Sunday 25th March 2018


Doris Day 96th Birthday Celebrations

Here we were celebrating for the 8th time at Ronnie Scott’s to celebrate the birthday and life of Doris Day who would be 96 on the 3rd April. Last year we celebrated her 93rd birthday but then shortly after her birthday a birth certificate was found and officially she was born in 1922 not 1924! (see article below).  But that is a year behind us now and it is even more astonishing that Doris looks so youthful and healthy for such a good age.  Like every year before I like to focus on something new. 

This time I wanted to celebrate her early life as a big band singer – after all she is the only living singer that still connects us with the big band era and for this reason I chose Day by Day to start.  This song emphasises how big bands traditionally used a singer (if at all) and that is in the last refrain of the song.  The song lasts for around three minutes and Doris comes in for the last bit. Also, the website is called so it was long overdue to perform the song, which she first recorded in 1949 (the version we used) and then again ten years later.

I was also able to talk about Doris’ name.  It was Barney Rapp who heard Doris Kappelhoff singing on the radio on the Carlin’s Carnival WLW radio programme, singing Day by Day and invited her to audition for his big band.  Of the two hundred girls that auditioned of course Doris got the job and he then suggested that she change her name to Day and there it stayed forever more.


I think this was the year to emphasise the jazz-side of Doris.  From her You’re My Thrill album of 1949 we played You Go to My Head, a beautiful jazz ballad with the most exquisite lyrics. Doris like all good singers is able to sing the heart wrenching ballads as well as the more comic songs so to contrast with the more serious numbers I delved deep and found a version of Shanghai that Doris released as a single in 1951, a year when she also filmed five films – how is that possible? The song got to number nine in the charts and stayed there for seventeen weeks. My favourite line “I’m even allergic to rice!” It was great fun to learn and to play on the day. I think it’s a stayer!

As well as being recorded on her Day by Night album in 1957.  She repeated it on her Duets album with Andre Previn and it’s that version that we perform. The bass duties were taken on by the fab Dave Manington. We also performed Control Yourself from the same album, another comical song, written by Andre and Dory Previn, superbly performed by Doris.  Andre Previn was wonderful with singers and I shared the fact that it’s his playing throughout the film Young At Heart. 

We were once again joined by the wonderful bass tones of Gavin Skeggs, whose voice stuns the audience every time, especially on Higher Than a Hawk with wonderful arrangement by Simon Golding wringing out every last drop of emotion.

There was a Facebook competition asking fans to pick their favourite songs. The only one we didn’t do was Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered…so guess what, it will be in the show next year!  Let’s hope Sarah Clark can make it next year.

We had our usual birthdays: Debbie, Jo, Ruth, Dolly’s 13th, Alex and Rosemary was 80 and they were all rewarded with a huge slice of my Victoria sponge with strawberries on the top. As usual it was delightful to talk about Doris with the audience who told me their connections to her songs.  She is so loved. 

Here’s to your 96th birthday Doris and so many more!

Band: Sarah Weller – vocals, Freddie Gavita – trumpet, Simon Golding – guitar and arrangements, Arthur Lea – piano, Dave Manington – bass, Simon Pearson – drums, Gavin Skeggs – special guest vocalist


Doris Day Just Got The Best Birthday Surprise.

She Finally Learned How Old She Is

By TARA JOHN April 3, 2017

It only took 95 years, but Hollywood legend Doris Day finally knows how old she is — and she found out on her 95th birthday.

The news came as a surprise to Day, who previously thought she was 93. “I’ve always said that age is just a number and I have never paid much attention to birthdays, but it’s great to finally know how old I really am!” Day said in a statement to the Associated Press.

AP obtained a copy of Day’s birth certificate, which stated April 3, 1922 as the Pillow Talk star’s real birthdate. The former actress was previously reported as being between 93 and 95. She plans to celebrate the milestone with a low-key event at her residence in Carmel, California, PEOPLE reports.

“There has long been speculation and rumors about Doris’ age and we get this question a lot, looks like we finally have the answer,” Day’s spokesman, Charley Cullen Walters, told AP. “The story I have heard the most is that at one point Doris was up for a role when quite young and her age may have been miswritten on the audition form. We don’t know if that’s correct, but if so it could’ve simply stuck for all these years.”