Sammy Davis, Jr. Studio Recordings 1970-1988

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Sammy Davis, Jr. signs for Motown Records

It was clear by 1970 that Sammy Davis, Jr.'s music was not selling well on Reprise, and that this was unlikely to change. His manager Sy Marsh decided a change was necessary. Berry Gordy, Jr.'s Motown seemed like a good fit. In the words of Marsh, "the world's number one record producer, who's black, has signed the world's greatest entertainer, who's also black". Part of the deal signed in April 1970 was that a new label be created, called Ecology, and be distributed under the Motown umbrella.

The first move made by Motown was to release the masters Sammy had taken with him from his last two Reprise sessions in October and November 1969. The material was largely covers of Blood, Sweat and Tears songs, and other popular music of the day, and was titled "Something For Everyone". The cover art was outrageous to say the least, featuring Sammy in the midst of what looked like his own personal harem. The album was a commercial failure, which must have given Motown some pause.

Davis laid down new tracks for Motown, although it appears that most were still being produced by his former Reprise producer, Jimmy Bowen. One single was released on the new Ecology label. Other tracks recorded were produced by Marvin Gaye with an eye to releasing a 'real' Motown LP. Motown engineers were also sent to record live concerts at Carnegie Hall. What happened to all these recordings is a mystery - the only details that appear here are of Motown recordings later taken across to MGM by Sammy.

After neither the LP nor the Ecology single sold well, Motown declined to issue another LP. According to Davis' 1989 memoir "Why Me?", Gordy told Marsh they didn't think Sammy had "the Motown sound". Marsh indicated that this wasn't exactly a suprise, and with the threat of going public over Motown's inability to make the Sammy situation work, subsequently talked Gordy into severing the relationship and providing Davis with unreleased material. And so the deal was reached which saw Sammy leave Motown quietly.


Date: ca. late 1970
Location: Los Angeles
Label: Motown

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Ernie Freeman (arr), Jimmy Bowen (pdr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.P4120-1B   In My Own Lifetime - 2:35  (Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick)
     MGM LP: SE-4852 — Portrait of Sammy Davis, Jr.   (1972)
b.P4120-2B   I'll Begin Again - 2:30  (Leslie Bricusse)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     Rhino CD: R2-75972 — Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story   (1999)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 440 065 083-2 — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection   (2002)
Both titles on:      Ecology (Motown) 45: E-1000   (1971)
     Hip-O CD: B001157902 — The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 11A: 1971   (2008)

Despite the fact that Sammy signed with Motown in April of 1970, this session is dated to late 1970 or early 1971 by the content - "In My Own Lifetime" was from the Broadway musical "The Rothschilds" which opened in October 1970, and "I'll Begin Again" was from the movie musical "Scrooge" which opened in November 1970.

The single from this session (the only release on Sammy's Motown label Ecology) was released in March 1971. Once these recordings were bought by MGM, they were given the new master numbers 71L 3925 and 72L 3203 respectively.


Date: ca. late 1970 or early 1971
Location: Los Angeles
Label: Motown

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Perry Botkin, Jr. (arr), Jimmy Bowen (pdr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.(71L 2769)   I Want To Be Happy - 2:47  (Irving Caesar, Vincent Youmans, Otto Harbach)
     MGM 45: 14320   (1972)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
b.(72L 3200)   Have A Little Talk With Myself - 3:28  (Ray Stevens)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 440 065 083-2 — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection   (2002)
c.(72L 3201)   Willoughby Grove - 3:55  (Bobby Scott, Danny Meehan)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
d.(72L 3202)   Put Your Hand In The Hand - 2:13  (Gene MacLellan)
All titles on:      K-Tel LP: NA-463/NC-433 — The Sounds Of Sammy Davis Jr.   (1975)

These performances are studio recordings bought by MGM from Motown in August 1971. The master numbers listed are those given to the recordings by MGM.


Sammy Davis, Jr. signs for MGM Records

Once he had secured a release from Motown, Sammy Davis, Jr.'s manager, Sy Marsh, sought expressions of interest in signing Sammy, and eventually turned to a man keen to have Davis on his roster - Mike Curb, of MGM Records. Marsh's first priority was to get Curb to release the outstanding Motown material, although Curb had his own ideas about what material might be commercially successful.

