Friday, June 12, 2015

Something about RadioLulu you'll want to read

Here's the latest on RadioLulu....

RadioLulu is a Louise Brooks-inspired, silent film-themed station streaming music of the 1920s, 1930s, and today. Located on the web at — RadioLulu features music from the films of the silent and early sound era, as well as recordings by early stars, show tunes, a little sweet jazz, cabaret artists, contemporary tracks and more. In addition, there are theme songs, novelty numbers, torch singers and crooners — as well as a numerous tracks with “Lulu” or “LouLou” in the title. And of course, there’s Maurice Chevalier’s much-loved “Louise”. All together, RadioLulu features more than 430 tracks totaling almost 23 hours!

Music has played a significant role in the life and films of Louise Brooks. (Remember, “Silent films were never silent.”) And that’s why RadioLulu was started, as a means of sharing some of the many rare related recordings collected by the Louise Brooks Society.

Launched in 2002, this unique station features music from five of Brooks’ films — the haunting themes from Beggars of Life (1928) and Prix de Beauté (1930), as well as musical passages from The Canary Murder Case (1929), Empty Saddles (1936), and Overland Stage Raiders (1938). On RadioLulu, you’ll also hear the familiar “Sidewalks of New York” (played on the set of The Street of Forgotten Men), as well as John Philip Sousa’s “Atlantic City Beauty Pageant” (written for the Miss America contest seen in The American Venus). There are also vintage recordings by Brooks’ screen co-stars, Adolphe Menjou, Noah Beery, Blanche Ring (aunt of husband Eddie Sutherland), Esther Ralston, Dorothy Mackaill, James Hall, Lawrence Gray,  Frank Fay, Joan Blondell, and Buck Jones. Similarly, Brooks’ European co-stars are represented by recordings from Siegfried Arno (Pandora’s Box), Kurt Gerron (Diary of a Lost Girl), and Andre Roanne (Prix de Beauté). Each recording is a rarity.

There are vintage tracks associated with Brooks’ brief time with the Ziegfeld Follies, including a handful of recordings by performers who shared the stage with the actress, such as Ethel Shutta, Leon Erroll, and the great W.C. Fields.

RadioLulu also features songs by Brooks’ friends and acquaintances, as well as individuals she worked with over the years. Actress Tallulah Bankhead, torch singer Libby Holman, chanteuse Lucienne Boyer, bandleader Emil Coleman, and nightclub owner Bruz Fletcher are all included. Other tracks associated with the actress heard on RadioLulu include George Gershwin’s “Somebody Loves Me” (her favorite Gershwin song), Xavier Cugat’s “Siboney” (recommended by Brooks in her book, Fundamentals of Ballroom Dancing), and two numbers by Sid Kay’s Fellows (the jazz band seen playing at the wedding reception in Pandora’s Box). Also, there’s Ross Berkal’s latter day tribute, “MLB (for Louise Brooks)”. Berkal, who is mentioned in the Barry Paris biography and is a longtime member of the Louise Brooks Society, was friendly with Brooks later in her life.

Some of the many tributes to the actress by contemporary recording artists are also played on RadioLulu. They include Natalie Merchant, Rufus Wainwright, Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark (OMD), John Zorn, Sarah Azzara, and Soul Coughing. Even famed cartoonist Robert Crumb is heard on “Chanson pour Louise Brooks”.

Recordings by early Hollywood figures such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Lupe Velez, Bebe Daniels, Clara Bow, Norma Talmadge, Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford are also streamed. So are recordings by later stars Buddy Rogers, Claudette Colbert, David Manners, Jean Harlow, Paulette Goddard, Barbara Stanwyck, and Dorothy Lamour. A few of the European actors and actresses heard on the station are Brigitte Helm, Camilla Horn, Anny Ondra, Conrad Veidt, Pola Negri, and Marlene Dietrich (notably her early German-language recordings).

Gloria Swanson is one of the many silent and early film stars featured on RadioLulu.

Among others, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell are heard singing the classic “If I Had A Talking Picture Of You,” one of a number of movie-related songs heard on RadioLulu. There’s also “Take Your Girlie to the Movies,” “At the Moving Picture Ball,” “Hollywood Stomp” and “Hooray for Hollywood,” as well as rare vintage songs about Chaplin, Garbo, Keaton, and Zasu Pitts. And don’t miss H. Robinson Cleaver’s “Grace Moore Medley”, Fred Bird & Luigi Bernauer’s “Hallo Hallo Hier Radio”, and Jack Hylton and His Orchestra’s “My brother makes the noises for the talkies”.

