John, I know you know this song because you arranged it for your 2011 BBC Proms “Hooray for Hollywood” Overturethe loveliest orchestral version of this tune I’ve ever heard, by the way. If I hadn’t been in love with you before, my love, this would’ve clinched it.

“Long Ago (and Far Away)” is a popular, Oscar-nominated song with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Ira Gershwin from the Technicolor film musical Cover Girl starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly (Columbia, 1944). Charting versions were recorded almost simultaneously by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Jo Stafford.

John Wilson 'Hooray for Hollywood' Overture.jpgAbove: The Jo Stafford recording was released by Capitol Records; the record first reached the Billboard magazine charts on 4 May, 1944 and lasted 12 weeks on the chart, peaking at #6.

COMPLETE downloadable audio of the BBC Proms 2011 concert John Wilson and The John Wilson Orchestra “Hooray for Hollywood” here / complete video on YT here

EXTRA! As long as we’re on the topic of wartime warblers, here’s Ginny Simms with the Kay Kyser Orchestra in my favorite rendition of “With the Wind and the Rain In Your Hair” (Clara Edwards, 1935).

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