BetteBack 1977: On Singing The Oldies

Syracuse Post Standard
November 12, 1977

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“I have pretty good instincts, I go right to the line, and even if 1 do things in bad taste, I do them in such a way that it’s okay,” Bette Midler said recently.

Midler ss among the performers who will be seen in a two-hour special, “Rolling Stone.. The 10th Anniversary,” to be aired at 9 pm Nov 25 on CBS-TV.

“When did I realize I was finally a star'” she said, echoing a question. “I haven’t realised it yet. It all seems like a fairy tale; and mine’s not really a fairy tale life So, it’s hard to believe it’s one people are talking about.”

“What reaily happened,” Midler offered, “is that I was brought up in, and all the records my parents had were, of course, from the thirties and forties. I found myself fascinated by the music, and especially fascinated by the women singers, like the Andrews sisters, whom I imitate in ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo‘”

“The fascination lasted, and later I really began to research that era. I spent hours at a time in music libraries, listening lo old Showtunes and pop songs, and absorbing the stories of the stars. I became something of an expert,
simply out of persona! interest, not because 1 intended lo exploit it.”

“I wanted to be an actress, really. But everyone wanted me to be conventional, to fit a stereotype, which I couldn’t. I’m not a conventional person. It was quite a fight. 1 never intended to concentrate on the oldies. In fact, I don’t. I sing contemporary numbers as well but everyone has seized on the way I sing oldies, so I guess that’s my strength,” Midler concluded.

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