Sammy Davis Jr. - For Once In My Life

The more I see of Sammy Davis Jr., the more I have to love him.  He's singing a classic tune, updated to some funk/disco hybrid, while wearing hideous striped pajamas and smoking a cigarette suggestively.  He's so skinny at this point too.  I do wonder what the rest of the Rat Pack was up to at this point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RUNx06sk50

The arrangement is pretty excellent -- it was recorded sometime around 1970, and so was probably seen as a string of "covers" of Stevie Wonder's fantastic up-tempo version.. in fact, he uses Stevie's chromatically falling lick at 0:51, although he lays much futher back.  Sammy Davis Jr. is certainly of an older era of performers who never wrote their own material, back in the days of the Great American Song.  The horns at the end repeating that lick bring this whole project together as a funktastic groove that somehow just oozes "cool" at the seams.  This is a good study in horn arrangement of the era -- it's very typical, but in a good way.

Sammy Davis's skinny self in that jumpsuit is such a ridiculous sight, really, but not one that's particularly sad.  I think of it more as an apogee of achievement; it's the pinnacle of... something.  I'm not sure quite what, but it's certainly very far in whatever direction it is.  Perhaps the direction is "Tom Jones," which explains the alarming hip gyration.  But regardless, props to the James Brown scream in there.  I suspect that Sammy Davis Junior's time doing this is just evidence of his success as an entertainer.  He kept relevant no matter what; much like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Bonus: Soul Girls!  Watch 1:48 to 1:58 on the left side of the screen -- that gal does the clap and squat.  I love the clap and squat!

Bonus 2: Sammy doing it again in 1989, after strutting onstage to the Hawaii Five-0 Theme Song; the cigarette is gone and the hip gyrations remain.  I would say that the soulscream and the performance is FAR more triumphant here, and if the 1970 version made me smile in vague irony, this one from 20 years later makes me smile with joy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6QdykL7aZY