Thursday, May 26, 2016

Jane Russell's Singing Quartet

In the early 1950s, during a charity night performance for the Hollywood Episcopal Church, Jane Russell took the stage with three other women - Beryl Davis, Connie Haines, and Della Russell ( no relation to Jane ) - and performed the spiritual classic Do Lord. They were such a hit with the audience that, for the next several years, they would continue to team up as a quartet and sing spirituals at various other charity benefits in the Hollywood area, and go on to record several 45s, as well as two albums. 

The Hollywood Christian Group, or "The Four Girls" as they were affectionately nicknamed, were all great singers in their own right ( Beryl Davis and Connie Haines were both well-known big band singers ), but, as a group, they created some stellar "folksy" harmonies, and found success with the public. 

After the few performances Della Russell was replaced by actress Rhonda Fleming, who had a sultry voice perfect for torch songs. She joined the group on their various television appearances ( Arthur Murray Show, Colgate Comedy Hour, etc ) as well. Check out the clip below of The Four Girls singing a medley of spiritual songs on a television special in 1955. 

All of the royalties they received from their recorded songs were donated to the churches to which each belonged. Later, in the mid-50s, Rhonda Fleming left the quartet, but Jane Russell, Connie Haines, and Beryl Davis often teamed up again to perform for various functions....and they even cut their own album as a trio on Capitol Records, aptly entitled, "The Magic of Believing". 


This entry is a part of our latest series entitled "Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line!

5 comments:

  1. I did not know that stuff. Those ladies sure knew their notes. I want to hear more.

    I am constantly surprised after each TCM Film Festival that they have yet to fete Rhonda Fleming. By all accounts she is as lovely and gracious as she looks.

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    1. If you search 'Jane Russell and Connie Haines" on Youtube you'll find several more of their songs posted, including Do Lord. And I wholeheartedly agree....Rhonda Fleming is terribly underrated and unpromoted. She did a marvelous performance in that color noir Inferno ( 1953? )

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  2. This is great!! I would have never thought I'd see Russell singing spiritual songs! Their voices sound fantastic together!

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    1. Oh yes, Jane Russell was always big in church work and charity fundraising...up until the day she died. But it's great to see her sing in a quartet.

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  3. I had no idea that Jane Russell and Rhona Fleming sang in a quartet. That was fascinating to learn. Your "Did You Know?" series sounds like a lot of fun!

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