Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: JAYE P. MORGAN

Growing up in the late 1970s, I think one of my first television memories was the cheesy show "The Gong Show". The show was nothing more than a televised talent show, but it was great. The judges made the show, and one of my favorites was Jaye P. Morgan. It the 1970s she was a judge on this hokey show, but Morgan also had a teriffic voice and made some really good records for RCA in the late 1950s. Years later now I wanted to find out what happened to her!

Born in 1931, Morgan made a recording of "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" which made it to the Top 10 in the U.S. Billboard record chart a few months after graduating high school. Soon after, she received an RCA Victor recording contract, and she had five hits in one year, including "That's All I Want from You," her biggest hit, which reached #3 on the chart. Other notable hits included "The Longest Walk" and "Pepper Hot Baby".

From 1954 to 1955, Morgan was a vocalist on the television show Stop the Music. In November 1955, the British music magazine, NME, reported that Morgan was the top female vocalist in the U.S. Cash Box poll. In 1956, she had her own television program, named for her, and made guest appearances on a number of other variety shows. She was a charter member of the Robert Q. Lewis "gang" on Lewis's weekday program on CBS, and was featured on a special episode of The Jackie Gleason Show in which Lewis's entire company substituted for the vacationing Gleason. In 1958, Morgan appeared on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom. On October 6, 1960, she guest starred on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.

In the 1970s, Morgan was a panelist on the game/variety shows The Gong Show and Rhyme and Reason and Match Game and in the 1980 "behind-the-scenes" movie version of The Gong Show. She also appeared on the Playboy Channel game show Everything Goes. She also appeared with her longtime Gong partner Jamie Farr on Hollywood Squares Game Show Week II in 2004.
During her post Gong Show days, Morgan returned to live performances focusing on her new club act and the theatrical stage. She starred in the 1981-1982 national tour of Sugar Babies and starred in the role of Miss Mona in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas from Atlantic City with co-star George Maharis and for Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Morgan has also starred in productions of Nunsense, Miss Margarida’s Way, and The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies.

Her film credits include The All-American Boy with Jon Voight, Loose Shoes, The Gong Show Movie, Night Patrol, and the 2002 Miramax release of Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, directed by George Clooney.

Her latest CD release is Jaye P. Morgan Lately! a prized combination of her diverse musical talents featuring the seldom heard Stevie Wonder ballad and title track, “Lately,” "Be Gentle Tonight,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Song On The Sand” (from La Cage Aux Folles), and “That Old Feeling.” The CD was issued in 2005, and despite still giving interviews Jaye P. Morgan is enjoying retirement with her family...





6 comments:

  1. Thanks Lobosco for highlighting Jaye P. I had been wondering about her. She was a guest on the Muppet Show, too.

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  2. Thanks for the update on JP. Nice work! Hope she is enjoying retirement.

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  3. Jaye P. Morgan is a fantastic singer who did great recordings after highly successful 50's hit period...starting early 70's with a stunning version of Leon Russell "A Song For You" (check it our on youtube!), Jaye reached a new level of earthy soulfulness yet radio didn't play her great recording and fantastic Lp's "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life", "Jaye P. Morgan" (produced by David Foster) and "Lately" were masterful works deserving commercial success, last two have been released on CD for fans to savor and enjoy...hope your enjoying retirement but Jaye P you are missed and happily got to enjoy West Coast concert appearances from 74 to 90!!!

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  4. Entertained/backup vocal group with you in early 80's Bay area. You were such a delight to be around. I really missed you wishing I could have continued with your shows. Finally heard your song on fm jazz radio playing "It all goes round 'n' round just a week ago. Like your style. By the way! "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

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  5. Jaye P. Morgan charted 22 times between 1953 and 1960, reaching the Top 20 seven times, the first time in 1954: THAT'S ALL I WANT FROM YOU (her boggest hit, it reached #3). All of her other Top 20 hits were in 1955: DANGER HEARTNREAK AHEAD (#12), CHEE-CHEE-OO CHEE (#12), TWO LOST SOULS (#18, a duet with Perry Como), THE LONGEST WALK (#6), IF YOU DON'T WANT MY LOVE (#12) and PEPPER HOT BABY (#14). All of the above records were released by RCA Victor. After that she never reached the national Top 40 again. Her two earliest hits, JUST A GIGOLO (#22)and LIFE IS JUST A BOWL OF CHERRIES (#26), were both released on the Derby label in 1953.

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  6. Jaye P, I loved your vocal style on the MGM album "Slow and Easy." I wish MGM Records had recorded you more during that period, especially with arranger-conductor Marty Paiche.

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