John Philip Sousa (November 6, 1854 -- March 6, 1932)
was born in Washington, D.C., of Portuguese-American parents. A
versatile student in a military academy, at 17 he played violin in an
orchestra led by French Can-Can composer Jacques Offenbach. His
leadership of the U.S. Marine Band under five U.S. presidents
(1880-1892) and the march compositions he wrote for the Band would
have been enough to insure his fame. But he left the Marine Band post
in order to form a civilian wind band of his own as a touring
commercial enterprise, at the urging of promoter David Blakely.
Although Sousa--"the March King" may not be associated with "light
music" per se, the Sousa Band was one of the first real popular
instrumental stars of American music. They had phenomenol success
touring the world over between 1892 - 1932, popularizing and playing
the catchy melodies composed by their leader and others.
Sousa compositions are often put into the separate category of a
"Brass Band" music. But they somehow rise above the mundane marching
tune to the level of a light-classical composition, similar to those
of Leroy Anderson. Sousa was a broader musician than many people
He was a charter member of the performance rights society ASCAP
(American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.) Sousa's
good-natured melodies are not always heavy and rigid as the marches
of other composers who preceded him. Certain Sousa marches have such
good memorable tunes, they can be considered as another part of the
rainbow of "light music".
Recommended compositions of John Philip Sousa:
- Semper Fidelis (1888)
- The Washington Post (1889)
- The Thunderer (1889)
- High School Cadets (1890)
Link to David
Lovrien's Web page on John Philip Sousa
Eric Coates (August 27, 1886 - December 21, 1957)
was born in Hucknall, England -- in a coal mining region of Great
Britain. He studied music in Nottingham and at the Royal Academy of
Music in London. He began his career playing violin in various
orchestras. But soon specialized in creating arrangements and
Many in Great Britain feel that Eric Coates was the originator of
what was called "Light Music" (as opposed to more serious concert
music.) He certainly was among its most ardent practicioners in an
era when purist music critics attacked any orchestral music that did
not aspire to loftier goals such as those of the more traditional
Although "Salon Music" for restaurants and dance halls were known,
the blending of popular or folk-style melodies in a classical
orchestration presented in a concert hall was at first vigorously
resisted by critics. But the public on both sides of the Atlantic was
eventually charmed with setting more accessible melodies in full
orchestral arrangement. It was soon won over to the idea of lighter
concerts in addition to the heavier fare heard in concert halls; so
after this trend caught on there was no stopping the trend of "light
music concerts" (or "pops concerts" as we would call them in
Americans tend to view Coates as a composer of quintessentially
British melodies, who is often confused with those of Edward Elgar.
He is often underrated or under-recognized outside his home turf.
Recognition came first to Coates in England through his "light music"
writing of Promenade concert music from 1918 - 1928. A 1930
composition inspired by a summer evening at the beach in Selsey was
called originally "A Valse Serenade." But it resulted in spreading
his music far and wide. A recording company known as Desert Island
Discs recorded it under the title "By The Sleepy Lagoon" using it as
a signature tune for a radio program, and it became an
internationally known waltz. In the U.S., it was first popularized by
trumpeter Harry James and his orchestra (Ray Anthony and Al Hirt
later recorded cover versions.) A 1950s vocal version of "Sleepy
Lagoon" with lyrcs by Jack Lawrence continued to spread its
popularity through recordings by Vaughn Monroe, Alfred Alpaka and The
In 1932, a suite of three movements which he called "The London
Everyday Suite" was premiered to popular acclaim. Two of its
movements -- the opening tarantella "Covent Garden" and the
concluding march known as "Knightsbridge" were to make his reputation
solid. He wrote several other suites in characteristically British
style -- including The Three Men Suite (1935), The London Again Suite
(1936), The Springtime Suite (1937) and The Three Elizabeths
Although perhaps best known as "the king of light music" in Britain,
Eric Coates was a prolific composer who wrote in many forms --
including chamber music, piano pieces and songs; he also scored films
-- notably "The Old Curiousity Shop" (1934) The Dam Busters" (1954)
and High Flight (1956.)
Coates also wrote two ballets which were never staged called "The
Jester At The Wedding" and "The Enchanted Garden." But ballets suites
from them were eventually performed and recorded.
