Monday, July 20, 2015

Sammy Davis, Jr.’s Last Public Performance

The other day, I was boppin’ around YouTube (as I am often wont to do) and found this gem. I remember watching Late Night With David Letterman on this particular night in June, 1989, when Sammy Davis Jr. was one of the guests. At the time, he was suffering from throat cancer, but Letterman talked him into doing a song with Paul Shaffer and “The World’s Most Dangerous Band.” According to Gary Hopkins, who posted this, it was Sammy’s last public performance, though in the comments someone said he also sang during the Jerry Lewis Telethon a couple of months later. But no matter.

If you listen at the end, he says to Paul Shaffer, “No rehearsal. See? Better.” Which makes it all the more remarkable. “I Can’t Get Started,” with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and music by Vernon Duke, as performed by Sammy Davis Jr. and The World’s Most Dangerous Band. Enjoy.

I remember thinking, as ill as he was, yet that voice… It still chokes me up a little.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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