Jonathan & Darlene Edwards
Jonathan and Darlene Edwards were a musical comedy double act developed by American conductor and arranger Paul Weston, and his wife, singer Jo Stafford. The routine was conceived in the 1950s, and involved Weston playing songs on the piano in unconventional rhythms, while Stafford sang off-key in a high pitched voice. The couple released five albums and one single as the Edwards, and their 1960 album, Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris won that year's Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
Weston first assumed the role of a bad lounge pianist in the mid-1950s, as a way of entertaining guests at Hollywood parties, but was urged to record an album of songs in the unconventional style after giving an impromptu performance in 1956. At the time, he was working for Columbia Records, and after hearing Weston's rendition of "Stardust" at a sales convention in Key West, Florida, Columbia executives George Avakian and Irving Townsend encouraged him to record an album of similar tracks. Avakian named Weston's character Jonathan Edwards after the 18th century Calvinist preacher of the same name and asked him to record under that alias, but fearing he would not have enough material to record a full album, Weston asked his wife to join the project. Stafford, a classically trained singer with the ability to sing both in and out of tune, readily agreed, and named her character Darlene Edwards.
Their first album, The Piano Artistry of Jonathan Edwards was released in 1957, but Weston and Stafford did not admit to being behind the act until Time magazine identified them in an article in September 1957. The Jonathan and Darlene Edwards act won the couple many fans, including some among their show business peers such as the pianist George Shearing, but their 1979 cover of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" was disliked by the band. Their final album, Darlene Remembers Duke, Jonathan Plays Fats was released in 1982.