Last time I talked about Sarah Vaughan’s still popular cover of “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets” and the power of music to enact real cultural and social change. This post I’d like to discuss another form of cultural work done by music: selling stuff! In particular, how “Whatever Lola Wants” has been used in advertising.Read More
One of my very favorite Sarah Vaughan songs is “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets” (1955). She nails her role as the seductive temptress and performs a Lola that is hip and sexy with a dash of humor. It’s as if Vaughan is winking at the listener, saying: come here, this is serious business, but not really. And her voice is stunning: full, rich, and sensuous, yet agile as she effortlessly infuses the lyric with her trademark bends and turns.Read More
In my last post, I wrote about how Sarah Vaughan was an intensely private woman leading a public life, and how she kept her fans, members of the press, and even, sometimes, her own family at a distance.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about why that was and how it influences my work as her biographer. Part of my job is to tease out the details of her life, provide a glimpse into the woman behind the scenes, the private Vaughan. But what does a biographer do when her subject doesn’t cooperate? How much do I extrapolate from the information I do have? In other words, how do I read an absence? And how do I respect my subject and her desire for privacy while satisfying the desires of readers in search of an intimate portrait of a performer they admire?Read More