Thursday, October 15, 2015


In 2001 I wrote a long career article in Japan's Record Collectors magazine about former Capitol Records head, Livingston. I interviewed him in the Hollywood domicile that he shared with his wife, actress Nancy Olson (Sunset Boulevard). Here's some of what he told me about his association, beginning in 1950, with singer Yma Sumac.
"I can tell you a story. I had a man who was head of the New York office. He said somebody brought me in this woman, a Peruvian Indian, who had a 4 l/2 octave range. She has an amazing voice quality. She doesn't speak any English. I don't know what to do with her. He sent me some tapes. There was no music on them, nothing that you could put your finger on. Somebody tired to do something with her on another label, but nothing had happened. She came to California and I met with her and her husband, Moises Vivanco, who was a musician and a guitar player. He spoke English. I said, I'd like to try something with her and we made a deal. I hired the composer/arranger Les Baxter. And I said, 'I want you to work with me and her and see if we can come up with something that will be appealing.' She couldn't read music, we didn't know where to start. We had her sing all the various things she did which had no form of any kind. Les sat down and wrote a score based on what she was singing. Then I went into the studio with them and an orchestra and we began recording the whole thing live and literally we were dealing with pieces of tape that were [hold out his hands one foot from each other] this long. We'd get something, then say okay, then go from there. (Sumac continued in "Shared Air: My Six Decade Interface With Celebrity"