Gretchen Christopher
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Gretchen Christopher


Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


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"Ask “Mr. Music”"

Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Last year you wrote about the Fleetwoods. You also told of Gretchen Christopher, their founder, writing some songs for a new album.

I got the impression she had an unusual concept album planned.

Has she since completed this project?
—Gary Morgan, Boise, Idaho

DEAR GARY: Gretchen's masterpiece, “Sweet Sixteen (Suite 16)” (Gold Cup 1601), came out a few months ago, and received glowing reviews from the media.

Among its accolades is being named a Billboard Critics Pick as one of the 10 Best Albums of 2007.

Unlike most concept albums, Christopher's “Sweet Sixteen (Suite 16)” is a completely truthful soundtrack of her life (including the Fleetwoods experience) and, more importantly, her first love (inexplicably, someone other than this journalist).

Gretchen wrote and arranged all of the music to tell the story as it happened. She also created an insert booklet, with fascinating text and photos, all of which enhances the listening experience.

Music historians should now find it easier to define a concept album, as “Sweet Sixteen (Suite 16)” is the model of the genre.

It is fitting we talk about Gretchen's album this week, since February 29th is her 17th birthday. For another 11-plus years, this leap year baby will still be a teenager.

Happy birthday Soft One!

For more information about Gretchen and “Sweet Sixteen (Suite 16),” click the image below.

- Syndicated nationally by World Features Syndicate

"Billboard. 2007: THE YEAR IN MUSIC"

2007 Billboard Critics' Picks : 10 BEST ALBUMS

The Billboard staff, along with the freelance writers who contribute to the magazine and the Web site, represent a vast range of musical tastes. The proof is in is our annual Critics' choice roundup, where all parties are invited to submit a list of their top 10 favorite albums, singles or musical events of the past year.

While Billboard's various charts reflect the retail sales of albums and the sales and airplay of singles, these lists are based only the personal favorites of staff and contributors.

Scroll down the page to browse all of the lists, or use the menu of names and titles in the sidebar to skip ahead to a specific critic.

FRED BRONSON Chart Beat columnist

1. Colbie Caillat, "Coco" (Universal Republic)
Break out the "Bubbly" for the year's most engaging album.
2. Rihanna, "Good Girl Gone Bad" (SRP/Def Jam/IDJMG)
The perfect storm of performance, songwriting and production.
3. Kim Richey, "Chinese Boxes" (Vanguard)
Vocals and compositions connect directly to your heart.
4. Ingrid Michaelson, "Girls and Boys" (Cabin 24/Original Signal)
I would have loved this even without help from Old Navy.
5. Mêlée, "Devils & Angels" (Warner Bros.)
This overlooked CD deserved to be a hit; it's worth seeking out.

6. Gretchen Christopher, "Sweet Sixteen (Suite 16)" (Gold Cup)
The former Fleetwoods singer, born Feb. 29, celebrates her "16th birthday" by turning her life into a stunning suite of 16 songs.

7. Cartel, "Cartel" (Epic)
This year's Pure Pop for Now People winner.
8. Nick Lowe, "At My Age" (Yep Roc/Proper)
Speaking of Pure Pop, here's the original, still a Now Person at his age.
9. D'Nash, "Capaz de Todo" (Import: Caes)
This Spanish boy band should get a U.S. release.
10. Rilo Kiley, "Under the Blacklight" (Warner Bros.)
Indie sensation still cooking on major label.

- Billboard.

""A Career Highlight For Me""

"Career highlight"

On Oct 17, 2007 (22:05:03), Matt The Cat wrote:

Gretchen, Interviewing you on 10/10 was a career highlight for me. Thanks so much for coming on my show and introducing America to your new songs alongside your classic favorites. You are one of a kind. Never stop singing.
Soulfully, Matt The Cat The Night Prowl Show
XM Satellite Radio 50s on 5

- GUEST BOOK of The Fleetwoods & Gretchen Christopher

""Amazing You""

"Amazing You"

On July 10, 2006 Barbara Ellis wrote:

Subject: amazing you

She worked on this project I should imagine, with both love and hate for all the hours, weeks, months and years given. There are some tunes written while we were Fleetwoods together. My favorite, "Blues Go Away". She was so young to know such heartbreak yet it all came from her soul.

"Before You Go", another favorite along with "Autumn Gold". With lyrics and melody so touching. These were written later on in her career, and showing the same haunting soulful feelings.

