Fred Astaire, along with his sister Adele, recorded his first two sides on October 18, 1923, in London.  At this point in time recordings were still done by the old acoustic process, and the quality was less than pristine.  By the time Fred and Adele entered the studio again, in the company of childhood friend George Gershwin, the electronic recording process had been implemented, and the end results were much more satisfying.  One particularly interesting recording made by Fred and Adele was Gems From The Band Wagon, parts 1 and 2.  The idea was that, with the depression on, people would appreciate better value for their money.  With this in mind, 10" 33 1/3 discs were tested, giving a running time of approximately 10 minutes per side.  Good idea.  Unfortunately, this meant that everyone would have to buy a new grammophone.  The idea was dropped, which, after hearing the Bandwagon sides, is regrettable. In 1934 Fred was signed to RKO for a series of films co-starring Ginger Rogers, with whom he had proven so popular in Flying Down To Rio.  By sheer coincidence, the following year, he was also signed by Brunswick to record the songs from these same films.  Film stars often recorded hit songs from their films at this time, sometimes even recording their co-stars' songs (Ginger would occasionally have a competing version out on Decca or Victor).  An advance contract for such an extensive series of recordings, however, was not the norm for a film star.  Through this happy coincidence we have a library of recordings which showcase magnificently the talent, wit and charm which made Fred a star both on stage and screen.

All dates are MMDDYY, and refer to the date of recording.

