TERESA BREWER FAN CLUB
584 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Teresa and her family are “tickled pink” over the birth of Teresa’s second great-grandchild, Shaylan, who was born this past spring. She joins big sister Ryleigh Kate and their proud and happy parents, Tierney and Denis Ahearn. (Denis, Teresa’s grandson, is the eldest son of Megan and Denis Ahearn. Megan, as you know, is Teresa’s daughter.) Teresa, a great-grandmother? Twice? It’s difficult to believe. It’s hard to get over the fact that she’s even a grandmother!
bit of sad news to report as well.
Marianne Lovaas, one of Teresa’s longtime and
dearest friends, died after a lengthy illness on
As an industrious teenager of 16 in 1959, Marianne (then, Mary Ann) took over the presidency of The National Teresa Brewer Fan Club. At the time, Marianne was in the formidable position of having to fill the shoes of Alma Thurmond, who very capably started the fan club a few years prior and had done a wonderful job in running it. Those of us who remember the bi-monthly issues of “Teresa’s Telegram” under Marianne’s aegis know that Marianne succeeded, and succeeded beautifully. We miss Marianne more than words can say, especially her quick and incisive wit, her extraordinary kindness and her cherished friendship.
to check out the
includes, among other features, an updated and extensive Teresa Brewer
discography (listing over 600 songs, 80 albums, 145 singles, etc.,
completely cross-referenced), a comprehensive biography, and an abundance of outstanding
and very rare photographs which are representative of Teresa’s long,
extraordinary and successful career.
Also, whenever there’s any late-breaking news to report on Teresa,
you’ll find it in the website. The
Many of you have inquired about the availability of Teresa’s recordings, new and old, and have asked for hints on how best to locate them. Here are some suggestions:
If your local music store doesn’t have the Teresa CD you are seeking, you might want to try contacting Tower Records or Collectors’ Choice Music and ordering by mail. In the past, they have been a good source for that elusive disc. Tower Records’ phone number is (212) 799-2500; the number for Collectors’ Choice is (800) 923-1122. (You can also use their websites: www.towerrecords.com and www.collectorschoicemusic.com. The Tower Records site has a number of CD compilations on which Teresa appears as guest artist, e.g., “ ’S Wonderful: The Great Gershwin Decca Songbook” on which she sings “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” and “Baseball’s Greatest Hits” on which “I Love Mickey” is found.)
Travelers on the Internet probably know that Amazon.com carries, in general, a very respectable supply of Teresa’s compact discs.
And rare singles and long-playing albums – even CDs – pop up all the time on yet another Internet site, eBay. It’s an auction site. If you are not familiar with it, check it out at eBay.com.
source – and it’s a good one! Our very
good friend, Norm Muir of
For those of you who do not have a computer as yet, perhaps a friend or relative has one and will help you locate the aforementioned websites. And most libraries nowadays have computers for their patrons to use.
These have been just a few suggestions to help you find Teresa’s recordings. If you have others, please drop the fan club a line. We’re always very happy to share any Teresa Brewer information that’s available.
old is new again! In
The disc is important historically as well for it contains the very first two sides that Teresa ever recorded, “When the Train Came In” and “A Man Wrote a Song.” When this 78 was released in 1949, the label on the disc prophetically proclaimed “A New Star Is Born!”
year on the Spectrum label in
A third CD you’ll be pleased to know about is “When Your Lover Has Gone,” originally released on Coral Records in 1958. The quality of this album of standards is excellent, sounding so much better than a mint copy of the stereo record. And the original artwork and liner notes add the perfect touch. Available through Red Trumpet, a company that can be reached at (877) 733-8786.
Rounding out the list of recently released CDs are two classic reissues: “Teresa Brewer ‘Live’ at Carnegie Hall & Montreux, Switzerland” and, on a 2-for-1 disc, “The Songs of Bessie Smith” with Count Basie and “The Cotton Connection” with Mercer Ellington. They are part of the Sony Music Special Products Collectables Jazz Classics. You can buy these online at Oldies.com or call them at (800) 336-4627.
