Monday, January 04, 2010

Just A Gigolo

I played Louis Prima's "Just A Gigolo" for my daughter in the car a few weeks ago, and she loved it so much she had to hear it again and again, laughing and singing along every time. Yesterday, when I took her and a friend out for lunch, we were blasting it in the car with my daughter joining in at the top of her lungs and I thought, "I'm going to get a call from the other girl's parents tomorrow asking why I was teaching their daughter a song about a gigolo." Of course, there's a chance the parents know the song from David Lee Roth's 1985 remake, but it's the 1956 Prima version that contains all the goofiness and wildness that makes the song so much fun.

Don't know Prima? He and wife Keely Smith, who sang and played straight-woman to his zany onstage antics, are said to be the model that Sonny & Cher later copied. He voiced the orangutan song "I Wanna Be Like You" in Disney's "Jungle Book."  His music has appeared in movie soundtracks like "Swingers," "Casino," and "Analyze This."   His non-appearance is central to the plot of the Stanley Tucci/Tony Shalhoub film "Big Night."

I can't find video of the full-length (4:45) version of the song, but here's an edit -- with Prima, Smith, and that crazy horn section -- from the opening of a 2001 documentary called "Louie Prima: The Wildest."  The video's slightly out of sync, but you'll get the idea...