60s Music

The Story and Music of Gogi Grant

Gogi Grant
Gogi Grant in 2006. (Source: Wikipedia)

Introduction to Gogi Grant

Gogi Grant (born Myrtle Aubrey Arinsberg in 1924) is an American singer and recording artist who figured prominently in the 50s music scene. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she moved with her family in Los Angeles, California where she also started her singing career. While in her teens, she won several talent contests on local shows and on TV. Christened with the showbiz name Gogi Grant by RCA Record’s A&R man Dave Kapp, she scored her first hit with “Suddenly There’s A Valley” in 1955. In 1956 she achieve the biggest hit in her career, “The Wayward Wind”, which topped the pop chart. That year she was also voted as Most Popular Female Vocalist by Billboard. After her lone #1 hit, Grant scored minor hits like “When The Tide Is High” and “You’re In Love”. She also supplied the vocals for Ann Blyth’s Helen Morgan character in the bio film The Helen Morgan Story. But by the 1960s, her chart success had been finished, and Grant retired towards the end of the decade. Even as she reached 80, she managed to make some appearances, such as her stint on PBS’ 1950s music nostalgia special Magic Moments in 2004, and as of today she’s still performing.

 

Early life and family

Gogi Grant is a recording artist who rose to fame with the song “The Wayward Wind” in 1956. Grant, whose birth name was Myrtle Audrey Arinsberg, was born on September 20, 1924 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She later relocated with her family to Los Angeles, California when she was 12 years old. By the time she reached her teens, she became fond of joining amateur contests in California and later on television talent shows.

 

Gogi Grant’s heydays

Grant first entered the recording studio in 1952 with the stage name Audrey Brown and  later changed it into Audrey Brown. However, Grant ended up with the name “Gogi” which was given by the A&R head at RCA Records.

 

 

Grant moved to Era Records in 1955. From there, she achieved her first big hit with the single “Suddenly There’s a Valley” (#9 pop) which made at the top ten on the US charts. A bigger success came in the following year with “The Wayward Wind” which did extremely well, peaking at #1 on the US chart and #9 in the UK. The chart-topping single stayed in that position for eight weeks, and also sold over one million copies in the US alone. With its success, Grant was voted by the Billboard magazine as the most popular female vocalist as well. Needless to say, Grant was one of the popular artists of the 50s music scene.

In the biographical film The Helen Morgan Story, Grant provided for the voice of Ann Blyth’s portrayal of Helen Morgan in 1957. She paid a visit to her former label (RCA) only to record a song for the film. The recording resulted with the minor hit “Strange Are the Ways of Love” (#80 pop). In 1957, Grant was again worked for a film; she appeared in the musical produced and directed by William Cowan, The Big Beat. Aside from Grant, the film also featured the Cal Tjader Quintet, George Shearing and The Del Vikings. In 1958, she was included in the first stereo LP of Show Boat, a classic stage musical.

 

After the musical success of “The Wayward Wind,” Grant had released some lesser hits during the late 1950’s to late 1960’s. However in 1967, she released “The Sea” which became her last charting single and made at the Top 20 on Billboard Easy Listening chart.

 

Later life and career

In later years, the 80-year old Grant sang her breakthrough hit “The Wayward Wind” on the PBS 1950’s music special, Magic Moments in 2004. Later, she became a headliner for The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies held in Palm Springs, California. Grant is still performing up to the present.

 

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