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Posts Tagged ‘Bing Crosby’

RIP, Harry Dean Stanton (September 15, 2017) Character Actor & Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on September 15, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton
July 14, 1926 – September 15, 2017

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Harry Dean Stanton, the beloved character actor and singer/musician passed away from natural causes at the age of 91. To many, he was that down-on-his-luck bad guy whose face they’d seen in many of his 250+ films but whose name they could never remember.  Stanton was also a singer who haunted LA clubs for decades, playing in front of adoring fans of both his music and his films.  Born in Irvine, Kentucky, Stanton served in the US Navy during WWII. Upon his return to the states, he eventually settled in Los Angeles where he took up acting. Throughout his career, he earned critical praise for his work in art house and mainstream movies alike.  His long resume includes, Paris, Texas, Two-Lane Blacktop, Repo Man, Christine, and  The Green Mile.  His TV credits are equally impressive, having appeared on Gunsmoke, Two And A Half Men, Big Love and more.  As for his career/hobby as a musician, Stanton sang and played the guitar and harmonica in his own band, the Harry Dean Stanton Band (or as it had previously been called, Harry Dean Stanton Stanton & the Repo Men), mostly playing covers LA’s seedier clubs throughout the ’80s and ’90s. But, he could also be found on stage alongside the likes of Bob Dylan, Chaka Khan, Bing Crosby, and Bono.  In 2014 Omnivore Records released his debut album – at the age of 88 – Partly Fiction.  A soundtrack to the documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, it collected his intimate and sometimes heart-breaking covers of American folk classics.

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Died On This Date (July 27, 2012) Tony Martin / Popular American Actor & Singer; Career Spanned 76 Years

Posted by themusicsover on July 27, 2012

Tony Martin (Born Alvin Morris)
December 25, 1913 – July 27, 2012

Photo by Richi Howell

Tony Martin was a beloved American actor and singer who, over a career that ran from 1933 until his retirement in 2009 appeared in over two dozen films and released some 45 hit records.  On par with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, Martin built a sizable – mostly female – following thanks to his warm baritone croon.  Martin was just 10 when he was given a saxophone by his grandmother, and when he got into high school, he formed his first band.  He soon joined a local orchestra where he performed alongside future jazz legend, Woody Herman.    After graduating from college, Martin moved to Hollywood where he set his sights on acting.  Over the next several years, he worked in films with the likes of Fred Astaire and the Marx Brothers.  During the late ’30s and  early ’40s, Martin made numerous records for Decca and later recorded for Mercury.  His hits included “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You,” “It’s A Blue World,” and “I Get Ideas.”  After WWII, Martin hosted his own variety show for NBC and went on to star in many popular musicals of the day.  In 1948, he married actress Cyd Charisse with whom he stayed until her passing in 2008 – 60 years.  Tony Martin retired after 76 years in show business in 2009,  and died of natural causes on July 27, 2012.  He was 98.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.

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Tony Martin

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Died On This Date (December 2, 2011) Bill Tapia / 103 Year Old Ukulele Legend

Posted by themusicsover on December 2, 2011

Bill Tapia
January 1, 1908 – December 2, 2011

Bill Tapia was arguably the greatest if not longest working ukulele player the world has ever known.  Born in Honolulu, HI, Tapia was only 10 when he was entertaining American troops who were stationed in Hawaii during WWI.  Before he knew it, Tapia was touring with vaudeville shows and playing on steam ships between Hawaii and the mainland.  When the ukulele became all the rage during the ’40s and ’50s, Tapia was the teacher to the stars, tutoring the likes of Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, and Elvis Presley.   He also played with such music luminaries as Fats Waller, Bing Crosby, and Billie Holiday.  Tapia moved to San Francisco following WWII and was more or less retired – outside of guitar teaching. Then in 2004, he launched his comeback at the age of 96!  He released an album of jazz and Hawaiian tunes later that year.  In 2001, Tapia celebrated his 100th birthday with a jazz concert which was recorded and later released.  He continued to tour until 2010.  Bill Tapia was 103 when he passed away on December 2, 2011.

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Live At the Warner Grand - The 100th Birthday Concert - Bill Tapia

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Died On This Date (May 10, 2011) Norma Zimmer / The Lawrence Welk Show

Posted by themusicsover on May 10, 2011

Norma Zimmer (Born Norma Larsen)
July 13, 1923 – May 10, 2011

Norma Zimmer was an American singer who is best remembered as the Champagne Lady for over 22 years on The Lawrence Welk Show.  After singing in church choirs during her childhood, Zimmer headed to Los Angeles when she turned 18 in order to pursue a career in show business.  As part of a vocal group called the Girlfriends, she landed several gigs singing back-up for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Dean Martin.  The quartet also contributed their vocals to Bing Crosby’s classic recording of “White Christmas.”  Zimmer also voiced the character of White Rose in the 1951 Disney cartoon, Alice In Wonderland.  After Welk fired his previous “Champagne Lady” for showing off too much knee for television, Zimmer got the job.  She officially joined the show on New Year’s Eve of 1960.  After three years, she tried to quit in order to raise her sons, but she proved too hard replace, so she cut out the numerous public appearances and traveling but stayed on for the television broadcasts for the better part of the next two decades.  As the Champagne Lady, Zimmer generally sang a solo as well as a duet and danced with Welk toward the end of show.  Although she retired from the program in 1982, Zimmer came back for several PBS specials and reunions throughout the years.  Norma Zimmer was 87 when she passed away on May 10, 2011.

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Died On This Date (June 29, 2002) Rosemary Clooney / American Pop Vocalist

Posted by themusicsover on June 29, 2010

Rosemary Clooney
May 23, 1928 – June 29, 2002

Rosemary Clooney was a popular jazz vocalist during the ’50s thanks in part to her hit, “Come On-a My House.”  It was during this time that Clooney was also appearing in major motion pictures including White Christmas alongside Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen, and Danny Kaye.  She also was a familiar presence on young television, making guest appearances as well as starring in her own musical variety show, The Rosemary Clooney Show.  Clooney’s career got somewhat sidetracked during the ’60s due to personal problems, but by the mid ’70s, she was back as strong as ever.  She signed with Concord Records in 1977 and released a new album virtually every year until her death in 2002.  In 1995, Clooney received an Emmy nomination for her guest starring performance alongside nephew, George Clooney on ER.    Rosemary Clooney died as a result of lung cancer at the age of 74.

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The Essential Rosemary Clooney - Rosemary Clooney


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