Coates wrote a charming rhapsody in 1936 for a new instrument
invented by Adolph Saxe "to imitate the sound of the negro voice"
called the Saxo-phone. Coates' "Saxo-Rhapsody" was to bring the
concert-going audience to meet what must have sounded like an exotic
instrument at the time. In contrast to its uses in jazz bands, the
Saxo-Rhapsody is a dream-like concert work which showed the lyrical
side of this instrument.
During World War II, another Coates composition found use on radio
during two daily broadcasts. "Calling All Workers" was the signature
tune that introduced a program intended to be heard in factories
during their morning and afternoon break times, to raise the spirits
of those working so hard during those very dark days.
And after the war, when the BBC was allowed to resume its
experimental broadcasts of a new medium known as "Television" in
1946, Coates also commemorated the event with his "Television
And in 1948 his march tune "Music Everywhere" was adopted as the
signature for a British radio/TV cable company with the name
"Rediffusion" (In the U.S. we might say "Re-transmission"); Coates
composition became known as "The Rediffusion March."
And in the 1970s a piece he composed was adapted as the theme for the
TV mini-series "The Forsyte Saga".
Eric Coates died in a hospital in Chichester around Christmas, 1957
-- just a month after he conducted a royal command performance for
the Queen of England. He was 71.
Recommended compositions by Eric Coates:
- Covent Garden, first movement of the "The London Suite"
- Saxo-Rhapsody (1936)
- Calling All Workers - March (1940)
- Television March (1946)
- Music Everywhere -- The Rediffusion March (1948)
Benjamin Frankel (January 31, 1906 - February 12, 1973)
was born in London, England. He played piano and violin, and
studied composition at London's Guildhall School of Music.
Known first as a jazz violinist in night clubs, he soon found work
arranging musical theatre shows in the West End of London. These
shows included those of C.B. Cochran and Noel Coward.
Recognition came late (while he was in his 40s), after he wrote a
series of serious compositions including a violin concerto in the
early 1950s. This led to some later work scoring films.
His "Carraige and Pair" is from a film he scored in 1950 called "So
Long At The Fair" starring Jean Simmons and Dirk Bogarde. The
haunting melody is used throughout during carraige rides, and the
public soon requested recordings of it, and its use on "light music"
radio programs in England.
Recommended compositions by Benjamin Frankel:
- Carraige And Pair, by Benjamin Frankel (1950)
Ken Warner (1902 - 1988)
was born Oslow Boyden Waldo Warner in the Chiswick region of
London, England. His father was a music professor and violist with
the London String Quartet.
Ken was given a private education at the respected Guildhall School
of Music in London where his father taught music.
After graduation, he used the "professional name" Oslow Kent, playing
saxophone, clarinet, and violin in various British dance bands of the
He joined the BBC light orchestra in 1940, using yet another
"professional name" of Ken Warner. He not only performed in the
orchestra, but began arranging for it as well. He continued to arrange music
for the BBC through 1959. He was an active composer of "mood music"
for British production music libraries.
The piece for which he is well known--"Scrub, brothers, Scrub!"-- is
a vernacular allusion to the bowed tremelo string technique, which is
demanding on string players when played for prolonged periods of time.
Originally this piece was composed for piano and strings, but winds
and percussion instruments were added in a 1945 re-arrangement.
In 1946, the British musical film "I'll Turn To You" included this novelty
played (without screen credit) by Albert Sandler and His Palm Court Orchestra;
Sandler's version was released on a commercial 78-rpm single where
it achieved popularity in Europe and Australia and was used on 1950's
television in the United States (mostly as station break music and as a
theme for local daytime talk shows.)
Recommended compositions by Ken Warner:
- "Scrub, brothers, Scrub!", by Ken Warner (1941, 1945)
Sidney Torch (1908 - July, 1990)
was born in East London. He began his career in Great Britain as a
pianist and theatre organist. But following service in the Royal Air
Force during World War Two, he switched to conducting, and developed
a reputation for high quality as conductor of the Queen's Hall Light
Orchestra, the New Century Orchestra, and his own Sidney Torch
Orchestra. These ensembles often used the same studio musicians,
under the somewhat demanding baton of Mr. Torch. His commercial
recordings were often made for the British Parlophone label.
In 1947, he began recording for the Francis, Day & Hunter Mood
Music Library, primarily at the EMI Abbey Road Studios in London.
