By the time Juliana Hatfield had reached her mid-20s, she’d become the poster girl for ’90s indie rock. She was looked upon as the thinking person’s alternative to the riot-grrrl phenomenon, and the future seemed rosy. Hatfield had formed revered combo the Blake Babies, launched a red-hot solo career, played bass on the breakthrough Lemonheads album and gained national attention when she told Interview magazine she was still a virgin and wasn’t too worried about it. The backlash from those without much of an attention span was inevitable. In the ensuing years, Hatfield has honed her art and produced a wealth of stirring, self-confident albums. Peace & Love, out next week on her Ye Olde label, is an utterly sincere revelation that proves well worth the wait. Hatfield will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our exclusive excerpt from her 2008 memoir and our brand new Q&A with her.
Hatfield: I first heard this song in the Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall movie The Big Sleep. There’s a scene in which Bacall is casually singing it in a roomful of people at a sophisticated house party. I’ve since found two recorded versions of the song—one by Ella Fitzgerald, one by Anita O’Day—and I’ve been listening to them nonstop. The song is just so infectious and cheeky, it makes me giddy. I bounce around my apartment singing, “She’s a real sad tomato/She’s a busted valentine,” and feeling really good about life. I haven’t been able to find a recorded version of Bacall singing this song. Does such a thing exist? Her version remains, in my memory, the best. Was it the thrill of hearing the song for the first time? Bacall is not known for her singing (and as fas as I know, it might not even be her voice singing in the film; she may have been lipsynching to someone else’s singing), but she sang it so cool in the movie. And she was so beautiful in that dress. Video after the jump.