Fred Astaire – The Astaire Story rare complete signed 1952 blue vinyl 4 LP set


A complete copy of the 4 LP blue vinyl limited edition set The Astaire Story by Fred Astaire, including seven lithographs by David Stone Martin, a bound book, and autographs of both Astaire and Martin.

1 in stock


Offered for sale is a complete original U.S. blue vinyl 4 LP pressing of the 1952 set The Astaire Story by Fred Astaire, including seven lithographs by artist David Stone Martin, who later became well-known for designing album covers for Verve Records.

This set is #190 of a limited edition of 1384, and each copy was signed by Fred Astaire (in the book) and by David Stone Martin (on one of the lithographs.)

This set is quite hard to find complete, as the lithographs are nearly always missing.

About this copy: This copy of The Astaire Story is an original U.S. mono pressing on the Mercury label.

This 4 LP set was issued in a spiral bound volume with a cloth cover, similar to that of 78 RPM “album” sets of the day.

The title page has been numbered (#190/1384) and autographed by Fred Astaire.

The cover is VG++, with slight fading of the title on the binding.  A name has been written in ballpoint pen on the inside of the front cover.

The binding is tight, and the 34 pages of text and photographs, along with the heavy paper sleeves for the lithographs and records, are all securely bound.

All seven lithographs originally issued in the set are included and are M-.  This set includes six 8 1/2″ x 11″ black and white lithographs and one in color measuring 12″x 25″.  The color one has been signed by David Stone Martin.

The four blue vinyl discs are quite clean, with a few minor scuffs from being removed from the super-heavy paper inner sleeves in the book.

Discs 1, 2, and 4 are VG+, with a couple of light marks.  Disc 3 is VG++ and very close to M-, with just a few sleeve scuffs.

Only a couple of sides have spindle marks on the labels, suggesting that these discs have only been played a couple of times.

Side 1 is VG+, with an inaudible mark about 1/2″ long through the third track..  There’s a minor pressing defect on the first track that may cause skipping for the first 60 seconds or so if your tonearm tracks at less than one gram.  This affects side one only and the track plays fine on turntables with more tracking force.

All four discs play with slight surface noise; this is likely due to the pressing standards of the time, as this album was pressed quite early in the long-play album era and were likely originally played on relatively poor quality equipment.

All in all, a terrific copy of a set that is usually found with binding problems, poor vinyl condition and missing lithographs.  This is likely one of the better surviving examples of this rare set.

Background: Released in 1952 and produced by Jazz legend Norman Granz, The Astaire Story was not a collection of songs from Fred Astaire’s films, but was a 4 LP set that featured new recordings by Astaire, accompanied by a top notch band of well-known jazzmen:

Bass – Ray Brown
Drums – Alvin Stoller
Guitar – Barney Kessel
Piano, Celesta – Oscar Peterson
Producer – Norman Granz
Saxophone [Tenor] – Flip Phillips
Trumpet – Charlie Shavers
Vocals, Tap Dance – Fred Astaire

The set was lavishly packaged in a cloth-bound volume with 34 pages of text, liner notes, and black and white and color photos of Fred Astaire.

Included in the set were seven lithographs by famed artist David Stone Martin.

The set was limited to 1384 copies, and all were numbered and signed by Fred Astaire (in the book) and Martin (on one of the lithographs.) gave The Astaire Story a 3 1/2 star review:

Because he was world renowned as a dancer and quite popular as a movie actor, Fred Astaire has tended to be underrated (if not completely overlooked) as a jazz singer. Although not really an improviser, Astaire’s phrasing always swung and his occasional vocals on record were usually a joy. This two-CD set is something special for it features Astaire with six members of Jazz at the Philharmonic: tenor saxophonist Flip Phillips, trumpeter Charlie Shavers, pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Alvin Stoller. Astaire sings 34 swing standards (many of which he had originally introduced in movies), dances on three ad-lib numbers, and sits out on the instrumental “Jam Session”; the musicians have plenty of opportunities to stretch out. The biggest surprise to this classic deluxe box (which was originally four-LPs) is that Fred Astaire did not do similar projects more often throughout his career. Highly recommended.

Tracks are:

LP 1

  • Isn’t This A Lovely Day
  • Puttin’ On The Ritz
  • I Used To Be Color Blind
  • The Continental
  • Lets Call The Whole Thing Off
  • Change Partners
  • ‘S Wonderful
  • Lovely To Look At
  • They All Laughed

LP 2

  • Cheek To Cheek
  • Steppin’ Out With My Baby
  • The Way You Look Tonight
  • I’ve Got My Eyes On You
  • Dancing In The Dark
  • The Carioca
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • New Sun In The Sky
  • I Won’t Dance
  • (Ad Lib) Fast Dances

LP 3

  • Top Hat, White Tie And Tales
  • No Strings
  • I Concentrate On You
  • I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket
  • (This Is) A Fine Romance
  • Night And Day
  • Fascinating Rhythm
  • I Love Louisa
  • Slow Dances (Ad Lib)
  • Medium Dances (Ad Lib)

LP 4

  • They Can’t Take That Away From Me
  • You’re Easy To Dance With
  • A Needle In A Haystack
  • So Near And Yet So Far
  • A Foggy Day
  • Oh, Lady Be Good
  • I’m Building Up To An Awful Letdown
  • Not My Girl
  • Jam Session For A Dancer

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Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Mercury
Catalog Number:
Year of Release: 1952
Format: Mono
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Additional information

Weight 85 oz
Dimensions 15 × 13 × 2 in