SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Vickie Smith Odabashian recently highlighted one of the most important themes in her newest book, an extensively researched biography and family-story sequel recounting the often unbelievable tale of her father’s amazing life. Vickie began exploring her father’s journey – marked by the tragic suicide of his mother Victoria in 1950, when Jack was just 10 years old – to help uncover the deep mystery of Victoria’s passing. But that investigation quickly became an intense bonding experience between Vickie and her father, and ultimately her grandmother, Victoria, with the popular decades-spanning song "Blue Moon" always in the background.
The "Blue Moon" Timeline
Originally written by composers Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart before being recorded 1935 by Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra (with vocals by Kenny Sargent), and Connee Bosworth in 1935, "Blue Moon" quickly became an American music staple – eventually recorded by legendary musicians throughout the 20th and into the beginning of the 21st centuries.
For Little Jackie Smith, "Blue Moon" was a reminder of his dear mother and their time together in the 1940s attending theater performances. Prior to each film’s beginning and during intermission, Victoria would request that the live bands play "Blue Moon," so she could sing the words to her son. It was a memory he would cherish and return to for decades. And there were plenty of opportunities to remember throughout his life, including:
- Jack’s teenage years—Elvis released a version of "Blue Moon" in 1956; Ella Fitzgerald in 1956; Glenn Miller in 1958; and Sam Cooke in 1960.
- In the summer of 1961 while Jack was in the Navy, the iconic, fast-paced Marcels’ "doo-wop" version of "Blue Moon" was released.
- In the summer of 1967, when Jack was married with children, Motown sensation The Supremes released "The Supremes Sing Rodgers and Hart", which included the iconic song "Blue Moon".
- Late 1970s, when Jack was a middle-aged man, the movie "Grease" lit up theaters and drive-ins across the nation; including the famous gym dance-off scene to "Blue Moon".
- And so many more – including a cover by Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton released a few years before Jack’s passing in 2012 at age 72.
"How music nostalgia evokes our memory and takes us back to a certain time and a place is an important theme in my father’s life, and this biography," Vickie said. "There are plenty of studies that link the power of music heard in our formative years with neuroimaging and memory. Although the science of it is relatively new, my father lived the reality of it for more than 60’s years. After his mother’s tragic death, each instance of this popular song that reached my father’s ears in a wide variety of ways, "Blue Moon" evoked pure and loving memories from his short time with his mother; it became an unintentional coping tool for life after childhood trauma. To my surprise, after my father’s passing, through musicians like the Carpenters and Gavin Degraw, I too experienced how music nostalgia is bridging a gap between life and death."
To explore more of how "Blue Moon" impacted Jack’s life, read "What Became of Little Jackie Smith?: A True Story Continued" – available on Amazon.
About Vickie Smith Odabashian
Learn more about Vickie’s life and family, her upcoming titles, and her publishing company, the Victoria Lazarian Heritage Association, at: www.VLAHABooks.com.
Vickie Smith Odabashian, Author