I have not heard all the tunes on this CD, but knowing Gretchen they will be her blood, sweat, tears and soul. She always gives her best to us.

I wish you the best my dear old friend, and hope your fans and newcomers to your music sit back and enjoy.

Always, All ways, Barbara - Gold Cup Music

"Quotable Quotes"

What her peers have said of Gretchen:

"I love your music."
Jaclyn Smith
Seattle, WA, set of movie Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
Publisher: Tacoma News Tribune

"You sing like an angel."
Dizzy Gillespie
San Francisco, CA, Jazz Venue
Publisher: Jazz Profile Magazine

"I love your music!"
Linda Ronstadt
Los Angeles, CA, Grammy Awards
Publisher: (NAS) Musepaper

"The former Fleetwoods singer, born Feb. 29, celebrates her '16th birthday' by turning her life into a stunning suite of 16 songs."
Fred Bronson
2007, The Year In Music

- Billboard, Musepaper, Jazz Profile, Tacoma News Tribune

"Tales From The Stage"

At Centre Stage in London, I performed my cabaret show of original songs, including the the 1959 #1 hit, "Come Softly".....the intimate venue was quickly packed and bustling, elegant waiters proud and hustling.

My English jazz pianist was not prepared to accompany but half of my original compositions; so, on inspiration, I cut up my tune list onstage, tossed all the titles into a hat, and let him draw to see which song we'd do he'd accompany or one I'd play myself. it made for great spontaneity (including my dialogue), and the responses of those who spoke to me afterward were wonderful.

My favorite was the comment of a waiter. With disdain, he explained, "I hear many singers here; we get the best, but I work. I don't listen. I speak little English; some words I don't understand. But I hear your voice and stop. Your voice I understand." - JAZZ PROFILE MAGAZINE/Gretchen Christopher


DK: You are a celebrity because of your pop days as the guiding force behind the Fleetwood.....Let me ask you about the recording process for your new project. Are you finding that it's a difficult process, doing a contemporary album? How is it going?

GC: It's very difficult for me to not have a producer because, in Hollywood, we just...we were told when the studio times were, and it was all set up -- the studio musicians, everything, and we had some fine jazz players. We would arrange and rehearse counterpoint and harmonies, a cappella, all day; we'd record at night. The Fleetwoods would finish, and Sinatra'd come in ......

I was just waiting for our contract to expire so that I could be free to be solo....I thought I wanted either to have my own label or own a substantial piece of the action, in any label I would record for.....

When we were inducted into the NW Music Hall of Fame, I was so touched by the enthusiasm of the audience, and their pride in their own, that I decided, when I recorded my solo album, I wanted to do it here. But it's difficult. I'm finding that even recommended studios in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia have equipment problems: problems with a grand piano that has a squeaky pedal, or that plucks the strings when you strike the keys. Okay for loud rock but not for soft, smooth jazz, where the silences are as important as the notes.

DK: Is ther anything about your life that you would change?

GC: Yes, but I don't know how it could be changed; it involves other people changing, too. But I feel very, very fortunate......Externally, it's been a fairy tale, but internally I've had a lot of hungers and needs that weren't being met. And I have suffered great depression, and I've lived through it. And I feel that if I could share this with people through my writing, or my music for that matter, it could help other people.

Someone who heard me in concert said, "Gretchen, you've got to record these things. People need to hear them." She didn't say, "Gretchen, you gotta do this so you can be a star." She said, "You've got to do it because other people need it." So what I feel is that I have the gift of being able to express some pretty deep feelings and that there are people out there who welcome discovering a song that truly speaks to them.

What Time Is It? Is it time to share?
How much can I give? How much can I share?
There's only now, I have just today.
I'll fill it with love and give it away.

"What Time Is It?" © 2005 Gretchen Christopher. - Jazz Profile Magazine/David Keys/GretchenChristopher


Solo CD (SUITE 16), released autumn 2007, is one of the BILLBOARD CRITICS' PICKS FOR 10 BEST ALBUMS of the year and is receiving radio airplay and streaming, including "Autumn Gold", "Graduation's Here", "Blues Go Away", "Sweet Sixteen" along with extensive interviews (HEAR INTERVIEWS at including:

Daddy Dave's Hollywood Diner, 50s on 5, XM Satellite Radio;

Kelly Watts' Class Reunion "Celebrity Interview Series";

Bob Morgan Show live from Las Vegas;

Matt the Cat, "Night Prowl", 50s on 5, XM Satellite Radio;

Norm N. Nite, "Remember Then", live from The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame", Sirius Radio;

Marty Natchez & Bill Pearson, "Song Encyclopedia";

Dick Pust, PD, KGY 1240 AM, one of the nation's longest licensed stations, has been playing the entire album, in rotation for the past year.

