Continuing my coverage of Disney’s Lady and The Tramp soundtrack – as covered by others.
Not long after Decca issued Peggy Lee’s versions of “He’s a Tramp” and “The Siamese Cat Song” (29427), the firm issued an instrumental version of “Bella Notte”–the romantic ballad from the score–as played by Victor Young and his Singing Strings.
And while the Young recording was not a hit in its own right, it still brought some bucks to Walt Disney Music,Inc. The other side–“Theme From ‘Medic'”–was a hit in its own right. So,”Bella Notte” went along for the ride.
Two months after the Lee plater, M-G-M got around to covering two of the songs with an act known as the Marion Sisters. Their coupling of “The Siamese Cat Song” and “He’s A Tramp’ (11941) went nowhere.
Nor did versions of “La La Lu” and “Bella Notte” by nightclub thrush Kay Armen (M-G-M 11967). Armen would include “Bella Notte” in her repertoire for a few years, and at least one kinescope recording exists of her singing a chorus of the ballad–a recording taken form some network television show.
RCA Victor had substituted their Bluebird Children’s records for their previous Little Nipper series–and a group called “The Coquettes” recorded “The Siamese Cat Song” and “Lady” which were advertised on Bluebird (W)BY-25 in he April 19, 1955 issue of “Billboard”.
A month later, RCA issued a disc of “Bella Notte” in their domestic popular series. RCA’s choice for this one was quite appropriate. Lou Monte had been singing at Italian-American social clubs for fifteen years before he broke through to the general pop audience with an Italian-flavored version of “The Darktown Strutters Ball” His version of “Bella Notte” came out on RCA Victor 20/47-6133–and, like the other pop covers of songs from “Lady and the Tramp”, did not make the charts of the day.
Decca was not to be outdone. Sometime in July or August, 1955, Decca released another single. One side, “Lady” credited to the Mellomen, was recorded in Los Angeles on July 1st of the year. The other side, “Home Sweet Home” is credited to “The Pound Hounds”–which apparently is the MelloMen, in their dog-voiced mode. This appears to be from the soundtrack of the film.
From all this, one might conclude that the music industry wasn’t beating down the doors to cover songs from “Lady and the Tramp”. You’d be right. . . but the music industry was, shall we say, distracted by another product of the Mouse House. And this one wasn’t from an animated cartoon. We’ll talk about that in my next column.