Sophie Tucker: “You’re Gonna Miss Me, Honey”

One hundred and one years ago today, Sophie Tucker sang those words from “Some of These Days” onto a four minute cylinder recording device. It became her signature song, and toward the end of her career she guessed that she had sung it over 45,000 times.

It was hard to miss Sophie, the self-proclaimed “Last of the Red Hot Mamas.” She made her mark on stage and screen with a humorous sexiness, defying current stereotypes of size, age, and Jewish women’s sexuality, all couched in a humor that provided an antidote to Puritanism. Songs like “I’m Living Alone and I Like It,” “I Ain’t Takin’ Orders from No One,”  “No Man is Ever Gonna Worry Me”, and the musical oddity “The Angle-Worm Wiggle” both entertained and enlightened her audiences. Though she claimed that she had “never sung a single song in my whole life on purpose to shock anyone,” her performances always challenged the prevailing codes of ethnic, gender, and class-based morality.

Tucker’s charisma and chutzpah cleared the way for performers like Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Susie Essman, and Judy Gold.


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