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The Bootleg Files: Harry & Lena

BOOTLEG FILES 741: “Harry & Lena” (1970 television special starring Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Problems in clearing music rights.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.

If you were watching television variety shows and specials from the 1950s through the 1970s, it was nearly impossible not to see either Harry Belafonte or Lena Horne turn up in a guest starring role. The charismatic and versatile Belafonte would offer anything from calypso music to folk tunes to protest songs reflecting the ongoing turmoil of the times, while the regal Horne provided incomparable beauty and a distinctive styling of the Great American Songbook.
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The Bootleg Files – Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music

BOOTLEG FILES 616: “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music” (filmed version of award-winning 1981 Broadway show).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A VHS release in 1984.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most likely due to music rights clearance issues.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s possible.

In March 1980, Lena Horne announced that she would be retiring from show business. That did not last very long. In May 1981, she was back in what became the crowning commercial achievement of her long and often tumultuous career: the Broadway production “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.” The show ran for 333 performances, earned Horne a special Tony Award, then successfully toured North America and played in the West End to standing ovations.

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