It’s a stifling hot and muggy afternoon in suburban Sydney 1979. To escape the heat people crowd into darkened lounge rooms across the city and turn on Channel Nine’s Saturday Afternoon Matinee. On this particular day it’s the 1953 classic Calamity Jane, and in front of the brown Bakelite TV is an blonde haired eight year who is about to fall instantly in love with the rootin-tootin, whip cracking, sharp-shootin, tom-boy played by Doris Day.
A few years, ten albums (two of them Gold) as well as six CMAA Golden Guitars later and that young, wide-eyed, blonde haired girl had grown up to become one of Australia’s foremost singer/songwriters, yet Melinda Schneider never forgot Calamity Jane.
“It didn’t matter to me that the real Calamity Jane was an overweight, alcoholic, genocidal maniac, Doris looked gorgeous and sang like a bird and that was good enough for little Melinda”.
It was time for a change. So Melinda kicked off her country boots and threw herself into a stage show that has taken Australian audiences by surprise and charmed them back into an era of innocence and nostalgia. Melinda Schneider’s continual success with DORIS – So Much More Than The Girl Next Door, co-written with David Mitchell, has seen it sell out at almost every performance over the last five years. It not only has Doris’s seal of approval (Melinda sent Doris the script) but that of fans, old and new, through metropolitan and now regional areas.
“I’ve had so much fun touring around Australia over the past five years singing these songs. There are so many people who just adore Doris, which is no surprise to me, I’m one of them! Everyone has their own favourite tune and I’m always getting requests, Doris actually recorded over 600 songs and starred in 39 movie hits, so this second album feels like a natural progression.”
It’s very apparent that Melinda isn’t the only Doris Devotee. Collaborating with some of Australia’s greatest musicians and singers, there was no shortage of contributors jumping on board to help celebrate Doris Day’s amazing movie career, and all with their own favourites. Tom Burlinson plays the role of Frank Sinatra on the first single Young at Heart a song that reaffirmed the return of Frank to the spotlight and cementing his success as an artist with Capitol.
“I’ve been a fan of Melinda’s for a long time and had very much enjoyed her first album
celebrating Doris Day, so I was delighted to be asked to sing the beautiful ‘Young at Heart’
with her for this second disc. The experience was a joy and I hope it may lead to further opportunities for us to perform together in the future.”
James Morrison’s exquisite trumpet playing will leave you in tears with The Very Thought of You, from the 1950’s movie Young Man with a Horn: which starred Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day and Hoagy Carmichael in a fictional tale of a famous trumpet player. International renowned artist Mary Schneider joins her daughter on Tea for Two from the 1950’s movie of the same name, famous now not only for being Doris first movie where she received top billing, but also the first movie that saw her dance.
“I was so thrilled to sing this Tea For Two track with my beautiful daughter, Melinda. I’ve always known that mothers and daughters have a special blend with harmonies too. I know this album is going to be such a success after her first Doris recording and I’ve certainly encouraged her to sing these beautiful Doris Day songs because her voice is just so right for them. So proud of you, my Darling.”
And Rohane Browne takes up the role of John Raitt in the very unforgettable , There Once Was A Man, from The Pajama Game (1957).
However the fun doesn’t stop there. Melinda also has chosen Pillow Talk from the 1959 racy and romantic comedy that finally saw Doris nominated for her first academy award for Best Actress. While Doris missed out on the gong, the movie, which also starred Rock Hudson in his comedy debut, took in $15 million for Universal, one of the biggest box office hits that year.
Less well known but immensely enjoyable is King Chanticleer, from By the Light of the Silvery Moon. The 1953 cinema classic, and follow up to On Moonlight Bay was the first movie Doris made after attaining the crown of highest money making female actor; not necessarily the highest paid actor, but the name that could pull in the biggest dollars at the box office, an accomplishment that remains unchallenged to this day. From country roots to jazz and musical theatre, Melinda displays an amazing musical diversity that is equal to the challenge in replicating Doris’s greatest movies songs.
“Doris made these songs sound effortless but they’re tough, complex and challenging to sing, and that’s what I love. It’s the amazing, timeless sentiment and vitality of Doris that captures our imagination and hearts. She is an incredible woman, a survivor, she’s had a tough life and still she gives us so much joy!”
Melinda Does Doris Again – The Movie Songs continues Melinda Schneider’s outstanding, heartfelt homage to the wonderful Doris Day.