 2006
|Birth name||Myrtle Audrey Arinsberg|
September 20, 1924|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||March 10, 2016
Los Angeles, California
|Genres||Jazz, vocal jazz, pop|
|Labels||Era, RCA Victor|
Life and career
Grant was born as Myrtle Audrey Arinsberg in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the eldest of six children of Russian Jewish parents, Rose (née Jacobson) and Alexander Arinsberg. At the age of 12, she moved to Los Angeles, where she attended Venice High School. In California, she won a teenage singing contest and appeared on television talent shows.
She worked as a car saleswoman in the early 1950s. In 1952 she began to record, using first the name "Audrey Brown" and later "Audrey Grant". She was given the name "Gogi" by Dave Kapp, the head of Artists and Repertory at RCA Victor, who liked to patronize a restaurant called Gogi's LaRue. (Another source says that Grant asked Kapp, "What is a Gogi?" She continued, "His answer was, 'Darned if I know, I dreamed it last night.'")
In 1955 Grant signed with a small record company, Era Records, and had her first top ten hit with "Suddenly There's a Valley". The next year, she had an even bigger hit, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart with "The Wayward Wind" and holding there for six weeks. The song sold over one million copies in the United States alone, and peaked at No. 9 in the UK Singles Chart. She was voted the most popular female vocalist by Billboard magazine. This single returned to the Hot Billboard Hot 100 in 1961.
In 1957, she supplied the vocals for Ann Blyth's portrayal of Helen Morgan in the biographical film, The Helen Morgan Story. The soundtrack occasioned her return to RCA Victor (the soundtrack album climbed to No. 25 in the Billboard album chart), where she had a minor hit the following year with "Strange Are the Ways of Love". Moreover, she was signed to star in The Big Beat in the spring of 1957. The film, which featured musical performances by the Cal Tjader Quintet, George Shearing, and the Del Vikings, was produced and directed by William Cowan and released in February 1958.
In 1958, Grant was one of the three solo singers featured in the first stereo LP of the classic musical Show Boat. The other solo singers were Howard Keel, who had appeared in the 1951 film version of the show, and Anne Jeffreys.
Although she made albums and appeared on television into the 1960s, her popularity declined and she initially retired from singing in 1967 after a final US chart single, "The Sea" (top 20 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart). An album of hers was released in UK some 20 years later. Grant survived cancer surgery and was in remission. In 2004 at the age of 80, she sang "The Wayward Wind" on the PBS program Magic Moments.
Grant headlined with The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies in Palm Springs, California. One of her more notable appearances of her later years was with the Follies on December 31, 2006. She was still performing as late as 2013, at the age of 89.
Personal life and death
In 1959, Grant married attorney Robert Rifkind. The couple had two children. Grant died in Los Angeles on March 10, 2016, aged 91. Her death was announced by her son, Joshua Beckett. She also had a daughter, Jeri Brown.
|1955||"Suddenly There's a Valley"||9||-|
|1956||"Who Are We"||62||-|
|"The Wayward Wind"||1||9|
|"You're In Love" /
"When the Tide Is High"
|1958||"Strange Are the Ways of Love"||80||-|
|1961||"The Wayward Wind" (reissue)||50||-|
- Suddenly There's Gogi Grant (Era, US; London UK, 1957)
- The Helen Morgan Story (RCA Victor, 1958)
- Welcome to My Heart (RCA Victor, 1958)
- Torch Time (RCA Victor, 1958)
- Show Boat & Howard Keel, Anne Jeffreys (RCA Victor, 1958)
- Kiss Me Kate & Howard Keel, Anne Jeffreys (RCA Victor 1959)
- Granted It's Gogi (RCA Victor, 1959)
- If You Want to Get to Heaven, Shout (Liberty, 1960)
- City Girl in the Country (CRC-Charter, 1964)
- Gogi Grant (Pete, 1968)
- The Way a Woman Feels (Pete, 1970)
- With All My Heart (Jasmine, 2009)
- "Person Details for Myrtle Arinsberg, "California, County Marriages, 1850-1952"". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
- nate bloom. "celebrity jews". Retrieved 12 March 2016.
- Johnson, Erskine (August 4, 1957). "In Hollywood Today". Oklahoma, Lawton. The Lawton Constitution And Morning Press. p. 18. Retrieved November 3, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 82. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 234. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Gogi Grant". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
The same year, Grant was voted Most Popular Female Vocalist by Billboard magazine. But despite all the accolades, Grant was unable to follow up her lone hit despite releasing five albums in a two-year span, between 1957 and 1959. ~ Greg Prato, All Music Guide
- "Show Boat (Studio Cast)". Castalbumdb.com. 1927-12-27. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
- "Gogi Grant Wed". Newspapers.com. Nebraska, Lincoln. The Lincoln Star. January 26, 1959. p. 1. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- Slotnik, Daniel E. (16 March 2016). "Gogi Grant, Who Knocked Elvis Off Top of Chart, Dies at 91". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- Notice of death of Gogi Grant, savingcountrymusic.com; accessed March 11, 2016.
- Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 289. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
- Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 328. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.