Very talented in a variety of arenas. Singing. Dancing. Oh, yeah, comedy, too!
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Lots of great sounding recordings pre-dating The BEatles to discover out there in all formats. Post BEatles in genres other than pop/rock and country as well!
The local Goodwill store is a great place to look to sample things in an affordable manner that one might not ever hear otherwise. I stop by there regularly for just that reason. My discoveries are too numerous to mention....
Ah, how I remember those albums. Struck gold years ago and found a CD version of 'The Romantic Moods of Jackie Gleason' - but it's really not so rare now. Memories of my dad and I at the Magnavox. Something very 'Great Generation'-al about the smooth sound. Remember distinctly Bobby Hackett's cornet. Was so surprised to hear my favorite Gleason tune -'Laura' - in the 97 movie 'L.A. Confidential' - thought so few knew of or listened to Gleason. Good late night listening.
Wow is right when i read this.Please note that Mr. Gleason was a "music lover" and a weekend conductor of sorts,meaning he used his considerable influences to create musical recordings and sponsor them with his name.They were among the most immensely popular recordings of the 1950's and still can be seen daily at every Goodwill and last chance record destination.A testament to their popularity and sales.There was nary a HiFi in the 50's or 60's that did not have one of his "For Lovers" nearby ready for a highball and a little romantic escapade.
Gleason's adoration for Jazz,specifically the hard swinging,no holds barred Dixieland of the Eddie Condon mob,led him to use the Trumpet and Cornet of the great Bobby Hackett on many of his "mood" music orchestral recordings.Hackett possessed the perfect articulation of the glowing,sensual horn.It was the sound of a mink stole rubbing against a pair of nylons and hung like a golden fog against the lush orchestrations.
Hackett himself was a great Jazz improvisor and it was his 1940 Commodore recording of "Embraceable you" that put him in the pantheon of quintessential Jazz ballad players.He had a long,rewarding career and the Gleason chapter was only a part,but a big one financially.He owned a HiFi /electronics store on Long Island and even made superb location recordings on his performances on early reel tape recorders.
Gleason was legendary amongst musicians for throwing parties,paying well and his "train trips" were often recalled.He loved to hire a train car and party across the country with the music going full blast at his whim and offending a never ending stock of top shelf liquor.
This particular scenario was recreated in the 1986 Gary Marshall film "Nothing in common" with a young Tom Hanks,playing his son.It was the "great one's" last film suffering with two kinds of cancer and a bad ticker.A testament to a life led larger than life itself.
Truth be told it was Bobby Hackett that did most of the arrangements as the years went on. Bobby knew what Gleason Liked and Gleason had the final say and if it was to be pressed. Rumour has it when Gleason came up with the idea he asked for 50,000 from Capitol Records for the first record and well he made them millions. I have almost all of Gleasons records,My Mom just loves the sound of the horn and strings in his recordings. Last month I found a copy of Lonesome Echo in mint shape on Vinyl featuring the cover Salvador Dali created for the album. A week later I found a 7 inch EP of the same record and cover in mint shape to add to my collection.
Bobby Hackett was a hard bopper before working for Gleason,his music can be found in a very good Mosiac box set.