Ella delivers a superlative Torch Song

The forces of Love have propelled many musical moments. On the far side of blissful infatuation is the Torch Song. These songs of deliciously poignant moments of longing, loss and regrets comprise many of the treasures in the Great American Songbook.

Written for the 1940 Rogers and Hart musical, Pal Joey, Ella Fitzgerald gave it one of my favorite covers in her 1956 album ‘Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rogers and Hart songbook’ on the Verve label. I found some of the songs content, often edited out, to be surprisingly frank for the 1950s: “I’ve sinned a lot, and I mean…a lot.”

To me the truly talented singers deliver powerful emotional content with subtle nuance and apparent ease. If you like that sort of thing, this performance by Ella is as good as it gets.

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