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Jan Daley Takes a Delicious Dive into the Great American Songbook Standard “I Can’t Get Started” Saluting Entertainment Legend Bob Hope

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Jan Daley Takes a Delicious Dive into the Great American Songbook Standard “I Can’t Get Started” Saluting Entertainment Legend Bob Hope

August 15
02:20 2020
Single is the Leadoff Track of an upcoming The Best of Jan Daley Collection

Hope – Bob Hope, that is – springs eternal via a sumptuous new recording of the American Songbook standard “I Can’t Get Started (With You)” by singer/actress Jan Daley – who is, herself, a vibrant veteran that enjoyed the honor and pleasure of sharing stages with the superstar of stage, screen and television during Hope’s beloved years of tirelessly entertaining American troops during wartime.

Daley’s rendition of the classic (available today as a digital download single) was masterfully arranged and modulated by the singer herself with soulful big band orchestration by John Raska who plays both the tinkling, scene-setting acoustic piano as well as the bluesy Hammond B3 Organ. The musicians are none other than the Les Brown Jr. Swingin’ Big Band whom Daley shared a double bill with at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. Daley additionally created a show dedicated to Bob Hope titled “Where There’s Hope.”

All involved render “I Can’t Get Started” with tremendous feeling. Daley begins in a hushed, husky whisper then builds to a roaring concluding crescendo – all in 3 powerful compact minutes. “I grew up in my `20s singing with big bands during the last wave of all that in casinos, showrooms and lodges in the `70s,” Daley shares. “My mother loved that music and competed in dance marathons with my father during the swing era. Of course, I rebelled against it at first – until I was offered $25 a night to sing in front of a big band. I didn’t fully appreciate it back then but I soon learned that there is nothing like the power of a singer having a swingin’ big band behind them.”

“I Can’t Get Started (With You)” was penned in 1935 by the great lyricist Ira Gershwin to music composed by Vernon Duke. The song was introduced to the world the following year in the Broadway production of Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 by Bob Hope who delivered his comedically lovelorn performance singing to Eve Arden. The song was not an immediate hit but slowly grew in popularity after Gershwin wrote amended lyrics from a female point of view. Trumpeter/band leader Bunny Berigan had the first bona fide hit with the song in 1937. Later, after it grew in popularity in cabaret and jazz circles, it was recorded and performed by hundreds of artists including greats such as Billie Holiday (with saxophonist Lester Young in 1938), Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole as well as instrumentalists Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz and the international trio of violinist Stephane Grappelli, guitarist Joe Pass and double bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. Jan Daley’s powerful new rendition stands tall among her predecessors, further cementing Daley’s reputation for singularly and magically making what’s classic contemporary again.

“The history alone of this song is so stunning,” Daley shares. “It set the template for Hope’s entire comedic persona as the guy that perennially never gets the girl – from stage shows to all of those great movies he did with crooner Bing Crosby. I had the honor of touring with Bob Hope on USO shows – sitting right next to him on all of those helicopters and airplanes. He was a fun guy to work with. Traveling with entertainers of that caliber was wonderful. Walking onstage and hearing 40,000 guys and girls screaming and clapping for you – they were so appreciative. Bob really cared about those soldiers. Though I later had a #1 record on the charts, the highlight of my career was working with Bob Hope and entertaining the G.I.s.”

“My time with Bob Hope was also personal,” Daley continues softly. “I never got to meet my father. He was an Air Force pilot who flew many major missions during WWII. Then toward the end of the war when he was picking up P.O.W.s, he was shot down. I was born two months before the end of the war in March. My father was killed in May. For the longest time, I only had one photograph of my father. But years later after my mom died, I found two boxes belonging to my father and mother. In one of the boxes was a picture of my father – standing next to Bob Hope in Alaska. Every time I tell that story I get chills because I’d done many USO shows with Bob Hope – in Alaska and beyond. And I always felt this closeness to my father that I could never explain… Now, my mind always wanders back to what my father must have felt when he saw and met Bob Hope.”

So, there’s little wonder that Jan Daley’s powerful new rendition of the Great American Songbook standard “I Can’t Get Started (With You)” packs such an emotional wallop for a song that started its life modestly as comic fodder. In Jan Daley, the song takes on rich meaning as rendered from a deeply personal space.

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