In 1948, New Orleans veteran trumpeter and singer Louis Prima stumbled into a young girl named Keely Smith. She was barely a performer at all, almost half his age, destined for a relatively quiet life; their encounter was pure coincidence. But they went on to invent The Wildest, the most exciting and successful lounge act Las Vegas has ever seen, an act that became one of the hottest in the U.S. in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Their records were hugely popular, and they were courted by Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, Robert Mitchum, and other well-known entertainers of the day. Their professional success helped bring about the rise of Las Vegas as a mecca of American entertainment. Their love story ended soon after they helped usher in John F. Kennedys presidency, singing "That Old Black Magic" for him at his inauguration, but their influence is still evident. And Keely still draws SRO audiences to her nightclub appearances.
Now, on the occasion of Louis Prima's 100th birthday, comes the first book on this duo, illustrating not only one of show business greatest love stories but also the Vegas milieu in which they reached the pinnacle of their success.
Fabulous account of two extraordinary lives and the interesting lives and times of the talented musicians who came up in this era. Entertaining account of the history of Las Vegas and New Orleans. You won't get this in the history books! I was spell bound. What an unusual surprise! Great story telling and lively heart felt narration. A fine piece of entertainment for anyone interested in the world and the lives of people who think out of the box!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A well written and researched book covering Prima's (and Keely Smith's) life and career from New Orleans to New York, Las Vegas and back again. Lots of great information here, not only about Prima, Smith and company, but also about early jazz and Las Vegas during its hay day.
Unfortunately, I did not care for the narrator at all. His voice reminded me of Casey Kassem with that same sense of drama and timeing. He frequently mispronounced most of the Italian names and words, referring to Prima's bandleader ( who worked with him from 1953 until Prima's death) as Sam Beautera instead of Butera which became kind of maddening. This was just one of many mistakes he made throughout. I'm of the opinion that if they are going to hire a guy to read something they ought to be sure he can do it correctly.
I still liked the book and do recommend it.