TERESA BREWER FAN CLUB
584 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
We're pleased to report that Teresa Brewer is on the internet. "Teresa? On the internet?" you say? Well, not really, but pretty darn close! Fan club member Chris Cotton (along with the expert assistance and input of his dad, Delbert - also a longtime member and friend of the club) has created an internet website called the Teresa Brewer Center. It's a handsomely produced site devoted to the life and career of our own Teresa. With the clicking of a few keyboard characters, you can enter a new world, an interesting world, an internet world. And everything you want to know about Teresa and her career is there! At the click of a finger, you will be overwhelmed with, among other things, a gallery of photos from all phases of her illustrious career, a comprehensive and all inclusive biography, the latest Teresa news, and the most detailed, up-to-date, cross-referenced Teresa Brewer discography in existence. The whole layout of the website is done with such imagination, cleverness and professionalism that, once you enter it, it's virtually impossible to leave. If you have access to a computer, check it out. The Teresa Brewer Center can be reached at:
The Teresa Brewer Center is, in essence, a tribute to our favorite singer and a real boon to the multitude of her fans. It may be Teresa's web, but you're invited to surf on it. An appreciative pat on the back, Chris, for a job beautifully done!
While we're on the subject of the internet, and especially for those of you who have computers, we'd like to make mention of the mass of minutiae on Teresa and her career that can be found way out there in cyberspace. By typing the keywords "Teresa Brewer" in the appropriate places, you can find out information about Teresa that even she can't possibly remember - the songs that she sang in early 1951, at the age of 19, on Bing Crosby's radio show, "The Chesterfield Show" ("Oceana Roll" and, in a duet with Bing, "When You and I Were Young, Maggie, Blues"), her total appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (39- almost as many as Topo Gigio!), the number of times that she recorded "Music! Music! Music!" (six), the total number of albums on which that song can found (43), and on and on and on. It's endless. And, like eating peanuts, once you start, it's impossible to stop!
Teresa Brewer the singer is fast becoming Teresa Brewer the songwriter, too. While sitting under her hair dryer, Teresa has composed some country, gospel and country/gospel material that would be perfect for, respectively, Alabama, the Winans and the Oak Ridge Boys. And why not? Songwriting is really nothing new to Teresa. if you'll remember, she co-wrote "I Love Mickey" in 1956 and that was a hit. And in the '80s, she scored a double-whammmy by writing and singing 'No Way, Conway" which made the country charts. I know you're probably thinking the obvious: why doesn't Teresa record these new songs herself? And, for back-up vocals, why not Alabama, the Winans and the Oak Ridge Boys? Yes, why not! Hello? Anybody out there listening??
On a personal note, we have some good news about Teresa's youngest daughter and also some about her oldest grandson. First, Michelle has become engaged to be married! On her birthday earlier this year, she was given a diamond ring. it's pear-shaped with baguettes on each side and Teresa said it's "simply beautiful." The whole family is very happy for Michelle and Ralph, and we are, too. We all wish them the best of luck and happiness!
And Denis, Teresa's oldest grandson (his parents are daughter number three, Megan, and her husband, Denis), graduates from college this year. Teresa, ever the proud grandmother, says he's a "wonderful boy, and so bright... bright in everything!" A tip of the mortarboard to you, Denis!
Teresa's other daughters and grandsons are all doing well, and she's extremely proud of each and every one of them.
If you live on the west coast or plan on visiting there, be sure to check out the relatively new Museum of Radio and Television in Los Angeles. it, as its Manhattan counterpart, is a wonderful depository of vintage television shows, and viewing is open to the public for a token donation. In previous Newsletters, we've alerted you to the shows that feature Teresa and we're pleased to report they've added more to the collection. The earliest is Teresa's 1952 appearance on "Cavalcade of Stars", hosted by Jackie Gleason, on which she sang "Roll Them Roly Boly Eyes" and "How Could I Believe You When You Said You Loved Me When I Know You've Been a Liar All Your Life?" (whew!!)
Then there's Abbott and Costello's "Colgate Comedy Hour." In 1953, on one of their shows, she performed "Roly Boly Eyes" again and did a medley of her gold record, "Till I Waltz Again With You," and the follow-up hit, "Dancin' With Someone (Longin' For You)." it's wonderful, vintage television.
And you've GOT to check out 1959's "The Steve Allen Show." In his introduction, Mr. Allen states: "Everybody is called a 'living doll' these days. Well, my guest, Teresa Brewer, really is one!" And, you know, he was right! Clarion-voiced Teresa, in living color, performed "By Myself' and "When Your Lover Has Gone." Ed Sullivan used to call Teresa "the face" and insisted on many close-ups. We can understand why!