Label: Gold Cup Music (GCM-CD 1601)
Artist/Songwriter: Gretchen Christopher

1. "Autumn Gold"
2. "Come Softly" (a cappella)
3. "Time of Love"
4. "Everything I Wanna Be"
5. "Before You Go"
6. "Write Down"
7. "Graduation's Here"
8. "The Hardest Promise I'll Keep"
9. "Gotta Take That Ride"
10. "Come Softly To Me"
11. "Blues Go Away"
12. "What Good Is Pride?"
13. "Standing At My Window"
14. "Everything Good In My Life"
15. "What Time Is It?"
16. "Sweet Sixteen"

Selections from her 11 Hit Singles and 15 Albums as The Fleetwoods (titles listed below) have received ongoing airplay for five decades, on virtually every pop music station in the USA plus worldwide, 1959 to the present (2008), as reported by BMI, including nearly 3 million US broadcasts of "Come Softly To Me" alone.

Billboard Hit Singles
Artist: The Fleetwoods (Gretchen Christopher, Lead Female Vocalist, Songwriter &/or Vocal Arranger)

Label: Dolphin/Dolton Records

#1 (Million-Seller Gold Records and BMI Million Airs, nearing 3 million US air plays, each)
"Come Softly To Me"
"Mr. Blue"

Top 10

Top 30
(He's) The Great Impostor"
"Outside My Window"

Top 40 "
"Graduation's Here"
"Goodnight My Love"
"Lovers By Night, Strangers By Day"

Hot 100
"You Mean Everything To Me"
"The Last One To Know"

Dolton Records, unless otherwise indicated

BLP-2001/ BST-8001 MR. BLUE

1. Confidential
2. The Three Caballeros
3. Raindrops, Teardrops
4. You Mean Everything To Me
5. Oh Lord Let It Be
6. Come Softly To Me
7. Serenade of the Bells
8. Unchained Melody
9. We Belong Together
10. Come Go With Me
11. I Care So Much
12. Mr. Blue

Gretchen, Gary and Barbara

1. Bye Bye Blackbird
2. Truly Do
3. Skylark
4. My Sister’s Love
5. I Believe
6. Runaround
7. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby
8. One For My Baby
9. Once In A While
10. Turtle Dove
11. Time Of Love
12. Outside My Window

BLP-2005/BST-8005 SOFTLY

1. Little White Cloud That Cried
2. Tragedy
3. Dormilona
4. I’m So Alone
5. Nancy
6. Days Dwindle By
7. Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring
8. Little Miss Sad One
9. I Love You So
10. Love Drop
11. The Last One To Know
12. Love Alone


1. Lavender Blue
2. Poor Little Girl
3. Daddy’s Home
4. A Teenager In Love
5. Paradise Lost
6. Hey, Little Tear
7. Little Girl Blue
8. (He’s) The Great Imposter
9. Lah-Dee-Dah
10. Blues Go Away
11. Lonely Cup Of Coffee
12. One Little Star

BLP-2011/BST-8011 The Fleetwoods

1. Over the Mountain Across the Sea
2. A Thousand Miles Away
3. Poor Little Fool
4. Tears On My Pillow
5. In the Still Of The Nite
6. To Know Him Is To Love Him
7. Eddie My Love
8. Earth Angel
9. Venus
10. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby
11. Donna
12. Bazoom (I Need Your Lovin’)

BLP-2018/BST-8018 The Fleetwoods
Debuted on Billboard Top LPs 12/29/62
On the chart for 6 weeks through 2/2/63
Peak position: 71

1. Mr. Blue
2. You Mean Everything To Me
3. Outside My Window
4. Confidential
5. Truly Do
6. Tragedy
7. Come Softly To Me
8. (He’s ) The Great Impostor
9. The Last One To Know
10. Poor Little Girl
11. Graduation’s Here
12. R



~ "Good As Gold" ~
The Artist and Her Music

She polished her performing at the HOLLYWOOD BOWL, L.A. FORUM, OAKLAND COLISEUM, N.Y. ACADEMY OF MUSIC, MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. When she reprised her autobiographical musical, one-woman show "COME SOFTLY TO ME, GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER", at Hollywood's CINEGRILL in 1993 and '94, the MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS ANGELS presented, for lifetime achievement, the ANGEL VICTORY AWARD, naming Gretchen Christopher "Inspirational Star, Singer, Composer, Dancer, Choreographer, Recording Artist." The latest in a distinguished line of honorees, from Sammy Davis Jr. in 1979 to Debbie Reynolds in 1993.