What else is heard on RadioLulu? Tune in to hear Constance Bennett sing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, or Alice White & Blanche Sweet sing “There’s A Tear For Every Smile in Hollywood” (from the soundtrack to Showgirl in Hollywood). The Waldorf-Astoria Dance Orchestra perform “The Vamp”, Nate Shilkret plays “Flapperette”, and Marion Harris sings “I’m a Jazz Vampire”. Regulations regarding radio station identification are given by none other than Cary Grant, co-star of the 1937 Brooks’ film, When You’re in Love.

And that’s not all…. You’ll hear James P. Johnson’s “You’ve Got to be Modernistic”, the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks’ recording of “Louise, You Tease”, as well as a handful of different recordings of both “Don’t Bring Lulu” and “Lulu’s Back in Town”. All will delight. RadioLulu plays Ragtime, dance bands, Big Bands, hotel orchestras, standards, swing, and some real hot jazz, including such popular hits as the “Charleston”, “Black Bottom”, and “Varsity Rag”. There are also sentimental favorites like “Stardust” and “As Time Goes By”.

Among the unusual European tracks streamed on RadioLulu are little heard gems from the 1930s Polish chanteuse Hanka Ordonówna as well as the Gershwin of Czechoslovakia, Jaroslav Jezek, a stirring number by the great British cinema organist Sidney Torch, and a 1929 recording of the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht singing “Mack the Knife”. Also heard are one-time models Suzy Solidor and Kiki of Montparnasse. Both posed for the surrealist photographer Man Ray, an  admirer of Louise Brooks.

RadioLulu features many of the leading stars of the 1920s and 1930s — Rudy Vallee, Russ Colombo, Ben Selvin, Fred Waring, Ted Weems, Paul Whiteman, Annette Hanshaw, Helen Kane, Mildred Bailey, Lee Wiley, Ruth Etting, Kay Thompson, and Frankie Trumbauer, as well as Josephine Baker, Django Rheinhart, and Mistinguett. There are also rarely heard artists like the Eskimo Pie Orchestra and the Brox Sisters, as well as Scrappy Lambert, Fred Elizalde, and Dorothy Dickson. You never know what will turn up on this eclectic, always entertaining station.

Louise Brooks listens to a record.

There is nothing else quite like RadioLulu. Over the years, it has gained many fans and listeners. Famed film critic Leonard Maltin rated it a “Wow.” Louise Brooks devotee and celebrated Dr. Who actor Paul McGann called it “incredible.” The Pulitzer-Prize winning graphic novelist Art Spiegelman (author of Maus) said he has tuned-in on a number of occasions. As has the award-winning science fiction writer Richard Kadrey. And would you believe the retro Spanish pop/swing/rock group Radio Lulu named themselves after the station?

Listen today by clicking on the widget above. Be sure to follow RadioLulu on Twitter and Facebook. And check out the RadioLulu wish list on

There is a lot of great music on RadioLulu. Along with George Jessel’s narrative history of “The Roaring Twenties 1920-1929″ and such famous names as Duke Ellington, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and Benny Goodman, here are ten tracks you won’t want to miss: “Makin’ Whoopee” by B.A. Rolfe & His Lucky Strike Orchestra, “Runnin’ Wild” by Isabella Patricola, “The Sheik of Araby” by Fats Waller, and “Puttin on the Ritz” by Harry Richman, as well as “You Oughta be In Pictures” by Little Jack Little & His Orchestra, “Singin’ In The Rain” by Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike), “Slumming On Park Avenue” by Alice Faye, “Ramona” by Dolores Del Rio, and on a more contemporary note, “Lulu” by Twiggy (the 1960’s supermodel), and “I’m In Love With A German Film Star” by The Passions.

RadioLulu needs your help. Consider becoming an underwriter: the Louise Brooks Society pays $120.00 annually to stream this unique online station. That amount includes licensing fees associated with broadcasting music over the web through LIve365. Show your support by paying for part or a full year’s broadcast. Individuals who make a donation will be acknowledged on this page and on the RadioLulu homepage.  (Full or partial underwriting for the current year is available.) To help underwrite RadioLulu send an email or join the LBS as a contributing member. // Or, consider purchasing a CD for RadioLulu from its wish list. It will be used in adding additional tracks to the station. Thank you for your interest in Louise Brooks, RadioLulu and the Louise Brooks Society.

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