Curb's first idea was that of pairing Davis with his own chorus of young singers, the Mike Curb Congregation, on a song that the Congregation had already recorded solo, "The Candy Man". The idea was totally unpalatable to Davis, who had to be convinced to record it, and after doing so considered that "this record is going straight into the toilet. Not just around the rim, but into the bowl, and it may just pull my whole career down with it."

Instead, the very reverse occurred. "The Candy Man" became the most successful single of Davis' career. After debuting on the Billboard Charts on 11th March 1972, the single remained there for 21 weeks, peaking at #1 on 17th June (where it remained for three weeks). MGM then appears to have taken some of the content brought over from Motown, added additional content recorded for MGM, and released the album "Now" in April 1972. It was also successful, charting at #11.

Alongside a still-famous appearance on 19th February on "All In The Family" in which he kissed bigot Archie Bunker, "The Candy Man" briefly reinvigorated Sammy's career. Despite this, subsequent albums on MGM through 1973 and 1974 were largely failures, coming as they did during a period in which Davis' career faced problems, some of a political nature. In July 1971, he had been appointed by President Richard Nixon to the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity. He was also asked to go to Vietnam, as a personal emissary of the President, to perform for the troops, and also report back on solutions to prevent soldiers' drug addictions.

Sammy considered the trip (taken in February 1972) an honour, and submitted recommendations to the President upon his return. Davis duly appeared at the Republican National Convention in August 1972 in support of Nixon, hugging him in the process. Davis immediately received heavy criticism from all corners - from blacks, liberals and white racists alike. His live performances, and stints on television shows such as "NBC Follies" were less well received, and he felt alienated from the black community, a cause he had fought hard for during the 1960s. 1973 began a period of five years of heavy drug and alcohol addiction.

He would gain one more signature song, though, in the early 1970s - "Mr. Bojangles". This was another song which Davis only very reluctantly began including in his act (perhaps fearing its autobiographical potential), and once it proved popular, he recorded it for MGM. It soon became the closing number to his act and remained closely identified with him for the rest of his career.

None of Davis' MGM LPs have been directly reissued on CD, and there also remains some unissued material. Many individual recordings have, however, made it onto compilation CDs.


Date: 19 August 1971
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.71L 2691   I Am Over 25 (But You Can Trust Me) - 3:00  (Mack David, Mike Curb)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     K-Tel LP: NA-463/NC-433 — The Sounds Of Sammy Davis Jr.   (1975)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77687 — Greatest Hits, Live   (1995)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
b.71L 2692   The Candy Man - 3:10  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
     MGM 45: 539   (1972)
     MGM 45: 14320   (1972)
     MGM EP: D1-1223 — Sammy Davis Jr. 'Suntory White'   (1973)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     K-Tel LP: NA-463/NC-433 — The Sounds Of Sammy Davis Jr.   (1975)
     Warner LP: OP-1501 — The Sound Of Sammy   (1978)
     Garland CD: GRZ-018 — Greatest Hits   (1988)
     Personality CD: PRS-23004 — Greatest Hits   (1989)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77272 — Greatest Songs   (1990)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)
     MCA CD: MCAD-20198 — That Old Black Magic   (1995)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
     Rhino CD: R2-75972 — Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story   (1999)
     Universal CD: 5-84916-2 — The Candy Man Swings   (2002)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 440 065 083-2 — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection   (2002)
     Hip-O CD: B000537802 — The Definitive Collection   (2006)
c.71L 2693   Time To Ride - 2:19  (Mack David, Mike Curb)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     K-Tel LP: NA-463/NC-433 — The Sounds Of Sammy Davis Jr.   (1975)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77687 — Greatest Hits, Live   (1995)
d.71L 2694   I Have Watched You  (Unknown)
     unissued

The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv) on a-b.

"The Candy Man" was on the Billboard Charts for 21 weeks, peaking at #1 (where it remained for three weeks). This was Davis' only US #1 hit. The release, MGM 14320, went Gold, selling over a million copies.


