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Tag Archives: Johnny Carson

Rat Pack and Johnny Carson

An exciting song that energized Rat Pack shows during the sixties in Las Vegas and elsewhere was originally published in 1926.  The Birth Of The Blues was first recorded by an artist named Whispering Jack Smith in 1927.  It was also the title of a film starring Bing Crosby in 1941.  Along with renditions by artists like Pearl Bailey and Keely Smith, Rat Pack stars Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. were also heard performing the song from time to time.

But probably the most notable performance of The Birth Of The Blues was at a Rat Pack benefit concert in 1965.  It took place at the Kiel Opera House in St. Louis and featured Frank, Sammy and Dean, along with emcee Johnny Carson, filling in for comedian and Rat Pack member Joey Bishop. 

It was the closing song of the show, and featured Johnny joining in with the Rat Pack, and Johnny’s vocal was quite respectable.  The result was a great ending to a great concert that included a wonderful line-up of songs and a lot of playful clowning around including some impressions by Sammy, and some great physical comedy moves by Dean, not to mention the surprise of Johnny Carson’s contribution to the grand finale, The Birth Of The Blues. 

To this day, the song is still performed by Las Vegas Rat Pack Impersonators, in all the historic Las Vegas venues, plus from Los Angeles to New York and around the world.