Sonny Burke

Genres: Vocals
Decades Active: 1950s

Biography

Joseph Francis Burke, 22 March 1914, Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 31 May 1980, Santa Monica, California, USA. As a small child Burke studied violin and piano. While still at school he gained experience playing in dance bands and soon after graduating moved to New York, where he led a band at the Roseland ballroom. He also began writing arrangements for the band. At the end of the 30s he took over a unit that had been formed originally by Sam Donahue, but left in 1940 when Donahue reclaimed the group. In the early 40s Burke concentrated on arranging for other bands, including those of Charlie Spivak and Jimmy Dorsey. He is credited as co-composer of ‘Midnight Sun’, the Lionel Hampton tune that has lyrics by Johnny Mercer. For about a quarter of a century he was active as arranger and band leader in major recording studios, backing several leading singers, including Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé. While musical director of Reprise Records he was...

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