In addition to the specific ordering information cited above for Red Trumpet, the Good Music Company and Oldies.com, all of these CDs can be obtained through Amazon.com and/or from Collectors’ Choice. See the previous page for ordering information. (If you would like listings of song titles for any of the above CDs, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the fan club at the address listed at the end of this newsletter. When writing, please specify which album or albums you’re interested in.)
Fan club member Bill Harper has suggested that we do another Teresa Brewer record, cassette and CD swap and has volunteered to spearhead it. Send your lists of “wants” and “duplicates for trading” to him, stating the condition of any item you might have to trade. Be sure to enclose a large, self-addressed stamped envelope, too. Bill will then compile all the material he receives and will distribute the information to everyone who participates.
had a record swap in quite a while now and the time is right for another
one! Send your lists to Bill Harper at
How many of
you are aware that Teresa may have been subliminally instrumental in launching
the career of Simon & Garfunkel? It’s not as far-fetched as you might
think. Here’s what we recently
learned: In 1952, songwriter Sidney Prosen approached Teresa in an elevator in the
earned in large part from his “Till I Waltz Again with You” royalties, Sidney Prosen started Big Records and, for the label, signed an
unknown local duo, renaming them Tom & Jerry. As Tom & Jerry, they had a modest hit,
“Hey, Schoolgirl,” in 1957. This caused
enough of a stir in the music industry for Columbia Records to get a whiff and
lure them away from Prosen’s label.
Life is certainly serendipitous. If Teresa hadn’t been in the elevator that day, if Mr. Prosen hadn’t had the perfect song to present to her, if that song hadn’t zoomed up the charts, staying at #1 for seven long weeks, who knows, there may not have been a “Mrs. Robinson” or a “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” So, you can see why we say that Teresa may have unwittingly helped launch -- in a big way -- the careers of Simon & Garfunkel.
For those of you who enjoy collecting Teresa on video, we recommend highly the following:
has released “Abbott & Costello ‘Live’ from the Colgate Comedy Hour,” with
Teresa as ‘special guest star.’ The year
was late 1952 and Teresa sings, in a song-and-dance production number, “Roll
Them Roly Boly Eyes.” Direct any written inquiries to Questar, Inc.,
recommended video is “T.V. Variety Shows, Volume 9” from 1953. Teresa looks especially lovely as she
performs two songs of hers that were big hits at the time, “Baby, Baby, Baby”
and “Ricochet.” Video Resources New
York, Inc. put this video out and they can be reached at
two videos are both wonderful but perhaps even more exciting and delightful, if
that’s possible, is “The Toast of the Town #3,” which captures Teresa on one of
her very first appearances on television.
“The Toast of the Town” was the original name of Ed Sullivan’s Sunday
night television show and this is the complete hour, vintage commercials and
all, that aired
Even though the sources for these three videos are old kinescopes, the quality of them all is very, very good to excellent. (A kinescope, now an archaic term, is a film of a transmitted television program.) And the price is right, too: each sells for about twenty bucks. As we hear of other videos that feature Teresa becoming available, we’ll let you know.
Roger Schram writes that MCA/Universal is re-releasing on CD a variety of selected albums from their vaults in 2-for-1 reissues. MCA/Universal owns all of Teresa’s Coral masters. As soon as any of her albums are scheduled for issuance in this series, Roger has assured us that the fan club will be the first to know. And, as soon as we know, you will, too.
This past year, noted British author Ean Wood approached Teresa with the prospect of writing a full-scale, comprehensive story of her life and career. Ean, the award-winning writer of such highly-acclaimed and well-received biographies on the lives of George Gershwin and Josephine Baker, is known for his thoroughness, his insightfulness and, most important, his fairness. After prolonged consideration, Teresa, although flattered and appreciative, decided that she would prefer to put the project on hold for the time being. As you know, she has been giving much thought these past few years to writing her autobiography. She has such a treasure trove of photographs to share, from her infancy through to the present day, that she thinks it might be fun to have a photo-biography published at some point. Meanwhile, Ean hasn’t gotten Teresa completely out of his system: he is working on having a high-quality boxed set of Teresa’s Coral recordings issued.
