Mel Tormé, who was known as the Velvet Fog, was born to entertain.
He started singing at the age of four and by the time he was 16, he was writing songs. Mostly though, he loved to sing and enjoyed wide-spread popularity. Ethel Waters said that “Tormé is the only white man who sings with the soul of a black man.”
He also earned considerable respect for his talents as an arranger.
In 1961, Tormé came out with “I’m Coming Home,” which was a massive hit. He made several appearances on the Judy Garland show, including this one where he sang his iconic hit.
The presentation is kind of bizarre, frankly: several luxuriously dressed women are perched on motorcycles, barely moving as they sing in reply to what he has to say. And at the end, after a couple of attempts to start it, he drives one of the bikes off stage. Exit left!
It’s a song and style that’s way out of step with today’s taste, but at the same time, his charisma is off the charts.
Poor Judy Garland would only live a few short years after this, dying in 1969 after a lifetime of substance abuse, much of which was forced on her by her studio when she was a young actress.