Episode 128. Leslie Uggams

Episode 128. Leslie Uggams (Black History Month 2022)



I would bet (though I can’t guarantee it) that I was one of a very small number of white 8-year-old Wisconsin boys who, on Sunday nights in the summer of 1969, tuned in faithfully to watch every single episode of the short-lived variety series, The Leslie Uggams Show. Ever since encountering her on that groundbreaking show, I have loved Ms. Uggams: her combination of vivacious high spirits, powerhouse vocalism, and personal style and beauty has always enchanted me. Her performing career began long before I was born, when she appeared as a child star on various television competitions and series, later creating television history in the early sixties as a star of Sing Along with Mitch. Later she starred in a central role in 1977’s Roots, the miniseries that changed the face of television. Her popularity continues to the present day, with her appearances in such series as Empire and such films as the Deadpool franchise. Some of her more recent fans may not realize that she was also a vital performer in musicals and theatre, including her Tony-Award-winning performance in Hallelujah, Baby! in 1968 and performances in regional theatre of some of the most iconic female starring roles, including Mama Rose, Dolly Levi, and Mame Dennis. In this episode feature her in sung performances over the course of more than 60 years with special focus on her recorded work in the late 1960s. Whether you are an old or a new fan, I hope that you will be as beguiled by Leslie Uggams as I always have been.


Jackie DeShannon, Jimmy Holiday, Randy Myers, arr. Glen D. Hardin: Put a Little Love in Your Heart. Leslie Uggams, The Jimmy Bowen Orchestra and Chorus [1969]

Carole King, Gerry Goffin: Up on the Roof. Leslie Uggams, Steve Bargonetti [2012]

Jerry Herman: I Am What I Am (La Cage aux Folles). Leslie Uggams, Orchestra conducted by Donald Pippin [1984]

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: June Is Bustin’ Out All Over (Carousel). Leslie Uggams [live Fourth of July Celebration, Washington DC 4.VII.1984]

Traditional: Rock-a-Bye-Baby. Leslie Uggams [Paul Whiteman’s TV Teen Club 09.II.52]

Tom Delaney: Down Home Blues. Ethel Waters [1921]

Fred Barovick, Richard Rose: The Fat, Fat Man (With the White, White Beard). Leslie Uggams, Orchestra conducted by Fred Nerman [1954]

Ervin Drake, Irwin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, Al Stillman: I Believe. Leslie Uggams, Orchestra and chorus conducted by Glenn Osser [1959]

Peter Moesser, Noel Sherman: One More Sunrise [Morgen]. Leslie Uggams [1959]

Peter Moesser: Morgen. Ivo Robić, Die Song-Masters [1959]

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: Sixteen Going on Seventeen (The Sound of Music). Leslie Uggams, Orchestra conducted by Frank DeVol [1959]

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: Hello, Young Lovers (The King and I). Leslie Uggams [live at 54 Below, 2014]

Harry Warren, Johnny Mercer: The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe. Leslie Uggams, Mitch Miller and the Gang [Sing Along with Mitch, 1961]

Dale Hawkins: Little Bird. Leslie Uggams, arranged and conducted by Belford C. Hendricks [1964]

Charles Strouse, Lee Adams: Once upon a Time. Leslie Uggams, Orchestra conducted by Glenn Osser [1963]

Cyd Charisse and Leslie Uggams during the filming of Two Weeks in Another Town

Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields: Don’t Blame Me (as heard in Two Weeks in Another Town). Leslie Uggams [1962]

Jule Styne, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, orchestrated by Peter Matz: My Own Morning (Hallelujah, Baby!). Leslie Uggams, Orchestra conducted by Buster Davis [1967]

Leslie Uggams and Richard Kiley rehearsing Her First Roman

Ervin Drake: Many Young Men from Now (Her First Roman). Leslie Uggams, Orchestra conducted by Wayne Moore [1993]

Ervin Drake: The Wrong Man (Her First Roman). Leslie Uggams, Orchestra arranged and conducted by Peter Matz [1968]

Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, arr. Pat Williams: Some Cats Know. Leslie Uggams [1968]

Carole King, Gerry Goffin, arranged Glen D. Hardin: That Old Sweet Roll [Hi-De-Ho]. Leslie Uggams, The Jimmy Bowen Orchestra and Chorus [1969]

Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields: If My Friends Could See Me Now (Sweet Charity). Leslie Uggams, Arranged and conducted by Peter Matz [1966]

Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Leslie Uggams, Orchestra arranged and conducted by Peter Matz [1966]

Paul McCartney, John Lennon: And I Love [Him]. Leslie Uggams [1970]

Ivy Hunter, Stevie Wonder: Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever. Leslie Uggams [1972]

Bee Gees: Rest Your Love On Me. Leslie Uggams, Andy Gibb [Salute!: Andy Gibb 1983, television special]

Scott Davis, Larry Collins, arr. Jimmie Haskell: Home. Leslie Uggams, The Jimmie Bowen Orchestra and Chorus [1968]

Jerry Herman: Love, Look In My Window (Hello, Dolly!). Leslie Uggams [live, Houston, 2008]

Michel Legrand, Marilyn Bergman, Alan Bergman: On My Way to You. Leslie Uggams [2003]

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