Date: ca. September 1971
Location: Las Vegas
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.71L 2768   Mr. Bojangles  (Jerry Jeff Walker)
unissued

Date: 23 October 1971
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.71L 2841   MacArthur Park - 7:14  (Jimmy Webb)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
b.71L 2842   When The Wind Was Green - 3:10  (Don Hunt, Henry Stinson)
     MGM LP: SE-4852 — Portrait of Sammy Davis, Jr.   (1972)
c.71L 2843   This Is My Life - 3:13  (Bruno Canfora, Norman Newell, A. Amurri)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     Polydor LP: 2670 162 — Golden Greats   (1973)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
d.71L 2844   Let My People Go  (Unknown)
     unissued

Date: ca. January 1972
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Isaac Hayes, Onzie Horne (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.72L 3151   John Shaft (Theme From "Shaft") - 3:59  (Issac Hayes, Bettye Crutcher)
     MGM EP: D1-1223 — Sammy Davis Jr. 'Suntory White'   (1973)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     Rhino CD: R2-71007 — Golden Throats 2: More Celebrity Rock Oddities   (1991)
     Polydor CD: 516 441-2 — Dancefloor Jazz, Vol. 2: For What It's Worth   (1993)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 440 065 083-2 — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection   (2002)

This recording was placed on a 45, MGM K14370, but the single was never released.


Date: 18 February 1972
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Perry Botkin, Jr. (arr, con), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.72L 3234   Take My Hand - 4:22  (Jack O'Brien, Bob James)
     MGM LP: SE-4832 — Now   (1972)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)

Date: 28 April 1972
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.72L 3534   You Can Have Her (I Don't Want Her) - 7:01  (Bill Cook)
     MGM LP: SE-4852 — Portrait of Sammy Davis, Jr.   (1972)

Date: 14 June 1972
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.72L 2768   Mr. Bojangles - 5:43  (Jerry Jeff Walker)
     MGM 45: 14426   (1972)
     MGM LP: SE-4852 — Portrait of Sammy Davis, Jr.   (1972)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     K-Tel LP: NA-463/NC-433 — The Sounds Of Sammy Davis Jr.   (1975)
     DCC CD: DZS-048 — Greatest Hits, Volume II   (1990)
     Chronicles CD: 5-35875-2 — Bachelor Pad Pleasures   (1996)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
     Rhino CD: R2-75972 — Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story   (1999)
     Universal CD: 5-84916-2 — The Candy Man Swings   (2002)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 6-30426-5 — Swing For Winners   (2002)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 440 065 083-2 — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection   (2002)
     Hip-O CD: B000537802 — The Definitive Collection   (2006)
b.72L 3664   All The Good Things In Life - 5:25  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
     Garland CD: GRZ-018 — Greatest Hits   (1988)
     Personality CD: PRS-23004 — Greatest Hits   (1989)
c.72L 3665   The People Tree - 2:25  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
     MGM 45: 539   (1972)
     MGM 45: 14426   (1972)
     MGM LP: SE-4852 — Portrait of Sammy Davis, Jr.   (1972)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     Garland CD: GRZ-018 — Greatest Hits   (1988)
     Personality CD: PRS-23004 — Greatest Hits   (1989)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 440 065 083-2 — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection   (2002)
     Hip-O CD: B000537802 — The Definitive Collection   (2006)

The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv) on c.


Date: 16 June 1972
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.72L 3702   Tomorrow - 2:57  (Leslie Bricusse)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
b.72L 3703   I Do Not Love You - 4:11  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
c.72L 3704   Sweet Gingerbread Man - 2:44  (Michel LeGrand, Alan Bergman)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
d.72L 3705   It's A Musical World - 3:11  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
All titles on:      MGM LP: SE-4852 — Portrait of Sammy Davis, Jr.   (1972)

The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv) on c-d.


