Ep. #80 Featuring the Multi-Talented Rachel Kaplan
“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön”
“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” was first heard in an obscure Yiddish musical in the early 1930s. While the musical didn’t survive, the song was so catchy that 5 years later it was sung, in its original Yiddish, on the stage of the Apollo Theater in Harlem, by an African American singing duo named Johnny & George. One particularly intrigued member of the audience was lyricist Sammy Cahn who brought it to the attention of Decca Records which had recently signed a trio of singing Lutheran sisters from Minnesota in need of a hit.
Patty, LaVerne, and Maxene Andrews began to record “Bei Mir…” in Yiddish for Decca, but ultimately Cahn wrote English lyrics which better reflected the swing style of the arrangement. The combination proved to be a sensation as the record swept the country’s radio stations and eventually became the first by a female singing group to sell a million copies.
It was the first colossal hit for the then-struggling Andrews Sisters who until that point had been unsuccessful in auditions due to their brassy timbre. It was the trumpet section of the orchestra with which they performed and recorded, which gave the sisters a clearer sense of the sound for which they were searching. Their patriotic brass-like harmony was one element of their continued success with hits like “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Don’t Fence Me In” earning them the nickname of “America’s Wartime Sweethearts”.
Delighting us with her rendition of Sholom Secunda’s “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” is multi-talented artist Rachel Kaplan with bassist David Corwin.