Liza! Liza! is the title of Liza Minnelli's debut studio solo album, released in September 1964 by Capitol Records. It contained her interpretations of twelve pop standards. It was recorded in June 1964 at Capitol Records' New York studio at 151 West 46th Street.
Album information ~ When Liza Minnelli recorded the songs in this album she was just a teenager. At just seventeen she had starred in the Off Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward in 1963 (a year after recording this album she will win her first Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway musical Flora the Red Menace). The publicity surrounding her abilities led to television appearances and a single on the Cadence Records label. This single, "You Are For Loving", a song she performed on the show, reportedly sold half a million copies. On the strength of this, Capitol signed the singer and slowly began issuing several singles targeted to Minnelli's own age group and later committed to a whole album. These singles were recorded over the summer of 1963 in New York and by reviewing this output it is clear the artistry displayed by Minnelli was not that of a regular teenager.
For the creation of her debut album, she turned to her friend and classmate Marvin Hamlisch, who could help her in choosing the tunes. At the time he was working in the Broadway production of Funny Girl. It is noteworthy that two of the songs featured on the album, "It's Just A Matter Of Time" and "The Travelin' Life", were cut by Minnelli with Hamlisch on piano 2 years earlier as a gift to her mother. Another one of the tracks featured here, "If I Were In Your Shoes", was written by the young writers Fred Ebb and John Kander, who had yet to make a big impact on the stage. It was the start of a decade-long collaboration during which the trio delivered several unforgettable hits.
Peter Matz, who was also working with Barbra Streisand at the time and would keep on collaborating with Minnelli up until his death, was mainly responsible for the rich and lush orchestral treatment given to the whole project.
Reception ~ Liza! Liza! peaked on the Billboard chart at number 116. It remained debuted there November 21 1964 and remained in it for 8 weeks. Over a period of 3 years it reportedly sold over half a million copies. It received several glowing reviews including "An auspicious debut...fine new talent" wrote Cashbox, while Record World said "Impressive...beguiling...beautiful...beautifully varied...major singing talent". Billboard stated "Simply great...a gas...clarity of tone, genuine feeling, emotion...truly great".
Track listing ~
Side one"It's Just a Matter of Time" (Richard Everitt, Laurence Stith)
"If I Were In Your Shoes" (John Kander, Freb Ebb)
"Meantime" (Stillman, Allen)
"Try to Remember" (Harvey Schmidt, Tom Jones)
"I'm All I've Got" (Schafer, Graham)
"Maybe Soon" (Everitt, Stith)
Side two"Maybe This Time" (Kander, Ebb)
"Don't Ever Leave Me" (Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II)
"The Travelin' Life" (Liebling, Marvin Hamlisch)
"Together (Wherever We Go)" (Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne)
"Blue Moon" (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
"I Knew Him When" (Harold Arlen, Harburg, Gershwin)
Released September 1964
Recorded June 1964, Manhattan
Genre Pop, Vocal, Traditional
Producer Si Rady
Orchestra arranged and conducted by: Peter Matz