Some of the library tracks he recorded eventually found their way
into commercial pressings by popular demand, after their use as radio
or film themes.
One of Sidney's greatest abilities was the ability to choose the best
tempo for a pop arrangement or composition. His orchestral recordings
took the 78rpm technology of the day to the limits with their superb
Recommended arrangements and compositions recorded by Sidney
- All Strings And Fancy Free, by Sydney Torch (1947)
- Going For A Ride, by Sydney Torch (1950)
- High Heels, by Trevor Duncan (1950)
- Just One Of Those Things, by Cole Porter (1952)
- A Canadian In Mayfair, by Angela Morley (1953)
Wallingford Riegger (April 29, 1885 - 1961)
was born in Albany, Georgia but moved to New York city as a child.
He studied at what was to become the Julliard School of Music. His
post-graduate studies were at Berlin's Hochschule für Musik. For
a time following graduation he found work in Germany as an assistant
In 1917 he returned to New York, where he was active as a
contemporary concert composer and administrator. In the 1930s he
began experimenting with a more "neo-romantic idiom", which proved
popular with audiences and critics alike. His Symphony No 3 was
performed widely. He found a number of enthusiastic supporters in
Europe including Leopold Stokowski.
His delightful piece "Dance Rhythms" composed when he was 69, is a
graceful light concert piece with charming syncopations, sometimes
used as theme music and credits for television programs featuring the
Recommended compositions by Wallingford Riegger:
- Dance Rhythms, Op. 58, for orchestra (1954)
Ray Martin (October 11, 1918 -- 1988)
was a native of Vienna, Austria. As a music student, he studied
the violin and music composition. He came to England at the age of
19, in 1937. His early experiences in English Vaudeville Theatre and
a bit of pre-war performing on radio were handy when he joined the
Royal Air Force Central Band during World War II.
Following the war, he was tapped to conduct an orchestra in Hamburg,
Germany in performances broadcast from there over BBC radio. He also
began working for the British Columbia label, writing arrangements
for vocalists, and for such orchestras as Geraldo, Mantovani, and
Stanley Black during the late 1940s.
It was during the early 1950s that he composed a prolific number of
compositions and arrangements, some under pseudonyms including Lester
Powell and Tony Simmonds. For the British Capitol records label (EMI)
he recorded several mood music albums with a group called "The
He came to the United States in 1957 where he first found work
writing background arrangements for the Imperial Records label. But
he found his widest exposure through the RCA Stereo Action series,
which used sound effects and music in combination. He also created
arrangements for the RCA "Living Brass" series.
Mr. Martin also arranged a pair of classic TV Theme LPs for Buddy
Morrow and his Orchestra, produced by Ethel Gabriel on RCA-Victor,
called "Impact" (1959) and "Double Impact" (1960). In creating the
arrangements for these LPs, he had to expand the material of short
themes into 2 1/2 and 3-minute cuts, which he did with quite a bit of
craft and savoir faire. These LPs were re-released on CD from BMG
Spain in 1998.
During his later years, Ray Martin returned first to Great Britain
(in 1972), and then settled in South Africa (in 1980) where he lived
for the next 8 years until his death at age 69.
Recommended compositions and arrangements by Ray Martin:
- Highway Patrol, by Ray Llewellyn (on "Impact" RCA-Victor
- Men Into Space, by David Rose (on "Double Impact" RCA-Victor
- Moonfleet, by Ray Martin (on "Pop Concert" Columbia LP)
- Riff Blues, by Dave Kahn (on "Impact" RCA-Victor LP)
- Riverboat, by Elmer Bernstein (on "Double Impact" RCA-Victor
Felix Arndt (May 20, 1889 -- October 16, 1918)
was born in New York City. He was a charter member of the
performing rights society ASCAP, and organist of New York's famed
Trinity Church. He made over 3000 piano roll recordings. His most
famous composition--the keyboard novelty Nola-- was named for his
wife, who was also a composer, singer, and teacher who traveled as
solist with the St. Louis Symphony.
Although the composer died young, at age 29, his novelty tune "Nola"
was used as a theme song by Vincent Lopez, a popular pianist who had
his own radio show in the 1930s. It was also recorded by Les Paul in
a multi-tracked arrangement featuring electric guitars which became a
"top ten" hit in 1950.
