On August 16th of the year 1928, a tiny set of golden human lungs and vocal cords was born in the Bronx. It was named Edith Gormezano, a good, powerful name. Her mother was named “Fortuna” by the way and I really like that name. But enough about her, we are here to fawn over Eydie, as she was eventually known!
If you would like to read an impersonal summary of her life, go dip your readin’ toe into her entry on Wikipedia. If you’d like to read an intimate biographical account of her life and times, well, there are apparently not any books written about her based on my quick search, so tough luck. All you have is what I’m about to write: a barely-researched short post that is mostly about myself!
Mine and Eydie’s tale begins back in the year 1999 or so. I was given several vinyl records from the collection of Grandma Wood — I can’t remember why. Among the albums was one by this Eydie Gormé person I had never heard of before. The first track threw my ears and my soul for a little loop (in the good way):
It is a big time song! Big music, big voice, big emotional content! I was immediately hooked. I may have even become obsessed. I was in the last of my teenage years, and had next to no life experiences, but this woman’s lamentations and regrets resonated with me. It must be one of those universal themes which speak to us all on some level. As the years wore on, every bit of turmoil in the relationship department caused me to seek out this song to listen to while I bitterly looked out at the horizon of life, wondering what would be next, wondering what could be worse. So, thank you for the soundtrack to my personal melodramas, Eydie Gormé.
I was similarly shaped by yet another song on that album. It is lighter in melody, but once again the theme is one of regret and lost time. It’s deliciously damaging when listening at just the right moment in a depression. How could I relate to such music when I was only nineteen? I probably couldn’t, but it prepared me for the cracked and dusty mid-twenties I proceeded to flounder through, when I thought my best years were behind me, already. When I was twenty four and certain that all of my opportunities had dried up and that I was somehow already “withered on the vine,” as I still frequently say.
Oh. It was this song:
I had always admired the angelic singing voice of Ethel Merman, but once I heard this album by Eydie Gormé, ol’ Ethel had to step aside. I cannot sing, and that’s fine by me — usually. However when I listen to these songs, I wish that I had the bellowing power of Eydie Gormé. To be able to hold a note that would drown out a landing aircraft while I express to the world my disappointment of the passing of time… that would be a gift that I would never take for granted. I guess it is a gift to the world, even though it is a small tragedy to me, that I never had an interest in singing unless I could really belt it out, full-lung. I never built up the endurance qualities and as a result, I am not irritating all those within hearing distance with my gigantic Broadway voice.
Based on my brief skimming of the Wikipedia, it seems that she led a happy and prosperous life. She married a singer and they toured together. It appears, I assume, that they didn’t have career rivalries or insecure jealousies for one another. At least in my imagination, Eydie Gormé had a long and pleasant life, where she reached the top of her profession and enjoyed fame and fortune without even a single one of the downsides that so many fall to.
She was a truly blessed human megaphone.