The Whichness Of  The Whatness George Byng & His Orch (With Adele) 10/18/23
Oh Gee! Oh Gosh! George Byng & His Orch (With Adele) 10/18/23
Hang On To Me George Gershwin, piano (With Adele) 4/19/26
Fascinatin' Rhythm George Gershwin, piano (With Adele) 4/19/26
I'd Rather Charleston! George Gershwin, piano (With Adele) 4/20/26
The Half Of It Dearie, Blues George Gershwin, piano 4/20/26
Swiss Miss The Empire Theatre Orch (With Adele) 4/27/26
My One And Only Julian Jones & His Orch 2/12/28
The Babbitt And The Bromide Julian Jones & His Orch (With Adele) 11/26/28
Funny Face Julian Jones & His Orch (With Adele) 11/26/28
High Hat Julian Jones & His Orch 11/29/28
Not My Girl Al Starita & His Boyfriends 4/5/29
Louisiana Al Starita & His Boyfriends 5/4/29
Crazy Feet! Columbia Studio Orch 3/26/30
Puttin' On the Ritz Columbia Studio Orch 4/26/30
New Sun In The Sky Russ Garica & His Orch 6/30/31
I Love Louisa Russ Garica & His Orch 6/30/31
White Heat Leo Reisman & His Orch 9/28/31
Gems From The Band Wagon (part 1) Leo Reisman & His Orch (With Adele) 10/5/31
Gems From The Band Wagon (part 2) Leo Reisman & His Orch 10/5/31
White Heat/Dancing In The Dark Leo Reisman & His Orch (Arthur Schwartz, piano) 10/5/31
Hoops Leo Reisman & His Orch (With Adele) 10/19/31
Night And Day Leo Reisman & His Orch 11/22/32
I've Got You On My Mind Leo Reisman & His Orch 11/22/32
Maybe I Love You Too Much Leo Reisman & His Orch 2/28/33
My Temptation Leo Reisman & His Orch 5/2/33
We're in The Money Leo Reisman & His Orch 5/2/33
Night And Day Studio Orchestra 5/23/33
After You- Who? Studio Orchestra 5/23/33
A Heart Of Stone Leo Reisman & His Orch 7/11/33
Flying Down To Rio Studio Orchestra 12/12/33
Music Makes Me Studio Orchestra 12/12/33
Cheek To Cheek Leo Reisman & His Orch 6/26/35
No Strings Leo Reisman & His Orch 6/26/35
Isn't This A Lovely Day Johnny Green & His Orch 6/27/35
Top Hat, White Tie, And Tails Johnny Green & His Orch 6/27/35
The Piccolino Johnny Green & His Orch 7/15/35
Let's Face The Music And Dance Leo Reisman & His Orch 1/30/36
I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket Johnny Green & His Orch 1/30/36
We Saw The Sea Johnny Green & His Orch 1/30/36
I'm Building Up To An Awful Let-Down Johnny Green & His Orch 1/30/36
Let Yourself Go Johnny Green & His Orch 1/30/36
I'd Rather Lead A Band Johnny Green & His Orch 1/30/36
The Way You Look Tonight Johnny Green & His Orch 7/26/36
Never Gonna Dance Johnny Green & His Orch 7/26/36
Pick Yourself Up Johnny Green & His Orch 7/26/36
A Fine Romance Johnny Green & His Orch 7/28/36
Bojangles Of Harlem Johnny Green & His Orch 7/28/36
They Can't Take That Away From Me Johnny Green & His Orch 3/14/37
They All Laughed Johnny Green & His Orch 3/18/37
Beginner's Luck Johnny Green & His Orch 3/19/37
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off Johnny Green & His Orch 3/19/37
Shall We Dance Johnny Green & His Orch 3/21/37
Slap That Bass Johnny Green & His Orch 3/21/37
A Foggy Day Ray Noble & His Orch 10/17/37
Things Are Looking Up Ray Noble & His Orch 10/17/37
Nice Work If You Can Get It Ray Noble & His Orch 10/19/37
I Can't Be Bothered Now Ray Noble & His Orch 10/19/37
Change Partners Ray Noble & His Orch 3/24/38
I Used To Be Colour Blind Ray Noble & His Orch 3/24/38
The Yam Ray Noble & His Orch 3/26/38
The Yam Step (explained) Ray Noble & His Orch (with Ray Noble, additional vocals) 3/26/38
Who Cares? Benny Goodman & His Orch 5/9/40
Just Like Taking Candy From A Baby Benny Goodman & His Orch 5/9/40
Love Of My Life Perry Botkin & His Orch 9/22/40
Poor Mr Chisholm Perry Botkin & His Orch 9/22/40
Me And The Ghost Upstairs Perry Botkin & His Orch 9/22/40
(I Ain't Hep To That Step But I'll) Dig It Perry Botkin & His Orch 9/22/40
Dream Dancing Henry Sonnick and his orchestra New York 10 September 1941
Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye Henry Sonnick and his orchestra New York (with The Delta Rhythm Boys) 10 September 1941
So Near And Yet So Far Away Henry Sonnick and his orchestra New York 10 September 1941
The Wedding Cakewalk Henry Sonnick and his orchestra New York (with The Delta Rhythm Boys) 10 September 1941
I'll Capture Your Heart Bob Crosby and his orchestra Los Angeles (with Bing Crosby and Margaret Lenhardt) 27 May 1942
You're Easy To Dance With Bob Crosby and his orchestra Los Angeles 27 May 1942
I Can't Tell A Lie Bob Crosby and his orchestra Los Angeles 27 May 1942
Dearly Beloved John Scott Trotter and his orchestra 26 July 1942
I'm Old Fashioned John Scott Trotter and his orchestra 26 July 1942
Wedding In The Spring John Scott Trotter and his orchestra 26 July 1942
On The Beam John Scott Trotter and his orchestra 26 July 1942
The Shorty George John Scott Trotter and his orchestra 27 July 1942
You Were Never Lovelier John Scott Trotter and his orchestra 27 July 1942
This Heart Of Mine Albert Sack and his orchestra 13 December 1944
If Swing Goes, I Go Too Albert Sack and his orchestra 13 December 1944

Later Recordings

All the recordings listed above are available on CD, but unfortunately not all on the same collection.  If you merely want a good collection then I can reccommend Top Hat: Hits From Hollywood, released in the US on Sony's Art Deco label, or ?, released in the UK on Pearl's ? label.  Most of the early recordings are available on a Living Era disc entitled Crazy Feet!.  Gems From The Band Wagon (parts 1 and 2), as well as some other pre- (and post-) Brunswick sides, are available on the excellent Fred Astaire Rarities, available in the US on BMG.  The Brunswick recordings are collected on Starring Fred Astaire, a double CD set available in the US on Columbia.  A French version of the same (three CDs, on the EPM label) also contains the later sides (1940 - 1944) listed above.  Finally, if you just want to listen to the actual film soundtracks, six (Gay Divorcée, Top Hat, Follow The Fleet, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, and Carefree) have been issued on a three disc set entitled Ginger & Fred, available as a French import on the Chansons Cinéma label.

This discography is not meant to be complete, it's simply all I've managed to dig up.  Please write me with any comments or corrections!

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