I wrote about Lanny Ross in 2011 (which you can find here), that post featuring him singing "We Mustn't Say Goodbye" from Stage Door Canteen, a WWII movie—the only thing I could find at the time. Since then, of course, more recordings and films have found their way to Youtube, so I thought it time to take another look at him.
Ross had it all: looks, charm and voice, his lyric tenor a perfect fit for the popular style of the 20's and 30's. That he was trained by none other than Anna E. Schoen-Rene, a student of Pauline Viardot-García and Manuel García, and had a long career, speaks volumes. Back then, there wasn't the divide between popular and classical music that there is now, the vocal production being identical, which the listener can plainly hear in Ross' diction with it's rolled "R's," careful enunciation, and rounded tones. You also hear a very particular kind of "voice placement." Where could you do that now? On the operatic stage, in Phantom of the Opera, and when singing church music. That's about it. Everywhere else? They would think you were nuts.
There is much to admire about Ross' singing, with its ease of production, and lightness of touch. He makes his mark by seducing you with the sound of his voice, rather than by trying to impress you with how loud and high he can sing—a very different approach than the one heard today.
Interested listeners can find more Lanny Ross recordings at the Community Audio Archive. The last one listed, "Red Sails at Sunset B," captures his voice and vocal technique quite clearly.