NONSTOP HITS ...the early 1950s
Teresa turned twenty and joined the Coral Records roster of artists in 1951. By this time she had also married Bill Monahan and given birth to her first daughter, Kathleen. Teresa still didn't read music - when it came time to record, a demo of the cut was delivered to her so that she could listen to it and learn it. It was a system that would be proven by a successful string of hits under the Coral label during the 1950s. It was also while recording for Coral -- a subsidiary of Decca Records - that Teresa met and worked with a young artists and repertoire (A&R) man by the name of Bob Thiele, a man who would remain an important influence in her life.

Teresa's third release for Coral was her first hit for the label, Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now (1952). Gonna Get Along would later become a hit for Patience and Prudence in 1956 and for Skeeter Davis in 1964 as well. Another Top 20 hit, You'll Never Get Away with Don Cornell, followed. Then, in 1952, Teresa Brewer's biggest selling record of all time, Till I Waltz Again With You, was produced by Bob Thiele and released on Coral.

  • TERESA: "THE FIRST TIME I HEARD IT, I THOUGHT IT WAS A VERY PRETTY SONG. I MET ITS WRITER IN AN ELEVATOR IN NEW YORK. HE SANG THE SONG FOR ME AS WE WERE GOING UP IN THE ELEVATOR! HE SANG IT IN A COUNTRY TEMPO - YOU KNOW, WITH AN EXTRA FIFTH BAR. I SAID IT JUST DOESN'T WORK. THE SONG WAS CALLED TILL I WALTZ AGAIN WITH YOU AND IT WASN'T EVEN A WALTZ! BUT IT WAS BEAUTIFUL SO WE PUT IN A 'POP' METER... AND THAT WAS A BIG HIT, TOO. I THINK IT'S MY FAVORITE OF ALL THE HITS I HAD."

Teresa Brewer's popularity soared, and she continued to ride a wave of success in 1953. Till I Waltz Again With You went gold and became the year's biggest-selling record. Teresa's looks, singing talent, and popularity made her an easy winner when Paramount Pictures conducted a poll to select the country's most popular female singer to cast in their 3D Technicolor movie, Those Redheads from Seattle. Brewer screen tested and landed one of the title roles. Variety's review said, "Teresa Brewer comes over the screen like a million bucks," and Paramount eventually offered her a seven-year contract. However, in consideration of the demands of her family life, she declined the offer. She chose instead to stay on the east coast living in New Rochelle, about a half hour drive from New York City, where she continued to record and make television appearances while attending to needs of her growing family.

  • TERESA: "THE MOVIE WAS FILMED ON THE PARAMOUNT LOT IN 1953. THEY DID THE LOCATION SHOTS WITHOUT US. I HAD NEVER ACTED IN MY LIFE WHEN I DID THAT AND THEY WANTED TO GIVE ME A SEVER-YEAR CONTRACT! I WAS GOING TO BE A STARLET BUT I ALREADY HAD TWO KIDS AND WAS EXPECTING MY THIRD, SO I THOUGHT THAT WAS RIDICULOUS. I SAID, 'NO, THANK YOU.'"

In the summer of 1953, Teresa Brewer and Mel Torme costarred on network television in the well-received series "Summertime USA". It aired Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:45 pm. Critics, fans and fellow celebrities praised the pairing of Brewer and Torme. Bing Crosby, observing her that Teresa's big voice was disproportionate to her diminutive size, dubbed her the "Sophie Tucker of the Girl Scouts."

The record hits kept coming in 1953 too, including Dancin' with Someone, Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, and another gold record, Ricochet.

  • TERESA RECALLS, "RICOCHET WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE RELEASED - AT LEAST NOT THAT PARTICULAR TAKE. IN THOSE DAYS, IT WASN'T ON TAPE AND EVERYTHING HAD TO BE RIGHT AT THE SAME TIME - THE ORCHESTRA, VOCALIST, EVERYTHING. I HAD A COLD AND DIDN'T LIKE THE WAY IT TURNED OUT. WE REDID IT ANOTHER DAY, BUT BOB (THIELE) RELEASED THE FIRST TAKE - THE ONE WITH MY COLD. IT TURNED OUT TO BE A BIG, BIG HIT WHICH SHOWS THAT A PERFORMER ISN'T ALWAYS NECESSARILY RIGHT ABOUT WHAT SONG TO PUT OUT OR WHAT TAKE. I DON'T KNOW WHEN I'M AT MY BEST, IT SEEMS. EVERYTHING I SAID I DIDN'T LIKE WAS A HIT!"

Teresa was consistently on the charts during the following years with Baby, Baby, Baby (from Those Redheads from Seattle), Bell Bottom Blues, Our Heartbreaking Waltz -- written by Till I Waltz Again With You composer Sidney Prosen, Skinnie Minnie, and more. Her crisp and powerful voice prompted one critic to call her a "stick of vocal dynamite." Teresa was rated as the favorite female vocalist for two consecutive years in 1955 and 1956.

During these years, Teresa was also headlining in prestigious supper clubs throughout the country -- the Versailles in Manhattan, Ciro's in Hollywood, The Coconut Grove, Chicago's Palmer House, Blinstrub's in Boston, and many others. Teresa's performances broke house records at the Latin Quarter in New York and at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas.


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