About this Recording
8.120519 - ASTAIRE, Fred: Night and Day (1931-1933)


Complete Recordings Volume 2: 1931-1933

No performer ever made dancing look easier, or worked harder at it. Suave, elegant, sophisticated, dapper ...to generations, Fred Astaire was "Mr. Smooth". He was also a fine dramatic actor, and the songs he introduced unfailingly became standards.

Frederick Austerlitz was born on l0th May, l899, in Omaha, Nebraska. When he was barely a toddler, he and his older sister Adele were enrolled in dancing school. Before he turned seven, Mrs. Austerlitz had moved the children to NewYork, where they would soon become professional dancers in vaudeville, revues and Broadway shows.

Their first Broadway success was Over the Top, in l9l7, followed by The Passing Show of l9l8, in which Fred was called "an agile youth, and apparently boneless". More musicals led to stardom in For Goodness' Sake in l922: the Astaires stole the show and at the same time began their life-long friendship with the Gershwin Brothers. Among the many musicals to feature Fred and Adele were two more Gershwin productions, Lady Be Good and Funny Face. The Astaires' last Broadway appearance together was The Band Wagon, in l93l.

By this time, Fred and Adele had been the toast of Broadway and London for a decade. Though it was Fred who had been the perfectionist, pushing the team towards triumph after triumph, it was Adele who was generally considered to be the more talented one; and by l93l, on stage for twenty-five years, she wanted out. Adele accepted the hand of Lord Cavendish, and retired from performing. She died in l98l.

But Fred had never worked as a solo act, and had misgivings about his future. He wasn't the "romantic" type being sought for movies. The results of his screen tests included such comments as "enormous ears", "bad chin line", "balding", "can't sing", "can dance a little"....but what did come across, to the surprise of the movie moguls, was his undeniable charm.

Through the next three decades, Fred Astaire would be featured in such successes as Flying Down to Rio, Top Hat, Roberta, Swing Time, Damsel in Distress, You Were Never Lovelier, Easter Parade, Silk Stockings, The Band Wagon and Funny Face. His partners would include Ginger Rogers, Joan Fontaine, Rita Hayworth, Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse and Audrey Hepburn. Beginning in the fifties, Fred would receive critical acclaim for his television specials, as well as for his dramatic acting in "On the Beach" and "The Towering Inferno". Fred was still synonymous with grace and charm when he died on 22nd June, l987.

This second volume of Astaire's chronological recordings brings us to just before F red's Hollywood success, covering the years 1931 to 1933. Multiple versions of the songs from The Band Wagon and The Gay Divorce were recorded for different audiences, as well as a small handful of popular songs with Fred in the unusual role of dance band vocalist with Leo Reisman's Orchestra. I Love Louisa (with Fred's perfect German in one chorus), New Sun In The Sky, White Heat and Hoops were recorded as regular 78-RPM sides, the last-named being Adele's final recording. In addition, on 5th October, l93l, Fred and Adele joined the Leo Reisman Orchestra and songwriters Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz in a bold experiment on the part of the RCA Victor Company, the now-famous 'long play' version of selections from The Band Wagon. These "Program Transcriptions" were years ahead of their time, required a special turntable few could afford in the early l930s, and are very scarce today.

Fred also recorded three of the songs from The Gay Divorce, duplicating Night and Day on a disc made specially for English Columbia. And for those who may have noticed our listing "HMV" as the original issue for the Reisman Night and Day recording, this is an alternate take (#3) which appeared only in England and is slightly different from the version issued b y Victor in North America.

Coming soon, Hollywood ....in Volume III.

David Lennick, 2001

1. I LOVE LOUISA (Schwartz–Dietz, from The Band Wagon)

With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(Victor 22755, mx BS 69994-1) Recorded 30th June, 1931 2:59

2. NEW SUN IN THE SKY (Schwartz–Dietz, from The Band Wagon)

With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(Victor 22755, mx BS 69995-1) Recorded 30th June, 1931 2:53

3. WHITE HEAT (Schwartz–Dietz, from The Band Wagon)

With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(Victor 22836, mx BS 70259-1) Recorded 28th September, 1931 3:02

4. HOOPS (Schwartz–Dietz, from The Band Wagon)

With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra and Adele Astaire

(Victor 22836, mx BS 70292-1) Recorded 19th October, 1931 2:48

The Band Wagon (Schwartz–Dietz)

With Adele Astaire; Leo Reisman & His Orchestra; and The Composers

5. OVERTURE; INTRODUCTION ...Leo Reisman 1:34

6. SWEET MUSIC ... Fred & Adele Astaire 2:25

7. HIGH AND LOW ...Instrumental 1:10

8. HOOPS ... Fred & Adele Astaire 0:59

9. CONFESSION ...Instrumental 1:02

10. NEW SUN IN THE SKY ...Instrumental 1:15

11. I LOVE LOUISA ... Fred Astaire 1:24

12. BEGGAR WALTZ / BALLET MUSIC ...Instrumental 5:01

13. WHITE HEAT ...Arthur Schwartz, piano 1:36

14. DANCING IN THE DARK ...Instrumental 3:25

(Victor Program Transcription L-24003; mx 70264-1,70265-2)

Recorded 5th October, 1931 Total 19:55

15. NIGHT AND DAY (Porter, from The Gay Divorce)

With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(HMV BD 5761; mx BS 73977-3) Recorded 22nd November, 1932 3:26

16. I’VE GOT YOU ON MY MIND (Porter, from The Gay Divorce)

With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(Victor 24193; mx BS 73978-1) Recorded 22nd November, 1932 2:45

17. AFTER YOU, WHO? (Porter, from The Gay Divorce)

With Studio Orchestra

(Columbia DB 1215; mx W 265122-3) Recorded 23rd May, 1933 3:14

18. NIGHT AND DAY (Porter, from The Gay Divorce)

With Studio Orchestra

(Columbia DB 1215; mx W 265121-4) Recorded 22nd June, 1933 3:10


With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(Victor 24262; mx BS 75330-1) Recorded 28th February, 1933 3:23

20. MY TEMPTATION (Polla–Clark)

With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(Victor 24312; mx BS 76074-1) Recorded 2nd May, 1933 3:08

21. A HEART OF STONE (White)

With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(Victor 24358; mx BS 76523-1) Recorded 11th July, 1933 3:26


With Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

(Victor 24315; mx BS 76075-1) Recorded 2nd May, 1933 2:19

All selections recorded in New York.

Transfers and Production: David Lennick

Digital Noise Reduction: Graham Newton

Original 78s from the collections of David Lennick, John Wilby and Ross Wilby

Photo of Fred Astaire © Hulton/Archive.

The Naxos Historical labels aim to make available the greatest recordings of the history of recorded music, in the best and truest sound that contemporary technology can provide. To achieve this aim, Naxos has engaged a number of respected restorers who have the dedication, skill and experience to produce restorations that have set new standards in the field of historical recordings.

David Lennick

As a producer of CD reissues, David Lennick’s work in this field grew directly from his own needs as a broadcaster specializing in vintage material and the need to make it listenable while being transmitted through equalizers, compressors and the inherent limitations of A.M. radio. Equally at home in classical, pop,jazz and nostalgia, Lennick describes himself as exercising as much control as possible on the final product, in conjunction with CEDAR noise reduction applied by Graham Newton in Toronto. As both broadcaster and re-issue producer, he relies on his own extensive collection as well as those made available to him by private collectors, the University of Toronto, the International Piano Archives at Maryland, Syracuse University and others.

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