Who was/is Ann Margret ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Composers Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim crafted the song Let Me Entertain You to chart the progress of sisters Rose and June in their Broadway musical 'Gypsy.' When we first hear the tune in the show, it's sung by an innocent troupe of child performers. By the time Rose has grown to become the world-famous exotic dancer Gypsy Rose Lee, Let Me Entertain You has become a flashy backing for her bumps and grinds.
In a professional career that's nearing its 40th year, Ann-Margret has become an entertainer of world renown: an actress who's received two Academy Award nominations, and a singer-dancer who has graced stages from Las Vegas to a command performance for the King and Queen of Sweden. And throughout her career, she might have adopted both versions of Let Me Entertain You as her theme song. Because there are two Ann-Margrets: the quiet, demure girl who emigrated from Sweden as a youngster, and the fiery performer whose every note, every move, simply sizzles.
Music has played a major role in Ann-Margret's career from the beginning, and in addition to starring in several musical films, she's continued to sing and dance in spectacular live shows -- her 1992 appearance at Radio City Music Hall in New York is said to be the biggest production ever staged in that renowned venue.
Within a relatively brief time from her arrival in Hollywood, Ann-Margret was soon signed to film and recording contracts; between 1961-'66, she recorded several pop albums for the RCA label, as well as soundtracks for films including 'State Fair', 'Bye Bye Birdie', and (heating up the screen with Elvis Presley) 'Viva Las Vegas.' She was even animated, by the Hanna-Barbera Studios, and appeared as 'Ann-Margrock' in 'The Flintstones', where she wound up singing a lullabye, The Littlest Lamb. During this time, Ann-Margret worked with many of the finest producers, arrangers and musicians in Hollywood and Nashville, and held her own with all of them -- recording pop standards, rhythm and blues, Dixieland jazz or anything else that her producers would give her.
When her RCA contract ended, she all but stopped recording, concentrating her energies in other arenas. Since then, with a few exceptions, Ann-Margret's extensive recorded repertoire has been allowed to go out of print. And in her otherwise-revealing 1994 autobiography, 'My Story' (written with Todd Gold), Ann-Margret all but ignores her time in the recording studio. "I can't believe I did all those songs!," she exclaimed upon being seeing the list of material for this project.
With this set, we intend to restore Ann-Margret's RCA recordings, and others from the same era, to their proper prominence, and to fill that gap in her biography. She'll entertain you, to be sure. But, to quote another of the songs included here, what you'll hear is all but guaranteed to be More Than You Know.
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Gustav Olsson was an electrician, nearly 40 years old, when he married 21-year-old Anna Aronsson. Though they lived in Stockholm at the time their daughter, Ann-Margret (named after a popular skating star) was born on April 28, 1941, they soon moved to Valsjobyn, a town of 150 people 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle and bordering Norway.
Gustav had emigrated to Canada as a teenager, subsequently moving to Chicago, Illinois, before returning to Sweden and marring Anna. And while Ann-Margret was still very young, Gustav moved back to the United States, hoping to find work, and left his wife and daughter to live with Anna's mother. The two women ran a restaurant and bakery, where tiny Ann-Margret would sing and dance to entertain the local farmers, lumberjacks and soldiers.