Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25: Andy Williams - "Moon River" - died on this date...

 ... born in 1927, he was 84 years-old when he died in 2012  after a log battle with bladder cancer.

Howard Andrew "Andy" Williams was born in Wall Lake, Iowa in 1927. During his long illustrious career, Andy has earned 18 Gold and three Platinum certified albums.
He had his own TV variety show from 1962–71 in which he performed with - among others - Michael Jackson, Bobby Darin, Ray Charles, Elton John, Ella Fitzgerald, Simon & Garfunkel, Mama Cass, Shirley Bassey, Bing Crosby, The Osmonds, Dusty Springfield, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, The Carpenters, Jack Benny, Bette Davis, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan and many other superstars. He also owns his own theater, the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri.

Williams and his three older brothers Bob, Don, and Dick formed the Williams Brothers quartet in the late 1930s, and they performed on radio in the Midwest, first at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and later at WLS in Chicago and WLW in Cincinnati. The Williams Brothers appeared with Bing Crosby on the hit record "Swinging on a Star" in 1944. This led to a nightclub act with entertainer Kay Thompson from 1947 to 1951.

(Continued below video and CDs...)

HIGHLY Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):
The Andy Williams Christmas AlbumMoon River: The Very Best of Andy WilliamsThe Andy Williams Collection16 Biggest Hits

Williams' solo career began in 1953. He recorded six sides for RCA Victor's label "X," but none of them were hits. After finally landing a spot as a regular on Steve Allen's Tonight Show in 1954,he was signed to a recording contract with Cadence Records, a small label in New York.

His third single, "Canadian Sunset" reached #7 in the Top Ten in August 1956, and was soon followed by his only Billboard #1 hit, "Butterfly"  in February 1957.

More hits followed, including "The Hawaiian Wedding Song," "Are You Sincere," "The Village of St. Bernadette," "Lonely Street," and "I Like Your Kind Of Love" with Peggy Powers. Williams moved to Columbia Records in 1961, and scored another hit with "Can't Get Used to Losing You" which peaked at #2 in the U.S.


Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17: Orchestra leader, conductor, violinist, saxophonist Hugo Winterhalter was born on this day in 1906...


.... born on August 15, 1909, he was 64-years-old when he passed away.

Winterhalter was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Mount St. Mary's near Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1931, where he played saxophone for the orchestra and sang in two of the choirs. He later studied violin and reed instruments at the New England Conservatory of Music.

After graduating, he taught school for several years before turning professional during the mid-1930s, serving as a sideman and arranger for Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Raymond Scott, Claude Thornhill and others.

Winterhalter also arranged and conducted sessions for singers including Dinah Shore and Billy Eckstine, and in 1948 he was named musical director at MGM Records. After a two-year stint with the record label, he moved to Columbia Records, where he scored a hit with his orchestral reading of "Blue Christmas."

In 1950, Winterhalter signed on with RCA Victor, where he arranged sessions for artists including Perry Como, Eddie Fisher and the Ames Brothers; he also recorded several instrumental albums, among them 1952's Great Music Themes of Television, one of the first collections of TV theme songs ever recorded.

Winterhalter also notched a series of chart hits, including "Blue Tango," "Vanessa," "The Little Shoemaker" and "Song of The Barefoot Contessa"; with pianist Eddie Heywood, he reached the number two spot with 1956's "Canadian Sunset."

He remained with RCA Victor until 1963, at which time he moved to Kapp; that same year, he also penned the main title theme for the film, Diamond Head.

At Kapp he recorded a handful of albums including The Best of '64 and its follow-up, The Big Hits of 1965, before leaving the label to work on Broadway. He later worked in television as well, and continued recording the occasional LP for various budget labels.

Winterhalter died from cancer, in Greenwich, Connecticut on September 17, 1973. He is buried alongside his wife at Rockland Cemetery in Sparkill, New York.
Through the Years