Dinah Shore (born Frances Rose Shore; February 29, 1916 ? February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress, and television personality. She was most popular during the Big Band era of the 1940s and 1950s.
After failing singing auditions for the bands of Benny Goodman and both Jimmy Dorsey and his brother Tommy Dorsey, Shore struck out on her own to become the first singer of her era to achieve huge solo success. She enjoyed a long string of over 80 charted popular hits, lasting from 1940 into the late '50s, and after appearing in a handful of films went on to a four-decade career in American television, starring in her own music and variety shows in the '50s and '60s and hosting two talk shows in the '70s. TV Guide magazine ranked her at #16 on their list of the top fifty television stars of all time. Stylistically, Dinah Shore was often compared to two popular singers who followed her in the mid-to-late '40s and early '50s, Doris Day and Patti Page.
Childhood and rise to success
Born to Solomon and Anna Stein Shore, Jewish immigrants from Russia, young Frances Rose lived in Winchester, Tennessee. When she was two years old, she was stricken with polio (infantile paralysis), a disease that was not preventable at the time, and for which treatment was limited to bedrest. Her parents provided intensive care for her and she recovered and overcame the disease. However, she continued to have a slightly deformed foot and limp, which did not physically impede her. As a small child she loved to sing, encouraged by her mother, a contralto with operatic aspirations. Her father would often take her to his store where she would perform impromptu songs for the customers. In 1924 the Shore family (which included Dinah's only sibling, older sister Bessie) moved to McMinnville, Tennessee, where her father had opened a department store. Although shy because of her limp, she became actively involved in sports and was a cheerleader at Hume-Fogg High School and involved in many other activities. At 14, Shore debuted as a torch singer at a Nashville night club only to find her parents sitting ringside, having been tipped off to their daughter's performance ahead of time. They allowed her to finish, but put her professional career on hold. She was paid $10.
When Shore was 16, her mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and Shore decided to pursue her education. She went to Vanderbilt University, where she participated in many events and activities, including the Chi chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority. She graduated from the university in 1938 with a degree in sociology. She also visited the Grand Ole Opry and made her radio debut on Nashville's WSM (AM) radio station in these years. She decided to return to pursuing her career in singing, so she went to New York City to audition for orchestras and radio stations, first on a summer break from Vanderbilt, and after graduation, for good. In many of her auditions, she sang the popular song "Dinah." When disc jockey Martin Block could not remember her name, he called her the "Dinah girl," and soon after the name stuck, becoming her stage name. She eventually was hired as a vocalist at radio station WNEW, where she sang with Frank Sinatra. She also recorded and performed with the Xavier Cugat orchestra. She signed a recording contract with RCA Victor records in 1940.
Career in the 1940s and 1950s
In March 1939, Dinah debuted on national radio on the Sunday afternoon CBS radio program, Ben Bernie's Orchestra. In February 1940, Dinah Shore became a featured vocalist on the NBC Radio program The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, a showcase for traditional Dixieland and Blues songs. With Shore, the program became so popular that it was moved from 4:30 Sunday afternoon to a 9:00 Monday night time slot in September. In her prime-time debut for "the music of the Three Bs, Barrelhouse, Boogie-woogie and the Blues", she was introduced as "Mademoiselle Dinah 'Diva' Shore, who starts a fire by rubbing two notes together!" . She recorded with the two Basin Street bands for RCA Victor; one of her records was the eponymous "Dinah's Blues."
Shore's singing came to the attention of Eddie Cantor, and he signed her as a regular on his popular radio show, Time to Smile, in 1940. Shore credits him for teaching her self-confidence, comedic timing, and the ways of connecting with an audience. Eddie Cantor bought the rights to an adapted Russian folk song with new lyrics by Jack Lawrence for Dinah Shore to record for RCA Victor's Bluebird label. This song, "Yes, My Darling Daughter," became her first major hit, selling 500,000 copies in a matter of weeks, which was unusual for that time.
Shore soon became a successful singing star with her own radio show in 1943, Call to Music. Also in 1943, she appeared in her first movie, Thank Your Lucky Stars. The movie starred Eddie Cantor, and she soon went to another radio show, Paul Whiteman Presents. During this time, the United States was involved in World War II and Shore became a favorite with the troops. She had major record hits, including Blues In the Night, Jim, You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To and I'll Walk Alone, the first of her number-one hits. To support the troops overseas, who liked her singing, she participated in USO tours to Europe. She met George Montgomery, a young actor ready to go into military service. They married on December 3, 1943, shortly before he went into service. When he returned, they settled in San Fernando, California. In 1948, their first child was born, a daughter named Melissa Ann, and they also adopted a son in 1954 named John David before moving to Beverly Hills.
Shore continued appearing in radio shows throughout the 1940s, including Birds Eye-Open House and Ford Radio Show. In early 1946, she moved to another label, Columbia Records. At Columbia, Dinah Shore enjoyed the greatest commercial success of her recording career, starting with her first Columbia single release Shoo Fly Pie And Apple Pan Dowdy and peaking with the most popular song of 1948, Buttons and Bows, which was number one for ten weeks. Other number one hits at Columbia included The Gypsy and The Anniversary Song. One of her most popular recordings was the holiday perennial Baby, It's Cold Outside with Buddy Clark from 1949. The song was covered by many other artists, Ella Fitzgerald, for example. Other hits during her four years at Columbia included Laughing on the Outside (Crying on the Inside), I Wish I Didn't Love You So, I Love You (For Sentimental Reasons), Doin' What Comes Naturally, and Dear Hearts And Gentle People. She was a regular with
All Dinah Shore lyrics
- Anniversary Song
- Blues In The Night
- Buttons & Bows
- Changing Partners
- Chantez - Chantez
- Doin' What Comes Natur'lly
- He's Home For A Little While
- I'll Walk Alone
- It Had To Be You
- Laughing On The Outside (Crying On The Inside)
- Lavender Blue
- Love And Marriage
- Miss You
- Shoo Fly Pie And Apple Pan Dowdy
- Tess's Torch Song
- The Gypsy
- You Keep Coming Back Like A Song
- You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
All lyrics are property of their respective owners and are strictly for non-commercial use only.