Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Album: Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
Charted: 8

Songfacts®:

  • This is the theme song of the 1964 film Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte. It references how Bette Davis' character, the aging Southern belle Charlotte Hollis, obsesses over her lost love, John Mayhew, throughout most of her life.
  • Mack David's lyrics open with the line, "Hush, hush, sweet Charlotte." The song was written early in the movie's development and having been played for its star, Bette Davis, she suggested Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte should serve as the movie's title.
  • The song was nominated for an Oscar. Despite being beaten for the Academy Award by "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins, a recording of Page's rendition was rush-released and became the singer's first Top 10 hit since 1958.
  • Bob Johnston worked briefly as a staff producer for Kapp Records, before being recruited by Columbia Records in New York, where he produced a string of notable and highly influential albums for the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. This was his first major assignment after being hired by Columbia. The project was a tough one, as it was for the once popular but long faded Patti Page. "They gave him the coldest artist on their roster," said multi-instrumentalist and friend Charlie McCoy to Uncut magazine. "But using a contact that he'd made with the Elvis movie people, he found the movie that was in production in need of a theme. Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte was a huge hit. It revived her career and it meant that he was the new boy wonder at Columbia Records. It led directly to him working with Dylan."

    "The real genius of Bob Johnston is in his first session," McCoy continued. "With Dylan and Leonard Cohen, they had the whole concept in their heads. The main thing he had to do was keep it rolling. But with Patti Page it was from scratch. He found the song, we recorded it live – we had live up strings on the session. To me that was his greatest work."

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