Date: 14 July 1972
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.72L 3792   Love Is All Around (Theme From "Mary Tyler-Moore Show") - 2:28  (Sonny Curtis)
     MGM LP: SE-4852 — Portrait of Sammy Davis, Jr.   (1972)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
b.72L 3793   Somethin' Comin' On  (Joe Cocker, Chris Stainton)
     unissued

Date: ca. 1973
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Michael Viner (pdr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.64VK69-1   My Shining Hour - 2:13  (Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen)
b.64VK67-1   Teach Me Tonight - 3:09  (Sammy Cahn, Gene DePaul)
c.64VK76-1   Work Song - 2:14  (Oscar Brown, Jr., Nat Adderley)
d.64VK73-1   Why Try To Change Me Now - 3:28  (Joseph McCarthy, Cy Coleman)
e.64VK65-1   April In Paris - 2:48  (Erwin "Yip" Harburg, Vernon Duke)
f.64VK70-1   New York City Blues - 2:56  (Peggy Lee, Quincy Jones)
     Garland CD: GRZ-018 — Greatest Hits   (1988)
g.64VK66-1   You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You - 3:06  (Larry Stock, Russ Morgan, James Cavanaugh)
     Polydor LP: 2489 129 — The Great Song Stylists   (1978)
h.64VK68-1   The Girl From Ipanema - 4:09  (Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius DeMoraes, Norman Gimbel)
i.64VK71-1   Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now - 2:56  (Andy Razaf, Fats Waller)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
All titles on:      MGM LP: SE-4825 — Sammy Davis, Jr. And Count Basie   (1973)

These recordings do not appear in any listings of MGM masters. MGM dipped into its Verve reservoir and took some alternate takes from Sammy's early Semptember 1964 session with Count Basie and His Orchestra, and re-recorded new vocals (complete with 70s-era affectations) over the top of most tracks. The resulting MGM album was listed as a "repackage" of the Verve album, although only 3 tracks survived unchanged from 1964.


Date: 23 January 1973
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa, Mike Curb, Johnny Harris (pdr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.73L 4745   A Legend In My Time (I'd Be) - 2:40  (Don Gibson)
     MGM 45: 14513   (1973)
     20th Century 45: 2160   (1976)
     Philips 45: 6162-033   (1976)
     MGM LP: 2354 034 — It's A Musical World   (1973)
     20th Century LP: 6370-245 — The Song And Dance Man   (1976)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 440 065 083-2 — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection   (2002)
b.73L 4746   I'm Not Anyone - 4:08  (Paul Anka, Johnny Harris)
     MGM 45: 14513   (1973)
     Rhino CD: R2-75972 — Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story   (1999)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 440 065 083-2 — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection   (2002)
c.73L 4747   Soul Song  (Unknown)
     unissued

Mike Curb (pdr) on a; Johnny Harris (pdr) on b.


Date: 20 June 1973
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.73L 5303   London Is London  (Leslie Bricusse)
b.73L 5304   Fill The World With Love  (Leslie Bricusse)
c.73L 5305   You And I  (Leslie Bricusse)
All titles unissued.

Date: 21 June 1973
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.73L 5306   If I Ruled The World  (Leslie Bricusse, Cyril Ornadel)
b.73L 5307   Good Old Bad Old Days  (Richard Chase, Marcus Flynn)
c.73L 5308   Feelin' No Pain  (Fud Livingston)
All titles unissued.

Date: 22 June 1973
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.73L 5310   Hello, Los Angeles  (Leslie Bricusse)
b.73L 5311   The Way That I Love You  (Unknown)
Both titles unissued.

Session also included Matrix 73L 5309, which was a 6-part Leslie Bricusse medley (the specific songs included is unknown).


Date: 18 August 1973
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa, Lon Norman (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.73L 5563   Singin' In The Rain - 2:50  (Arthur Freed, Nacio Herb Brown)
     MGM 45: 14685   (1974)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
     K-Tel LP: NA-463/NC-433 — The Sounds Of Sammy Davis Jr.   (1975)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)
b.73L 5564   Chattanooga Choo-Choo - 2:30  (Mack Gordon, Harry Warren)
     MGM 45: 14685   (1974)
c.73L 5565   King Of Fools  (Unknown)
     unissued

Don Costa (arr) on a; Lon Norman (arr) on b; The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv) on a-b.


Date: ca. 1974
Location: Japan (?)
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.   Chi-ki Chi-ki Sammy - 1:01  (Sammy Davis, Jr.)
b.   Get With It - 1:05  (Unknown)
Both titles on:      MGM EP: D1-1223 — Sammy Davis Jr. 'Suntory White'   (1973)

These songs recorded for a Japanese commercial for "Suntory" Whisky, and were released only on an MGM promotional EP. "Chi-ki Chi-ki Sammy" is barely a song, and is simply the audio track of a commercial which features Sammy bopping along as he pours himself a drink!


