EYDIE GORME, 84

Singer Eydie Gorme, who had huge hit with 1963’s ‘Blame it on the Bossa Nova,’ has died

 

Associated Press

Eydie Gorme, a popular nightclub and television singer as a solo act and as a team with her husband, Steve Lawrence, has died. She was 84.

Gorme, who also had a huge solo hit in 1963 with Blame it on the Bossa Nova, died Saturday at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas following a brief, undisclosed illness, said her publicist, Howard Bragman.

Gorme was a successful band singer and nightclub entertainer when she was invited to join the cast of Steve Allen’s local New York television show in 1953.

She sang solos and also did duets and comedy skits with Lawrence, a rising young singer who had joined the show a year earlier.

When the program became NBC’s Tonight Show in 1954, the young couple went with it.

They married in Las Vegas in 1957 and later performed for audiences there. Lawrence, the couple’s son David and other loved ones were by her side when she died, Bragman said.

“Eydie has been my partner on stage and in life for more than 55 years,” Lawrence said in a statement.

“I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing. While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.”

Although usually recognized for her musical partnership with Lawrence, Gorme broke through on her own with the Grammy-nominated Blame it on the Bossa Nova. The bouncy tune about a dance craze of the time was written by the Tin Pan Alley songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Her husband had an equally huge solo hit in 1962 with Go Away Little Girl, written by the songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

Gorme would score another solo hit in 1964, but this time for a Spanish-language recording.

Gorme, who was born in New York City to Sephardic Jewish parents, grew up speaking both English and Spanish.

When she and her husband were at the height of their career as a team in 1964, Columbia Records President Goddard Lieberson suggested she put that Spanish to use in the recording studio.

The result was Amor, recorded with the Mexican combo Trio Los Panchos.

The song became a hit throughout Latin America, which resulted in more recordings for the Latino market, and Lawrence and Gorme performed as a duo throughout Latin America.

“Our Spanish stuff outsells our English recordings,” Lawrence said in 2004.

“She’s like a diva to the Spanish world.”

Gorme and Lawrence, meanwhile, had an impressive, long-lasting career in English-language music as well, encompassing recordings and appearances on TV, in nightclubs and in concert halls.

Throughout it, they stuck for the most part with the music of classic composers like Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and other giants of Broadway and Hollywood musicals.

They eschewed rock ’n’ roll and made no apologies for it.

“People come with a general idea of what they’re going to get,” Lawrence said of their show in a 1989 interview. “They buy a certain cereal, and they know what to expect from that package.”

Soon after their marriage, the pair had landed their own TV program, The Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Show, which was a summer replacement for Allen.

Not long after that, however, Lawrence entered the Army, and Gorme went on the nightclub circuit as a soloist until his return to civilian life two years later.

After his discharge, Lawrence and Gorme quickly reteamed, and their careers took off.

They appeared at leading nightclubs in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Las Vegas, combining music with the comedy bits they had learned during their apprenticeship on Allen’s show.

With nightclubs dwindling in popularity in the 1980s, they moved their act to large theaters and auditoriums, drawing not only older audiences but also the Baby Boomers who had grown up on rock ’n’ roll.

Gorme, who was born Aug. 16, 1928, began to seriously consider a music career while still a student at William Taft High School in New York City’s borough of the Bronx, where she had been voted the “Prettiest, Peppiest Cheerleader.”

After graduation, she worked as a Spanish interpreter for a time but also sang on weekends with the band of Ken Greenglass, who encouraged her and eventually became her manager.

She is survived by Lawrence, her son David and a granddaughter.

Her other son with Lawrence, Michael, died of heart failure in 1986 at age 23.

Read more Nation stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, William Lee Jones, left, and Aaron Huntsman kiss during a celebration Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Key West, Fla. Jones and Huntsman and about 100 other people marked a Florida Keys judge's ruling overturning Florida's ban on same-sex marriage on Thursday after the couple's legal challenge. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman)

    Gay marriage

    Monroe judge denies gay Key West bartenders’ plea to let them marry Tuesday

    Two gay Key West bartenders asked Monroe Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia to lift an automatic stay and allow them to marry Tuesday. The judge declined.

  • UKRAINE SHOOTDOWN

    Flight victim was 1990 graduate of Palmer

    Waiting tables, being an administrative assistant and working in customer service paid the bills at various times for 1990 Palmer School graduate Kevin Jesurun, a native of the Netherlands Antilles who died when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crashed in the Ukraine. Jeserun’s loves, however, clearly were laughter and soccer.

  •  
In this Thursday July 17, 2014, photo, Aaron Huntsman, left, and William Jones, right, greet the crowd gathered at Aqua Night Club in Key West, Fla. The couple is challenging the state of Florida's ban on gay marriage. Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia on Thursday overturned Florida's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, a move that was quickly appealed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. (AP Photo/Key West Citizen, Rob O'Neal)

    Gay marriage

    Keys clerk’s office: We’re ready to marry gay couples

    Same-sex couples from around the state made plans to go to the Keys to marry after a Monroe County judge overthrew the state’s gay-marriage ban. But a stay means no same-sex weddings for the moment.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category