Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hey, Little Star (1964) – Ann-Margret

Following her breakthrough role as star-struck Kim MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie, and her turn as Elvis’ feisty love interest in Viva Las Vegas, Ann-Margret Olsson whipped up this confection of aural ambrosia, her vocals closer in timbre to the balmy lilt of Shelley Fabares, as opposed to the sultry piquancy she would later share with Nancy Sinatra. “Hey, Little Star” gallivants on a cloud of meringue, a dreamy arrangement that recalls Frankie Avalon’s “Venus,” with the same supplication for fulfillment of romantic longing. A percussive bassline and brushed drums tap out a tango, embellished by an ensemble of bell tree, glockenspiel and flute; swooning strings flourish and effloresce with episodic flair redolent of a ‘70s Japanese variety show, while sirenic falsetto cooing pipes in through elevator speakers. Ann-Margret revels radiantly in her fairytale ending and marvels at the efficacy with which Little Star rewarded her patience and faith by answering her wish for a boy with whom to share the starry night sky.

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