Smoochy, sultry actress and singer, born Julie Peck in Santa Rosa, CA, in 1926. She was a GI pinup during the Second World War and starred in many films, including A Question of Adultery and The Fat Man. Her big singing break came later, after a divorce put a temporary hold on her movie career: she met the jazz musician Bobby Troup, they fell in love, and cut an album, Her Name Is Julie, which topped the charts for three successive years. The album included the track Cry Me a River, for which she is probably most famous. She died on October 19, 2000.

The husky smoothness of London's recordings was achieved by arranging the songs at the very bottom of her register, which meant that the lower notes often came out as nothing more than purrs and growls (in reality she sounds less feral than I make her out to be here, though...). This is not enough however to explain away the full impact of sheer animal magnetism that she can imbue even the most innocent of songs with.

Having appeared in some 13 films before her recording career took off, London was amply qualified to comopensate for what she lacked in vocal equipment with the projection of her personality onto her songs. She not so much interpreted as appropriated them, and her covers for popular standards of the time cannot be successfully compared to those of any of her contemporaries - from Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. She just had an extra something all her own, and if you ask me, it should have been illegal.

Check out her renditions of Why Don't You Do Right (immortalized by the inimitable Jessica Rabbit) and My heart Belongs to Daddy for great examples of how she can bring her own personal brand of raw sexuality to familiar songs preformed by other sex symbols.

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