Paul Weston Biography

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Paul Wetstein, 12 March 1912, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, d. 20 September 1996, Santa Monica, California, USA. A leading arranger and conductor, who recorded numerous albums of mood music, and was particularly successful working with female singers such as Lee Wiley, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Dinah Shore, Kate Smith, Sarah Vaughan, Margaret Whiting, Connee Boswell, Rosemary Clooney, Judy Garland, and Diahann Carroll. Weston first attracted attention arranging for Rudy Vallee in the mid-30s, and made his name during a lengthy spell as one of Tommy Dorsey’s staff arrangers after Dorsey had taken over the Joe Haymes band. Among Weston’s most notable charts for Dorsey were those featuring Jo Stafford, whom he married in 1952. When Capitol Records were formed in 1943, Weston joined as conductor-arranger, and later became A&R director. Throughout the 40s he served as musical director on various radio shows, and late in the decade began recording mood music, an activity that was boosted by the development of the long-playing record. In 1951, he moved over to Columbia Records, but by the end of the 50s was back at Capitol. The extent of Weston’s musicianship is also displayed on a series of records he and Stafford made under the names Jonathan And Darlene Edwards. Stafford’s deliberately off-key singing to Weston’s out-of-tempo playing is brilliantly executed and the results number among the most hilarious comedy albums ever made. One of them, Jonathan And Darlene Edwards In Paris, was awarded a Grammy in 1960.

In the 60s and 70s Weston conducted on several top-rated television programmes, starring Danny Kaye and Jonathan Winters. A gifted composer, Weston collaborated on several popular songs, including ‘I Should Care’ (with Axel Stordahl - Sammy Cahn), ‘Day By Day’ (Stordahl-Cahn), one of Stafford’s biggest hits ‘Shrimp Boats’ (Paul Mason Howard), ‘Autumn In Rome’ (Cahn), ‘Hey, Mr. Postman’ (Don Raye), ‘Indiscretion’ (Cahn), ‘The Gandy Dancers’ Ball’ (Howard), ‘Congratulations’ (Sid Robin) and ‘No Other Love’ (Bob Russell). He also wrote serious works such as ‘Mass For Three Voices’ and ‘Crescent City Suite’. In 1971 Weston received the Trustees Award from the National Academy Of Recording Arts And Science (NARAS) for his ‘inspiring and tireless dedication to the Academy’s development’. During the 90s, he operated the Corinthian Records label in Beverly Hills, California, formed by himself and Stafford, which released the couple’s new recordings and reissued their leased back catalogue.

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

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