YouTube Discoveries: The Swingle Singers

I get majorly annoyed whenever people turn their collective nose up on the Swingle Sisters.

Maybe they think it’s the dreaded Hollyridge Strings, the studio orchestra that recorded all those God-awful easy-listening instrumental albums in the 1960s and ‘70s of music by The Beatles, Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, etc. I’m only afraid that if I heard one of them today, at my advanced age and declining discretion, I might actually like them.

Thank God there’s no such problem in discerning the eternal greatness of the Swingle Singers, perhaps the most intricate and exquisite a cappella group ever. They formed in Paris in 1962 under American vocalist/jazz musician Ward Swingle, who brought the scat singing concept from his previous group Les Double Six. Christiane Legrand, sister of composer Michel Legrand, was the Swingles’ lead soprano through 1972.

A version of the Single Singers still survives, but come Christmas I always dust off their 1968 album Christmastime.