Sunday, 17 May 2015

"Whatever Lola Wants"

This version is perfect:

The original's sung by Gwen Verdon in Damn Yankees.
Other renditions include Ella Fitzgerald, Janice Hagan, Della Reese, Carmen McCrae, Natacha Atlas, etc.


Generally speaking I'm not really fond of Sarah Vaughan's singing; at least after listening to a dozen songs, I hardly feel anything, albeit recognising her talent, and don't really warm to her as to Nina Simone or Billie Holiday. However, her rendition of "Whatever Lola Wants" is the best, and the only one that seems right. She sounds sexy, seductive and decisive. Her performance has everything needed for this particular song: the confidence that she's in full control of herself and "little man", the decisiveness heard in the way she enunciates each word without "dragging" until lines such as "Recline yourself, resign yourself, you're through" and "You're no exception to the rule/ I'm irresistible you fool/ Give in", when her drawl sounds playful and seductive... Other singers sound either too soft, too light, too nice or simply not foxy. It's not only the way one sings but also the kind of voice that matters. Can you imagine Billie Holiday singing this? She's the one that is tormented, abandoned, abused, bereaved. Even when she sings playfully, her voice is thin and frail. Nina Simone? This woman has spirit and can be forceful, and she sure is hypnotic, but her deep, man-like voice doesn't have that inviting, enticing quality for Lola. Regarding Ella Fitzgerald, her pure, sweet, silvery voice is, I think, unsuitable. 
Gwen Verdon's version is just... odd. I'm not even talking about the video yet. 
Your thoughts?


  1. Di,

    This is THE ONE! Can't be beat.

    1. Yup.
      I keep hearing this song in my head...