Julie London was a singer / actress blessed with a beautifully understated voice that combined clarity with a husky warmth. She was possibly rather typecast into singing “bearskin rug music”, as described by Mark Steyn here:
One of my first disc-jockey gigs many years ago was a late-night slot. I asked the program director what he wanted me to play, and he said, “Bearskin rug music.” I was sufficiently young and callow that I wasn’t familiar with the term, so I asked him what he meant. And he told me to go away and listen to Miss London’s record, Julie Is Her Name. Which is a classic bearskin-rug album: “Cry Me A River”, “No Moon At All”, “I’m In The Mood For Love”, “Gone With The Wind”… It’s a very spare accompaniment – Barney Kessel on guitar, Ray Leatherwood on bass. When you put her with a full orchestra, I never feel Miss London smolders quite so bearskin-ruggily.
London’s career may have been overly defined by an image based on her physical appeal. From what I have read, she was a shy, reserved woman who abjured publicity.
As far as I can make out, she didn’t record a Christmas album as such. Which on one level seems surprising, given the warm, cosy atmosphere of her singing. On the other hand, her music has a certain sensuality which might jar with much of the Christmas repertoire.
Still, here are two cosy London numbers for the Christmas season.
London was married to songwriter Bobby Troup (and also acted with him in a 70s medical drama) and he also wrote “I’d Like You For Christmas” for her:
Here is “Warm December”: