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Bob Perkins Recommends...

Best of Lena Horne

Lena Horne lived to be a legend in her own time. She was 92 years old when she departed a little over two years ago. She lived a long time, and in her time, she accomplished much in show business and beyond.

I play her music often on my program, and get lots of inquiries, like: "Who was the singer with the great voice?" There are listeners who are still unfamiliar with the voice of Lena Horne - and want to hear more. Those in the know offer their thanks to me for playing her, because there are few - if any - other places in the region to hear Lena Horne these days except on WRTI.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in Brooklyn, New York, June 30, 1917. Her father deserted the family when she was three. She was cared for by her grandparents, and sometimes traveled with her mother who toured the South with a black theatrical group. From this shaky beginning, rose a dancer who performed in the famed Club Cotton Club in Harlem; an actress, singer, entertainment legend, and civil rights activist.

Besides possessing much-discussed facial beauty, Horne had a fine singing voice, which was often overlooked because of her beauty. During her more than 70 years as an entertainer, she maintained a high profile as a recording artist, in clubs, on the concert stage, and was heard and seen regularly on radio and TV.

If you don't have it, there is a CD titled the Best of Lena Horne on RCA. If you like to hear "Moon River," "All the Way," "I Love Paris," and other standards and ballads sung by an entertainer who knew her stuff, get the CD by the one who had it all: Looks, stage-presence, voice, and character. She was a cornucopia of talent?a Horne of plenty.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne passed away on May 9, 2010.--BP

Also known as "BP with the GM," (translation: "Bob Perkins with the Good Music"), Mr. Perkins has been in the broadcasting industry for more than five decades as an on-air host, and is now commonly referred to as a Philadelphia jazz radio legend.