Recommended compositions by Felix Arndt:
Paul Weston (March 12, 1912 -- September 20, 1996)
was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. After college at Dartmouth
and Columbia University, he found work in the new medium of radio,
arranging for the Fleischman Hour show, and for Rudy Vallee. He spent
five years with the famed Tommy Dorsey big band between 1935-40.
For the extraordinary vocal talents of his wife, singer Jo Stafford,
Paul wrote many beautiful vocal background arrangements which became
classics of the pop vocal genre in the 1940s. Of course, by the
mid-1940s, Paul had become the "Musical Director" of Capitol Records,
a newly-formed collaboration of composers Johnny Mercer, Buddy
DeSylva, and record retailer Glen Wallichs.
In this capacity he wrote and arranged many vocal backgrounds. But
marketing executives at Capitol worked with Weston to define
something more distinctive to make their record albums stand out in
the mind of the public--they developed the marketing concept of "Mood
Although the term of "light music" had been around for a decade or
more (especially in Europe) this term was usually related to European
Light Concert Music, or American Pops Concert pieces by composers
such as Leroy Anderson, the arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra.
What Weston and the marketing executives at Capitol Records did in
defining "Mood Music", was to bridge the gap between the Pops Concert
style and the waning Big Band style, to create a sub-category which
could be used to sell records. Rather than lightening up the concert
hall, they were "dressing up" pop music in an elegant new way which
eventually would take advantage of the LP length and sound quality.
In the process they also indirectly helped define the concept of
"concept albums", which were built around a thematic idea, rather
than around the talents of a particular recording artist or
Weston's first 78-rpm album of Mood Music was called "Music For
Dreaming" (1944), which was followed by "Music For Memories", "Music
For Romancing", and "Music For the Fireside". The contents were slow
sentimental ballads using a big band foundation, but with the
addition of a string section and concert harp.
The cover art and liner notes promoted the concept of music designed
to stimulate moods of escapism within the listener. Such
self-conscious promotion may have caused music critics of the day to
gag, and even raise a bit of mild amusement today. But this end of
the "light music" spectrum, survived as a model for the romantic
string orchestras which followed, such as those of Clebanoff,
Melachrino, Mantovani, and the Jackie Gleason Orchestra. It also did
something of even more significance: it established further the role
of "light music" into the mainstream of recorded pop music in
The label of "Mood Music" described above was a marketing gimmick
which was used from the mid 1940s to the early 1950s in the pop album
field. It is not to be confused with the same term often applied to
"Cue Music" or "Production Music" used as background scoring for
films and television shows. Admitedly there might be some overlap,
since some of the same composers and arrangers who wrote for
Production Music Libraries found their music in demand as the public
became more interested in instrumentals of all styles. Commercial
recordings were often made of these novelties which originated as a
library track. Robert Farnon's "Jumping Bean" was a case in
After a seven year stint at Columbia records, Paul Weston returned to
Capitol in 1958. Such was the popularity of his Mood Music albums of
over a decade before, that one of his first assignments was to
re-record some of those albums in the new Stereo sound
After the use of the "Mood Music" moniker began to wear thin, Paul
Weston's subsequent concept albums were presented more as "suites"
which had geographic themes. These included Western Americana
("Gateway To The West"), and the city of New Orleans ("Crescent
City") which were both for the Columbia label. He wrote some of the
melodies for such "suites" himself. But his greatest strengths as a
orchestra leader and arranger were always his claim to fame.
Weston was active in the National Academy of Recording Arts and
Sciences (NARAS), and served as its first president. He was music
director of NBC-TV from 1957-62. During the last years of his life,
he and his wife resided in Century City, a suburb of Los Angeles. He
created a record label called Corinthian for re-releasing his music
on CD. He passed away at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica,
California, at the age of 84.
Recommended arrangements and compositions recorded by Paul
- I'll Be Seeing You, by Sammy Fain (1944/1958)
- Gateway To The West, by Robert Farnon ()
- Crescent City, by Paul Weston (1957)
Robert Maxwell (born April 19, 1921)
was born in New York City. He studied the concert harp at Julliard
School of Music with famed harpist Marcel Grandjany, and was a member
of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He recorded as a harpist, and composed
several popular instrumentals as well.
