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 Helen Kane

Annette's singing career was prolific.  She released at least one song almost every other month from 1926 through 1931 when she was primarily singing on radio shows.  It is not surprising then, to see that many songs
that she recorded would also be recorded by other artists.  She recorded songs like:

Miss Annabelle Lee (August, 1927)
Mary (What are You Waiting For?) (December, 1927)
Get Out and Get Under the Moon (May, 1928)

that would be recorded by Bing Crosby.  But there were others:  Ruth  Etting (Button up your
overcoat)  (March, 14, 1929), Harry Richman (It Was So Beautiful).

Although Helen Kane would only record from  just 1928-1930 she played a part in Annette's career.
Annette would love to mimic Helen on occasion and sing several songs in a Helen Kane voice.
Reportedly, when Annette released some of her Helen Kane imitations the Victor Company was furious
and sued Helen for breach of contract (The Entertainers).  They thought Helen was singing under a pseudonym for a
different record company.   Herein I will list all of the songs that Helen recorded in her career with a
comparison with songs that Annette did and even with one done by Ruth Etting.

First of all, Helen, unlike Annette, did do a number of movies which you can still see her today.
 


 
 

A list of her Paramount movies:


Movie Title Year Made-Songs
Nothing But the Truth 1929 Song:  "Do Something"
Sweetie 1929 Songs:
He's So Unusual
My Sweeter than Sweet
The Prep Strep
I Think You'll Like It
Pointed Heels 1930 Songs:
I Have to Have You
Ain't Cha
Dangerous Dan McGrew 1930-
Songs:
Dangerous Dan McGrew
I Owe You
Aw! C'mon What you Got to Be?
Heads Up 1930
Songs:  My Man is On the Make
If I Knew You Better
Flying High 1930
Song:  Thank You Father
Young Man of Manhattan 1930
Song:  I've Got "It" (but it don't do me no good)
Paramount on Parade 1930-
Song:  What did Cleopatra Say?

Below is a list of her known recordings:
 
 
Song Title Date Recorded Annette's Recording Date
Get Out and Get Under the Moon July 16, 1928 May, 1928
That's My Weakness Now July 16, 1928
I Wanna Be Loved By You September 20, 1928 November 22, 1928
Is There Anything Wrong In That? September 20, 1928 November 22, 1928
Don't Be Like That December 20, 1928 January 15, 1929
Me and the Man in the Moon December 20, 1928
Button Up Your Overcoat January 1, 1929 March 14, 1929
I Want To Be Bad January 1, 1929 March 14, 1929
Do Something March 15, 1929
That's Why I'm Happy March 15, 1929
I'd Do Anything For You June 14, 1929
He's So Unusual June 14, 1929 October 28, 1929
Ain'tcha October 29, 1929 November 27, 1929
I Have To Have You October 29, 1929 November 27, 1929
I'd Go Barefoot All Winter Long (if you'd fall for me in the spring) March 18, 1930
Dangerous Dan McGrew April 12, 1930
Thank You Father April 12, 1930
I Owe You April 12, 1930
Readin' Ritin' Rhythm  July 1, 1930
I've Got "It" (But It Don't Do Me No Good) July 1, 1930 May 5, 1930
My Man Is On the Make July 2, 1930
If I Knew You Better  July 2, 1930

If you look closely at the recording dates for each of these songs, you can see there can be quite a
case for saying that Annette "copied" Helen's songs.  On only two of the recordings did Annette record
songs before Helen did.  But whereas Helen did her numbers in her "coquette" style and stayed with that form,
Annette never did embrace that "baby voice" entirely, but kept it as one of her styles that she would
use on occasion.  Annette I think was testing the limits of the day.  She could play the baby voice and come
right back and do a number with Frank Ferreira or sing "Big City Blues" from Fox's Movietone Follies.
As  Helen's flame flickered quickly and soon went out after 1930, Annette would not totally abandon this idiom
but keep it in her repertoire and pull it out when she needed it.   If their wasn't a Helen Kane, it is feasible that
Annette would have still sung these songs.  She recorded "Aw Gee!  Don't Be that Way" on April 1, 1927,
  well before Helen started recording.  Even as late as 1934 she was singing "This Little Piggy went to Market".  What made

Annette so unique is that she wasn't just a torch singer, just a "baby voice", or just a "jazz singer", she was all
of these and more.  You could literally pick any song of the day and Annette would have a song to represent
that style be it Bing Crosby, Harry Richman, Helen Morgan, Ruth Etting, Lee Morse or Helen Kane.

She did it all,  and as she matured she transcended all these various styles and embraced them as her own.
She transcended the old acoustical recordings of the early Harmony and Velvetone labels.  She transcended
the "dime store" labels and the numerous pseudonym's that were given to her and she transcended and survived
the great depression that brought with it, reorganization and bankruptcy.

In the end, its as John Hammond said about her on "The Entertainers",

she did it all....and she didn't know how great she really was....