A big vision of Bob Thiele's was to have a boxed set of Teresa's Coral recordings issued. He had started to work on this project before his untimely death last year but, unfortunately, things have fallen by the wayside. Let's see what we, the fan club members, can do to make Bob's dream a reality. Below are the addresses of three major companies that specialize in reissues. You will note that there's a record company contact listed as well. Write to these gentlemen, suggesting and requesting, anything short of demanding (!), that they consider the reissuing of Teresa's old Coral albums, either separately or in a multi-disc set. You all know what Teresa has recorded and it would beneficial if you cited specific material that you'd like put Out on compact disc. The bandwagon is going by. Let's jump on!. Here's the information:
Mr. Andy McKaie
Mr. Cary E. Mansfield
Mr. Simon Robinson
For the letters going to Varese Sarabande and RPM, you might request as well the reissuance of the records Teresa did for London in the early '50s and for Philips in the '60s. They should be able to license the original masters from those labels. Remember, friends, it can happen - the Age of Miracles hasn't passed! Keep us posted on any responses you receive. (if you would like a copy of a mini-discography to remind you of the specific London, Coral and Philips recordings that Teresa did, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the fan club.)
Speaking of Varese Sarabande Records, we'd like to remind you of the wonderful 18-track compact disc/cassette that they issued relatively recently entitled "Music! Music! Music!: The Best of Teresa Brewer." It contains not only the original versions of all the million-sellers (the title song; "Till I Waltz Again With You"; "Ricochet", "Let Me Go, Lover!"; etc.), but other somewhat overlooked but delightful top 1O hits such as "Silver Dollar," "You'll Never Get Away" (with Don Cornell), "The Banjo's Back in Town" and "Baby, Baby, Baby." Listening to them, it'll take a surgeon to remove that smile from your face. And, remember, there's another good reason - other than for pure enjoyment - for buying this release: if this collection of Teresa's golden hits sells well, perhaps the company will reissue the remaining 24 of her chartmakers at a future date. "Music! Music! Music!: The Best of Teresa Brewer" is available on Varese Sarabande compact disc VSD-5616 and cassette VSC-5616.
We'd like to thank all of you who sent in suggestions, flyers, and other pertinent information regarding venues in your area in which it might be appropriate for Teresa to perform. All of them are being considered. As a matter of fact, Teresa is dealing with a booking agent even as this Newsletter is being mailed out. If she firms up singing engagements in your area, you can be assured you'll be notified.
For those of you whose local cable company carries the Game Show Network, be on the lookout for the showing of Teresa's appearance on "What's My Line?" that first aired on September 23, 1973. It was shown in early January of this year and is scheduled to be repeated later in the year. With a low, serious monotone - an antithesis to her usual exuberant way of talking - she completely stumped the panel! We won't tell you any more, except to say she looked lovely and trim in jeans, bright orange shirt and a denim, patchwork jacket The old show, "Password," can also be seen a couple of times a day on the Game Show Network. We've got our eyes peeled for the showing of Teresa's weeklong stint, with celebrity opponent Darren McGavin, that was first broadcast around Christmastime in the early '60s. With all these great old shows suddenly reappearing, should you always be prepared for quick, instant taping? You bet your VCR!
While searching through the fan club files for a variety of pictures to include with this newsletter, I came across one that's located on the gallery page. I like to use rare photos if I can, and this one certainly qualifies as that! It's one of the first pictures taken of Teresa and me and only a handful of people have ever seen it. Here's the story behind it: It was the middle '60s. I was in college in Williamsburg, Virginia and had read in the paper that Teresa was scheduled to appear at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. A couple of friends and I made plans to see one of her performances. On a Friday afternoon we cut classes and journeyed north. Because we were in the midst of a blinding blizzard, the normal three-hour trip took us six, and we arrived at the hotel just in time for the early show. It may have been our loafers-slacks-and-sports-coat attire in the elegant Blue Room of the hotel, or maybe it was the fact that we weren't sophisticated enough to know the benefits of palming cash to maitre d', but we were seated at a table in the far back comer of the room, behind a large, ornate column and next to the kitchen door. The show began and we had to crane our necks to see Teresa - beyond the obstructing column - in the far-off distance. It wouldn't have been so bad had we not also had to contend with waiters zooming by us heading toward the kitchen door and with hearing the clatter and banging of dishes, pots and pans within the kitchen constantly throughout the show. And, for all this (and the glass of cola we nursed throughout the show - we were underaged and impoverished students, you see), PLUS the fact that we couldn't hear and could barely see Teresa, we were charged an exorbitant fee. After the show, I spotted Bill Monahan in the hotel lobby and we told him of our plight. He said that we should stay and see the late show. if our schedule permitted, he would get us a 'nice table.' It did, and he did! We're talking ringside. When Teresa came out for the second show and was walking toward the microphone, she acknowledged us with a big smile. And, it may have been our imagination, but she seemed to direct a lot of her singing toward our table. We had our pictures taken with her after the show before heading back, at one o'clock in the morning, in the snow, to college. The trip back also took hours but, because we talked about Teresa, the wonderful show and the enjoyable and interesting evening all the way, it really seemed more like minutes. (Look at the picture of Teresa and me. One of us hasn't changed a bit. Well...okay, so her hair's blond now!)
