Capitol Records has one of the most distinctive buildings in Los Angeles and if a movie shows the city begin destroyed by aliens or tornadoes it usually involves the destruction of the round building that bears the company's name. Capitol was founded by songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1942, the first major label on the West Coast competing with New York City's Columbia, Decca and RCA-Victor. Starting with artists like Paul Whiteman and Martha Tilton, by the end of the decade the label was recording Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Les Brown, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra. While the works of Crosby and Sinatra are exempt from the Capitol Sings series, you will always find familiar singers singing familiar songs, as with the title track sung by Lena Horne, as often as you hear unfamiliar songs sung by forgotten singers, such as Ethel Ennis singing "My Foolish Heart."
"Singin' In the Rain: Captiol Sings Hollywood" is Volume 20 in the series and one brings together twenty tracks representing a particular venue (e.g., Broadway) instead of a specific songwriter (e.g., Irving Berlin). Just be aware that if a song originated in a Broadway show that was made into a Hollywood musical then it is exempt from being included in this collection. That would explain why you may well be unfamiliar with most of these twenty songs. "Singin' in the Rain" and "Stormy Weather" are recognizable classics, and the same should be said for Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," sung here by Nat King Cole in one of the best tracks on the album. and June Christy's swing version of "They Can't Take That Away From Me." But after that you may recognize singers like Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, and Mel Torme more than "Louise," "There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder," and "Again." Still you will find a few new little gems on this album, what with Sarah Vaughn's "I Remember You" and Nancy Murphy's saucy "Put the Blame on Mame." That last is from the movie "Gilda" (I mention this because I was drawing blanks on the vast majority of these tracks as to what movies they were culled from and this one immediately jumped to my mind, as did the fact that Anita Ellis sang it for Rita Haywroth).
Despite the unfamiliar songs this is still an enjoyable album, even if it is a lesser one by the standard of the Capitol Sings series. But if you like one of these albums you will certainly enjoy the rest of them. Final Note: On this album Peggy Lee sings Harold Arlen's "Stormy Weather," but on the "Over the Rainbow: Capitol Sings Harold Arlen" the song is sung by Keely Smith. So even when a song by a particular composer or lyricist shows up on more than one album, you will find different cover versions on each album. Again, this simply reflects how deep the Capitol vault is when it comes to these songs.