Date: 17 April 1974
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Nelson Riddle (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.74L 5818   All The Things You Are - 3:30  (Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
b.74L 5819   It Only Happens (When I Dance With You) - 4:09  (Irving Berlin)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
c.74L 5819   They Can't Take That Away From Me - 4:09  (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
d.74L 5819   I Concentrate On You - 4:09  (Cole Porter)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
e.74L 5819   I've Got You Under My Skin - 4:09  (Cole Porter)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
f.74L 5819   I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan - 4:09  (Arthur Schwartz, Harold Dietz)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
g.74L 5819   By Myself - 4:09  (Arthur Schwartz, Harold Dietz)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
h.74L 5820   Lover, Come Back To Me - 2:55  (Oscar Hammerstein II, Sigmund Romberg)
     MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)
     Rhino CD: R2-75972 — Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story   (1999)
i.74L 5821   Sweet And Lovely  (Unknown)
     unissued

b, c, d, e, f, g performed as medley.


Date: 18 April 1974
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Nelson Riddle (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.74L 6322   Pass That Peace Pipe - 3:04  (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin, Roger Edens)
b.74L 6323   Get Happy - 2:34  (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
c.74L 6324   Be My Love - 3:03  (Sammy Cahn, Nicholas Brodsky)
d.74L 6326   That's Entertainment - 1:33  (Arthur Schwartz, Harold Dietz)
     PSM CD: 20198 — Mr. Bojangles   (1999)
All titles on:      MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)

Date: 19 April 1974
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Nelson Riddle (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.74L 6325   I Don't Know Why (I Just Do) - 3:10  (Roy Turk, Fred E. Ahlert)
b.74L 6327   I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise - 2:04  (Buddy DeSylva, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
c.74L 6328   A Shine On Your Shoes - 2:33  (Arthur Schwartz, Harold Dietz)
d.74L 6387   That's Entertainment - 0:46  (Arthur Schwartz, Harold Dietz)
All titles on:      MGM LP: M3G-4965 — That's Entertainment   (1974)

Date: 24 August 1974
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa, Lon Norman (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.74L 6575   Sing! - 2:38  (Joe Raposo)
b.74L 6576   This Is The House Of The People - 4:12  (Sullivan, Gill)
Both titles on:      MGM 45: 14759   (1974)

Don Costa (arr) on a; Lon Norman (arr) on a; The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv) on b.


Date: 25 October 1974
Location: Los Angeles
Label: MGM

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Don Costa (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.74L 6617   Chico And The Man - 2:39  (Jose Feliciano)
     20th Century 45: 2160   (1976)
     Philips 45: 6162-033   (1976)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
b.74L 6618   Song And Dance Man - 2:44  (Wilburn S. Rice, Jerry G. Foster)
     20th Century 45: 2236   (1976)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)
Both titles on:      20th Century LP: 6370-245 — The Song And Dance Man   (1976)

Don Costa (arr) on a; The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv) on b.


Recording Arrangements 1975-1980

The exact arrangements of Sammy's recording career from the mid-1970s onward are somewhat unclear. MGM was sold to PolyGram in 1972, and once they started to phase out the label, Mike Curb left to found Curb Records (which had a distribution deal with Warner Bros.) and formed the Warner-Curb label. Meanwhile, in 1976, PolyGram signed a distribution deal with 20th Century Records.

Therefore, Sammy's recording output from this point onward appears mostly on releases from Warner Bros., Curb Records and 20th Century. In the latter case, many releases were European only. It seems a constant was Mike Curb, who helped produce Sammy's few recordings during this period, which were mostly versions of TV themes. Davis also released live recordings of a concert in Australia in 1977.

The timeframe 1973-1977 saw Davis' heaviest period of drug and alcohol addiction. He became a somewhat unreliable and demanding live performer, and a cariacture of himself on such television shows as his barely watchable (even to Davis in retrospect) syndicated talk-show "Sammy and Company", which ran from April 1975 to early 1978. So it is not surprising that this period also saw Sammy's recorded output wane.

