Back in the 1950s, a Western movie without a title song by Frankie Laine was like Billy the Kid without his hardware. In a distinctively energetic style, something akin to a battering ram going through a brick wall, Laine pounded out the themes to “High Noon,” “Blowing Wild” and half a dozen others, then dished out “Rawhide” (" . . . keep those dogies movin’ . . . ") for television viewers.
Laine, now 77, and Kay Starr, another singer who made it big in the 1950s, appear Saturday at 8 p.m. at San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, 320 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel, reprising their numerous hits.
The son of Italian immigrants, Laine started his career more than 60 years ago in Chicago. It took him almost 20 years to reach the charts, with the 1947 hit song
“That’s My Desire.”
Among his other recorded hits were “Jezebel,” “Mule Train,” “Wild Goose” and “Jealousy.” Laine has always meticulously articulated his lyrics, in a muscular, stirring style, which in his heyday spawned millions of shower-stall imitators. He has reportedly sold more than 100 million records.
Starr, 68, has also had her amateur imitators, particularly for her vertiginous interpretation of the 1952 hit “Wheel of Fortune,” in which she musically imitated the spin of the wheel (" . . . tu-urning, tu-urning, tu-urning . . . ").
Tickets for the event, from $20 to $25, can be reserved by calling the offices of the San Gabriel Valley Civic Light Opera, at (818) 308-2868.