You never know where the name Teresa Brewer is going to spring up. In the 1992 award-winning Dorothy Allison novel, "Bastard out of Carolina," it appears a few times. I have not read the book so I can't describe the contexts in which Teresa's name is used. Still, I thought it would be fun to share with you the following excerpts from the saga: "Every afternoon after school I was supposed to stay at Aunt Alma's, but instead I started going over to the West Greenville Cafe on the Eustis Highway. The jukebox had as many old songs as new - Loretta Lynn, Teresa Brewer, Patsy Cline. The truckers loved that music as much as I did. I'd sit out under the cafe windows and hum along with those twangy girl voices, imagining myself singing those raw and desperate notes... Please Jesus, make me a singer, I prayed, while Teresa Brewer sang of what might have been God and then again might have been some black-eyed man. But Jesus must have been busy with Teresa, because my voice went high and shrill every time I got excited, and cracked hoarsely if I tried to croon... The preacher at Bushy Creek Baptist wouldn't even let me stand near the choir to turn the pages of the hymnal' and without a voice like Teresa's or June Carter's, I couldn't sing gospel. I could just listen and watch the gray-headed ladies cry... Full-voice, all-out, our singing filled the car and shocked the passing traffic. Mama's voice broke like she too dreamed of Teresa Brewer, and Daddy Glen made sounds that would have scared cows. I tried to pretend I wasn't that bad, just putting my head out the window and wailing for all I was worth..." The acclaimed Anjelica Huston movie based on the book is currently being shown on the Showtime cable network.
More book sightings: When reading the excellent, exhaustive biography, "Buddy Holly" by Ellis Amburn, don't be surprised if you come upon Teresa's name. Niki Sullivan, one of the original Crickets, provided an account of Buddy's and the group's first meeting with Teresa and Bob in 1957: "We were introduced to the head of Coral Records, Bob Thiele, and he invited us to his home in upstate New York, a beautiful place with two-inch carpeting. We met Teresa Brewer, a dainty, cute, wonderful, polite, sincere person - a doll; we all fell in love with her.".. In Ellis Nassour's "Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline", there are several Teresa references, including one naming Teresa Brewer and Kay Starr as Patsy's favorite singers. At one point early on in her career, Patsy performed, in her shows, an almost note-for-note copy of Teresa's hit, "Ricochet" And for the fourth or fifth time in print now (we've lost count!), Bette Midler has mentioned Teresa. In "Bette Midler: A Biography," written by Robb Baker, it states that she told a reporter: "I always loved popular music - popular things are prime movers. I list (as my influences) not the Beatles and the Stones but Teresa Brewer, Patti Page and Jo Stafford " Have any of you spotted other references to Teresa in books or articles you've read recently? If so, share with us!
An eagerly awaited book, due for publication this spring, is "The Song Stars: The Ladies who Sang with the Big Bands & Beyond." Its author, Richard Gardens, explores the world of the living legends of song and includes heartwarming conversations with, among others, Teresa Brewer, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Patti Page, Lena Home and Jo Stafford. In the profile of our favorite singer, we learn that Pat Boone told the author that, early on, he got encouragement to sing from none other than Teresa. There are also special tributes to Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf (in a beautifully written chapter by Frankie Laine), Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ethel Waters and many, many others. This Important book is graced with an abundance of rare, never publicly published photographs1 most of which were supplied by the song stars themselves. Give yourself a treat by picking up a copy. It's a must for the library of every pop music enthusiast. (Mr. Gardens has let us know that fan club members can have a copy of the book, signed, for the special price of$12.95, plus $3.50 priority shipping. It will retail in Bookworld and other stores at $15.95, plus tax and shipping, so you're getting a good deal by ordering directly from the author. His address is Box 344, Christian Avenue, Stony Brook, NY 11790, or, if you wish to order by credit card, call 516/862-8555.)
In the provocative season opener for public television's documentary showcase, "P.O.V.," a would-be David in a Rhode Island political race faces Goliath in the form of the Kennedy dynasty. "Taking on the Kennedys" is the story of a first-time, affable Republican candidate, motivated by a sincere sense of service and civic duty, seeking a congressional seat in 1994 and losing to the power of the Kennedy bloodline (Ted Kennedy's younger son). Toward the beginning of this well-paced documentary, you can hear a familiar voice waiting through the airwaves singing "Here, chick, chick, chick. ...chick, chick!" The playing of Teresa's recording of "Rhode Island Redhead," almost in its entirety, was praised by Variety as providing a "sweet addition to a lively, insightful portrait."
Just seconds before we went to press with this Newsletter, Teresa called. She would like to say a special 'thanks' to those of you who sent her a card or a note when her husband, Bob, died. Since you've all written her so often over the years, and/or have met her, Teresa feels that she knows you, that you are more of a friend than a fan. She's very appreciative of your continued thoughtfulness and support. We've included a lovely snapshot of Teresa and Bob in the photo gallery. It was taken in 1978 at the grand opening of the Teresa Brewer Room at Lundy's restaurant in Sheepshead Bay.)
In closing, we'd like to say that, along with the Teresa Brewer Center on the internet, the Teresa Brewer Fan Club has become a charter member of the nineties, too. In addition to the postal address for snail mail (as it is now referred to by some) cited below, you can reach us at our new email address. Direct such messages to:
Look out, millennium, here we come!
Best regards, Bill