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Mae West

Buxom actress Mae West employed clever double-entendres throughout the course of her long career on stage and screen. More than once she managed to squeeze something suggestive past the eagle eyes and ears of her rigid censors, and her public came to adore her for it. In fact she boasted of the feat, saying, "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it." Similarly, the titles of West's recordings veered toward the suggestive and risqué. The Rosetta Records release Mae West Sings Sultry Songs includes such numbers as "A Guy That Takes His Time," "Easy Rider," and "Pardon Me for Loving and Running." The compilation I'm No Angel from Jasmine Records, which was named for one of her early films, features the title song and "I Want You, I Need You." The Fabulous Mae West from MCA Records offers "I'm in the Mood for Love" and "All of Me." The Mind's Eye issued a cassette featuring such classic West numbers as "Come Up and See Me Sometime," as well as "Slow Down."

The actress was born Mary Jane West in Brooklyn, NY, in 1893, although some sources say she was born a year earlier. By the age of five she was working the boards in vaudeville. By her early teens her performances had earned her the moniker of "Baby Vamp." She eventually landed on Broadway in Diamond Lil, but not before offending the moral code of the 1920s and earning a short stop in jail for one of the plays she had written, which she titled Sex.

Her fortunes turned around when she went to Hollywood. Outrageous remarks packed with sexual innuendo brought fame and adulation to the five-foot blonde actress with an exaggerated hourglass figure, as well as an Oscar nomination in 1933 for She Done Him Wrong, her second movie. Evidently another of West's oft-quoted remarks was accurate. She said, "When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad I'm better." A look at her salary during the early Hollywood years backs up this claim. In 1932, in the midst of the Depression, she was paid $50,000 to make one film. In 1959 the actress published Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It, her autobiography. She remained active almost until the end, making her final film, Sextette, just two years prior to her passing. She died in Los Angeles, CA, in 1980, after experiencing a number of strokes. During her life she claimed that she had never taken a husband, and she is given credit for saying, "Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution." However, records indicate that she married a man named Frank Wallace.

Recordings are available of West's radio and television appearances. Mark 56 Records offers recordings of the actress on a 1937 radio broadcast with Edgar Bergen and his puppet, Charlie McCarthy. Other broadcasts include a take from her guest appearance in the '30s on The Rudy Vallee Show and two of her Christmas broadcasts from the early '70s for The American Forces Radio Service. Recordings of her television work span the 1940s to the 1960s and include guest appearances on shows hosted by Perry Como, Red Skelton, and Dean Martin. ~ Linda Seida
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Come Up And See Me Sometime: 30 Original Mono Recordings 1933-1954

1. A Guy What Takes His Time

2. Easy Rider

3. I'm No Angel

4. I Found A New Way To Go To Town

5. They Call Me Sister Honky Tonk

6. I Want You, I Need You

7. When A St. Louis Woman Comes Down To New Orleans

8. My Old Flame

9. Memphis Blues

10. Troubled Waters

11. He's A Bad Man

12. Now I'm A Lady

13. I'm An Occidental Woman In An Oriental Mood For Love

14. Mister Deep Blue Sea

15. Little Bar Butterfly

16. On A Typical Tropical Night

17. I Was Saying To The Moon

18. Willie Of The Valley

19. Come Up And See Me Sometime

20. Frankie And Johnny

21. That's All, Brother, That's All

22. Imaginary Love

23. My Man Friday

24. Pardon Me For Loving And Running

25. Put It Off Until Tomorrow

26. Slow Down

27. I'm In The Mood For Love

28. Love Is The Greatest Thing

29. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight

30. All Of Me

x

Track List: I'm No Angel

1. I Like A Guy What Takes His Time

2. Easy Rider

3. I'm No Angel

4. I Found A New Way To Go To Town

5. I Want You, I Need You

6. They Call Me Sister Honky Tonk

7. Willie Of The Valley

8. I Like A Guy What Takes His Time

9. Easy Rider

10. Frankie And Johnny

11. They Call Me Sister Honky Tonk

12. That Dallas Man

13. I Found A New Way To Go To Town

14. I Want You, I Need You

15. I'm No Angel

16. When A St. Louis Woman Comes Down To New Orleans

17. My Old Flame

18. Memphis Blues

19. Troubled Waters

20. He's A Bad, Bad Man

22. I'm An Occidental Woman In An Oriental Mood For Love

23. Mister Deep Blue Sea

24. Little Bar Butterfly

25. On A Typical Tropical Night

26. I Was Saying To The Moon

27. Fifi

28. Now I'm A Lady

Comments

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Bianca HOLLIDAY
Report as inappropriate
I learned about her when I was 14 and, when I was in my 20's, became a drag queen just to imitate her! I soon became a headliner. I am grateful to you, Miss West for all you stood for and all that you didn't stand for! I have all of her recordings and all of her movies-just another of her many, many fans.
Report as inappropriate
lynnemayes
Love this crazy feminist!
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mikednyny
mae i play with you and no its not a gun
Report as inappropriate
syrups9907
Once did her version of Rock Around the Clock. Pandora has it.
Report as inappropriate
What a smart cookie Mae was! Made millions with suggestive lyrics and everybody loved her; great entertainer. . . O n e of a kind gal...
Report as inappropriate
Totally, the queen of it all. Seriously, sisters, Feminists def included. Sho 'nuff.
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Such great Music
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megsdogday
Oh Mae, thank you.
Report as inappropriate
There is no one else like the great Miss Mae West. Let's all take her advice and "Come up" to not only see, but to "hear" her as often as possible. Thank you!
Report as inappropriate
judithf1413
Please play more Mae West.
Report as inappropriate
I became a fan of Mae West at about 11. Even in black and white she glimmered and moved like no body ever. I have all the movies I could get and albums as well. She was a talent and a personal magic that was classey like nobody else. Her wardwrobe instructions were simple. Lose enough to be a lady and tight enought to be a woman. Class!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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