Released in 2011, when she was aged 89, ‘My Heart’ was the last CD of original recordings released by actress and singer Doris Day. It was well received and sold well. Though Vera Lynn was 100 when she topped the UK music chart, her album was of historic recordings, Doris Day was the oldest artist to make the UK top ten with new material.
The songs featured were co-produced by her son Terry Melcher, who died in 2004 and to whom the record is dedicated. He was a talented musician, song writer, singer and record producer. The song ‘Happy Endings’ was co-written by him for Doris, but she insisted that he record it. His recording features on track 11 of this CD and has a spoken introduction by Doris, who speaks of him not only as a son, but as her buddy. There are no re-recordings of her greatest hits to be found here, but previously unreleased tracks and songs described on the record cover as a few of her all-time favourites. These are gentle, relaxed, mellow performances with a jazz influence. Track 5 features the André Previn Trio, which was a jazz trio, despite the fact that Previn was best known as a classical musician and conductor.
Born Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Doris had hopes of becoming a professional dancer, until a car in which she was travelling was struck by a train, severely injuring her right leg. Consequently she took singing lessons and at the age of 15 was performing with a local band, the leader of which suggested she change her surname to Day, after the song ‘Day by Day’. She was soon performing with big bands, notably Les Brown and his Band of Renown. She had her first number one hit with ‘Sentimental Journey’ in 1944. Throughout the 1950s she continued to record ‘singles’, many of which were hits and during the 1970s she continued recorded LPs, but she had made the transition to films in the late 1940s and became a huge movie star. She appeared in 39 films, starring in the majority. Amongst the best known are ‘Calamity Jane’, ‘Pillow Talk’ with Rock Hudson, and ‘Move Over Darling’ with James Garner. She made her last film in 1968 but then from 1968 until 1973, starred in her own sitcom, ‘The Doris Day Show’ on TV. She announced her retirement from acting in 1975. Many of her hit records came from her films, for example ‘Secret Love’ and ‘The Deadwood Stage’ from ‘Calamity Jane and ‘Que Sera, Sera’ from ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’.
Doris Day was married four times, the longest lasting was to third husband, Barry Comden, who died in 1968, After his death, Day discovered that he had lost most of her money in bad investments with a their lawyer. She found herself bankrupt and had a nervous breakdown. Fortunately, in 1974, via a lawsuit, she recouped $22 million from the lawyer.
From 1971, Doris Day devoted her life to animal welfare, co-founding Actors and Others for Animals and later the Doris Day Pet Foundation ,which evolved into the the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Her love of animals is reflected in the cover pictures on this CD.
She died of pneumonia at her home in Carmel Valley, California on May 13, 2019. With nearly 40 films and over 30 recorded albums, not including re-released material, Doris Day was one of the most successful performers of the 20th century and this CD is an appropriate valediction.