It’s been five years since my father passed away. As any of you who have lost your parents know – it never really gets easier. You lose a part of yourself when those who gave you life are no longer living theirs.
I had the most amazing parents (Don and Susan Rea) on this earth. They taught me to live life to the absolute fullest!
My father was with a group called “The Gaylords.” They had a few gold records in the 50’s, and were a very successfull musical group. They went on to also become a very successful musical comedy group, known as Gaylord and Holiday
I told mom and dad I wanted to be a comedian at a very young age – around eight years old, after I snuck and got up to watch Johnny Carson, and saw a funny woman named Joan Rivers doing comedy. I knew that was what I was going to be, since I realized at that moment that women can be comedians. Even then they said, “you can be whatever you want to be Carlie!”
As I got older, and started writing material, and performing it at small venues, I thought my parents – especially my dad – would discourage me in some way, because he was in the business, but no – he only encouraged me more!
My dad was talented beyond compare. He sang with The Gaylords, and was their keyboard player, and did all their musical arrangements.
The Gaylords worked with Duke Ellington. He called my dad’s group “purveyors of tonal zest.” My dad asked him if anyone had written lyrics for his song “Satin Doll?” Duke said “Don, I really don’t know.” My dad had already written lyrics, and Duke loved them. He wrote them with my mother in mind, and they were beautiful, and sexy. Much better that Johnny Mercer’s – who had indeed written lyrics as well.
The Gaylords recorded “Satin Doll” with Don Rea’s lyrics – certainly not known as well as Johnny Mercer’s – but to me they are still amazing. As is my dad, and my mom. After all, they were a package deal.