In 1978, Sammy's life began to turn around significantly, in part due to intervention from Frank Sinatra about Davis' substance abuse, in part due to intervention from Davis' own doctors about his alcohol abuse, and in part due to his involvement in a new production of the musical "Stop the World - I Want To Get Off". The production began rehearsals in April, toured from May to July, and opened on Broadway on 3rd August, 1978. The cast album would become Davis' second last LP release.

By 1982, Davis was back on top of his game, and had become a respected headliner again, touring the world to his former acclaim. But his time as a recording artist had long since come and gone. His final full length LP, a Country and Western album recorded in Nashville, was probably a labour of love for someone with a great affinity for all things Western (he had acted in several Westerns on film and television, and in his hey-day he was said to be one of the two fastest draws in Hollywood).

It did, however, provide easily licensable material for a million cut-price CD producers to use in their phony Davis 'Greatest Hits' or Rat Pack collections. This was a final indignity to a recording career that, until recently, has been criminally under-reissued on CD. Part of the blame for this lies with the various problems suffered by the Davis estate in the years following Sammy's death in 1990.


Date: ca. 1976
Label: Warner Bros.

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Al Capps (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.VCA-7522   I Can Do That - 2:15  (Edward Kleban, Marvin Hamlisch)
     Warner Bros. LP: BSK-3128 — A Live Performance Of His Greatest Hits   (1977)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
b.VCA-7526   Showtime (For Everyone) - 2:58  (Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn)
Both titles on:      Warner Bros. 45: 8478   (1977)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)

Al Capps (arr) on a.

"I Can Do That" is a studio recording inserted (with applause) into Warner Bros' release of live performances at the Sydney Opera House in August, 1977 (see the Live Recordings page on this discography). The back-up vocals from this studio recording of "Showtime" were also included on that album over the top of Sammy's live performance of the song.


Date: ca. 1976
Label: 20th Century

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Mike Curb, Michael Lloyd, Jim Vienneau (pdr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.   I Heard A Song - 2:49  (Marty Cooper)
     20th Century 45: TC-2282   (1976)
     Philips 45: 6162-078   (1976)
     West 45: W-28   (1978)
     20th Century LP: T2-506 — Happy Birthday U.S.A - American Revolution Bicentennial 1776-1976   (1976)
b.   Snap Your Fingers - 2:51  (Grady Martin, Alex Zanetis)
     20th Century 45: 2236   (1976)
     20th Century (Neth.) 45: 6162-101   (1976)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)
Both titles on:      20th Century LP: 6370-245 — The Song And Dance Man   (1976)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)

Michael Lloyd (pdr) on a; Jim Vienneau (pdr) on b.

"I Heard A Song" is a tribute to great figures of then-recent American history, recorded for a special double LP featuring multiple artists which was released to celebrate the United States' bicentennary in 1976.


Date: ca. 1976
Label: 20th Century

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Al Capps (arr), Dave Grusin (arr, con), Mike Curb (pdr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.   Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow (Theme From "Baretta") - 2:24  (Morgan Ames, Dave Grusin)
     20th Century 45: TC-2282   (1976)
     Philips 45: 6162-078   (1976)
     West 45: W-28   (1978)
     Philips LP: 6436-065 — Disco Specials   (1976)
     20th Century LP: 6370-245 — The Song And Dance Man   (1976)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)
     Stone (Italy) CD: 9555 — The Mood Mosaic, Vol. 2: Barnie's Groove   (1997)
     EMI Music CD: 4932062 — Lost And Found: 1970-1978   (1998)
     Rhino CD: R2-75972 — Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story   (1999)
     Rhino CD: R2-75866 — TV Land Crime Stoppers: TV's Greatest Cop Themes   (2000)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
     Eva CD: 4020 — Absolute Number One: 1975-1983   (2003)
     Universal CD: 9837439 — Thriller Jazz   (2006)
     Hip-O CD: B000537802 — The Definitive Collection   (2006)
b.   You Can Count On Me (Theme From "Hawaii 5-O") - 2:08  (Morty Stevens, Hermine Hilton)
     20th Century (Neth.) 45: 6162-101   (1976)
     20th Century LP: 6370-245 — The Song And Dance Man   (1976)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
c.   We'll Make It This Time (Theme From "Kojak") - 3:10  (Billy Goldberg, Bill Dyer)
     20th Century LP: 6370-245 — The Song And Dance Man   (1976)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
     Polydor/Universal CD: 5-89791-2 — Lounge Legends: Sammy Davis, Jr.   (2002)
d.   Those Were The Days (Theme From "All In The Family") - 2:58  (Charles Strouse, Lee Adams)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)
e.   Movin' On Up (Theme From "The Jeffersons") - 3:01  (Ja'net DuBois)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)
f.   Love Is All Around (Theme From "Mary Tyler-Moore Show") - 3:28  (Sonny Curtis)
     20th Century LP: 6370-245 — The Song And Dance Man   (1976)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)
g.   Mary Hartman (Theme From "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman") - 3:16  (Wally Holmes)
     20th Century LP: 6370-245 — The Song And Dance Man   (1976)
h.   And Then There's Maude (Theme From "Maude") - 3:28  (Dave Grusin, Andrew Bergman)
     20th Century-Fox LP: 9279-577 — Sings The Great TV Tunes   (1978)