Making her life and living in the arts, Gretchen danced, choreographed and sang solo on television, professionally, at age 17, founded The Fleetwoods at age 18, sang lead on more than 20 of their recordings and wrote 11 of them, including Billboard #1 Hit "Come Softly To Me" and Top 40 Hit "Graduation's Here". She's performed and led the vocal arranging on 15 albums, including 11 nationally charted hit singles.

For her 16th album, her first solo CD, she dons the hat of Producer, as well as Artist, Songwriter, and Vocal Arranger, performing all the parts, when needed, but mostly keeping it sweet, simple, sincere and solo, earning rave reviews!


Worldwide success began with her self-penned #1 Hit "COME SOFTLY TO ME" and Top 40 Hit "GRADUATION'S HERE". With another chart-topper, "MR. BLUE", Gretchen's trio The Fleetwoods became the first group in the world to have two #1 Records top The Billboard Hot 100 in a single year (1959). Top 10 Hit "TRAGEDY" and a string of Top 40 hits followed (including "GOODNIGHT MY LOVE" and "(He's) THE GREAT IMPOSTOR", spending a total of 110 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100.

In 1988, delighting the audience by wearing the same gown she'd worn 29 years earlier when Dick Clark presented her with her first GOLD RECORDS, dancer-trim, blonde, blue-eyed Gretchen accepted another Gold Record as The Fleetwoods were inducted into the NORTHWEST MUSIC HALL OF FAME.


2005, amidst recording new songs for her autobiographical solo CD, Gretchen flies back from Dallas to perform the title song, "Sweet Sixteen", as she and The Fleetwoods are inducted into the OHS ALUMNI HALL OF FAME, in Olympia, Washington.

2006, The Fleetwoods are inducted into the DOO WOPP HALL OF FAME OF AMERICA, Symphony Hall, Boston.

2007, Christopher's solo CD, GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN! (SUITE 16) is among the BILLBOARD CRITICS' PICKS for 10 BEST ALBUMS of the year.

2008 celebrates THE FLEETWOODS' induction into the VOCAL GROUP HALL OF FAME, to which they were elected in 2006.

Multi-Million-Seller Songwriter/Recording Artist Gretchen Christopher creates a rare rapport with audiences. "She wraps her warm voice around you and leads you down a goose pimple path."

Legendary Jazz Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie pronounced Gretchen's singing, "like an angel."

Meeting Gretchen Christopher at the Grammy Awards, Winner Linda Ronstadt exclaimed, "I love your music!"

Gretchen Christopher's music has the quality of standards. Her autobiographical lyrics and memorable melodies express themselves softly, profoundly; documenting feelings and experiences from teen years through love, loss, laughter and life thereafter.

Audiences share her musical journey, from the 1959 Million-Seller, Gold #1 Record and Best Selling Sheet Music in USA & UK, "COME SOFTLY TO ME" ('n doo be doo, Dom dom) and Top 40 Hit "GRADUATION'S HERE" (both of which Gretchen co-wrote and sang lead on, with The Fleetwoods) to the inspiring and soul-bared lyrics, dynamic and haunting tunes she's writing today, worthy of Broadway.

Distinguished by smooth harmonies and counterpoint, Gretchen's first song hit worldwide and has logged nearly three million radio air plays in the USA; so Broadcast Music, Inc. has repeatedly honored Songwriter Gretchen Christopher and "Come Softly To Me" as BMI MILLION AIRS.

Gretchen's songs, voice and Fleetwoods hits are heard on the soundtracks of a dozen motion pics, including AMERICAN GRAFFITI; 28 DAYS; STAND BY ME; CROSSING DELANCEY; RETURN TO MACON COUNTY; CLEAN AND SOBER; AMERICAN HOT WAX; DINER; and more - not all are listed at

THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MOTION PICTURE COUNCIL, in December 1992, honored Gretchen Christopher with their top award, the Jeanie Golden Halo Eagle (dubbed the SUPER STAR AWARD) for her contribution to the Entertainment Industry. They cite Gretchen Christopher as "ACTRE