Eydie Gorme, a television and nightclub star who scored a huge hit in 1963 with the song “Blame it on the Bossa Nova,” died on Saturday at the age of 84. The Associated Press reports that she died at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas after a brief illness.
Gorme got her start singing with big bands led by the likes of Tommy Tucker, Tex Beneke and Ray Eberle in the late 1940s. In 1953, she joined the cast of a local New York television show hosted by Steve Allen, singing solos and doing duets and comedy skits with another young singer named Steve Lawrence. A year later, that local television program became NBC’s Tonight Show, where Gorme stayed for five years. Gorme eventually married Lawrence, and for one season in 1958, the couple had a TV show of their own, The Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Show.
After building a successful career on the nightclub circuit, Gorme and Lawrence won a Grammy for best pop vocal group performance for their 1960 duet “We Got Us.” Three years later, Gorme recorded her best-known English-language song, “Blame It on the Bossa Nova.” The song, written by Brill Building staples Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, earned Gorme another Grammy nomination and hit Number Seven on the Billboard Hot 100.
She followed it up the following year with “Amor,” a Spanish-language bolero recorded with the Mexican romantico group Trio Los Panchos. Gorme, who grew up speaking Spanish in a Sephardic Jewish household and once worked as a United Nations translator, soon developed a huge fan base in Latin America.
Gorme and Lawrence continued performing together until Gorme’s retirement in 2009, recording more than 90 albums between them sticking mostly to classic tunes that met their standards of “no punk, no funk, no rock, no schlock.” They did, however, stray from the formula enough to record a cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” for the 1997 compilation Lounge-A-Palooza.