ARUN RATH, HOST:

And we'll wrap up our remembrances with Emmy and Grammy Award-winning singer Eydie Gorme. She died this summer at the age of 84. Gorme was half of the married singing duo known as Steve and Eydie. And as NPR's Sonari Glinton tells us, her talent was undeniable. Her style, well, Sonari will tell you.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Eydie Gorme was not cool. Now, don't get me wrong. She often operated adjacent to cool touring with Frank Sinatra, palling with Sammy Davis, Jr. Those guys, cool. Eydie Gorme didn't even try.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLAME IT ON THE BOSSA NOVA")

EYDIE GORME: (Singing) Blame it on the bossa nova with its magic spell.

GLINTON: That was Gorme's first chart-topping hit, "Blame it on the Bossa Nova."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLAME IT ON THE BOSSA NOVA")

GORME: (Singing) ...that he did so well.

GLINTON: Edith Gormezano was born in the Bronx in 1928 to an Italian father and a Turkish mother. Both were Sephardic Jews and spoke Ladino, a variant of old Spanish. Gorme's fluency in Spanish helped bring her fame in Latin America beginning with her performances with the group Trios Los Ponchos.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GLINTON: Gorme met her husband Steve Lawrence on the set of "The Tonight Show with Steve Allen" in 1953. While virtually inseparable, Gorme maintained a solo career.

WILL FRIEDWALD: I mean, it's a big beautiful rich deep voice.

GLINTON: Will Friedwald is a jazz critic with The Wall Street Journal, and he's author of the book "Jazz Singing."

FRIEDWALD: The voice itself is not as completely unique as, I don't know, Barbra Streisand and yet, you know, I can always tell Barbra Streisand within 30 milliseconds but I would much, much, much rather listen to Eydie Gorme. She was a much greater interpreter, had a much more - I think a more beautiful sound, if a less distinctive sound, and a much more personal approach.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IF HE WALKED INTO MY LIFE")

GORME: (Singing) Was I soft or was I tough. Did I give enough? Did I give too much?

GLINTON: By the late '60s, rock was cool. And right as Steve and Eydie were becoming a part of the show business establishment, that establishment crumbled. But Friedwald says Gorme's standards never wavered. And few people can sing as loud and with this much emotion.

FRIEDWALD: Oh, the emotional thing was always there. You know, she always could get inside a song and make you feel it, you know, from the inside out. That was - even if it was something as silly as "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" or something as epically moving as "If He Walked Into My Life."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IF HE WALKED INTO MY LIFE")

GORME: (Singing) Would I be there when he called, if he walked into my life today?

GLINTON: Classy, sophisticated, funny, attractive, show-stoppingly talented but not cool. Eydie Gorme was not cool at all.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT DID I HAVE THAT I DON'T HAVE")

GORME: (Singing) That I've run dry of? What would I give if my old know-how...

GLINTON: Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT DID I HAVE THAT I DON'T HAVE")

GORME: (Singing) What did I have I don't have? What did...

RATH: This is NPR News.

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