We’d like to thank Edmund Arredondo for sharing with us the beautiful collage he made of some of Teresa’s Coral album covers. Edmund has been a valued friend and a dedicated member of the fan club for about 20 years now.
How many of you are familiar with Joel Whitburn’s series of reference books that chronicle every hit that has ever made the Billboard record charts? They are a must for the serious record enthusiast’s library. His most recent volume, the 930-page “Top Pop Singles, 1955-1999,” lists each and every song that has hit Billboard’s Hot-100 charts during that period and it’s completely cross-referenced by artist and song title. It covers every conceivable area of interest and is loaded with fun-filled facts, e.g., the top 25 hits of each decade, records debuting in the top three, songs with the most-charted versions, singles with longest titles, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees, hits with picture sleeves, flip sides of hits, etc. It’s the type of book that, once you start thumbing through, you can’t stop.
Our main interest in the book, of course, is the information it provides on Teresa. For instance, we learn that, in the five-year period between early 1955 and 1959, Teresa had a very impressive total of 24 hits. And, during that timeframe, she had two “hot streaks.” (A “hot streak,” according to the book, is a period in which an artist had five or more consecutive chart-makers. For convenient reference, each hot streak is shaded in gray under the artist’s name.)
hot streak for Teresa, in which six songs in a row charted, was between
following year, the second hot streak occurred.
It began on
A section of the book is devoted to “Top Artists by Decade.” For the period beginning with 1955, when the history of songs that hit the charts begins for this particular book, through the end of 1959, we are pleased and proud to report that the top-two best-selling female artists were Patti Page and Teresa Brewer. (To give you perspective, comparable positions on the male side during this period were Elvis Presley and Pat Boone. And, in the male-dominated pop music world of that era, Teresa and Patti Page were the only solo female singers who made the top 25.)
It should be noted that Teresa had an additional 14 songs on the charts during the first half of the ’50s, including some of her biggest hits, e.g., the million-sellers “Music! Music! Music!,” ‘‘Till I Waltz Again with You” and “Ricochet” and the two-sided smash, “Bell Bottom Blues”/ “Our Heartbreaking Waltz.” It would be interesting to know how she ranked for the decade as a whole rather than just the last five years of it, but that information is not readily available.
There are many other bits of trivia pertaining to Teresa and to every artist who had a top pop single during that time period. Rather than citing all hers in detail here (and possibly spoiling your fun should you decide to pick up a copy of the book yourself), we’ll save them for future newsletters.
Drew’s discographies, we can see that most of the
songs that Teresa recorded for London Records here in
of your subscription inquiries to IN TUNE International, 12 Caer, Groes,
As a special treat for all, Teresa dipped into the family album and has pulled some beautiful photos of her four grandsons and two great-granddaughters. The very proud Teresa thought you might enjoy seeing them. On the family album page, going clockwise from the upper left-hand corner, are Denis Ahearn (25 years old) holding his two-month-old daughter Shaylan; Ian Ahearn (22) in the backyard with niece Ryleigh (2 ½); Nicky (10) with first cousin, once-removed, Ryleigh; Brendan Ahearn (17); Ryleigh with little sister Shaylan; and Shaylan (two months) with Teresa (ageless).
and Brendan are the sons of Megan and Denis Ahearn; Nicky is the son of Susie and Didier Dorot; and Ryleigh and Shaylan are the
daughters of Tierney and the younger Denis Ahearn. Teresa’s extended family also includes Owen
Louis, the handsome young son of Bob Thiele, Jr. and his wife, Amy Kanter, who all live in
photo of the stunning bride on another page is, of course, Teresa’s youngest
daughter, Michelle, who married Ralph McCann on
It is an argument that has gone on for years in pubs and neighborhood taverns, over the dinner table and in living rooms, and maybe even on the street corner: “What were the greatest songs of the last century?”