His compositions include the 1950s standards "Ebb Tide", "Manhattan
Skyline", and the song "Shangri-La" (with collaborator Matty Malneck)
used by comedian Jackie Gleason in his TV Show to introduce "The
Great One" sketch. Hit vocal versions of "Shangri-La" (with lyrics by
Carl Sigman) were recorded in 1957 by the Four Coins, and again in
1969 by The Lettermen.
The "Song of the Nairobi Trio" was a comedy sketch theme Maxwell
composed for the Ernie Kovacs Show, in which three chimpanzees
appeared to perform the tune on musical instruments. This memorable
tune was made into a vocal called "Sol-feg-gi-o". Although neither
instrumental nor vocal version made the top of the charts, it is one
of those silly tunes which are hard to get out of one's head once you
have heard it.
Recommended arrangements and compositions by Robert Maxwell:
- Song of the Nairobi Trio (vocal title "Sol-feg-gi-o"), by
Bernie Wayne (1919 -- April 18, 1993)
Two of his well-known songs were "Blue Velvet" which was a number-one
hit single for Bobby Vinton, and "(There She Is) Miss America" sung
by Bert Parks during the crowning moments of the Miss America beauty
But it was for two of his instrumentals which light music fans will
remember him. They are two of the most familiar melodies in American
light music--"Vanessa" and "Port-Au-Prince".
Vanessa was a 1952 hit recording for Hugo Winterhalter and His
Orchestra. What is surprising is that the "B" theme of Vanessa goes
into a slower tempo 3/4 meter in the middle before returning to the
perky original tempo of the "A" theme. (This type of tempo change is
also heard in Robert Farnon's "Portrait of a Flirt", and in , but it
is relatively rare.)
Port-Au-Prince achieved modest chart success in 1956 for Nelson
Riddle and his Orchestra.
Bernie Wayne passed away at the age of 74, in Marina del Rey,
Recommended compositions by Bernie Wayne:
- Vanessa, by Bernie Wayne
- Port-Au-Prince, by Bernie Wayne
Milton DeLugg (born December 2, 1918)
was born in Los Angeles, California. After studies at UCLA, he
worked for many years in radio and film studios in Los Angeles. He
was a pianist and accordian player in addition to being a composer
His prolific pen composed such songs as "Orange Colored Sky", and the
polkas "Hoop Dee Do", "The Happy Wanderer (Val-der-ri, Val-der-ra)",
and "Just Another Polka".
His novelty instrumental composition "Roller Coaster" was the
familiar end credits theme for one of the first network TV Quiz Shows
in the U.S.--"What's My Line?". He also wrote the theme music for
other American radio and TV shows including "Two For The Money" with
comedian Herb Shriner, and 1960's TV game show themes for Chuck
Barris Productions, including the "Dating Game" and the "Gong
Recommended compositions by Milton DeLugg:
- Roller Coaster, by Milton DeLugg and Louis Busch
Louis Busch (aka: Joe "Fingers" Carr) (July 18, 1910 - September
was born in Louisville, Kentucky. By the age of 12, he had
organized a small orchestra which he conducted. During the big band
era, he played piano with Clyde McCoy, Henry Busse, Vincent Lopez
(who used a second uncredited pianist), and Hal Kemp.
After Capitol records was organized, Lou Busch became an A&R
(Artists and Repertoire) executive, another name for a record
He produced the Allan Sherman comedy records, for which he composed
the parody song "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" to the tune of the
Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" from "La Gioconda" (1876).
He co-wrote the novelty instrumental "Roller Coaster" with Milton
DeLugg. This piece was used as the closing credits theme for the
well-known 1950's US television quiz show, "What's My Line?". It was
also re-discovered and included on several "Bachelor Pad/Lounge
Music" CDs of the mid 1990's.
Busch recorded several honky-tonk piano albums using the pseudonym
Joe "Fingers" Carr.
He passed away at his home in Camarillo, California in 1979.
Recommended arrangements and compositions recorded by Louis Busch
(aka: Joe "Fingers" Carr):
- Roller Coaster, by Milton DeLugg and Louis Busch
- Portofino, by Louis Busch
- The Portuguese Washerwoman, by Roger Lucchesi, Andre Popp, and
was born in England. He emigrated to the West Coast of the U.S.
where his reputation as a composer, conductor and teacher grew. He
was music director of NBC during the 1950s. He also taught music as a
guest lecturer at UCLA in Los Angeles.
