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I’ll Plant My Own Tree

My reviews of the Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls DVDs have been posted at Mindjack Film. The writeup is my happening and it freaks me out.

Since doing that I’ve become sort of obsessed with Dory and Andre Previn’s song “I’ll Plant My Own Tree”, which Susan Hayward memorably performed in the original Valley of the Dolls. The new issue of Entertainment Weekly calls it the world’s worst song — obviously they don’t know about Lil’ Markie’s “Diary of an Unborn Child”. Personally, this “Tree” invigorates me into making wild drag queen poses with my arms all akimbo every time I hear it. All told, I’ve found that versions of the song were recorded by Judy Garland (originally cast in Hayward’s part), Margaret Whiting (dubbing Hayward in the film), Eileen Wilson (when Whiting couldn’t appear on the soundtrack LP for contractual reasons, Wilson stepped in), and Valley stars Patty Duke and Tony Scotti. If anybody might possibly know of other recordings, I’d love to hear of them!

16 Thoughts on “I’ll Plant My Own Tree

  1. My question is this: who in the heck sings “Theme To Valley Of The Dolls” on the soundtrack album? It sure isn’t Dionne Warwick! I was disappointed when I first got the CD a few years back. I want to know where I can get Dionne’s movie performance of the song. Her release versions are the single/album version(s) she recorded for Scepter.

    And was it you that told me that Gail Heideman was the singing voice for Patty Duke in VOTD? With Heideman, they sure did capture the tone of Patty’s speaking voice. If I didn’t know that Patty Duke sounds like a frog when she sings, I’d have really thought she sang “live” in the movie.

    -Dan

  2. Dan – According to the imdb, that’s Dory Previn singing the theme on the soundtrack. Once again, Dionne couldn’t appear because she was signed to a different label.

    That woman dubbing Patty Duke’s singing voice did a great job!

  3. Oops. Somebody just posted a comment linking to Nightcharm‘s VotD tribute and I (thinking it was spam) deleted it. Sorry ’bout that!

  4. Christopher on June 26, 2006 at 4:29 pm said:

    Didja ever notice that two movies share the abbreviation “VotD”? “Valley of the Dolls” and “Village of the Damned.” Coincidence?

  5. Mark Griffin on July 6, 2006 at 1:40 pm said:

    I’m equally obsessed with “I’ll Plant My own Tree” (which has become my personal theme song, “Entertainment Weekly” be damned!) In addition to Garland’s valiant attempt (which still circulates via bootleg versions), the song has become a cabaret fixture and is often heard during draq queen bingo tournaments. Wouldn’t you love to hear Streisand tackle that one? The woman who dubbed Patty Duke’s vocals is Gail something or other and yes, she was teriffic. Everyone here knows that kd Lang covered the brilliant “The Theme From “Valley of the Dolls'”, right? The movie is quite simply a work of art and should be used as a primer for every gay man in America. Sparkle, Neely, Sparkle!

  6. Judy sounds completely drunk on her version, kind of funny but also kind of sad.

  7. crystal on August 13, 2006 at 10:25 am said:

    who sings i,ll plant my own tree??
    susan haywood or margret whiting and who sings it on the cd?

  8. Does anyone know why the Judy Garland version of “I’ll Plant..” was removed from the Hollywood Backstory feature on the DVD? I remember seeing the show on AMC and the song was on it but its been cut on the DVD.

    Also, I heard that Patty Dukes voice is singing parts of the song while Gail’s voice is doing the hard stuff…kinda like in Gypsy with Ros Russell…anyone else heard that?

  9. OMG…A few days ago I posted that Patty Duke’s voice could be heard in the movie with help. Now, I am not saying this theory is totally bunk but after hearing “Patty Duke Sings Songs from Valley of the Dolls”, I really think I got hold of some bad information. Go here http://www.topqualityrockandroll.com/mm-VODrecord.html . You’ll need a doll to get through it!!!

  10. So true! Patty Duke also sounds plastered on that album; perhaps she injested some vodka to get in the right “Neely O’Hara” mood.

  11. WaltDe on August 31, 2006 at 6:59 pm said:

    Keep up the great work on your blog. Best wishes WaltDe

  12. Chuck Bellack on November 19, 2006 at 7:51 pm said:

    Excuse me guys, but you are all full of crap. while it is true that Patty Duke is not Maria Callis she is certainly not that bad either. And to set the record straight once and for all – the voice used in the movie and soundtrack is blended using Patty’s and another singers whose name that would not release (reasons unknown). If you listen closely, you can hear her voice = its when the notes go high that the other girl picks up and then eventually back to Duke.

  13. Neely Ohara on August 8, 2007 at 11:20 pm said:

    Chuck Bellack, the surgeon left his screwdriver in your brain when you had your last brain transplant. OK, so you fantasize about being Patty Duke, whatever… Duke couldn’t sing her way out of a vodka bottle is her next frink depended on it. And if you want to argue that point, just go drown yourself in the toilet because you’re WRONG if you think she can sing cuz she caint sang, sista! Holy geezcrap, what the F is wrong wit you?

  14. Lena Horn also recorded a version of this song–which is just as terrible as the film version. But it would be great to sing it a fundraiser for trees or something.

  15. PATTY DUKE’s singing voice in the film
    VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was supplied by studio
    vocalist Gail Heideman ~ it was not a “blend”
    of her voice with Gail. She (Patty) DID however
    record her own LP of songs called
    PATTY DUKE SINGS SONGS FROM VALLEY OF THE DOLLS
    but she did not sing in the actual film
    itself. The end.

  16. Lena Horne’s verion is available on “You Tube.” The set (dead trees) itself is worth the camp value alone.

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