Now, using a mixture of listeners’ and performers’ choices, together with sales figures of recordings sold, British Radio 2 and sister stations here in the US claim to have come up with the 100 tunes over the last hundred years that have “excited, soothed, inspired and entertained people the most.” “Yesterday,” at the top of the tree, was cited as the most-covered song ever written, with at least 2,000 different versions in existence.
We’re pleased to report that in this top-100 listing – in fact, it made the top 40 – is “What a Wonderful World,” the beautiful song that was co-written by Teresa’s late husband, Bob Thiele. “What a Wonderful World” was not only an enormous international hit for Louis Armstrong, it is a lasting song, one that has captured our hearts.
One of the
nicest members of Teresa’s fan club is Brian Tooley. Brian hadn’t even been born when a lot of
Teresa’s songs hit the charts but he has certainly made up for it. Brian is currently in the process of
“downsizing” part of his massive collection and wants to give fellow fan club
members the first grab at the items. He
offers a varied selection of stuff – records, sheet music, magazines,
miscellaneous memorabilia, etc. – and quite possibly has just what you are
looking for. If interested, why don’t
you write to Brian at
In previous Teresa Brewer Newsletters, a common feature has been a section devoted to “Teresa sightings.” It was here that we would make reference to books, movies, magazines, quotes, etc. that talked about Teresa or, at times, merely just mentioned her name under special or unusual circumstances. Since the last newsletter a while back, there have been quite a number of new sightings as you can imagine, too numerous to possibly mention all. We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t tell you about four of them, each unlike the other but each interesting and unique in its own way:
During the summer, HBO aired the Emmy-nominated original movie, “61*.” Directed by Billy Crystal, it is the story of the New York Yankees of another time. The movie focused specifically on the meteoric rise of, and the competition between, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, who were two of the best and most popular baseball players in the history of the sport. (The title, by the way, refers to the home-run record set by Maris in 1961, a feat asterisked due to the fact that the season was eight games longer than when Babe Ruth set the mark in 1927.) During a one-minute video montage toward the middle of “61*,” Mickey Mantle is shown in action: swinging the bat, running around the bases and, in general, demonstrating just why he was one of the greatest ballplayers of all time. Heard prominently over the montage in the movie and mixed in with the roar of the crowd is the 1956 hit song, “I Love Mickey,” exuberantly performed by Teresa with a vocal assist from Mr. Mantle himself! Available on Home Video and DVD. (From the trivia files: “I Love Mickey,” one of Teresa’s most collectable hits, was co-written by her after she attended one of Mantle’s Yankees games earlier in the year.)
Teresa sighting revolves around the literary world. Garrison Keillor,
whose “Prairie Home Companion” show has been a staple on national public radio
for about 25 years, had a New York Times best-seller this past year entitled
Summer 1956.” It’s the
semi-autobiographical novel of a young boy, in his twelfth year, enjoying the
usual activities and aspirations of most youths in the 1950s. At one point in the story, a group of older
boys form a doo-wop singing group called the Doo-Dads. The Doo-Dads’ main
goal is to escape their small hometown in
there’s “All About Elvis,” the book written by Fred L.
