Don Costa Biography

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10 June 1925, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, d. 19 January 1983, New York, USA. The youngest of five children, Costa taught himself to play the guitar by the age of eight, and at 15 was a member of the CBS radio orchestra in Boston. In his spare time he loved to dance the jitterbug. After starting as a musical arranger in radio in the 40s, Costa moved into the recording business as an A&R executive, working with new and established artists, and choosing their material. In 1957, while at ABC-Paramount, he launched Paul Anka’s career, and later worked with a variety of artists including Little Anthony, Dean Martin, Frankie Avalon, Barbra Streisand, Steve Lawrence and the Osmonds. In the 60s, he formed DCP (Don Costa Productions) and collaborated with Frank Sinatra as producer, arranger and conductor on several albums including Sinatra & Strings, My Way andCycles. In 1973, with Gordon Jenkins, Costa conducted Sinatra’s television special Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back.

Costa is reputed to have conducted and arranged over 200 hit records in his career, working with many kinds of music including country, jazz, rock, disco and film music. In 1960, he entered the US Top 30 singles chart with ‘Theme From The Unforgiven (The Need For Love)’ and the Academy Award-winning song ‘Never On Sunday’. His own film scores include Rough Night In Jericho (1967), Madigan (1968) and The Impossible Years (1968). Among his many successful albums were 101 Strings Play Million Seller Hits, Theme From The Misfits, I’ll Walk The Line and Never On Sunday. One of his last albums, Out Here On My Own, was recorded with his daughter Nikka Costa, and they were also working on another at the time of his death.

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

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