Guy Lombardo Biography

19 June 1902, London, Ontario, Canada, d. 5 November 1977, Houston, Texas, USA. A celebrated band leader and impresario, early in the 20s, Lombardo formed a dance band in collaboration with his brothers Carmen (b. 16 July 1903, d. 17 April 1971) and Lebert (b. 11 February 1905, d, 16 June 1993) and a fourth brother, Victor (b. 10 April 1911, d. 22 January 1994), joined later. After some limited success in their own country they travelled across the border and secured a regular radio engagement in Cleveland, Ohio, where they adopted the name ‘Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians’. The band played in Chicago before moving to New York where they remained, mostly enjoying very long residencies, until 1963. Frequent broadcasts and their immaculately played dance music, which was billed as ‘the sweetest music this side of heaven’, appealed to a huge audience.

Lombardo is probably best remembered for his theme tune, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, and ‘Boo-Hoo’, which was written by Carmen Lombardo, Edward Heyman and John Jacob Loeb. However, from 1927-54, he had an enormous number of hits, including ‘Charmaine’, ‘Sweethearts On Parade’, ‘You’re Driving Me Crazy’, ‘By The River St. Marie’, ‘(There Ought To Be) A Moonlight Saving Time’, ‘Too Many Tears’, ‘Paradise’, ‘We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye’, ‘The Last Round-up’, ‘Stars Fell On Alabama’, ‘What’s The Reason (I’m Not Pleasin’ You’)’, ‘Red Sails In The Sunset’, ‘Lost’, ‘When Did You Leave Heaven?’, ‘September In The Rain’, ‘It Looks Like Rain In Cherry Blossom Lane’, ‘So Rare’, ‘Penny Serenade’, ‘The Band Played On’, ‘It’s Love-Love-Love’, ‘Managua, Nicaragua’, and ‘The Third Man Theme’. The band’s worldwide record sales were extraordinary - published estimates vary between 100 and 300 million copies. Lombardo also appeared in several films such as Many Happy Returns (1934), Stage Door Canteen (1943), and No Leave, No Love (1946). From 1954 Lombardo took over the operation of the Marine Theatre at New York’s Jones Beach, and continued to produce all manner of spectacular musical extravaganzas adaptations for successive seasons until shortly before his death. He also had extensive business interests, and was a long-time speedboat racing enthusiast, a pastime which brought him many awards, including that of National Champion in the late 40s.

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

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