Ray Anthony Biography

Raymond Antonini, 20 January 1922, Bentleyville, Pennsylvania, USA. After playing in local bands in Cleveland, Anthony spent brief spells in the trumpet sections of the Al Donahue, Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey orchestras. Following a four-year period in the US Navy, where he led a services orchestra, Anthony formed his own band in 1946 and signed with Capitol Records. The band became one of the top attractions of the 50s, touring colleges and universities, producing hit singles such as ‘At Last’, ‘Harbour Lights’, the television themes from Dragnet and Peter Gunn, plus novelty dance numbers such as ‘The Bunny Hop’ and ‘I Can’t Tell A Waltz From A Tango’. From the start, the band had always had a Millerish reed sound, so when the Miller ‘revival’ happened they participated more successfully than most. Anthony appeared with his band in two movies, Fred Astaire’s Daddy Long Legs and This Could Be The Night. He appeared on his own in the Jayne Mansfield/Tom Ewell rock ‘n’ roll spoof The Girl Can’t Help It, and in an eerie piece of Hollywood casting, featured as the saxophone-playing Jimmy Dorsey in the Red Nichols biopic The Five Pennies. In the 60s, with a limited market for 16-piece bands, Anthony formed the Bookend Review, with a female vocal duo and a small band, playing clubs and lounges throughout the USA. In 1976, after eight years with Ranwood Records, he began releasing material on his own Aero Space label. He revived the Ray Anthony Orchestra during the 80s, and remains active in preserving big-band music for schools and radio stations.

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

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