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    Maiken, Gilda

    Longtime member of The Skylarks, a vocal group whose career spanned nearly four decades in various incarnations.  When she joined them in the 1940s, they were still known as The Velvetones.  Gilda had connections and the group went from relative obscurity to regular appearances on the radio in concert with the Don Large Chorus. 


    Being on the radio was a good way to audition without having to audition, and they were soon contracted by Woody Herman to perform with his big band.  They changed their name to The Blue Moods and laid down a recording of “Stars Fell on Alabama” in the summer of 1946 and went on a nation-wide tour.  It did not bode well for Herman, who saw his band dissolve in the Big Apple, but The Blue Moods carried on, recording with Bing Crosby and Jimmy Dorsey and changing their name to a moniker that would finally stick, The Skylarks. 


    Rocky Carr wooed them to sunny L.A. and their services were soon employed by Harry James, and Russ Morgan, a trombonist with whom they would record the chart-topping “Cruisin’ Down the River”, which sold over one million copies, and “Forever and Ever”, which spent half a year on the charts and cruised down the river to #1.  The group inked a deal with RCA in the 1950s and charted again with “I Had the Craziest Dream”. 


    The advent of television afforded them more opportunities to strut their stuff, on such family friendly fare as The Carol Burnett Show, Judge for Yourself, and Sonny & Cher.  They called it quits in 1979 after a final performance in the Hollywood Palladium.  That same year, Gilda appeared on Frank Sinatra’s boxed set, Trilogy. 


    Five years later, Gilda, along with Virginia Mancini, co-founded the Society of Singers, a non-profit group dedicated to helping out their fellow singers in matters financial.  She also went on to become an agent. 


    Other artists and groups with whom Gilda performed, with and without The Skylarks, include Duane Eddy, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Merry Macs. 


    She provided the singing voice of Stella Stevens in the 1962 Elvis Presley musical, Girls!  Girls!  Girls! and can also be heard on the soundtracks of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (“Moon River”, anyone?) and The Young Girls of Rochefort. 



    1. http://www.vocalgroup.org/inductees/the_skylarks.html
    2. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/credits/0,,526984,00.html
    3. http://bjbear71.com/Hank/Hank-LPRCAVictor-2.html
    4. http://www.keithflynn.com/recording-sessions/60s/62-05-02.htm
    5. http://www.singers.org/default.htm
    6. http://www.singers.com/jazz/vintage/merrymacs.html
    7. http://www.utstat.utoronto.ca/mikevans/hroberts/sounds/side60s.html
    8. http://www.mmguide.musicmatch.com/album/album.cgi?ALBUMID=796045
    9. http://www.preisrobot.net/product_info.php/products_id/7080/shop_id/1322/Supreme-Jazz-by-Ella-Fitzgerald-Super-Audio-CD-SACD
    10. http://www.classicmoviemusicals.com/filmsy.htm
    11. http://www.jacklawrencesongwriter.com/letters.html











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