(click song title above to listen)
Legendary tough guy on and off-screen, Robert Mitchum was associated with the post-war film noir thriller. His heavy-lidded manner was a deceptively casual, disguising potent screen presence. Mitchum’s canon of antiheroes he portrayed on film during during the 1950s and 1960s (The Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear) are likely the blueprints for what led to Gibson’s Mad Max, Jean Reno in The Professional, Michael Douglas in Falling Down, and Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood to name a few.
What might be less well known are Mitchum’s forays into music as both singer and composer. His voice was often used instead of a professional singer when his character sang in films (Rachel and the Stranger, River of no Return, Lord Invader). Mitchum recorded an album for Capitol Records while filming Heaven Kows, Mr. Allison in the Carribean islands of Tobago called Calypso. A year later he recorded a song he had written for Thunder Road, titled “The Ballad of Thunder Road” becoming a modest hit.
In 1967 Mitchum’s follow-up record, That Man, Robert Mitchum Sings was released by Nashville’s Monument Records. Trekking further into country music, the first single “Little Old Wine Drinker Me” was a top-10 hit at radio. The album was hugely successful for the actor and includes a pop ballad composed by Mitchum entitled “Whippoorwill” in a style similar to Dean Martin’s county recordings. The liner notes are by Johnny Mercer who observed: “The same carefree attractiveness that you find in his acting, you will find on this Monument album. The same independence of spirit. What some would call a ‘maverick,’ I would call a ‘free palamino…’.” Dig track 3 from Side-B of that album, Mitchum’s laid-back take on Bobby Hebb‘s classic “Sunny”!
Contact & Licensing info:
“Sunny” written by Bobby Hebb and Published by Portable Music Co. Inc. (BMI). Contact: Damon Booth / firstname.lastname@example.org. Administered by Downtown Music Publishing. Contact: Sean McGraw / email@example.com. Master controlled by Sony Music Group.