Al Capps (arr) on b-c, g; Dave Grusin (arr) on a; (con) on a; The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv) on a, d-e.


Date: ca. 1978
Label: Warner Bros.

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.   Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz - 2:36  (Miles Laboratories, Inc.)
b.   Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz - 2:38  (Miles Laboratories, Inc.)
Both titles on:      Warner LP: OP-1501 — The Sound Of Sammy   (1978)

Two versions of the Alka Seltzer advertising jingle "Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz" were recorded, one a 'Rock Version' and the other a 'Big Band Version'. Each contained a verse of the song that the other version did not have.


Date: ca. late 1970s
Label: Warner Bros.

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.VCA-7555   Life Is A Woman - 3:36  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77687 — Greatest Hits, Live   (1995)
b.VCA-7556   It's Not Easy  (Unknown)
     unissued
c.VCA-7557   When You Start Believing  (Unknown)
     unissued

This performance of "Life Is A Woman" sees Sammy doing impressions. Its only release so far has been on on a Curb Records 'live' album, and so has had audience applause added.


Date: ca. May 1978
Location: Either Burbank or San Diego
Label: Warner Bros.

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Billy Byers, Joe Lippman (arr), Ian Fraser (arr, con), George Rhodes (con, dir), Sammy Davis, Jr., Marian Mercer (v)

a.WCA-7930   I Wanna Be Rich - 3:01  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
b.WCA-7931   What Kind Of Fool Am I - 4:04  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77272 — Greatest Songs   (1990)
c.WCA-7932   Life Is A Woman - 4:12  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
     Rhino CD: R2-75972 — Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story   (1999)
d.WCA-7933   Lumbered - 3:19  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
e.WCA-7934   Once In A Lifetime - 2:56  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
f.WCA-7935   Someone Nice Like You - 4:00  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
g.WCA-7936   Meilinki Meilchik - 4:15  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
h.WCA-7937   Typically English - 5:30  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
i.WCA-8006   Gonna Build A Mountain - 4:35  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77272 — Greatest Songs   (1990)
     Curb Records CD: 78797 — Ultimate Gospel Hits, Vol. 1   (2003)
j.WCA-8010   Mumbo Jumbo - 3:50  (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
All titles on:      Warner Bros. LP: HS-3214 — "Stop The World - I Want To Get Off!" Original Cast Album   (1978)

Marian Mercer (v) on a, f-h.

Sources indicate that the cast album for "Stop The World - I Want To Get Off" was recorded during the show's tour on the road in May. From May to July, the show toured San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, before opening on Broadway on 3rd August, 1978.


Date: ca. 1979
Label: Warner Bros.

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), John D'Andrea (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), The Mike Curb Congregation (bkv)

a.XCA 8963   That Old Black Magic - 3:29  (Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen)
     Warner Bros. 45: 49047   (1979)
     Curb Records CD: D2-77444 — The Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. And The Mike Curb Congregation   (1991)