He wrote episode scores for TV series including "Death Valley Days",
"The F.B.I.", "Cannon", "The Dick Van Dyke Show", "The Joey Bishop
Show", and "The Incredible Hulk".
His 1960 suite "Bacchanale" was recorded by Frank De Vol and his
orchestra on a Columbia LP, and is a delightful example of a light
music concept album.
Recommended compositions by Albert Harris:
- Pegasus from "The Bacchanale Suite", by Albert Harris
- Mercury from "The Bacchanale Suite", by Albert Harris
Frank Denny De Vol (September 20, 1911 - October 27, 1999)
Frank De Vol was born in Moundsville, West Virginia. He attended
college at Miami University. He is known as a composer/arranger for
radio and TV series (including "The Brady Bunch"). But his show
business career has been much longer and more versatile than most
It began in 1925 with Frank playing violin in silent movie and
vaudeville orchestra in Canton, Ohio. He later performed with the
Emerson Gill orchestra in Cleveland. Thereafter, he toured the US
with the Alvino Rey orchestra.
In the 1940s he began a recording career, first as an arranger for
vocalists Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Doris Day, Vic Damone and
Nat "King" Cole. His arrangement of "Nature Boy" sung by Nat "King"
Cole became a number one hit in 1948. That earned him an executive
position at Columbia Records. He recorded quite a few 1950's "mood
music albums" with his orchestra for Columbia records, under the
moniker "Music By De Vol".
One such notable Columbia concept album is the "Bacchanale" suite
composed by Albert Harris, which was recorded by Frank De Vol and his
orchestra in 1960. Each track is a melody named for a god or goddess
of Greek Mythology.
In the 1950s his own Hollywood orchestra, called "Music of the
Century", played frequently at the Hollywood Palladium, and featured
vocalists Jaye P. Morgan and Helen O'Connell.
His theme music for "My Three Sons" featured a piano playing a
triplet obligato over the melody in 4/4 meter. It became a popular
instrumental single in 1961. His also wrote many other TV episode
scores, and the familiar Screen Gems Logo Signature, which was heard
frequently at the end of many TV shows.
His many motion picture scores included the following which were all
nominated for Oscars: the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy "Pillow Talk"
(1959), "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" (1964), "Cat Ballou" (1965), and
"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967.)
He also made guest appearances as a TV character actor in "I Dream of
Jeannie", "Bonanza", "Peticoat Junction" and as the bandleader in
Martin Mull's "Fernwood Tonight" TV talk show spoof.
He died of natural causes at his home in Lafayette, California (East
of Berkeley, CA) in 1999. He was 88.
Recommended arrangements and compositions recorded by Frank De
- Pegasus from "The Bacchanale Suite", by Albert Harris
- Mercury from "The Bacchanale Suite", by Albert Harris
- Theme from "My Three Sons" TV show, by Frank De Vol (1961)
was born in France. He worked as a composer and orchestra leader
for French radio in the 1950's and 60's. He also recorded several
albums of "easy listening" and some experimental arrangements using
sound effects and tape loops in combination with music (his album
"Delirium in Hi-Fi", for example).
Several of his tunes became light music classics. The Portuguese
Washerwoman was recorded in an arrangement featuring the
"barrel-house" (tack piano) sound of Lou Busch (aka Joe "Fingers"
Recommended arrangements and compositions by Andre Popp:
- The Portuguese Washerwoman, by Roger Lucchesi, Andre Popp, and
Ernest Tomlinson (born September 19, 1924)
was born in the Rawtenstall region of Lancashire, England. As a
boy he had the good fortune to be born into a musical family which
encouraged his compositional instincts as early as age 9. The
precocious lad won a scholarship to Manchester, University at age 16,
where he played organ, piano, and clarinet. His musical studies were
interrupted by World War II, and he completed his Bachelor of Music
in composition afterwards.
Following college, he moved to London and found work as a staff
arranger for Arcadia and Mills, Music Publishers. They provided
scores for radio and TV as well as the stage. Although he was an
organist of some skill, his composition duties took up most of his
He performed on British radio conducting the ensemble known as the
"Ernest Tomlinson Light Orchestra". During this period he wrote
several serious works for orchestra and choir. He also found time to
become composer-director of the British Performing Rights Society
(PRS), which is affiliated with BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) in the
His many projects included forming the "Light Library of Orchestral
Music" in 1984, whose contents are housed in a huge barn at his
farmhouse in Lancashire, England.
