Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Always A Ray Conniff Christmas!

I love christmas music! Let's face it, I start playing it in August!!

It really isn't Christmas without certain artists such as Frank, Perry, Bing, Dean, Sammy, Nat, Johnny Mathis and of course my absolute favorite, Ray Conniff. It's sad to say that most of the younger generation do not even know who some of these artists are ...especially Ray Conniff.

I can remember The Ray Conniff Singers from way back. I remember my Grandma Opal and I sitting and listening to the radio and she'd say ...oh thats Ray Conniff. I can still picture the album covers that I would play over and over on our "Hi Fi" Ha Ha Ha...

If your not familiar........I beg you to listen to at least one of his christmas songs and if your around my age (hahahah) it will take you back to a simpler time......

He was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1916 and learned to play the trombone from his father. He studied music arranging from a course book.

After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II (where he worked under Walter Schumann), he was hired by Mitch Miller, then head of A & R at Columbia Records, as their home arranger, working with several artists including Rosemary Clooney, Marty Robbins, Frankie Laine, Johnny Mathis, Guy Mitchell and Johnnie Ray. He wrote a top 10 arrangement for Don Cherry's "Band of Gold" in 1955, a single that sold more than a million copies.

Musician, Composer. With a career in the music business for over 65 years, he recorded over 100 albums and sold over 70 million albums, cassettes and CDs. He was the proud recipient of a Grammy Award for his recording of "Somewhere My Love," two Grammy nominations, over 10 gold albums, 2 platinum albums ("Somewhere My Love" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"), CBS Records-Best Selling Artist for 1962 Award and countless international awards. He was also one of the few artists to receive the prestigious CBS Records International Crystal Globe Award for outstanding sales outside of the United States.

In 1959 he started the Ray Conniff Singers (12 women and 13 men) and released the album It's the Talk of the Town. This group brought him the biggest hit he ever had in his career: Somewhere My Love (1966). The title track of the album was written to the music of "Lara's Theme" from the film Doctor Zhivago, and was a top 10 single in the US. The album also reached the US top 20 and went platinum, and Conniff won a Grammy. The single and album reached high positions in the international charts (a.o. Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Japan) as well. Also extraordinarily successful was the first of four Christmas albums by the Singers, Christmas with Conniff (1959). Nearly fifty years after its release, in 2004, Conniff was posthumously awarded with a platinum album/CD.

On October 12, 2002 he died in Escondido, California, and is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. His grave marker bears a musical score with the first four notes of "Somewhere My Love."

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