Date: ca. 1982
Location: Sound Emporium, Nashville
Label: Applause

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), The Sheldon Kurland Strings (acc), Bill Justin (arr), Larry Butler (pdr, p), James Capps, Steve Chapman, Ray Edenton, Leon Rhodes, Billy Sanford, Jerry Shook (g), Bob "King" Moore (b), Hargus "Pig" Robbins (p), Jerry Carrigan (d), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v), James "Buzz" Cason, Don Gane, Sherlyn Huffman, Lisa Silver, Dianne Tidwell, Bergen White (bkv)

a.   Oh, Lonesome Me - 2:38  (Don Gibson)
b.   Hey, Won't You Play (Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song) - 3:23  (Chips Moman, Larry Butler)
     Pazzazz CD: PAZZ-018-1 — My Name Is Sammy Davis / Up, Up and Away   (2004)
c.   We Could Have Been The Closest Of Friends - 3:14  (John Slate, Stevan Pippin)
     Applause 45: 100   (1982)
d.   The River's Too Wide - 2:44  (Bob Morrison)
e.   Come Sundown - 3:20  (Kris Kristofferson)
f.   You're Gonna Love Yourself (In The Morning) - 3:12  (Donnie Fritts)
g.   What I've Got In Mind - 2:46  (Kenny O'Dell)
h.   Mention A Mansion - 2:20  (Bob Morrison, Deborah K. Hupp)
i.   Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette) - 3:02  (Merle Travis, Tex Williams)
     Applause 45: 100   (1982)
     Shout! Factory CD: 10156 — "My Name Is Earl": The Album   (2006)
j.   Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends - 3:26  (Kris Kristofferson)
All titles on:      Vogue LP: 1016 — Closest Of Friends   (1982)
     Applause LP: 600014 — Closest Of Friends   (1984)
     Applause CD: 600014-CD — Closest Of Friends   (1989)
     Conquistador CD: CONQ-019 — 10 Beautiful Memories   (1990)
     Pilz CD: 449339 — Closest Of Friends   (1990)
     Success CD: 2155 — What I Got On My Mind   (1995)
     Charly CD: CDCD-1228 — What I've Got In Mind   (1995)
     CEMA Special CD: S21-17777 — From Nashville With Love   (1995)
     Bear Family CD: BCD-? — The Great Sammy Davis Junior   (1995)
     Remember CD: RMB-75001 — The Country Side Of Sammy Davis Jr.   (1995)
     Going For A Song CD: GFS-134 — Hey! Won't You Play?   (1999)
     Hallmark CD: 304622 — Sammy In Nashville   (1999)
     Rajon CD: RED-017 — The Great Rat Pack   (2000)
     ARC Records CD: MEC-949012 — The Magic Collection: Sammy Davis Jr   (2000)
     First Budget Int. CD: FBS-059 — Sammy Davis Jnr Live   (2000)
     Rajon CD: RMGR-009 — Sammy Davis Jr ("The Crooners" Series, Disc 2)   (2000)
     Direct Source CD: DRSC-61592 — Golden Legends: Sammy Davis Jr   (2000)
     Cleopatra CD: CLE-970 — Ten Best Golden Greats   (2001)
     ABM CD: MCD-1066 — Country Classics   (2002)
     Direct Source CD: DRSC-4382 — Mr. Entertainment   (2005)
     Madacy CD: MEG2-51074 — Essential   (2005)

A (somewhat) hideous collection of Country and Western songs. These 10 titles have been released in countless bargain-basement CDs and cheap (and misleading) 'Rat Pack' collections.


Date: ca. 1984
Label: Motown

Sammy Davis, Jr. (ldr), Willie Hutch (arr, pdr), Gene Page (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr. (v)

a.   Hello, Detroit - 4:57  (Berry Gordy, Jr., Willie Hutch)
     Motown 45: 1738   (1984)

Motown 1738 features an instumental version of "Hello, Detroit" on flip side of Sammy Davis, Jr.'s vocal "Hello, Detroit". This was Davis' last hit record, being a chart-topper in Belgium in 1984.


Date: ca. 1988
Label: Three Cherries

Lena Horne (ldr), Mike Renzi (arr), Sammy Davis, Jr., Lena Horne (v)

a.   I Wish I'd Met You - 4:20  (Johnny Mandel, Richard R. Bennett, Frank Underwood)
     Three Cherries 45: TC-7301   (1988)
     Three Cherries LP: TC-44411 — The Men In My Life   (1988)
     Three Cherries CD: TC-64411 — The Men In My Life   (1988)

Sammy Davis, Jr.'s final studio recording.


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