Worth and Steve D. Tamerius. In many of the biographies written about
Elvis, it is mentioned that his favorite “girl” singers were Teresa and Kay
Starr. In this particular book, we learn
that Elvis and a group of his friends caught one of Teresa’s shows at the
Sahara Hotel in
The last Teresa sighting we’re going to mention is perhaps the most unusual. A few months ago, polka-king Jimmy Sturr released a CD on which guest artists such as Willie Nelson and Brenda Lee did some old hits “polka-style.” It’s called “Gone Polka” and, on it, Brenda Lee is featured performing two songs. What is odd, however, is that the two songs chosen for Brenda to sing are hits that are not associated with her. They are polka versions of two of Teresa’s million-selling records, to wit, “Music! Music! Music! Polka” and “Ricochet Polka.” The liner notes read: “Calling Brenda Lee the ‘Country Teresa Brewer,’ Jimmy Sturr seized the opportunity to ask her to sing Teresa Brewer’s hits. They are so often confused, Brenda said, that people often shout ‘Put another nickel in’ at her concerts, a reference to Teresa’s big hit, ‘Music! Music! Music!,’ which Brenda sings here with toe-tappy zeal and vocal vigor. Brenda adds: ‘I’m a big Teresa Brewer fan. People get us a little confused but it doesn’t bother me a bit. I’m proud to be in that company.’ ” As we went to press, we learned that “Gone Polka” has won a 2001 Grammy award, as has Brenda Lee as a special guest performer.
Here’s a nice little human-interest story:
Baker, who lives on the southern coast of
had to have been 1956 because the song in question was, appropriately for
Barry, “Crazy with Love.” (Here in the
States, “Crazy with Love” was the flip, or B-side, of Teresa’s hit, “Mutual
Admiration Society.” In the
After having “Crazy with Love” played for him that day by the store’s proprietor, Barry fell in love with not only the face in the picture on the wall but with voice behind it as well. He simply had to have that record! The only problem was he had no record player. That didn’t deter Barry. He bought the record anyway and then worked at odd jobs to save up enough money to buy a record player.
while, he was able to purchase the record player but his problems weren’t
completely eliminated because, at that time, his family’s home had no
electricity! Undaunted, Barry would put
the needle to the record that was on the turntable, position his ear next to
the grooves and, using his forefinger, would spin the 78 rpm around and
around. Doing this modified bit of
aerobics made Barry’s index finger the healthiest – and hardiest – in
Fortunately, Barry had a “best mate” whose family did have electricity. On a regular basis, Barry would lug the 30-pound, newly-purchased record player up a steep hill to the friend’s house and would play “Crazy with Love.” He would play it over and over and over…for as long as the friend – and the friendship – would permit.
The story, of course, has a happy ending. That first 78, released about 45 years ago, was just the start. Barry is now not only enjoying Teresa’s music on state-of-the-art audio and video equipment, he has virtually every song that Teresa has ever recorded. If ever there was an honor roll of Teresa Brewer fans, a top-ten list of her devotees, Barry would be right up there. He might even be #2 with a bullet!
In wrapping up this long overdue newsletter, we’d like to thank the aforementioned Norm, Chris, Edmund, Bill, Rob, Roger, Barry, Brian and Drew for their input into this special edition of the Teresa Brewer Newsletter. And Darryl Meredith, Allan Murray, Jim Stewart, John Gaizick, Tom Stilgenbauer and Pete and Betty Peterson, do you mind if we appreciate you for your continued support over all these many years?
Teresa has asked that greetings and best wishes be sent from her to each of
you. A bit of an update: Although she still has the apartment high
And, one last thought… There are those who celebrate life’s better events: births and birthdays, hirings and retirings, Cordon Bleu Napoleon brandy and chunky monkey ice cream, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, summer wishes and winter dreams. Others celebrate basking in a wonderful world of skies of blue and clouds of white, seeing groundhogs blink, being blessed by the Pope and knighted by the Queen, and overcoming the heartbreak of psoriasis. And then there is one who is Celebration in and of herself. Teresa is tiny but, when she sings, she sings king-size. Her voice fills our ears and hearts with her wonderful music, music, music -- and always will. Short she may be but long may she wave.
note: Portions of this Teresa Brewer Newsletter have previously appeared on the
Internet at the Teresa Brewer Center.)
(Please note: Portions of this Teresa Brewer Newsletter have previously appeared on the Internet at the Teresa Brewer Center.)