Buddy Greco Biography

Armando Greco, 14 August 1926, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Greco is a singer and pianist known for his swinging, ultra-hip interpretations of classy songs. The son of a music critic who had his own radio show on station WPEN, Buddy himself appeared on WPEN at the age of five, initially making his mark as a singer and actor. Later on, like his two brothers, he studied to become a pianist, practising and playing at the Philadelphia Settlement House, a 10-block complex of recreational and hobby facilities, where so many of the city’s youthful musicians congregated. Greco led his own trio during 1944-49, and recorded a major hit version of Carmen Lombardo’s ‘Ooh! Look-A-There, Ain’t She Pretty?’, though the singer received only $32 for recording the single. Heard by Benny Goodman while playing at Philadelphia’s Club 13, he was offered a job by the band leader and subsequently became pianist-vocalist-arranger with the Goodman orchestra, appearing with Goodman’s sextet at the London Palladium in 1949, embarking on several tours with the band and his vocals gracing such Goodman sides as ‘It Isn’t Fair’, ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me’, ‘The Land of Oo-Bla-Dee’ and ‘Brother Bill’.

By 1951 Greco had become a solo act once more, gaining a regular spot on the Broadway Open House television show and providing Coral Records with a hit single in ‘I Ran All The Way Home’. He also won many lucrative nightclub engagements, one of which provided the bestselling album Buddy Greco At Mister Kelly’s, a superb document of his appearances at the Chicago club in 1955. Greco’s biggest hit was still to come, a non-stop, grab-at-the-lyrics version of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’, cut for Epic Records in 1960. This track sold over a million copies worldwide and gave the singer his first UK chart entry. During the late 60s and 70s Greco became increasingly associated with the British showbusiness scene, playing dates at London’s Talk Of The Town, appearing on the Royal Command Performance and recording an instrumental album with the London Symphony Orchestra. This well-travelled and appreciated performer claims to have played every major club in the world on at least two occasions, and was still touring round some of them again in the late 80s. In the early 90s he re-established himself in Britain with some well-received cabaret appearances at London’s Café Royal.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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