Bob Hope

Best of Bob Hope

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Mere weeks before his death in the summer of 2003, Capitol released this Bob Hope compilation, consisting of a few interesting singing performances the label could access without the risk of excessive licensing fees. Most of them make use of Hope's easy, self-deprecating humor -- especially when it comes to women -- when confronted by such glamorous leading lights as Jane Russell, Margaret Whiting, Dorothy Lamour, and Edie Adams. Highlights include the uproarious "Wing-Ding Tonight" (from 1951's Son of Paleface) featuring a fine harmony duet with Russell, as well as two unreleased titles with Whiting ("Lucky Us," "Ain't We Got Fun"). Capitol couldn't have released Best of Bob Hope without at least a few songs pairing Hope with Bing Crosby, his equally easygoing song and film partner; though their best performance, "The Road to Morocco," is sadly missing, a few of these make the grade: two from 1962's The Road to Hong Kong ("Teamwork" and the title song), plus a 1958 single, "Nothing in Common." The latest material comes with 1965's "Nothing Can Compare With You," a slightly contemporized pop number that reflects Hope's unease with serious romantic material. Another black mark is the version of Hope's theme song, "Thanks for the Memory," that concludes this compilation; though it's an interesting period piece dating from a war-era radio broadcast, it's not an important performance aside from its value to collectors.

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