Several of his tunes became known largely in Great Britain. The folk
tune "Dick's Maggot" is a movement from his First Suite of English
Folk Dances, taken from a collection of pieces edited by John
Playford in 1650 called "The English Dancing Master". Mr. Playford's
book included the dance steps and the melodies of popular tunes of
the day. However unfortunate the title, the piece is a charming
example of light music, which was used on the BBC radio as a
signature piece for a program called "Invitation to Music."
Mr. Tomlison continues to record CDs with several performing
ensembles in Europe.
Recommended compositions by Ernest Tomlinson:
- "Dick's Maggot" from the First Suite of English Folk Dances,
by Ernest Tomlinson (1952)
Robert Lamar ("Bob") Thompson (born August 22, 1924)
was born in San Jose, California. Thereafter the family settled in
Auburn, CA. Bob started out as a drummer in high school, and then
switched to playing piano. At first he played in small black bands.
At the tender age of 18, he played with Barney Bigard (of Duke
Ellington's band). He worked his way through college at UC Berkeley,
including a job as a page for radio station KGO. He then worked his
way up to apprentice orchestrator and finally became chief
orchestrator at KGO. He also worked at station KMBC.
After college, worked as a musician and travelled to see a bit of the
world in the process. He accompanied singer Jacqueline Francois in
Paris and played piano for President Wilson (who was on his way to
the Far East.)
Returning to the U.S. in the early 1950s, he moved to Hollywood,
where he continued to learn orchestration "on the job." His arranging
and conducting clients for records included Judy Garland, Bing
Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, the Hi-Lo's and others.
Bob was an active pioneer in the field of production music for radio
and TV, including "jingles" for advertising. Two examples: "Go, go,
go, go, Goodyear", and scored a long-running nostalgic western
instrumental used in a commercial featuring a slow-motion stagecoach
for Wells Fargo Bank in California. He wrote a memorable orchestral
THEME with a subtle jazz-laced melody for "General Electric Theater"
used in the late-1950s.
Some of his instrumental pop orchestral albums released in the late
1950s--"Just for Kicks", "Mmm, Nice" and "The Sound of Speed" found
their way into the production libraries of many radio stations across
America. Perhaps part of their appeal was novelty, but they were
scored with solid craft that combined jazz and classical arranging
concepts. Thompson's originals were interesting tunes which made good
backgrounds for commercials and THEMEs for local TV shows in the
A couple of these recordings including "Starfire" and "Early-Bird
Whirly-Bird" from "The Sound of Speed", have been re-discovered by
the "Bachelor Pad" music crowd, and re-released on CD.
Recommended arrangements and compositions recorded by Bob
The Bob Thompson
- Starfire, by Bob Thompson
- Early-Bird Whirly-Bird, by Bob Thompson
- General Electric Theater, by Bob Thompson [4th THEME for
the T.V. series]
(on the Thompson family
Web Site -- has more info and some LPs for sale)
Richard Hayman (born March 27, 1920)
was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a versatile man, known
as a symphony pops conductor, arranger/orchestrator, harmonica
player, and composer of light pieces. He followed in the footsteps of
Leroy Anderson as arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra for over 30
years, during the tenure of Arthur Fiedler. He also orchestrated
broadway shows and film soundtracks including "Meet Me In St. Louis",
"Girl Crazy", and "State Fair".
He also served as Music Director of Mercury Records for a number of
years. Later he went on to make recordings with his own Richard
Hayman Orchestra, including some of his own light music compositions.
He continues to conduct pop concerts and record, even in the current
age of CDs.
A haunting arrangement of the film theme "Ruby" in which he played
the melody on harmonica, was a memorable hit for him in 1953,
followed by a similar treatment of "April in Portugal", both of which
reached the top ten of the Billboard Charts. He also composed the
tune "Dansero" which was also released in 1953 and became a
Recommended arrangements recorded by Richard Hayman:
- No Strings Attached, composed by Richard Hayman (1952)
- Skipping Along, composed by Richard Hayman (1952)
- Ruby, from the film "Ruby Gentry", by Heinz Roemheld