Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Whispering Jack Smith

Jack Schmidt, better known by his stage name of "Whispering" Jack Smith, was an especially interesting vocalist who virtually invented "crooning" in the early 1920s, with his laidback and quiet delivery that often really did devolve into just a whisper. This mellow style of singing inspired countless crooners that followed in his footsteps, like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Country singers like Tex Williams and "Whispering" Bill Anderson were also surely inspired by the trail Smith blazed.

Smith's vocal technique that revolutionized pop-jazz singing was not entirely deliberate. His style of singing was a result of inhaling poison gas while fighting in World War I. It damaged his vocal cords and lungs, and kept him from belting out songs with any power.

Listen: Whispering Jack Smith - Leven Thirty Saturday Night

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